Archive for April, 2007


Monday, April 30th, 2007

Thanks to Shelley for stepping in last week during my time of need! By popular (canine) demand, she will be receiving a steak dinner for her troubles.
After all I’ve done for you, it’s about friggin’ time.

I have to tell you: this has been one tough week. This virus hangs on and hangs on and hangs on. But it’s deceptive, you know? After the first couple of days of nightmarish eruptions—the volume of which, by the way, seemed downright improbable (We aren’t really that large, are we? How much can be in there at one time?)—the illness isn’t completely debilitating, so you get bored at home, you go out somewhere, and then after an hour or so you realize, “Oh crap. I have to go home right now or I’m going to run utterly and completely out of energy and have to lie down in the street in front of oncoming traffic.”

It’s not a good feeling.

This bug is so clearly the flu, too. Both Alex and I have had horrible aches and exhaustion to go along with the exciting gastrointestinal symptoms. I was so achy, in fact, that even knitting was not appealing to me.

Can you imagine the horror?

So I have decided to distract you from the fact that I have done almost no knitting with some photos of flowers from my neighborhood. Which just goes to show you that we have lovely flowers in New England, too.
And if you look closely on one of the four days in late April and early May that constitute our “blooming season,” you too may spot them!

So, yes…back to our story: thanks to our buddy Mr. N. Flewinza, the weekend’s activities were a tad paltry. But yesterday we were feeling just well enough to have coffee in the late afternoon with the Incomparable Kate, who was in town for the weekend. (In the spirit of full disclosure: yes, we did inform her that she might be risking her health, but she seemed to want to see us anyway. She has the heart of a lion, this woman!)

It was well worth saving up our energies to see the Incomparable Kate, of course, and afterwards—due to the unconscionably infrequent buses on Sundays…ahem, MBTA are you listening?—we had about fifty minutes to kill, so we naturally went to the bookstore.

Somehow I ended up in the self-help section and, as I do every time I wind up in the self-help section, I marvelled at the sheer number of these kinds of books that have been produced in the past ten or fifteen years. Whether it was the last vestiges of the virus or just the thought of how much money must be wasted spent every year on these tomes, I started to feel just a bit woozy.
A restorative tree. That is not, alas, in my yard.

My family knows already that I am not a big fan of the self-help genre and that I largely think that any time spent reading these books is reading time that you sacrificed when you could have been reading, say, Proust. Or Joyce. Or Elmore Leonard.

And it’s a zero-sum game, people! We only have so many minutes, hours, days given to us to live on this earth, and in my view, life is always too short to read self-help books.

At the same time, life is terribly complex and often difficult, full of ill-timed hailstorms, truculent relatives, colonoscopies, the bridal-industrial complex, obstreperous children and dogs, oral exams, beef byproducts, intestinal parasites, recalcitrant paving stones, sanctimonious neighbors, the poetry of Robert Frost, and the IRS. We must, in fact, help ourselves. We need guidance.

Given this grim set of facts, I have worked out a set of “take-home” messages that I think should be the central tenets of the self-help genre. Not that I’d know since I never read these books. But when did that ever stop me?

The whole point of going to graduate school is to learn to speak with authority about books one has never read! Even whole genres of books one has never read!

So, without further ado, and in an effort to save everyone a lot of time and money, I give you “The E. Bales Seven Pillars of Self-Help” (also known in some quarters as “The Seven Pillows of Strength,” although this phraseology was almost certainly based on a mishearing):

1. Drink plenty of liquids.

2. Get plenty of rest.

3. Get some exercise every day. If possible, go outdoors.
You might see something uplifting, like this.

4. Eat nutritious foods.

5. Have some laughs.

6. Spend time around people you enjoy. Inasmuch as possible, avoid those you find wearisome, odious, or draining.

7. If you do not already have a dog, get a dog.

See how simple? I’m sure someone will point out that all problems in life cannot be solved by these seven measures. I’d be the first to agree. But I think if we all did these things (not that I find them all particularly easy to achieve on a daily basis, Lord knows), we’d have a better shot at handling with aplomb the basic “challenges” that life tends to throw our way. Like, say, an exploding toilet or an unexpected tax audit or a lying, scheming, craphound landlord. I’m just talking about foundational matters here.

