Friday, January 30, 2009

The smallest patient

*warning: This post requires kleenex*

I was fresh out of school with a brand new registry card sitting proudly in my wallet when I went on this call. It's a difficult thing for me to write about, so please forgive me if this is fractured...and if you have questions, please ask them. This is cheaper than therapy.

She said she was 20 weeks pregnant, but she hadn't had any pre-natal care except for a positive pregnancy test. This was baby number 5 for her....and at the age of 22, she was swearing it was going to be her last.

She called because she was having spotting and cramping. When Young Stud partner and I got to the house, we had to fight our way past trash bags of dirty diapers and broken toys. My feet were sticking to the tacky carpet as we walked into the living room.

It looked like a tornado had hit it. Every surface had something on it. There were clothes and toys and shoes and bags and plates and cups and the miscellania a house inhabited by small children accumulates over time. The smell of burning hair and grease was all-permeating and my duty pants' shirt and boots smelled like it for the rest of the shift.

The family was assembled on the couch; mom at one end, with her coat already on, ready to go. The kids and a man who I later learned to be her boyfriend and the father of not a fucking one of those kids were at the other end.

We made our introductions and I got a set of vitals on her. Everything seemed to be normal and I had started to write her off in my head as a 'having cramping so I can get an ultrasound and see whether it's a girl or a boy'....until she stood up.

On the couch, there was a patch of blood where she'd been sitting, and a bloom was spreading across the crotch of her shorts.

Ohfuckohfuckohfucknotonmywatch. Oh fuck. We need to go, and we need to go NOW.

We were about 5 minutes away from the ER. Young Stud chose me to sit in the back, being the female EMT on board. I gave a radio report, making sure I mentioned that she was having cramping and significant bleeding, trying to get my point across without frightening my patient. As we pulled into the hospital grounds, she started groaning and saying something was coming out.

I cut up one leg of her daisy dukes, across the crotch and down the other. She wasn't wearing panties and it was clear that yeah, this baby was coming.

I yelled at my Young Stud to stop. He said we were less than 500' from the ER.

"Fuck it. GOGOGOGOGOGOGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I told her to pant, pant, pant and started panting with her. I threw a sheet over her as the back doors were flung open and we hauled the cot out of the back, she and I panting the whole time.

As we hit the double doors from the ambulance bay, she stopped panting and frowned.

"NO!! C'mon girl, pant! Don't you do it, don't shit" The liquid sound like a water ballon popping told me what I needed to know. I lifted my side of the sheet and saw laying between her legs the smallest human being I have ever seen. Ever.

He was trying to breathe. His whole chest caved in every time he tried to take in a breath.

He was so, so small,, y'all. So small. He fit in my hand, and I have some small-ass hands (I have to wear kids gloves in the winter because adults, even the small ones, are too big).

The nursing staff closed in around her as we walked in and I tried my damndest to give report. I repeated everything I had written on my glove and was trying to be as professional as I could be when I felt a hand on my shoulder.

"NM, c'mon, darlin'. C'mon out here with me" It was Doc Vee, one of the pediatricians. "C'mon, sweetheart. There aint a dang thing you can do now. You did good, you did great...c'mon, darlin'."

We sat in the staff break room and he gave me a cup of the gawd-awful hospital coffee, the stuff that tastes like it's been brewed in a goat's bladder, and a box of kleenex. He asked me what happened and I was wiping my face and telling him when the neonatologist came in to the room.

"How far along did she say she was?" When I told him she said 20 weeks, he shook his head "Aint no way that baby's that big. I'm guessing 18 weeks, tops. I'm sorry, NM. We can't do nothing for him; I don't even have an ET tube small enough for him. Alls we can do it make him and his mama comfy and let the good lord do what he may"

"Can she....can I see him?"

Doc Vee took my hand "I don't think that's the best idea, darlin'. He needs some time with his mama. You did all you can do, and you done good."

