Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm not dead yet

But I may be working on it.

Since about the beginning of December, I've had a nagging cough. It started out as something little and mildly annoying, but over the course of the break joined forces with nasal congestion and got worse. I started coughing up phlegm. I've always had nasal problems at home, so I expected things to get better once I got back to LeTourneau. However, not only did the cough not go away, but I started getting really fatigued. This was something that I could not afford, so this last Tuesday I went to see a doctor. A chest x-ray showed that, while I didn't have an infection or pneumonia, my lungs were 10-15% filled with mucus. The doctor determined that, unless lab tests showed something deeper, this was due to sinus drainage and gave prescriptions for an antibiotic, an anti-allergenic, a steroid, and an emergency inhaler.

The medicines have been working pretty well. My cough is down, I can breathe more easily through my nose, and I haven't had to use the inhaler. Unfortunately, I have to take the medicine three times a day, and it causes dizziness and drowsiness. This has greatly reduced my productivity. I've told all my professors, and they seem to understand, and I've been able to grind out enough homework this week to stay mostly caught up, although my projects are starting to fall behind.

Yesterday, I was called back into the clinic for further lab tests, and I got a call from them this afternoon. It turns out that, while I don't have anything like mono, I do have elevated levels of bilirubin in my blood and they want me to come back for follow-up testing in two weeks. Having no idea what bilirubin was, I did some brief looking on the internet, and it turns out that it is a naturally occuring enzyme that is a result of the breakdown of red blood cells and is typically filtered out by the liver. There is a small portion of the population that has eleveted levels of bilirubin and are perfectly fine, or it could just mean I have a little harmless jaundice.


It could be a sign of clogged bile ducts in my liver, liver disease, pancreatic cancer, or even sickle cell anemia (I kinda doubt I have that one).

So I could be fine or I could not be, but I won't let it worry me until I'm told I actually have something. I may not even worry then.

On a lighter note, here is a picture of a fractal I've been working on. I originally described it using AutoCAD, but that was taking too long so I had Wharf write a program to generate it:

Friday, January 2, 2009


For some reason, everyone around here has been writing haiku (yes, that is the plural form) recently. Fjord started it when writing something for his birdwatching website, but it quickly spread to the rest of us. Although usually made extraordinarily boring by public school English classes, haiku can actually be quite fun. For those of you who don't know, a haiku is a for of Japanese poetry that follows the structure of:

[5 syllables]
[7 syllables]
[5 syllables]

Here are some that I've written about LeTourneau:

We all have no time
Dr. Kim speed - none can catch
Make sure wife can drive

Dr. Lee's Statics
T is now in the freezer
Because I say so

Dynamics first day
Dr. G walks into class
You've already failed

I haven't slept in three days
Still stuck in the Lab