Everything else? Well, that requires thinking on your feet.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a lot quicker on my toes when I’m hydrated and I’ve had a few laughs.

Pack member down

Thursday, April 26th, 2007


Shelley here. My ma has the flu, so I told her I’d guest blog for her this evening. It’s one of the many fine services I provide, along with groundhog extermination and garbage sorting.

She actually worked at the yarn shop this afternoon, but it seems like that pretty much wiped her out. She has taken to her bed with a jigger of Nyquil and a copy of Atul Gawande’s latest book, Better. I believe that title can only be described as wishful thinking.

But seriously, folks, she actually is better. You should have seen her on Tuesday! Fortunately for all involved (except me), I was the only one who witnessed her violent regurgitations. But it is often the dour lot of the canis familiaris to endure with our human fellows their lowest and most unattractive moments.

There ain’t no such thing as a free helping of kibble.

So seeing that one of my pack members was laid low and therefore vulnerable, I sat on her bed all day to guard her. Which was kind of bad timing, really, given how sunny the day was and how much I like to sunbathe. But…duty first!

Okay, I did go outside once during her second episode of horrific retching, but I’m sure that she perceived my brief jaunt as consistent with the “Lassie Model” of dog behavior, i.e., she thought I had run outside to seek aid and succor for her from another creature with opposable thumbs.

Actually, I had come to fear that under the circumstances, no dinner would be forthcoming and I better either A) rustle up some prey or B) find a creature with opposable thumbs and a spare sirloin who was not lying immobile in a pool of her own cold sweat on the bathroom linoleum.

You know what they say: you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else!

She showed some improvement yesterday and even drank a couple of these:

And ate a bit of—what else?—Jell-O:
She seemed especially proud of this subtly layered Jell-O treat and said something about how these were “the Rothkos of Jell-O salads.” I frankly have no idea what she was talking about. Must have been feverish.

I am certain that from here on out she can be expected to go from strength to strength. She told me to relay to you her greetings and her promise that she will at some point catch up on her e-mails.

Now, if you would, leave a little comment mentioning your strong feeling that my loyal and steadfast conduct over the past three days merits a steak dinner. She’ll listen to you.

The never-ending bindoff begins

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Well.  I am, at length, finished with the seemingly endless last rows of the bell ruffle which completes my Handsome Triangle shawl.

Here they are all bunched up on my circular needle.

Handsome Triangle 4-25-07 

Now begins the seemingly even-more-endless bindoff the of the bell ruffle which will truly complete my Handsome Triangle shawl!

I have finished binding off exactly 12 repeats of the ruffle, which means I have bound off a total of 360 stitches.  Only 2225 more to go!

Handsome Triangle 4-25-07

Let the games begin!  Er, continue.

The Dead Sea Shawl

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

On Saturday I went with a group from church down to Kansas City’s beautifully restored Union Station

KC Union Station 

to see an exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls that is currently on display there.

KC Union Station

For obvious reasons, we were not allowed to take pictures in the exhibit or even carry in our cameras, so here on the blog we will have to content ourselves with photos of the wonderful facade of Union Station itself, plus a few indoor photos such as this,

KC Union Station 

which I admittedly took more for the novelty value of having a son named Harvey myself than for any more erudite or aesthetic reason.

I also took a couple photos of this rather cheesy little intro display, because that was about the only thing Dead Sea Scrolls-related that we were allowed to photograph.

Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit

In that little cave were a few fake-looking scroll jars.

Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit

I guess you’ll just have to use your imagination about the rest of the exhibit.  Take my word for it, though, if you’re anywhere within striking distance of Kansas City, it’s definitely worth the trip. 

I took the Handsome Triangle shawl on the bus to work on.

Handsome Triangle shawl 

I’m really, really close to the end of this thing.  It’s now taking about an hour (more or less) to get across one row.  At this point, I have one row left, plus the bindoff.  However, depending on how much yarn I have left,

Handsome Triangle shawl

(and you can see here that my cone of yarn is getting muy smaller) I may go ahead and do two more rows of the ruffle, making the final total of stitches (drum roll, please) 2580.  I don’t know, though.  I have a nightmarish vision of getting to within, oh, maybe about 30 stitches of the end of the last row and running out of yarn, necessitating tinking back over nearly two rows of 2500 stitches each. 

