Posts filed under ‘Health’

EPI: We Can Lick It

Animal Rescue

Image via Wikipedia

Princess Celestia has a dog named Vito that she adopted from the animal shelter. He’s a large dog, probably a shepherd, maybe even purebred. When she took him home it didn’t take long for him to start losing weight at an alarming rate. He was also constantly having little “accidents.” He ate ravenously but suffered from chronic diarrhea, and, worse yet, seemed to be starving to death.

Many of you may read this and assume the dog is diabetic (as would be my first guess) or that the dog has pancreatic cancer. Both are good guesses. But you would be wrong. Vito’s problem is caused by the failure of his pancreas to produce necessary enzymes to digest food efficiently. His disease is serious and life threatening, but it is easily treatable.

Princess Celestia had to pay for many rounds of expensive testing for Vito before he was finally diagnosed. However, once Vito was properly diagnosed she had already found an internet forum for owners of dogs with EPI. EPI is Vito’s disease, and it is an acronym for Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency.

The people on the EPI forum were able to put Princess Celestia in touch with other dog owners in the same situation, and they were able to help her with recommendations on medicine and enzymes and how to properly deliver enzymes to Vito. So, working in cooperation with her veterinarian and her friends on the EPI Forum, Princess Celestia was able to get poor Vito back into fighting shape.

EPI is a disease that is often fatally misdiagnosed or looked over. The people on the EPI forum are working to spread the word about EPI so no more dogs are put down or made to needlessly waste away. They are trying to raise awareness among veterinarians and to raise money towards research to combat the disease.

And now I’ve done my part by calling your attention to this website. If you’re an animal lover, then you should go check it out. You never know. You might save the life of a dog or cat one day…simply by knowing the symptoms of a rare but fatal disease.

June 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

I Spent My 40th Birthday at a Resort, Y’All

Charles Kuralt, Host from 1979–1994

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I turned 40 over the weekend. I also participated in my fourth 5K race. I don’t race, because I don’t believe in running. I walk. Also, I broke both my ankles once in a freak accident, and now I have plates and screws in my left ankle so I’m not allowed to run. Or at least that’s my excuse.

This was the Chuy’s 5K, and it’s down south in Oak Hill. New Oak Hill. I’ve lived in Oak Hill, and I just know we didn’t have anything like Arbor Trails back then. So, you walk the 5K uphill and then downhill. Since the race was in South Austin instead of me spending the night at Lubbock’s the night before the race, as we usually do, I decided that it would be fun, seeing as how it was my 40th birthday, to have an adventure.

So, I found a “resort” on the internet and booked a room in south Austin so we wouldn’t have such a long drive Saturday morning. I found this place on William Cannon called the Austin Lonestar RV Resort Park. I think I scared Lubbock, who texted me from work on Friday to ask if we would have air conditioning.

Actually, the place we stayed at was clean and cute, and, yes, there was air conditioning. It was like a little mobile home with a wood deck. Sort of a duplex log cabin. We had the right hand side. And except for the fact that the propane tank had run out and had to be changed (no hot water) everything was super great. We had cable TV and wireless access. There was a swimming pool we didn’t get a chance to use. And the place was  super quiet with a bunch of retirees and young families.

The RV park thing is kind of a weird dream of mine. My idea of the perfect life would be to travel the country in a motor home and interview strangers and then write about them on the internet. I would be like the new, female version of Charles Kuralt, finding fabulously eccentric and fascinating people to entertain the masses. My new blog would be called Travels with Gooseberry, and I would have to take my new dog with me for company. I don’t have a new dog. I would just get a dog before I took to the road. Feel free to contact me if you would like to fund my dream.

In reality, it would probably be more like that Albert Brooks movie, Lost in America. But in my dreams my new dog Tiny and I are winning Pulitzer Prizes from my Winnebago. Lubbock says that I am bound to win any RV Park popularity contest and would probably make new friends at each park and start Crochet Clubs across the nation. I wonder if they have beauty pageants! I’d have a shot at Miss RV Park.

