Ever since my kidney transplant Tuesday, I’ve seen doctors, surgeons, and nurses on a daily basis with updates. They’re all very pleased about the progress I’m making toward recovery: my new kidneys (I received two, from a deceased juvenile) are fully online, and my blood toxins continue to fall despite not having had dialysis since Monday evening. It appears I am forever done with that period in my life, for which I am profoundly grateful. The doctors told me this morning that I’m surpassing their usual milestones, so they will discharge me Sunday morning. They were tempted to do it as early as Friday! This won’t mean a return home, as I’ll require frequent checkups with the clinic to make sure there’s no risk of rejection and that the kidneys are continuing to work away. Since I’ll be seeing them three times a week, I will be staying in a nearby hotel with shuttle service to the hospital. I’m hoping once I’m more mobile to explore downtown Birmingham a bit, but I don’t want to overexert myself. I’m been able to get out of bed and walk around my room and the hospital already, but this is an environment altogether different than the chaotic city streets!
In other news, this week I finished off Ben Kane’s King, the conclusion to his Lionheart trilogy; How to Think Like a Roman Emperor; and Greg Cox’s The Weight of Worlds. The latter is an Original Series adventure, set during the original run of the show and features a plot that would have fit in on the show were it not for the technical limitations at the time. The Enterprise is hailed by a remote science station who have come under attack: after arriving in orbit, Enterprise realizes the station’s inhabitants have been attacked by some kind of gravity weapon, and naturally the command staff beam down to investigate. In quick time, Kirk and Spock find themselves marooned on an alien world, Sulu and a redshirt are forced to pretend to be new cult members of an alien Crusade that’s intent on converting the galaxy to The Truth, and the Enterprise isn’t faring much better, being targeted by a gravity cannon. In true TOS style, Kirk goes head to head against a ‘god’, but readers are also treated to Uhura in the captain’s chair. The premise and execution are a bit goofy if you’re more accustomed to serious Treklit, but it’s always nice to have an old-school episodic-like novel.
More recently, I finished Ben Kane’s excellent Lionheart series by reading King, which dramatizes the last years of King Richard’s life. It opens with his return to a largely hostile Europe, where every road leading home routes through territories of men who would be eager to capture the King to hold him to ransom. Despite his best efforts, Richard and a few of his most faithful men are indeed captured. With Richard’s blessing, Rufus effects an escape, and on his orders returns to Normandy to investigate the damage that Richard’s perfidious brother John has done in his absence. Many of Richard’s possessions in Europe have been promised or directly surrendered to the French dog Phillip Capet, and “Johnny’s” treachery is made worse when Rufus realizes his suspicions about one of Richard’s men, FitzAldelm, were true: the man is an agent of the French court! As Richard’s nobles work to secure his release, Rufus attempts to fulfill his long-burning war against FitzAldem (a man who has tried to kill him numerous times) and disarm one of the Frenchies’ agents at the same time. Rufus also has personal struggles to contend with: his love for Princess Joanna, who can never be his own, even though Richard recognizes their bond and is gratified for the happiness that they brought to one another in Outremer. Even once Richard is released, the war against the weasel Capet continues, and brings the novel to its predestined, tragic end.
A review for How To Think Like a Roman Emperor is in the works. I’m currently reading Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, and a lady friend has introduced me to an interesting fantasy series — and delivered several volumes of them to me in the hospital!