That would be bad.

Bridal Barn Revisited

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Yesterday was the “sixty-days-left-to-the-Big-Event!” milestone, a fact I was reminded of by one of our on-line registries—which seems to have taken it upon itself to tell me every time I log on how many days are “left.”

It’s basically the marital version of the Doomsday Clock.

I very clearly remember when there were 272 days left and now there are only sixty. Huh.
There has been very little knitting done around here, except for a little work on the pink socks, which endear themselves more greatly to me every day. They remind me of a favorite pair of pink socks I had when I was sixteen, a pair which passed on to their sock-y reward lo these many years ago, along with the rest of my Madonna Wanna-Be garments of the same era.

The day was observed with a visit to the Bridal Barn for my first gown fitting. In this awesome undertaking I was accompanied by my friend Nasser, who kindly gave me what my friends in New York used to refer to as “the gift of arrival.” In most areas of the country “the gift of arrival” is probably a puzzling concept, but in NYC, where only a tiny minority of our circle of friends owned cars, a person who drove you somewhere was bestowing a very great gift indeed.

Even now, Alex and I are “car-free” (note positive spin on yet another graduate school, poverty-induced inconvenience!) so Nasser and his Ford Taurus have on occasion helped us out when public transportation has proved to have its limits. Such was the case yesterday.

Besides, even if there had been a bus to the Bridal Barn, I couldn’t have availed myself of its service, burdened as I was by a seventy-pound wedding gown in an unwieldy garment bag, and two large shopping bags filled with shoes, undergarments, and various species of headdress.

It was frankly bordering on the absurd.

So is the fact that by my count, the bustle on my dress is going to have EIGHT attachment points. EIGHT! The Bridal Barn staff in fact recommended that I bring the person who would help dress me on my wedding day to the next fitting so that she might memorize the pattern of the bustle attachments. Since that person is my dear sister, and since she lives in the Midwest, that simply won’t be possible.

We’ll have to rely on our wits!

Dear Lord, is it possible that two women with some knowledge of garment-making and four degrees between them will not be able to figure out a bustle? Say it ain’t so!

Repeat after me: I will not to be outwitted by a flippin’ dress. I will not be outwitted by a flippin’ dress. I will not be outwitted by a flippin’ dress.

I am strong. I am invicible. I am WOMAN!

I will not be outwitted by my own wedding dress.
The Lost Patio of Atlantis is another matter entirely. Note that twenty more stones have been removed from their place in nature. Twenty-nine remain. And yes, for those of you keeping score at home, I low-balled the total the first time. It was a necessary delusion.

I helped. It simply could not have been achieved without my assistance.

So…eight bustle attachment points plus hemming the gown: it took over an hour for the lovely alterations woman at the Bridal Barn just to pin all that up. Bless her heart. Whatever she’s paid, it isn’t enough.

Especially considering that she told me that I didn’t look a day over twenty-seven.

Nasser, however, had a rougher experience. While I was slowly transforming into a walking pin-cushion, Nasser was waiting outside. Which meant he was on the front lines of the Junior-Senior Prom Crowd. I didn’t witness any of this, but Nasser expressed his extreme dismay at the directness, even brutality, with which the mothers commented on the relative physical gifts or lack thereof of their daughters. Who were trying on the prom dresses, of course.

Now. I just need to say—although I know none of our readers are actually the perpetrators here—that we have got to stop this. As women, we have got to stop this. We have got to stop making other women, especially young women, feel like their worth depends on the size of their boobs and their behinds. It’s damaging, it’s retrograde, it’s insidious. It cuts against everything we’ve worked for and it’s not a minor problem.

Are ya through preachin’, Ma? Cause we’re all kinda tired.

Enough said. We all get the point.

Me? I’m pleased to report that, in spite of the pressures of the bridal industry, I have not dropped a dress size. Nope. The wedding gown still fits as beautifully as it did when I bought it last June.

Except that now there’s an eight-attachment bustle to contend with…but Sarah and I are up to the challenge.

