Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Let's take out his thyroid for 100 dollars!

Close to a year ago my doctor discovered that my thyroid was larger than normal. I was in for an ear infection and after the usual poking and prodding he felt the front of my neck and asked, "How long has this been like that?" That's how this odd journey began. Now, after a biopsy and some further monitoring my doctor and my surgeon both agree it's time for that troublesome gland to go. Funny, the surgeon was the one who initially was opposed to taking a scalpel to me.

The "tumors" are quite large. I can feel them when I swallow. I have two, one on each side of my thyroid. The largest is about six centimeters which is about how long the incision will be across my throat. Kinda makes sense since that six centimeter mass is going to have to squeeze through that small window. A friend recently brought to my attention that I should have scheduled the surgery this week so I'd be out by Halloween with a nasty, oozing, possibly bleeding wound on my neck. My timing was always shitty. I would have made a great zombie.

I call them "tumors" but it's not yet determined if they are in fact cancerous or if they are malignant or benign. My biopsy indicated that I probably don't have cancer, but given the relatively high false negative rate for this procedure, I'm not willing to play the odds. My docs both agree with my decision. My family members are happy too. Some thought we (i.e. my wife and I) were taking this all a bit non-chalantly. We'll know soon enough.

I know people who have gone through this procedure before me and they are all ok. Some have had all or part of their thyroid removed. No one seems to have a nasty scar or long term health issues. Most are just taking a pill a day to replace the hormone normally secreted by their lost gland. I'm expecting to have much the same experience.

I have been counseled on what could go wrong. All of these scenarios have very low single digit probabilities. The worst of which is probably that I could permanently lose my voice. It freaks you out but again very low probability. I've never had major surgery before so I'm a bit unsettled about being under. I'm also not one for staying in the hospital but my wife has delivered three kids, the first by c-section (Yes, that's right the first by c-section.) she's basically telling me to suck it up. She's right of course. There are others I know who are really fighting for their lives. This little hiccup is nothing in comparison.

So gentle reader we'll see how this thing goes. I'm going to try to remember to blog and tweet my whole experience if I remember and I'm determined to ask my surgeon if I can have what's left of my thyroid after my operation. I think it would be fun to keep on my desk and have my kids take it to school for show and tell. It will be fun to have a little bit of myself in a jar even if it is a little bit of myself that has gone slightly haywire.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Playing with Google Wave

Wow. I've spent some time playing with Google Wave over the past few hours. I must say it's a bit overwhelming. My initial reaction is that Wave can fulfill it's design goal. I can see Wave completely replacing email. Traditional email functionality is a subset of Wave functionality. It should be a simple switch with one caveat. Large public waves are like being in a chaotic editing jam session. It's often difficult to keep track of all the conversations going on in the same doc. So if you are sending a Wave to a bunch of contacts that are all online you can probably expect that someone is going to just start typing a response before you've finished composing your message. There is currently nothing stopping them from seeing the inbound wave and just jumping in. That happens frequently in IM/Chat but it's impossible with email. No one sees anything you write in email until you press send. This has all sorts of interesting implications. Drunk Waving is probably going to lose a few of you out there your jobs or your ex is going to want to slap you with an injunction. So waver beware! (Caveat Undo-er?)

The quite side of wave is simply document editing although one could see that you could add some useful robots to your editing session. Robots are bits of code that will watch while you type and trigger some functionality based on an event or by matching some word or phrase. It's not hard to imagine basic utility robots for thesaurus, dictionary, spelling, grammar, etc. You can also imagine more advanced types of robots that would identify addresses, embedded images, and pull up more information via search. Imagine dropping in a bad picture of a painting in a document and having a robot automatically, or at your request, search the web for alternative images of the same painting.

Wave is really going to be all about communicating and collaborating online and in real time. I think that's where things will settle but it's going to require us to learn how to deal with collaboration that happens that fast. There aren't many systems out there that behave this way on this scale. It's going to take some time and it might be some time before your Waving with your mom and dad.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Correction: The Sun is Setting.

Just for the record, I was wrong the Sun was definitely setting. Not that I'm not keeping score or anything but I think I'm doing better than I do at home where I'm always wrong.

At any rate, I'm in San Francisco eagerly awaiting the start of Oracle Open World, where I hope to understand how the great carcass of Sun's software assets will be carved up and consumed. Unfortunately for us, and our customers, the butchering is going on behind a great canvas sheet. Hopefully, I'll get a peek behind that sheet this coming week. Stay tuned gentle readers!

BTW, why I'm not living in San Francisco is just beyond me. I love this city.