Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Updates and Observations

I am at work, not because the little guy staged a dramatic recovery and was deemed good-to-go for daycare, but rather because Grandma was kind enough to come up to our place this morning and watch the little guy while both his mother and I are at work. The little guy is still pretty darn sick. He has a Dreaded Ear Infection and was prescribed ten days of antibiotics by the pediatrician yesterday. Apparently his tubes have finally fallen out (or completely disintegrated or something) and if the current infection is a precursor to yet another pattern of recurrence, we might have to subject him to the same surgery yet again, which is nerve-wracking but absolutely worth it … we’ll cross that bridge &c.

So, bummer that it’s not simply the egregiously nasty common cold I pegged it as, but there are many, many ways this could be worse. The tubes lasted and did their job way longer than the doctors had initially predicted (I think they said they’d last 12 months max and they ended up staying put and working something like 18), part of that job being not just keeping the little guy healthier but also giving him enough pain-free time to learn how to sleep through the night. He’s been waking up at odd hours the past few days, but the direct culprit has been a nagging cough, not skullsplitting pain behind his eardrums. Coughing fits tend to go away quickly with a drink of water (or, in extremis, a lollipop) and a little parental soothing, whereas those agonizingly painful ear infections of yesteryear were harder to ameliorate and it always seemed like an eternity before the infant Motrin kicked in. The pediatrician prescribed an antibiotic that the little guy has been on before, which leads us to believe that it’s a minor infection (as these things go) as opposed to something major which needs to be treated as aggressively as possible. And the little guy likes the antibiotic, so giving him his medicine doesn’t turn into a hardcore toddler-wrestling cage match. Like I say, could be worse.

You would think feeling sick and cruddy would sap the little guy's strength for fighting off ministrations.  But no!
I am working on a belated New Year’s Pop Resolutions post which will call back to everything I resolved to do back on the last day of 2009, measure my progress over 2010, and look ahead to 2011, but I don’t think I’ll get it done today. So in the meantime, speaking of callbacks, I just wanted to do my usual mini-review-type-thing for one of the sitcoms I follow regularly, How I Met Your Mother. Spoilers ahead!

The two most noteworthy aspects of last night’s episode were the running countdown gimmick, where the numbers from 50 to 1 appeared prominently on screen, and the death of Marshall’s dad revealed in the final minute. The countdown gimmick was a cool hook and my wife and I had a lot of fun playing Spot The Digits and pointing them out to one another. The ending was affecting enough to not only get both of us a little misty (my wife at least has the hormonal excuse of being pregnant, I’m just a sap for father/son loss stories) but to prompt my brother-in-law to almost immediately text my wife to remark on how sad it was. These two aspects obviously go hand-in-hand and overall I’d say they worked and made for a quality episode.

I was surprised this morning, trawling the interwebs message boards as I am wont to do, to find that it was a really divisive episode. Lots of people liked it as much as I did, and lots of other people hated it and thought the gimmick was distracting in and of itself AND did a disservice to the emotional coda of the episode AND also thought the death of Marshall’s dad was a cheap trick that should have been handled totally differently. Ah well, to each his own.

As I read through a long page of comments I noticed that no one was pointing out a little detail I noticed. It’s not something I think definitively settled the god ep/bad ep question, but I liked it so I’m going to mention it here because that is after all one of the reasons I blog in the first place, to give cybervoice to my random synapse signals. The last shot of the episode, after Lily tells Marshall that his father died, was Marshall and Lily hugging on the sidewalk, and the frame very deliberately included an electronic parking meter, and the display screen of the meter was red, which is an indicator that time has expired. Of course before the screen turns red it’s a countdown of how much time remains. And “expired” has a specific meaning for human life, as well. OK, maybe not exactly a piece of symbolism you could bang out an entire five-pager on for an Advanced television Studies seminar, but I thought it was a well-placed button on the whole gimmick/revelation thing.

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