After our little adventure, the Mr. Brewsters made me birthday dinner. Yummy enchiladas and chocolate cake with coconut frosting. I scored a fancy armband for my iPod touch. No more do I have to hold it while I walk. Woot! And I also got the most beautiful afghan. I know you envy me. Lubbock showed up for birthday dinner, and she got to meet the Mr. Brewsters. And, like I thought would happen, they all three ganged up on me. And by ganged up I mean that as a bonus the headlight on my car that’s been out for two weeks got fixed Sunday morning, and I spent the night so I wasn’t driving back home in the dark with one headlight. It was sort of like an extra birthday present that one of the Mr. Brewsters could replace my bulbs.

Then the Mr. Brewsters went to look for a house. And they found a house. And on Monday they signed a contract on that house. I am moving in to the Harry Potter room under the stairs. Just kidding. But I wonder if that counts as a tiny house.

May 11, 2011 at 11:41 pm Leave a comment

What Age Parenthood?

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, circa 1954, this is a c...

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Apparently, Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband has decided that they are going to have a baby. How does a 94-year-old woman have a baby? Good question. I guess the plan is for her husband to inseminate a donor egg and then for a surrogate to carry the child. An article on CNN states that this will never happen because no reputable infertility specialist would help Prince Frederick von Anhalt and Zsa Zsa due to the fact that their combined ages are over 100.

The key phrase here is reputable. Octomom, anyone?

But it does beg the question at what age a woman or a couple should not be able to become parents. Men can father children until death, especially since we now have Viagra. Should we withhold it from them? Or should we just insist that men that have to use Viagra or some other drug in order to perform sexually be required to undergo vasectomies?

If two gay men wanted to be parents, and one of the men was 48 years old, and his partner was 52, then should they not be allowed to purchase the services of a surrogate? How about the single woman without a partner? I know there are women that have given birth in their 50s and 60s. Yes, it’s rare, but it has happened.

Should we say that any single person over the age of 50, regardless of sex, shouldn’t be assisted with fertility issues? That is half of 100, after all. And the child of a single parent is especially vulnerable. If the parent passes away or if the parent’s health is compromised, then there’s no one to pick up the slack.

Annie Liebowitz gave birth for the first time at 51. Years later, a surrogate carried twins for her. Diane Keaton adopted for the first time at 50. Are they bad mothers due to their age? Are they less entitled to the experience than younger people?

I don’t think there should be any hard and fast rules. The thing about women like Annie Liebowitz and Diane Keaton and the kinds of women who can fund infertility treatments that help women beyond normal childbearing years become pregnant is that they have resources that us normal folk do not. Kelly Preston not only has a husband and a fat bank account she also presumably has a support network of people and employees that can help pick up any slack and provide for her new baby Benjamin should she and John die or become severely incapacitated.

It might not be fair. But life isn’t fair. You didn’t get the memo?

Each case is different and unique. Ideally, people who lack the resources to be good parents shouldn’t be given children. Life doesn’t work that way. Eleven-year-old girls get pregnant without assistance or effort. When this happens should we just shrug our shoulders and say that nature knows best? Obviously, she’s supremely qualified to be a parent by virtue of conception, gestation, and labor. But should the baby be taken from her?

Again, the answer depends upon the circumstances. Can the child be well cared for? Does the mother have the support of her own parents? Does she have the support of the father, the father’s parents (because God forbid the father be an adult; if so, I sincerely hope he’d be in jail for the first several years of the kid’s life)?

I’ve said before that I think nature makes women infertile at a certain age for a good reason. Do I think that means that women shouldn’t be allowed to be mothers once they reach a certain age? Not across the board, no. I think it should be evaluated on a case by case basis. There are children in elementary school now who suffer from diabetes and, less often, the reverse is true, and a 40-year-old has the body of a 25-year-old. Some people shouldn’t have children just because they can.