So many possibilities

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Those of you who are keeping track may wish to note that Ellen and I are posting on the SAME DAY.  This is a very, very rare occurrence, right up there with sightings of the rare and dangerous “cell-phone free American,” in fact.  Actually (funnily enough), there’s a little story about that.  Last night, I took my photos, sat down at the computer, downloaded said photos to my hard drive, and got all set to get online and write my post. 

My internet connection was down.  “Well,” thought I, “I’ll call Ellen and let her know about my predicament.”  Unfortunately, what I had momentarily forgotten was that, in addition to high-speed internet through my cable company, I also have digital phone service through my cable company.  No internet=no phone.  I myself am one of the aforementioned rare and dangerous “cell-phone free Americans,” so I was a bit stuck.  (When you think about it, this whole situation is pretty convenient for the cable company:  when I find myself without an internet connection, I can’t call them to complain.  Coincidence?  I think not….)

By the time the internet was back up and running, and I had written a start to my post, I was so dead-tired that I had to give up and go to bed. 

BUT!  Tonight I have picked up the dropped ball and am persevering. 

On to the actual post!  

Now that I’m almost (well, in this case “almost” is a relative, a very relative, term–see Monday’s post) done with the Handsome Triangle shawl, I’ve begun to think about my next project.  I have a friend (hi, Shani!) who recently had a baby, and I have yet to make a baby gift for him (the baby, that is, not the friend).

So, I did a little internet search the other day and came up with this cute little number.  I thought this would be both quick to knit and quite fetching on a little feller.  Also, the pattern is written so that you can plug in your own gauge numbers, always a plus for a knitter like myself who likes to visit the stash instead of the LYS for these smallish projects.

So, the question is, what yarn should I use?

This one?

Reynolds Tiara                                                   Reynolds Tiara in a luscious green-blue/teal color.  Loyal blog readers please note:  this is the same yarn I used for Sarah’s Simple Summer Sweater, only of course in a different color.  Pretty, but perhaps not very baby-ish.

Or this?

Emu superwash                                                         Emu Superwash DK in a groovy mossy green color.  Only drawback to this one–I’m not sure there’s quite enough yardage here.

How about–

Pakucho organic cotton                                                  Elann’s Pakucho organic naturally-colored cotton.  I think I have enough to make the sweater all in the sage green, although it might also be nifty with some stripes of the ecru.  (Yes, this is the same yarn I used in this sweater, from a pattern in Melissa Leapman’s Hot Knits.  Scroll down to the picture of Shelda and me.)


Baruffa Aerobic                                     Baruffa Aerobic, in a lovely kelly green, which I purchased here, oddly enough.  This is a sportweight, I believe, so would make a nice baby sweater.  One drawback:  it’s wool and not superwash.

Or lastly–

Schoeller Stahl Limbo                                  Schoeller Stahl Limbo superwash, in a primary and dark charcoal colorway.  I made a baby blanket for another friend out of this, and it turned out very nicely.  The problem with this yarn it that it has an unfortunate tendency to grow when washed, which makes figuring gauge and length somewhat tricky.

Well?  What do y’all think?  I believe that I have some time left to me before I start this new project, considering the 2400+ stitches I still have to achieve on the shawl.  Let me know your thoughts!

Berkeley Eclogue

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

I’ll come clean about that title: Berkeley Eclogue is actually the title of a poem by Robert Hass, who has a lot of lovely Northern California poems to his credit. But since I was actually out in Berkeley for a whirlwind forty-seven hours earlier this week and I’m still in a recovery period, I figured I’d just borrow from Bob.

Besides, “eclogue” is a word that comes from the Greek and means short, pastoral poem, usually in the form of a dialogue between two shepherds.

I love the idea of a couple of Greek shepherds having a dialogue about Berkeley.

Dystopia the Shepherd: Diabetes, this place is as weird as Diogenes of Sinope in a business suit. I am prepared for glory, yet I can make neither heads nor tails of the people here.

Diabetes the Shepherd: Oh, I don’t know, Dystopia, I kind of like it. Dude, it’s got a lot of beautiful flowers.

And I’ve just, like, moved into a commune where all the members, like, drink human breast milk! Plus I have, like, an appointment this afternoon to get my aura washed and then I’m going to my Bikram yoga class.

Dude, it’s enlightened! Plus loafing around the commune fondling someone’s breasts—in a totally non-sexual way, dude—beats the living crap out of eking out a meager living by herding sheep all day.