Young Stud appeared in the doorway behind the neonatologist. "Y'all right, NM? Dude, that fucking sucked. I'm sorry I put you in the back with her, I just though you being a girl and a mom and all you'd know....well, y'know"

I later learned that she wasn't 20 weeks along, she was 17. She'd fallen down 3 steps earlier in the day, leading the obstetrician to declare that placental abruption was the cause of the miscarriage. I don't like using that word for this case; I don't think he was a miscarriage. I think he was a very small person who just didn't have the capability to survive. He was here, though. He was born. He was alive.

He haunts me.

I'm ready

I'm ready to go back to work. I'm done sitting at home...

If anyone who reads my blog knows of any EMS job openings in the Southwestern Illinois and St Louis, MO area, will you please let me know? I'm nationally registered and licensed in both states....

I don't want to sound desperate, but I sorta kinda am.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Doo-aww-deum or Dew-o-dee-num?

Either way you pronounce it, mine's fucked up.

I'm sitting in a hospital bed, blogging on their wifi connection. I got admitted Saturday afternoon and I'm hoping to go home tomorrow - but that's not a certain thing.

At first I thought I might have a drug induced hepatits because of the Bactrim and ketoconazole I started on Friday. I woke up right at midnight Saturday with right upper quadrant pain but figured it would go away on it's own.

I was wrong. It didn't go away, and it got worse so I had Urbaner take me to the ER. It took me 10 hours to decide to go; I didn't want to use it as an urgent care clinic. By the time we got there, I couldn't walk upright and was scoring my pain on a 7 out of 10 scale. My BP was 168/102 and I was tachycardic at 126bpm (take note, all you drug seekers: REAL pain produces physical symptoms).

2 mgs of dilaudid, one bag of saline and a CT scan later, the doc told me I had an inflamed duodenum consistent with peptic ulcer disease and a mild case of hepatomegaly that he thought was secondary to the duodenal inflammation.

I got admitted, and here I am 48 hours later, still in the hospital. I might get to go home tomorrow, I might not. I don't know yet. I DO know that I think it's fucked up that this happened the past 5 months I have taken better care of myself with diet and exerise than I have in many years, but now I get an ulcer? Of course, the culprit is more than likely the NSAID's I've been taking since my shoulder surgeries, which leaves me in a bit of a pickle: I don't want to take narcs, but can't take NSAID's because of the ulcer, and tylenol isn't strong enough for me. I can't manage every day with NO medications at all, but don't want to be on narcotics either. So, what do I take? I'll have to ask the surgeon.

I am also facing the prospect of life without coffee. That terrifies me...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sometimes, I think too much.

I've been retelling war stories recently. I think all medics have them; stories of patients who were funny, patients who were dumb as a bag of hammers, smart ass patients, drug seeking patients, Darwin Award candidates, big patients, little patients.....

It's the little patients that have been bothering me. I can deal with adults all day long and not be too phased by it, but kids...they get to me.

I have three stories to tell at some point. Right now, apart from the people who were at the scenes with me, there are two people who know what happened...and one of them won't talk to me about it because they can't handle it either and don't care to talk about it.

Most days I don't think about it and it doesn't bother me, but if I think about it too much the memory follows me around like a shadow that I can't escape, no matter where I stand.

This afternoon that shadow is particularly long and dark.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Find my nest of salt...

..ev'rything is my fault.

It's one of those days.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Childlike Joy

My 12 year old son, Jake, plays the saxaphone. He's a pretty talented player for a 12 year old and he really enjoys it. He started out with an alto sax and then decided to try tenor, which he really loves. He plays all kinds of music from classical to christmas carols to popular songs.

Until this evening, his exposure to jazz was limited to the sheet music compliations his teacher gave him and the little that I'd bribed him to try and listen to in the past. However, all that is about to change.....HAS changed, really.