Technically, I could probably conceive a baby without medical intervention. But should I? I’m 39, overweight, diabetic, with high blood pressure. I do not have family support nearby. I do not have a large family. I am lucky to provide financially for myself. I can’t for the life of me think of someone that I could trust to provide for a child of mine if I died or became ill or incapacitated nor do I have the resources to provide that for a child. Should I have a child? Hell, no.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Zsa Zsa and her husband should be allowed to bring a child into this world. The idea would be absurd, but more shocking things have been known to happen. The reason I don’t think they should be allowed to have a child has more to do with the fact that neither of them are prepared to take care of a baby. Yes, there is more to it than just being able to provide financially. And Zsa Zsa’s been rumored to have money problems recently. We all know Prince Frederick didn’t marry Zsa Zsa for her youth and beauty, so that means that his pockets are shallower than his gene pool. And that’s sayin’ something!

Prince Frederick wants a baby as an ego thing or an immortality thing or maybe, sadly, just to secure his hold on Zsa Zsa’s estate after her death. And we all know the best reasons to want a child aren’t about what a child can do for you but what you can do for a child. In fact, in an ideal world we would apply the John F. Kennedy principle to all matters of fertility.

But the world isn’t an ideal place. You didn’t get the memo?

April 15, 2011 at 12:30 am 4 comments

Mini Makeover Weekend

Hair coloring

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My hair was getting to the point where I could not do anything with it any longer. I was pulling it into a ponytail every day. My sneakers (not the fancy shoes; those I only wear when I work out) needed to be replaced. I needed new contacts and glasses. Worst of all, I botched a haircolor job so badly that the top of my head was almost blonde while the rest of my hair was a medium/dark brown. It was time for a mini makeover.

So, after work on Friday I went to get a pair of those special sneakers that are supposed to work out your butt, etc. They were on sale for $20. Now I had heard that these shoes really didn’t do much beyond improving your posture, especially if you already walk heel to toe like you should. Well, bullshit, either that or my posture is really poor. I give myself a workout just walking around normally.

After I bought the special shoes I went to get my hair cut which magnified the hair color issue since I could see it more clearly in a large mirror, up close, with lots of light, and with my hair wet and parted. I looked like a skunk. The hairdresser told me my hair was too dark, and I needed to start moving toward a blonde shade so that it would blend in more with the gray. So, I got my hair cut and my brows waxed and then went to Wal-Mart and bought two boxes of something called light caramel brown. Naturally, I had to buy new makeup, too. I’m gradually going blonde. I just took the first step. The skunk issue is vastly improved.

I fixed my hair while watching John Cassevetes’ A Woman Under the Influence. I just got the DVD on my Netflix queue. I’m thinking about reviewing it in a blog entry later, but I’m going to view it with the commentary first.

I participated in Keep Austin Beautiful the next morning. We were three women picking up trash, armed with plastic gloves and large lawn trash bags. We found part of a dildo and three condoms! Woot!

Maybe I should have rethought wearing my new sneakers. An hour and a half of picking up trash over several city blocks in “special” shoes damn near killed me. An African Amercian gentleman in an SUV pulled up in the driveway of the yard where we were picking up trash.

He said, “I really admire what you’re doing. Would you like some water?”

Well, being polite, we declined, but then we rethought that and took him up on it. He gave us each a cold bottled water.

He said, “My granny lives here. Her birthday is today. She just turned 99. She walks to the Neighborhood Community Center everyday to spend time with her friends, and she picks up cans on her way. I don’t want you cleaning up any more trash in this yard. We got enough people inside to do that.” In truth, there wasn’t much trash to pick up. Granny’s yard was pretty tidy.

Granny lives in a very cute little manufactured house, fixed up with shutters and window boxes, a small front porch, and skirting. She has always lived in this neighborhood from the time that it was just a loose affiliation of black Americans who got land from a local black preacher. She has lived here since before it was a part of Austin, before the neighborhood had either running water or electricity. She came to the screen door and waved at us from the living room in her housedress.

