Asthma, Text, America

My medical appointments are slowing down, which is a good thing, but Monday I went in for an asthma test to see if I still had it, or whether the breathing issues were a side effect of the cancer. Turns out it’s a little of both. My test scores without medication were similar, but I respond much better to the drugs. So drugs it is. I also had the latest blood test so we will see what that says about my hormone levels. I imagine I’m pretty close to kosher at this point, but you never know.

My head is clear and I’ve been writing, though, which is delightful. It’s going to be hard to get into a groove with a month left of summer and moving to do, but even a little bit will get me good and warmed up for California, where I will have to spend the first couple months doing the final revisions on the book.

In other news, my passport ran out of blank pages, which turned out to be a real hassle but only because the information on the US passport site is unclear. After a bunch of calls to phone menus, completely incorrect information from an American agent I had to call via Skype because the 1-800 number doesn’t work here, and the operator at the embassy in Ottawa refusing to allow me to talk to a human being, I took a leap of faith and made an electronic appointment with the US consulate for this morning. The consulate is a bit of a fortress downtown and the entrance is super high security. On their website there are lots of warnings as to what you can and can’t bring in, so I brought my papers and a book to read in a clear plastic bag.

After the body cavity search (A JOKE–the security guys were actually very nice) I took the elevator to the 19th floor where it looked more or less exactly like where I go to get my driver’s license and healthcare card renewed, on down to the chairs and the strange ticketing technology where you get a number and a letter. $82 and about 30 minutes later I walked out with 20 new pages sewn into my passport. The moral of the story is that if you’re not in the US, and you want to figure out what to do about a passport issue, just make an appointment and go to the consulate. Then again, that may not have worked as well for the guy ahead of me in line, who entered Canada with a driver’s license and birth certificate, but who couldn’t get on a plane because his passport was expired. I felt bad, but then I also felt like issuing the following public service message.

Dear Americans,

Canada really is another country.

And why did I need extra pages, you ask? Because I can travel again. First up: Brazil.