Dystopia: Diabetes, the code of ancient Sparta does not condone yoga and communes, much less the consumption of human breast milk. I myself will repair to the local travel agency, Trip Out Travel!, and return to Greece.

(Note: You probably think Trip Out Travel! is just another one of my jokes, but no. It’s a real travel agency on College Avenue. What did I tell you about Berkeley being a very bad place for a satirist?)

That said, I had a really great time. I genuinely love being in Berkeley for short bursts. For one thing, there are the aforementioned flowers, which bloom all year round:

These flowers go with…

…this house. I feel certain that the person who lives here did something commendable in a previous life.

Let us compare the yard above with my own yard:
According to the karmic metric I have used above, I must have spent my previous life torturing squirrels and selling heroin to school children.

But I digress. There are redwoods:

And palm trees:

And old Victorian houses with vegetal overgrowth that is nothing short of gothic:

But most of all, when I make these brief visits, I get to see all my wonderful Berkeley friends, none of whom live in communes or incline to coffee enemas, and it’s always absolutely terrific. I’ve also learned that if you stay only two days, you simply don’t encounter that many of the maddening aspects of Berkeley. Then you’re back in New England—in the stiff and chilly but somehow comforting embrace of the descendants of Cotton Mather—faster than you can say, “War is not good for children and other living things.”

Of course, I did say that you don’t encounter “that many” of the insanity-provoking things about Berkeley. Some you simply cannot avoid. To that end, I need to “share” with you a new feature of Berkeley city planning, which to all evidence is done by malevolent chimpanzees.

See what that is? Yeah, it’s a roundabout. A very small roundabout on a side street, of a sort that seems to have sprung up all around town. Like poisonous mushrooms in the night.

Look closely and you will see that right in the middle of the very small roundabout there is a tree. Right now, it is a very small tree in the middle of the very small roundabout, but things grow out there like they do in a jungle. Let me assure you, that tree will get very large very fast.

And then?

Right. You won’t be able to see any of the oncoming traffic as you enter the roundabout.

Well done, Berkeley. Well done.

Bell Ruffle

Monday, April 16th, 2007

I started the ruffle on the Handsome Triangle shawl yesterday, and got just a few rows accomplished.

Handsome Triangle shawl 

Here’s a little detail:

bell ruffle detail

The specs: 

A total of 86 x 6 = 516 + 5 = 520 stitches around the bottom edge. 

Then, as with all ruffles, you increase like a demon over the next 24 rows, ending with a grand total of 86 x 28 = 2408 + 5 = 2413 stitches.

Excuse me while I go lie down a little while.

Little bits

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

1.  Ellen and Monica asked if I enjoyed working with the Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn.

remaining Cherry Tree Hill                                      (As you can see here, I have enough left over to make another pair of socks, although I’m not sure I’d want to have another pair for myself in the same colorway.  Hmmmm.  I’m starting to sense a little blog contest and prize taking shape in my head….)

Anyway, yes I did enjoy working with this yarn.  It’s very soft and has that springy quality that some other merinos have (Koigu comes to mind).  I think that’s as much a function of the way it’s spun as anything else.  If I had to make the socks again, though, I would make them with an even greater amount of negative ease, since I noticed that as I wear them they really tend to stretch out.

2.  I’ve gotten back to work on the Handsome Triangle shawl, and actually completed the last of the pattern rows late last night.

Handsome Triangle shawl progress 

I started the first row of the ruffled edging, but quickly became befuddled and went to bed.  I’ll take another crack at it this afternoon. 

My goal:  To wear this shawl this spring before it gets too hot.

3.  I’m close to being finished with the wool and silk that I’m spinning on my new wheel.

wool and silk on bobbin

Just a little bit left to go on this bobbin, and then a bit more on the first bobbin.  Then, the fun of plying them together!

4.  I received my new Knitter’s Magazine the other day.


As usual, it is a curious mix of a few pretty designs,



coupled with the truly hideous.



This last is Rick Mondragon’s attempt to mimic filet crochet with knitting.  Huh.  If filet crochet gets you where you want to go, why spend your time trying to go there with knitting?  Just asking, is all.