One of the women in our small band said, “Wow. That was something. Don’t you bet that was a treat for her to see three white women picking up trash in her yard?”

I thought it probably was. The changes that woman has seen are extraordinary. She was born in 1912.

After the cleanup I went to Sonic and got a Chicago dog and some apple slices with caramel sauce. Then I went to bed and took a nap for three solid hours.

I got up and went grocery shopping. I bought only healthy food. Yay, me. Then I went to La Madeleine for a bowl of soup and later went to see The Lincoln Lawyer.

This morning I went to church with one of the Mr. Brewsters at a gay friendly church down south, and he asked me if I wanted to do the 5K for Gay Pride on June 1st, and I said, of course, I want to do the 5K for Gay Pride on June 1st. I’m doing my second 5K in another two weeks, one for the Austin State Hospital. If I keep up this exercise stuff I might not lose weight, but I will definitely amass a nice collection of t-shirts.

After Mr. Brewster dropped me off at home I went to the eye doctor’s. I got new contact lenses and paid for a new pair of glasses. I feel transformed. This is definitely one of those weekends when life is good.

April 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

My Fancy Shoes

The Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail at 30.2624° ...

Image via Wikipedia

One week ago yesterday and one week after my surgery, I joined Lubbock for the weekend, and we went to the North Austin Event Center to pick up her packet for the Capital 10K. Her enthusiasm inspires me. Like me, she doesn’t believe in running, but she is consistent in her efforts to work out, and she walks 2.5 miles every evening.

So, I was inspired enough to want to go with her to Academy where she also talked me into buying fancy shoes. When I say fancy shoes I mean the cool Nike+ iPod running shoes and the sensor that goes along with them. This represents a $100 investment on my part which was offset by $50 in the form of a Visa gift card contributed by Lubbock. I have generous friends. Actually, this was very savvy on Lubbock’s part, as a tool of motivation, since I hate exercise but love technology. I’m like a man about wanting the latest electronic toy. Also, I love that Mr. Landlord is an Apple junkie and a runner, and I was hoping to make him pea green with envy at the next Neighborhood Association meeting.

The sensor tells you how many miles you walked, how fast you were going, and how many calories you burned. It’s like the ultra pedometer. You put it inside your shoe. And the shoes are as light as air. They are without a doubt the lightest pair of tennis shoes that I have ever owned.

After the fancy shoe purchase we went to Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake for you newbies) and walked around for 2.5 miles. I did have to rest a couple times because I’m a total wimp. Well, I would have been totally okay if it weren’t for the fact that we had to take stairs, and it was hot out. Really, if it weren’t for inclines I could have done it without a rest.

After we walked we then synced the information to Nike, and voila! Now Lubbock can keep tabs on whether or not I exercise, which is a good thing because of that accountability thing. I am an inherently lazy person.

Monday Lubbock sent me an invitation to walk a 5K, which is 3.1 miles. Easy stuff. So, I paid my $30 to register, picked up our packets yesterday and walked 5K around some park in Cedar Park to benefit the Williamson County Humane Society. After we finished Lubbock took my picture with her iPhone and “threatened” to send it to my mother as proof that I was exercising.

Then we went to Cracker Barrel and probably ate twice as many calories as we burned.

To walk 3.1 miles two weeks after gallbladder surgery is not too shabby, I think. I can do it in a little over 45 minutes. Maybe I’ll keep this up. I love my fancy shoes. Now if only I could just click my heels together and lose 75 pounds.

April 3, 2011 at 5:38 pm 1 comment

White Diamonds


Image by dovima_is_devine_II via Flickr

“I don’t entirely approve of some of the things I have done, or am, or have been. But I’m me. God knows, I’m me” – Elizabeth Taylor

I’m loathe to write about Elizabeth Taylor because there’s nothing I could write about her that’s not already been written. However, it seems a shame to allow her death to pass without commenting on it. She was, after all, the first woman to be paid $1,000,000 salary for a movie, an exorbitant amount of money for the time. Taylor was widely reported, for many years, to be the world’s most beautiful woman. She was famous for her violet eyes, her many marriages, her soap opera-tabloid lifestyle, her entrepreneurial successes, her philanthropy, and her jewelry collection.