I downloaded John Coltrane playing 'In A Sentimental Mood' and played it for him. I swear that for a moment there I thought his head was going to explode (and it wasn't because he has a head cold). His eyes lit up, he grinned wide enough for me to see all his teeth, and he asked who was I told him. I told him who John Coltrane was, what he did, why he was important. I played him some Miles Davis, and then I played him some Duke Ellington, explaining to him each time who they were, what their contribution to not just jazz but modern music in general was (is). I said that I'd download some more and put them on his mp3 player, and that if he really liked we could go see Miles Davis' star on the St Louis Walk of Fame down in the Delmar Loop and see if we can't find an authentic St Louis jazz show to go to.

He did the little happy dance that he does when he's really pleased and excited about something and said yeah, he'd LOVE that, that it'd be SWEET and when can we go? Tomorrow? The next day? Can I download those songs overnight and can he listen to them on the way to school tomorrow? Can he play them for his music and band teachers?

His joy... it has stunned me. It makes me incredibly happy and proud of him, and it's enough to bring tears to my eyes. He might think that he's on the cusp of adulthood, but tonight when I saw that childlike, innocent joy on his face when he heard Coltrane for the first time I was reminded that he is still a boy. A big boy, yes, but a boy all the same.

My boy.

MY boy.

My son, the saxaphone player.

Errrm...okay, then.

Yesterday, as I was jogging across the parking lot to WalMart (yes, I sold my soul to the devil and went. I didn't want to, but I knew they had the Caesar salad dressing with asiago cheese that I really like and can't find anywhere else, so I went. Bite me if you don't like it) I had a brief but interesting conversation with a Short Fat Balding Black Dude in urine stained sweat pants and a dirty Rams hoodie:

SFBBD: Hey! How YOU doin'?

Me (looking behind me to see if there's someone behind me): Errr...okay, thanks.

SFBBD: When you gonna invite me to dinner? Invite me to dinner sometime!

Me (confused): Err.....I'm kinda busy, but.....

SFBBD: It's Alex! I'm Alex! Don't forget!

Me: Umm...sure, I'll try not to.....

SFBBD: Yeah! Later! *waves with both hands, walking backwards so he can keep looking at me*

Me: Umm....okay, then. Yeah dude, see ya later.....*under my breath* not fucking likely, matey. Not if I can help it.

Urbaner: D'you know that guy?

Me: No! I have no fucking clue who that dude is....

U: Man, he LIKES you! YOU got yourself a new friend! Aww!

Me: shut the fuck up before I kick you.....

Why is it always the freaks and drunks who hit on me? Why can't I get hit on by a sane, nice guy for once?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Personal Manifesto.

I believe...

...that everyone has the right to live how they want to live and believe what they want to believe. Of course, there are conditions: you cannot and may not impose your manner of living and believing on anyone else who does NOT welcome it. I really don't give a rat's arse what you hold to be true or how you live your life as long as you're not shoving it down my throat. I don't do it to you, ergo I would prefer that you not do it to me. I don't think I should be forced to finance your way of life, and I may ridicule or poke fun of you but I will defend your right to live and think the way you want. It's called freedom, baby, and I'm all about that.

...that freedom to live how you want comes at a cost and that you'd best be prepared to finance said cost yourself. Freedom ain't free, baby, and sometimes it ain't cheap either.

... that love comes in many shapes and forms, some of which are illegal in certain states (kidding. About the illegality thing, anyway).

...that with regards to the bullet above, what pedophiles and those scumbags in NAMBLA call 'love' isn't LOVE, it's a perverted kind of lust. And yes, THAT should be illegal.

...that we should protect those members of society who cannot protect themselves. the power of human touch. I'm a hand holder and a hugger.....I just cannot stand to see a human being in pain and NOT touch them. Touch is a powerful thing, y'all. Don't underestimate it.

