Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow book cover.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin is a touching story about two socially awkward people and how their lives came to be entangled.

At its core, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a story about love, friendship, and belonging. Our main characters, Sam and Sadie, seek belonging and companionship; apart from each other, they have trouble finding it. And even together, they find it only occasionally and often imperfectly.

The story spans more than 30 years. Sam and Sadie meet as children, drift apart, and reconnect later in life. They spent their lives immersed in the video game world, and I found this aspect of the story the most interesting. Having grown up in the same era as Sam and Sadie, I recognized many of the mentioned games. I also identified with Sadie’s feelings about being a woman in a man’s world.

While I did enjoy this more than Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, I can’t say I loved it. It felt superficial at times, none of the characters were particularly likable, and in the end, I didn’t care what happened to them. I just wanted them to get over themselves and stop always doing whatever was absolutely in their worst interests.

Ironically, when I finished it, I rated it five stars. I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps the end got to me?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Roxy running across the dog walk during an agility fun match.

Uplifting Dog Movies

When Indy returned from the hospital a few weeks ago, we decided our cinema theme of the week would be Uplifting Dog Movies.

We kicked off the series with Lady and the Tramp. I don’t know if I ever saw this as a kid. It did not age well. It’s pretty demeaning with its depictions of everyone at the Italian restaurant.

Next, we watched Turner & Hooch.

Another movie I probably saw as a kid.

It’s not as funny as I expected.

Tom Hanks is half-dressed for about half the movie. There are a lot of underwear scenes and scenes with his shirt off. Was this supposed to make the movie more appealing to certain audiences?

Hooch is obvi the best part of the movie. The kitchen scene reminded me how thankful I am that my troublemaker is only 10 lbs and limited in her destructive capabilities.

my Letterboxd review

I’ll add here that I felt deeply betrayed by this movie. I specifically picked movies where the dog doesn’t die. I was wrong about this one, and I’m still upset by this.

To round out the selection, we finished with Oh My Dog. Oh My Dog is an Indian family comedy-drama, about a boy who raises a blind dog. This movie has it all–a cute dog, an evil villain with weird henchmen, and a feel-good ending. Oh, and it even features some dog agility!

Roxy running across the dog walk during agility practice
Roxy, during an agility fun match.
Indy relaxing in a round bed with a large purple stuffed duck.

Syncope vs. Seizures

Let me start by saying I’m not a veterinarian or any sort of medical professional. This is not medical advice; please, always talk to your vet if you think your dog has had a syncope or seizure event!

Indy recently had several episodes where he lost consciousness, and I mistakenly assumed they were seizures. However, since he definitely has congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension, syncope is way more likely.

Roxy, my other dog, has had seizures intermittently since 2015. You would think I’d be good at identifying them by now, but it’s not that simple.

Roxy’s seizures are—I think—partial seizures. She doesn’t entirely lose consciousness, but her body goes rigid. Typically one of her front legs contorts and is raised by her face while her head twists and pulls back. There’s not really any convulsing, she doesn’t seem to have any pre-seizure warning behaviors, and post-seizure, she seems completely normal within minutes. Her first seizure was after a head trauma during dog agility, and she has one or two per year since then. As much as she loved agility, we retired after her injury.

What happened with Indy was very different. In the first two recent incidents, he was sleeping on the sofa while I watched tv. I heard a strange-sounding bark from Indy, and when I looked over, he was limp and twitching (maybe?). The twitching stopped quickly, and he seemed a bit out of it for 10-30 minutes. The third was very similar, except it was just as we were waking up one morning.

Indy with his head on a blue stuffed toy.

The most recent two were unlike the others. These are the ones that I think are more obviously identifiable as syncope events. In both cases, we were getting ready for a walk. This is usually one of Indy’s most favorite things, so he gets very excited. In both incidents, he was wobbly and had trouble walking/standing. Before I could reach him, he fell over. I picked him up, and it seemed like he was twitching, but I now think he was just limp and flopping about a bit. Both times he urinated just after I picked him up, then let out a strange bark. Shortly after, he was back but dazed.