She hastened the end of the marriage of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (let’s face it; those two would have eventually divorced anyway), and she was denounced by both the Catholic Church and the United States Senate for her affair with Richard Burton. The affair with Burton hastened the end of her marriage to Fisher, and ended Burton’s marriage to his first wife, Sybil.

But it began a new and tempestuous marriage that spanned a decade, two weddings and two divorces. It also gave us the great performances we see in, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Would a movie version of Edward Albee’s play have been nearly as fascinating with anyone else playing George and Martha? I hope we never have to find out.

For all her addiction issues and flights of excess, sexual promiscuity and sense of entitlement (she was famously demanding, spoiled, and difficult to work with), she will also be remembered for her courage to speak out against AIDS at a time when no one was doing so. She was, by all accounts, an excellent mother, and this will be one of the many parallels that cause people to compare her with Angelina Jolie. She had a sense of humor about herself and would famously poke fun of herself on talk shows and with her friends. For instance, she stipulated that her coffin would arrive fifteen minutes late for her own funeral.

She had a great love for the gay man, and what gay man wouldn’t love Elizabeth Taylor? She was an icon and a diva. She had a longstanding and close friendship with Roddy McDowell, with whom she starred in one of the Lassie movies. As a young woman she fell helplessly in love with Montgomery Clift, and even though he preferred men, they remained close throughout his lifetime. She was Rock Hudson’s friend and his champion. When AIDS was denounced as a punishment from God for being gay, Elizabeth Taylor stood up and called that viewpoint nonsense. She was, above all, a spectacularly loyal friend, and her steadfast devotion to Michael Jackson proves that beyond a doubt.

Elizabeth battled lots of continuous health issues and went to rehab more than once. In her middle age and beyond, her metabolism caught up with her, and she battled  the bulge many times. Sometimes she won, and sometimes the bulge won. But even as a woman in her 70s, suffering from pain, poor health, and mobility issues, she was still famously beautiful. If you could find anyone in the world who didn’t know who she was, they would have inevitably been struck by the thought of what a striking woman she must have been when she was young. She was the kind of woman that you literally couldn’t help staring at, at any age.

What I most remember Elizabeth Taylor for is that she shared my father’s birthday. My dad was born on the same day as Elizabeth Taylor. He’s five years older than her. He liked to say that the gap between their ages increased over the years but given her childhood stardom, I find this unlikely. It’s probably just my dad’s sense of humor. Elizabeth Taylor’s death reminds me that true beauty, like life, is fleeting. Appreciate it while you can.

April 1, 2011 at 12:31 am Leave a comment

The Gall of My Gallbladder

Physicians perform laparoscopic stomach surger...

Image via Wikipedia

I almost never get indigestion. Last October, around the same time as my dog went blind, I had one violent attack of tummy ache. I left work early and took some Tums and laid down. Since then, nothing, until about three weeks ago, when I dared to eat Jack in the Box for breakfast. I would recommend that if you know that you have gallstones (which I didn’t) that you lay off the Jack in the Box.

Pretty soon after that I was experiencing some discomfort. Then I decided to get lunch from Short Bus Subs. Short Bus Subs are excellent, and they offer some healthier sandwiches. However, eating again aggravated my stomach issues, and I went home early because I was in so much pain. The pain was in my central abdominal area, and it was like heartburn, only it wasn’t heartburn. It didn’t reach that far. What it did do was make me violently ill. I threw up in the women’s restroom before I went home.

The next night I went over to the Mr. Brewsters’ so that I could ghost write a cover letter for a job interview. We had chicken and spaghetti. Again, I experienced discomfort of the same sort as before. I drove home and threw up in my kitchen sink. I couldn’t make it as far as the bathroom. That was a Friday night, and I had pain pretty much every day thereafter. It would go away when I went to sleep at night, and I’d wake up the next morning feeling alright. I never knew what was going to set it off. I would eat something and then live in hell for the rest of the day. That is, until the following Thursday.

