Wherein I express myriad incredulities

Archive for September 2010


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Unfortunately that is not a reference to my bank account (sad face).  No, instead it is a reference to a superfund site that is right down the street from where I work that I found out about recently.

And now I am afraid to drink the water.

Would you want to drink the water if you knew that it was sourced near a superfund site where a dry cleaners pumped chemicals into the ground for TWENTY YEARS?  And now they have to pump vegetable oil into the ground to try and absorb the hazardous compounds?

Like I have said many times before: I GO TO AWESOME PLACES.


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September 28, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Worst week ever, part 2

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This is where the pace picks up.

I am rolled to the MRI at 930am, which takes about half an hour.  At 11am, a gastroenterologist comes in to say that there is a rogue gallstone sitting in my common bile duct and they have to take it out via ERCP, an endoscopic procedure.

I make several comments along the lines of “I hope I’m REALLY, REALLY knocked out for this.” since, you know, they’re sticking a camera down my throat, through my stomach, into the intestine, and back up into the bile duct to fish out the offending stone.

12:30pm they take me to the ERCP.  They get me ready for the procedure, which takes forever, talk to me about the twilight sedation (I explain I’m a pro, since I just did this Monday, and I get pitiful looks – not the last of them, by the way), and then knock me out.

Except that I did not stay knocked out.

Somewhere toward the end of the procedure I regained full consciousness and sensation and freaked the hell out because there was a TUBE DOWN MY THROAT and I could feel it and it hurt like bloody hell.

They took the tube out of my throat and then pretty much ignored me while I laid there in tears and got me ready to go back to my room.  No one said a word to me, and they even left some of the stick-on sensors on my back.  I think they just wanted me out of there because they thought that if I remembered their faces I might sue for malpractice or some shit.


But I won’t, because thankfully I did not get the pancreatitis that was a risk with the procedure, and they did actually get the stone out.

A surgeon then came to talk to me about 4pm to let me know that he had seen all of my tests and thought that the gallbladder needed to come out, since we didn’t want a repeat of the rogue stone.  My reaction:

Thankfully my coloring is back to normal at this point.

At 7pm, they came to wheel me into surgery, although I was on the phone with my mother, who was hearing the first of this whole ordeal (because when have I had time to call my mom in all of this?).  The attending physicians heard my half of the conversation, but from the other side it went something like this:

I get down to the OR, where I heard the sweetest words I’d heard all weekend:

What a sweet, sweet man.

He said that completely unprovoked, by the way.  I must have had some big note on my chart that said, “THIS CHICK HAS THE HIGHEST ANESTHESIA TOLERANCE EVER.”

Thankfully, I did NOT wake up during that surgery, although I was revived much more quickly than they are apparently used to.  My surgeon was pretty shocked that I remembered our conversations directly after the fact.  It’s a really crappy tolerance, because it also meant that the morphine drip I got that night did … pretty much nothing.  Took the edge off a bit, but that’s it.  At least I also have a high pain tolerance. (Good grief, I sound like a monster.)

Sunday morning, my surgeon comes back to my room to check on me, says he’s never seen someone’s liver enzymes go back to normal so quickly, and wants to know how someone so healthy otherwise has this problem.

And finally, after eating a few bites of Boca burger and some green beans, I was on my way home at 3pm.  Several hospital employees commented on the fact that they had never seen someone get in and out of a hospital so fast with that many things happening – the MRI, the ERCP, AND the laparoscopy.  For this I am thankful.

Actually, there are many things for which I am thankful here.  I am thankful for my amazing Boyfriend who was always at my side.  I am thankful for that amazing anesthesiologist who knocked me out completely for my surgery.  I am thankful for happening upon a very gifted surgeon randomly on a weekend who – in addition to years and years of advanced laparoscopic training – went to Harvard law and knows EXACTLY how much trouble you can get into for malpractice if you screw up due to negligence 🙂

So now, I’m sore, but otherwise healthy, and now sans gallbladder.  I don’t know why that stupid little organ decided to rebel against me when obviously I am awesome because hello, my liver and other organs are freaking CHAMPIONS.

So while there are upsides here, it was still not a banner week.  I’m hoping this is the end of any excitement in my life for a while.

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September 23, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Worst week ever, part 1

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I feel like this should be documented somewhere, so that I have a public record of a truly craptastic week if ever I start to feel sorry for myself in the future.

Last Saturday night/Sunday morning (the 11th/12th), I had crazy abdominal pains that almost made me pass out, so I got Boyfriend to take me to the ER.  They said, “Oh, well, it’s probably gallstones, even though you’re otherwise really healthy.”  They gave me an order form for an ultrasound later that week and sent me home with some Percocet after telling me that yes, I could go ahead with my wisdom tooth removal on Monday.