5.  Although this has nothing whatsoever to do with knitting, I just have to show you this platter which was given to me by my boss for Paraprofessional Appreciation Day.  Isn’t this gorgeous?

green platter                                 Empty.

green platter with fruit                                                                                                 And with fruit.

This is a woman who really knows how to pick a good gift.  Thanks, Christa!

The case of the red leg

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

My energy level this evening is not what one might hope, given my age and general level of fitness, and it is all because I made a very, very bad error last night involving my “bedtime reading.”

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with popular books written by doctors about the medical profession. My own dissertation research has a history of medicine/history of public health thread, my grandfather was a doctor, and I am generally fascinated with how the medical profession operates (no pun intended), so these books are a natural draw.

First I blazed through Pauline Chen’s Final Exam, about how poorly doctors and modern, scientific medicine deal with mortality and the dying patient. Very nicely crafted. Then I turned to Sherwin Nuland’s How We Die. (Keep reading this genre of books and trust me, you will notice a thematic pattern developing. And alarming thematic pattern…) Also a very interesting book in spite of Nuland’s tendency to veer nauseatingly into the realm of the maudlin from time to time.

I only accept the maudlin when it has to do with dogs.
Hey, you wanna stuffed goose? I happen to have one right here.

All this prepared me, or so I thought, for Atul Gawande’s Complications, the first of his two books about doctoring. The second just came out in hardback and is called Better.

As in, “You better not read this right before you go to bed.”

Atul Gawande is an astoundingly accomplished person, the kind of guy who makes you wonder what it is you do with your time, really, because you sure as shootin’ aren’t wringing as much achievement and just downright excellence out of every day as my man Atul. Not only is he a general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, he is also an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, and an assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.

His Wikipedia entry coolly notes that in addition to these prestigious professional posts, Atul “has written extensively on medicine and public health for The New Yorker magazine and the online magazine Slate. He has also written for New England Journal of Medicine. His essays have appeared in The Best American Essays 2002 and The Best American Science Writing 2002. His book, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science was a National Book Award finalist. In 2006 he was named a MacArthur fellow.”

A MacArthur fellow. A recipient of a so-called “Genius Grant.”

That has to feel good. I wish someone would certify me as a genius.
I knit this sweater AND I’m writing a dissertation. Plus I am an amateur dog trainer and I make a very fine Jell-O salad. And did I mention that I routinely and uncomplainingly perform feats of strength like removing sunken paving stones from the yard assisted only by a shovel and a “can-do” attitude?

It’s hard to explain why I have been overlooked by the committee year after year, but you know how political these things can be.

But I digress. Let’s just say that I admire Dr. Gawande and I think his first book is quite well-written, but it is, how shall I put this?, unsparing in its use of medical detail.
Knitting detail. See, I know from detail.

You may remember that medical details are not something that I tolerate especially well. How poorly do I tolerate this kind of information? Well, I once actually fainted when a friend told me in detail about her experience of giving birth to her daughter. And you will note that I myself have no children of my own today. Just coincidence? I don’t think so.

Moving on, however, I nonetheless cannot stop reading Gawande’s book, although I learned quickly not to try to read it on my lunch break. But last night as I settled in for my bedtime reading, I thought, “What could be the harm? This is so fascinating!”

Enter the chapter entitled The case of the red leg. The case of the red leg involved a woman in her early twenties who comes to Gawande’s hospital with a red leg and to all appearances, a skin infection called cellulitis. But Gawande, being a genius and all, has a bad feeling about her red leg. A very bad feeling.

He and the other docs convince her to have the tissue biopsied and they find—brace yourselves—that she actually has necrotizing fasciitis. Yeah, the flesh-eating bacteria! Incredibly rare, incredibly dangerous, often deadly.

I don’t know about you, but…FLESH-EATING BACTERIA? Oh my God!

I should have quit reading right there. What was I thinking? Instead, I forged ahead, reading about how they decided not to amputate her leg (the standard treatment…I mean, that’s how bad these flesh-eating bacteria are, people!) and instead did four nightmarish surgeries to debride (a more genteel word for “ruthlessly cut out”) all the muscle and tissue in her leg that the bacteria had destroyed.

You can read the details for yourself. I would even go so far as to recommend this book to you.

Just take my advice: don’t read it after 4 p.m.