Thursday I went home a half hour early because that was all I could stand. I felt bloated all the time, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And I couldn’t get rid of the air. I popped into bed, took a ton of acid reducers and Tums and lay there miserable while nothing happened. The next morning, more Tums and acid reducers, and I was just as miserable. The pain had kept me up half the night. I chatted one of my coworkers who works from home.

i am so sick to my stomach lately; i’ve been sick since yesterday, and nothing i take makes it any better

do you feel nauseous?


could be your gallbladder. you better go see a doctor.

So, I made an appointment with “my” doctor. Actually, my doctor was in India again, so I made an appointment with someone in her office. I rattle off my symptoms, and the doctor says, “That sounds like it could be your gallbladder.” And I said, “I thought so.” This is because I have the internet and can diagnose and prescribe for myself.

The doctor explained to me that he was going to send me to get an ultrasound. The ultrasound was to check out what was going on down there. If it was my gallbladder, then one of two things could happen. If it wasn’t so bad, then I could live with it until I could schedule a surgery. If it was as bad as he thought it was, then I would probably have to have emergency surgery. He gave me a prescription for some hydrocodone. I went in to work for only long enough to explain to them that I had to go home and take narcotics.

After about an hour, the doctor’s office called. A different doctor than the one I’d seen originally advised me to hold off and schedule the surgery for later. Then the doctor I’d seen originally had a nurse call and tell me to get myself to the emergency room where they would be expecting me for surgery. So, I packed my little overnight bag and drove myself to the emergency room.

Turns out they weren’t expecting me. In severe pain, I walked, with my loaded suitcase and my purse, back and forth from the emergency room to my doctor’s office and back again, twice. They could not admit me. The doctor’s office hadn’t sent the ultrasound or anything they needed. Well, it turned out that the doctor’s office had sent it. I was just asking the wrong people, apparently. When I finally got a bed in the emergency room, after nearly two hours of waiting, a doctor told me that he’d been waiting on me and asked me what took me so long. He was under the impression that I was in my doctor’s office when my doctor called him. No, I told him, I was in the comfort of my own home, enjoying my pain pill. Then I packed my little bag and drove myself here.

Now, when I finally got a bed in the emergency room is when life started to get better. They hooked me up to an IV and gave me morphine. Morphine? I thought that was what they gave to people who were about to die, like terminal cancer patients. Morphine! But seriously, I love morphine. I didn’t even realize how much pain I was in until they gave me the morphine. Wow! This morphine stuff is great.

They moved me to a bed in the hospital. I was going to have surgery the next day. I was not allowed to eat or drink anything. Seriously, I think you’ve never had a gallbladder attack if you think I want anything to eat or drink. Go ahead and hook me up to that saline. I hadn’t eaten since just before noon of the day before. I never wanted to eat anything again for as long as I lived. What was eating but pain and misery? Eating: it’s so not worth it.

In the hospital, they wrapped my legs in these leg warmer pump thingies that they give you to prevent blood clots from surgery. When the orderly came to get me for surgery, first off, he helped me get my computer in my suitcase ‘cause he felt sorry for me, trying to keep the back of my hospital gown closed and close my suitcase at the same time. Then, he grabbed my fancy leg warmers ‘cause he said that they would charge me for new ones unless we took those with us. I am going to spend the rest of my short-lived life paying for this surgery, and every little bit counts. I loved the orderly.

I really don’t remember much about the first procedure, which was the gallbladder surgery itself. I was “under” before they put me under. It was a laparoscopic surgery, so that means that they cut a small incision on the right side of your abdomen, just under your rib cage, just right of your sternum. Then they poke two holes under the incision, further right. They pump you full of gas. They stick a camera inside of your abdomen, along with a light and a tiny vacuum cleaner, I think. Then they basically suck your gallbladder out of you and glue you shut. No kidding. They don’t sew or even staple anymore. They glue you. Someone should redo Operation as a video game and make the players perform simulated laparoscopic surgery. I think there could be some serious money in that.