...that when we die, that's it. There is no more. Our bodies go back to the ground, and decay (they're supposed to, anyway. All this embalming nonsense makes it take a hell of a lot longer and we're poisoning the ground from below) and we become part of the food chain again. I want (and this is in my will) to be wrapped in a plain muslin shroud, placed in a biodegradable (probably cardboard) casket, placed on ice in my living room (NOT PICKLED, TYVM) and then buried in a simple hole in the ground. I want my kin and friends to plant a tree on top of me, and I'm literally going to come back as a leaf. Or a twig. Or a flower. Or perhaps even a piece of fruit. Hey, that brings a whole new meaning to the term 'eat me' doesn't it?!

... that everyone, no matter what their station in life, should have to be responsible for themselves for a certain period of time. I think it would do a whole lot of good for a whole lot of folks.

... that there is no god. I can't say that religion is a crutch for weak minded people because I know some very strong folks who believe in a deity (but is it the deity that makes them strong? What happens when you remove that; if you take away their belief? What would they be like then?) but I don't believe in a god. Or goddess. Or deity. Or magical fairy living in the sky or at the bottom of my garden. Or Nirvana. Or heaven. Or hell. (Off context here, but can you christians PLEASE stop emailing me and telling me I'm going to hell? Because it's really difficult for me to go to a place that doesn't exist. It'd be like me telling you to go to East Littlehungerford, Birminhamptonshire, England. There is no such place. Thank you for your concern, but it's really not necessary. I have my head on straight and I know the consequences to my beliefs - no heaven for me, but on the bright side no hell or purgatory either. Oh, and whilst I'm on the subject, have any of you heard of Pascal's Wager? Because I am certain that far more of you are believing because you're hedging your bets than meets the eye. Here's an idea: perhaps you should NOT read what I write if it upsets you so much. Thank you).

*sorry for the diversion. We now go back to our regular schedule, already in progress....*

... that it really does take a village to raise a child. THIS child was raised by a village, at least. I have an article percolating about that....more to come on that subject.

...that my parents really DID know some stuff that was useful and relevant and I wish that my dad was still alive so I could tell him that.

...that my teenagers think they know a hell of a lot but in fact they know very little - about life, anyway. I know more, but again, see the previous bullet for an explanation regarding that.

...that this is still a work in progress and I have far more things to list.

Stay with me, y'all. I'll be back.

The Worst Dog In The World.

Urbaner and I went to see 'Marley And Me' at the movies yesterday.

I'd read the book about a year ago, so I knew what was in store. I was slightly disappointed that some of what I thought were the significant parts of the book were left out of the film, but was overall really pleased with the adaptation. 'The Worst Dog In The World' was funny where the book was funny and sad where the book was sad and even though I felt like the casting didn't work all the time (Aniston and Wilson are just TOO perfect, you know? I wanted some flaws in the characters; they're not cookie cutters) I was appreciative of what Jen and Owen did with them.

I will say this, though: if you're going to see it, make sure you have Kleenex handy. Plenty of Kleenex. You're going to need them. At the end, all I could hear in the movie theater was sniffling and the rustling of napkins and was even coming from right next to me. And yes, I cried. I cried in the theater, I cried in the car, I cried in the pet store we went to right after the theater where we saw, upon entering, a dog that looked exactly like Marley standing at the register with his owners (we had gone to the pet store to buy Grace and Noodle toys. We felt guilty, for some reason, and were trying to assuage our guilt). Even Urbaner cried, something that his sons refuse to believe. When I asked them why, they said "because he's a man, and men don't cry". Urbaner stepped in with "No, I'm a REAL man, and REAL men DO cry".

Some days he just amazes me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Simon Cowell is a ratfink bastid.

* EDIT * The kid's name is Michael Nicewonder.

So I'm watching American Idol and there's some kid from Nebraska on there (why are the delusional ones always from Nebraska?) who looked - I swear on my mom's life now - who looked like Lloyd from 'Dumb and Dumber', 'cept this kid's hair was bleached a curious shade of banana yellow.