Seizures or syncope, either way, are pretty scary to witness!

And, in retrospect, Indy has fainted before! Once when he was a puppy and another dog pounced on him, and again about seven months ago while we were on a walk.

How Can You Tell?

Syncope is not a common term, at least outside of medical use. I wasn’t even sure what the vet meant when she asked if I was sure it was a seizure and not syncope. A syncope event means fainting or a sudden temporary loss of consciousness., often due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Seizures, on the other hand, result from abnormal electrical activity in the brain and often present as a loss of consciousness accompanied by convulsions.

Here’s where it gets tricky – not all seizures cause convulsions, and some syncope events can present with jerking movements that mimic convulsions. A fainted fallen dog might also paddle their legs while trying to get back up, which can look very much like convulsions. When Indy fainted on a walk, the leg paddling made me think it might have been a seizure, but it’s more likely he was trying to get back up after fainting.

Vocalizations, urinary incontinence, and other symptoms can accompany seizures or syncope events. Seizures can also be partial seizures without a total loss of consciousness, and these can be a lot different from full (tonic-clonic or grand mal) seizures. What this means is that it’s really hard to be sure what’s happening if your dog has any or all of these symptoms.

What About Indy?

So, why do I think Indy’s episodes are syncope? Well, he has CHF and pulmonary hypertension. Comet had CHF, and one of the first symptoms was that he fainted one morning while pooping. (This may sound funny, but again, seriously scary when your dog falls over suddenly for no apparent reason.)

Indy on the way home from the hospital.

Also, in the last two events, Indy was clearly wobbly, lost control of his legs, and then went completely limp and fell over. This is not consistent with seizures where a primary identifying characteristic is a stiff or rigid body.

The confusing bits were the barking, twitching, urination, and how long he was dazed after. However, none of this rules out syncope.

One of the biggest things that stood out to me was the thought that, clinically, we should default to assuming syncope over seizures (especially for intermittent episodes) until proven otherwise. Syncopes usually indicate an underlying disease that needs immediate treatment. Epileptical seizures, however, won’t cause much harm if a diagnosis is delayed.

I found these articles very useful in my research:

For now, Indy is waiting on a follow-up with his cardiologist, taking some heart medications. And, until we rule out seizures, he has an upcoming consult with a neurologist.

Indy is happy to be out of the hospital!
Talking to Strangers book cover

Talking to Strangers

I recently listened to Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell on Audible. Unfortunately, this is my least favorite Gladwell book so far. And actually, I don’t think I care for Gladwell that much. His work feels highly overrated, and his application of research to his chosen topics seems forced and on thin ground in some places.

Talking to Strangers is a weird mix of scientific research and experiments laid over sensational news headlines to explain how/why everyone “got it wrong.” Gladwell covers Jerry Sandusky, Larry Nassar, Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), Brock Turner, and others. Then, he uses these to tie together a theory about police and what happened with Sandra Bland.

This book should come with some trigger warnings. Gladwell goes into graphic details of sexual assault, including cases involving children. These are mainly related to Sandusky and Nassar. I wasn’t expecting so much about sexual assault and abuse, and this came as an unwelcome surprise to me.

Here are the bits that stood out to me as interesting and that I would have enjoyed in a 30-minute TED Talk:

  • Humans are adapted to default to truth. This means we generally believe we are being told the truth, and it takes a lot to tip the balance. This behavior is essential for a functioning society but comes with a cost when people are untruthful.
  • Kansas City Police and their model of preventive patrol does work–but only when police officers are aggressively looking for crimes, physically present, and do not default to truth. This may be what has led to current police situations we’ve seen occurring all too often lately.
  • Suicide is often a coupled behavior, meaning it is tied to a method or location. Removal of access to the coupled method can prevent suicides. (He cites some research on suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning and the reduction in deaths when British “town gas” was replaced with natural gas, containing far less carbon monoxide.

And that’s it. I would probably not recommend this book to anyone.

Rating: 2 out of 5.