After they sucked out my gallbladder, there was more! Once I woke up from the surgery they explained that they needed to do a second procedure to remove some gallstones stuck in a duct, along with some bile. Honestly, I didn’t pay attention. There was something about a wire going down my throat, and then a balloon, like an angiogram, and somehow the balloon was going to pick up on this bile and the stones. I wonder how that works exactly. Static electricity? When I woke up the second doctor (the balloon guy) said he “flushed” it four or five times, so he was pretty sure he got the last of the stones and crap. How do you flush something with a balloon? Maybe it was a water balloon. I think it should definitely be a part of the new Operation. Sounds fascinating.

That was Saturday afternoon, and I was told that it was possible that I might get out by Sunday. I called Lubbock, and she insisted on picking me up and having me stay with her for a night or two, and that’s what we did. I called the Mr. Brewsters, and they would have come to visit me on Sunday, but I got released from the hospital before they could make it there. Lubbock drove me to her home where I promptly swallowed two hydrocodone tablets and passed out on her couch. I slept right through the Charlie Sheen special on the Biography Channel. I slept right through a neighbor coming to visit. I slept until sometime in the early morning.

I didn’t get much sleep in the hospital. Someone was always waking me up to change an IV bag or monitor vital signs or poke me with something or other. Not to complain or anything, but I liked the day nurse better than the night nurse. At least he let me sleep some.

On the Tuesday following my surgery I had to go back to the hospital for some kind of test involving kidney function. I gave blood again. Then I decided to go to my doctor and see if the back pain I was experiencing was normal. My doctor couldn’t tell me if that was normal or not. So, I went to the balloon dude’s office, and that doctor’s nurse also didn’t know if it was normal to have back pain after gallbladder surgery. Seriously, haven’t these people heard of the internet? The balloon dude’s nurse sent me to the surgeon’s nurse, who just so happened to be a really hot guy.

Here is one foolproof sign that I am now a middle-aged woman. When I was in my 20s I remember delivering an entire comedic monologue while I was out to dinner with some friends, over pizza at EZ’s, about how I hated that doctors were always wanting to see me naked. I have a cyst on my face. The doctor wants to see me naked. I have chigger bites. The doctor wants to see me naked. I have hives. The doctor wants to see me naked. What is up with that? Why do I ALWAYS have to be naked? My modesty was offended. But on the upside, that little rant is how I came to date Dr. Mark, who found it amusing.

I no longer have any sense of shame or modesty. And I haven’t even had a baby. Now I practically volunteer to strip in front of anyone who says he’s a medical professional. The dermatologist who removed my cyst was really, really cute. And I remember being embarrassed about that somehow. With the hot nurse, I no longer care. I’m flipping up my shirt for the whole world to see my scars. Yes, the back pain was normal and was from the gas they pumped me full of. Both the hot nurse and the surgeon poked at my abdomen and declared me healed, then helped me up off the examining table.

After my hospital trip that Tuesday I went to Lubbock’s and hung out, watching reruns of Little House on the Prairie on cable. It was my last day to play hookie. I was going to work on Wednesday. When she got off work I nuked a dinner I’d purchased from Wal-Mart earlier in the day, while I was waiting on my prescriptions to be filled, and we ate dinner together. I think we were watching another Charlie Sheen special on TV.

I said, “You know what I love about surgery?”

Lubbock said, “Pain medicine.”

“That, too. But I was thinking about the sense of accomplishment that you get.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that everyone gets excited about milestones that you first achieved when you were a baby. Like, look, Ma, I can walk and eat solid food and pee in the potty by myself. Just wait ‘til I have my first bowel movement after the surgery!”

“I think that’s too much information.”

March 30, 2011 at 10:44 pm 3 comments

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