He said he was there to prove his mama wrong, 'cause she said he couldn't sing. He said he was going to sing an original song. As he opened his mouth and the first few notes came out, I could literally hear Mama Nicewonder's voice in my head saying 'boy, you're a damn FOOL! I TOLD you you couldn't sing, and here you gotta go make a fool outta yerself on NATIONAL TEE VEE!!!!'

It was horrible. So bad my toes curled up and I thought I might have to go poop. Truly a terrible noise.

And you know what Simon Cowell did? That ratfink basitd asked the guy if he had any more songs to sing, and when the kid said yes, he had one about his Gramma, Simon asked him to SING it.


It made me have to run to go to the bathroom this time, and by the time I got back the noise had stopped and Banana Yellow Lloyd (Michael) was outside the audition room crying.

I don't know whether to feel bad for him or not. He's delusional, clearly, and singing is NOT his forte.

However, I do think that he may have a future with the US military as a frontline weapon; he could go out with the infantry and they could wear ear protection as he sang. The enemy troops would all be running for the latrines, dropping trou and shitting where they stood or filling their drawers.

Maybe all is not lost for Banana Yellow Lloyd (Michael) after all....

Make sure your ducks are in a row

Before you go courting the media, you really should make sure your ducks are in a row and you are above reproach. Because if you don't, this is what can happen:

Boy named Adolf Hitler, his sisters removed from parents' home by New Jersey authorities

State authorities have removed Adolf Hilter Campbell and his two sisters from their parents' home in Holland Township, township police Chief David Van Gilson said today.
New Jersey's Division of Youth and Family Services took the 3-year-old, as well as JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, 1, and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, who turns 1 in April, the chief said.
The parents, Heath and Deborah Campbell, were to appear for a hearing today at the Hunterdon County Justice Center, the chief said, but the hearing was postponed.

I don't really have anything else to add, just that I'm interested to see WHY they were removed and to call their parents knuckle-dragging-neck-tatted-genetic-donors.

That's all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blogroll update

I'm updating my blogroll. I read WAY more blogs than I have listed, and I think it's somewhat rude of me to read you and NOT have you, if you don't see your blog on my list and want me to put it there, leave me a comment with your URL and I'll show you some link-y love by adding you.

Or, if you read a blog that you think I'd like, leave me the URL for that one and I'll add it, too.

By the way...Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Anatomy 101.

He was already in a cubicle when I arrived for my shift. I was at the end of EMT class and was doing the required clinical time in as many of the local Er's as I could, doing as much as the staff would let me do. So, when the nurse I was assigned to shadow told me that the surgeon was coming down to see him and did I want to come into the room for the exam, I jumped at the chance.

"He's got his home health CNA with him" said Shelly, my nurse. "She's the one who signed him in. She says he's got a stage 3 decubitus ulcer on his buttock that's leaking stool, so it looks like he's going to be going to the OR. Hottie O'Leary - the surgeon - is on his way down to take a look and see what he thinks needs to be done"

"His chart says he's why does he have a home health CNA?" I looked up from his chart.

"He's a paraplegic. Had a car accident 4 years ago and had a cord injury at T12. He's not a very happy 'plegic, either, he's in here pretty regularly with decub's that are infected. I guess 'sullen' is the best word to describe him when he's having a good day and 'a downright misery to be around' is the politest phrase I can think to use when he's having a bad one....heads up, girl: Hottie O is checking out your bee-hind, hehehe"

Hottie O was very aptly named, by the way. He looked more like an Irishman than some Dubliners I know and he was very good looking in a Celtic kind of way.

"Shelly-belle! My favorite ER nurse.....and who might this be?" he turned to face me, offering me his hand.

"Hey Doc. I'm NinjaMedic, but you can call me NinjaMedic" I took his hand and tried to give him my best ' I may be a girl but don't fuck with me' firm handshake.