The conversation in that last pane would happen many times in that week.  It is very inconvenient to not have a family medical history.

And so, yes, I had my wisdom teeth removed within 36 hours of being in the ER for an unrelated issue.

Monday morning goes smoothly.  The oral surgeon was nice enough to get me on some nitrous before putting the IV in, so I didn’t really even feel it.  I was in and out of consciousness throughout the procedure, but felt no pain.  I was revived much more quickly than they anticipated after ceasing the sedation (this, too, is important later).  I stayed home Tuesday and Wednesday, recuperating from having giant teeth yanked out, with ice packs on my face pretty much 24/7.

There is no photographic evidence of this recovery period.  On purpose.

Thursday morning I have an ultrasound appointment to get my gut checked out.  I go early so that I can head to work afterwards, because dammit, I have Vicodin and I’m a badass and I’m going back to work ASAP.

The ultrasound shows a couple of stones, but nothing where it shouldn’t be, and the gallbladder itself does not appear to be infected, distended, or otherwise compromised.  It appears that there need be no immediate attention paid to it.

I go to work afterwards, and begin to feel worse.  I finally get sick enough to throw up and yet can’t leave because I’m the only person there.  The office is more than 80 degrees at this point because no one can be bothered to fix our busted AC.  Apparently, Me + Amoxicillin + Heat = Disaster.  My boss returns from a meeting to find me sitting on the sidewalk outside trying to not throw up again and apparently I looked pitiful enough to go home.

I went home, and then I called the oral surgeon and asked if I could get off the antibiotics – he says yes, and the nausea subsides.  I think I’m out of the woods.


Friday morning I wake up and just feel … gross.  I call in and stay home, thinking that yesterday was just so bad that I need a day to recover.  My abdomen gets a little achy, but I don’t think too much about it and just try to sleep it off.  Remember, the hospital sent me home with Percocet and said I’d be fine.


Late afternoon on Friday, I notice that my eyes are YELLOW.

Jaundice can’t be good.  I wait for Boyfriend to get home so that he can tell me if they are ACTUALLY yellow or if I’m just crazy.

No, they’re yellow.  Back to the hospital I go, because jaundice can’t be good.

The ER is packed, and we wait for about an hour and a half just so I can pee in a cup again and then get to the room where they draw blood.

Half an hour and 3 digging-around-sticks later, they finally get a hold of a vein to take 4 giant vials of blood from.  Then we sit in that room for another 2 hours.

Then I finally get into an actual ER room where I put on a gown and a doctor comes by to say:

Admit me?  Oh I’m screwed now.  I’m stuck in the hospital in those crappy gowns where I have to pee in a tray until they do an MRI to see what the hell is going on.

To be continued.

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September 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm

… what a week.

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What’s worse than waking up in the middle of an endoscopy? In the same week that you had oral surgery … for a separate issue?  I don’t know, you tell me.

To say the least, I am happy to be home and away from any sort of doctor’s office, hospital, etc.   I had my gallbladder out yesterday, a few hours after having an ERCP procedure to get a stone out of my bile duct.  Thankfully everything is over with and I am well.  Comics about this experience are sure to be forthcoming.

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September 19, 2010 at 9:59 pm

In absentia

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My tiny netbook at home is not conducive to playing with Paint, and I am getting my wisdom teeth out on Monday (joy!).  So, it is entirely possible that it could be a while before you hear from me again.  Unless I decide in a twilight-anesthesia-induced stupor that I want to post nonsensical things (also entirely possible).  So just remember, if you are viewing this blog on Monday, that your life could always be worse: you could be at the oral surgeon’s office wishing for sleep/death to take you.

I will be spending my weekend eating crunchy things while I still can and making grocery/drug store runs for things like ice packs and pudding.

Send non-dry-socket vibes my way if you think about it!

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September 10, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Human magnet

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This is where I go back in my catalog of insanities to something that happened in high school, because work is currently boring, and I’m tired of my public library set.

Growing up, I’ve always sort of been a magnet for flying projectiles (I am pretty sure this is why I was always put in the goalie position when playing soccer at school – I had to take my glasses off, so I couldn’t see the ball, per se, but always managed to stop it anyway!  Or, maybe the kids were intentionally kicking the ball into me … I’m not going down that path. It is dark.)

Stay away from paranoia.  It’s just not good for you.  You’d be better off eating the dirt on the Path to Self-Doubt (it might even taste like Folgers).

Anyway, one day in my teens (ie after that point in childhood development where your skull fuses and hardens), a Friend and I are walking to our local Starbucks for coffee.

Things were going well – Friend and I were having a nice chat, and the weather wasn’t totally oppressively hot.  It was at this point that the Fates saw their opportunity to throw a wrench into this idyllic state.  Or, rather, a seatbelt buckle.

At first, I didn’t know that is was a seatbelt buckle (because who DOES that?!) – something really big and heavy just went careening into my head.  Really hard.  Thus Friend hearing a “cracking” noise (followed by profuse profanity with the fluid skill of a sailor).

My Friend is no stranger to freak accidents herself, and thus knew exactly what to do.

This is, after all, the same woman who broke her leg after tripping on a basketball and managed to get her foot stuck in a tree.

We ran over to the next parking lot (because it had hit me hard enough to fly that far afterward) and retrieved the offending item, which turned out to the heavy part of a seatbelt that is anchored into the seat of a car/truck.  It was around this time that I discovered that my head was bleeding.

Thankfully, Starbucks was within easy walking distance, and I managed to drag myself over there to ask for something with which I could apply pressure and try to stop the bleeding. (Head wounds are crazy.)

I spent a few minutes in the Starbucks bathroom with an ice-filled rag against my head, and then – without even getting the coffee for which we had originally set out – we decided it would be best to go back to my house where I would try not to fall asleep for fear that I might never wake up.  I probably should have gotten stitches.  The scar is still there.

I ended up taking the seatbelt buckle to school (because that’s what you do when you’re a teenager and you want to prove how tough you are), and another friend promptly lost it.

So the moral of this story is that if you manage to dislodge the seatbelt anchor in your car – DON’T CHUCK IT OUT YOUR WINDOW.  This is one one of those common sense situations where I become re-aware of just how little common sense there is in the world.   That shit hurts physically, and doesn’t do a whole lot of things positively for one’s emotional security (seeing as how even people that I DON’T KNOW were out to get me).

And so I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite historical heroes, Bertrand Russell:

“It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.”

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September 9, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Why do I do this to myself.

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So shortly after embarking on an 11 hour drive home yesterday, the Boyfriend and I were trying to find something on the radio before resorting to the iPod and it’s wonderful but not super-clear FM transmitter.

We pushed the “seek” button and heard a lot of Tejano accordion, some bad country music (seriously, folks, if you need that much “down home” in your music ALL THE TIME you might want to confront your insecurities with the realities of this world so that your head doesn’t explode and you can start voting Progressive) and went back to a passed station when we heard:

At this point, my feminism alert is sounding off, and I begin to get indignant.  Because that’s what I do when I hear things like that – opinions that I hear all the time, and for whatever reason – unfortunately or mercifully, depending on my mood – I cannot just sit back and listen to.  These are the times that I am very thankful for the fact that the Boyfriend does not consider me some sort of crazy feminazi who is out to emasculate all in my path, and also thankful that he will get indignant WITH me.  Especially since the radio insanity continued.

Wait.  Who’s a what now?  There are SO MANY THINGS that are wrong with this statement.  Submission is not aggressive … by definition.  It MIGHT be passive-aggressive, when one is using it to incite guilt, but that’s more manipulative than it is submissive.  And why, in this broadcast, and in so many forums, is it that women are the only ones being taught this “virtue?”  The immediate reaction in the car was:

Which was then followed by:

And isn’t that the worst part, really?  I mean it’s one thing to believe that you should submit to God, that’s fine, that’s sort of universally egalitarian if you think about it.  But, it’s a whole other can of beans to say that you should submit unquestioningly to another human being when you don’t believe that they owe you the same courtesy.  Not when you are in a supposedly equal partnership like marriage (although, arguably, these people do not believe that marriage is an equal partnership if this is the case).  We can question our friends, our family (though maybe not the patriarchy), and our government (helloooooo Tea Party – I’m pretty sure that 4 years ago it was the lot of you who were calling me unAmerican for dissenting), but not the will of a husband?

And just so you know, this was not AM radio, this was mainstream FM radio.  This was like one notch down from that time that the Boyfriend and I were driving through Indiana and heard Rush Limbaugh on FM radio.

So, going back to what the Boyfriend said about how women are taught these things by religious/cultural institutions, it took me back to another place in another time.  Far, far away in Baptist country, at a place much like the camp in Jesus Camp, where a young me spent a week every summer for about 7 years.  A place where evolution was shunned, but somehow, it was more plausible that the atmosphere had a layer of water that prevented UV damage which is how Methuselah was able to live as long as the Bible says he did.

Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Maybe one day, we will live in a world where we won’t need Fundamentalism, because people will realize that the fundamentals – the foundations – the Bible – were not faxed down from God in English, and that perhaps if we cannot discern the exclusive absolutes, we should instead try to live by the (subjectively) better and inclusive teachings of tolerance, equality, and love.


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September 7, 2010 at 6:41 pm