"NinjaMedic, huh? I'm not going to ask you how you got that moniker, but I'm sure interested to find out,, Shelly-belle, whatcha got for me this fine evening?"

"Ralphie's back, Doc. With his home health 'nurse', this time. She says he's got a decub on his rear that's leaking stool. I haven't had a chance to look at it yet; you know how he can be." She handed him Ralphie's chart.

"Ralphie Mayor, the grumpiest paraplegic this side of the Mississippi" Hottie O mumbled, scanning the first page. "Alrighty, then. Miss NM - is that the right title, or are you a married lady..?"

"She's married, Hottie. Nice try, though" Shelly interjected.

"I see. So, MRS NM, would you care to join Shelly and I in a physical examination? Not afraid of bedsores, are you?"

"Not at all, Doc, and I'd love to" and we all three approached the cubicle that housed Ralphie Mayor. Doc O pulled the curtain back...

"....Doctor, my name is Juniper Berry and I am Mr Ralphie's private nurse. He has been running a febrile on and off for the past 2 days, he has some blood pressure changes, his air is clean and he isn't having any cathardiac problems. I've oscillated his lungs every 4 hours and I can't hear any rails, but he does have a bed ulcer on his left buttocks that has feckull matter oozing from it. I believe he needs a colponostomy, stat. I have all of his vitals written down in his journal right here if you want to see them." Juniper folded her arms, looking very proud of herself for being so thorough.

"O.....kay. Well, thank you very much, Juniper. I'm sure that Mrs NinjaMedic and Nurse Shelley here will be VERY interested in seeing those and will need you to be very detailed when you tell them how your patient has been the past few days. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to talk to Raphie. Hey man, what's up?" he said, offering his hand to Ralphie.....who ignored it and continued to stare at the TV.

"I don't know why I'm here. I don't want to be here, I don't need to be here. I don't care to be here either. When can I go home?" Ralphie was, as predicted, sullen.

"well, I need to take a look at this ulcer of yours first, my man. Let me grab some gloves and have Shelley and NM roll yo..."

"They aint rolling him NOwhere. He MY patient, I'm-a do the rollin'."

"....ok then, let me grab some gloves and have JUNIPER and Shelley and NM roll you onto your side so I can check this out. We'll be back in a jiffy". I caught Hottie's eye as we were putting on our gloves.

"Yeah, I know" he said. "Frightening, isn't it?"


We stepped back in and found Juniper gloved, gowned AND sporting a surgical mask. "I aways come prepared" she declared " you never know when a doctor is gonna need some help with a operation or something".

Okey doke, I thought.

Shelley and I took a hip and shoulder and gently rolled Ralphie on to his side. Juniper was jockeying for position with Hottie, and for a moment I really thought she was going to elbow him out of the way. Whilst his buttock looked slightly red, I didn't see any sign of an ulcer.

"So, what is your 'pinion, doctor? Am I correct about the colponostomy being needed stat?"

Hottie glanced up and Shelley and I. "Umm....Juniper, can you show me where the area you're concerned about is, please? I want to make sure we're on the same page..."

"Why sure, doctor" Juniper drew herself up to her full height, and whilst I couldn't see under her mask I was certain she was smiling proudly. "That's it, right there. See the feckull coming out of it? It's bad, isn't it?" She pointed, and I heard Shelly snort and then start to cough.

"Ok...just so we're clear, this is the area, yeah?" Hottie pointed to the same spot Juniper did.

"yes, doctor. That's it".

I started to cough.

"Well, Juniper, I don't see any ulceration that requires a colpn...colonostomy"

"What is it, then?! If it aint a ulcer, what is it?!?!! What do you see??" Juniper was starting to get aggrivated.

" Actually, I see a perfectly normal anus with stool coming from it....."

Noodle Dawg Blog

Hullo, people of teh intarwebz. Dis is Noods, and I haf camed to speak to yew again.

Not very many strange fings have happened since teh last teim I camed to speak wif yew. Mostly it haz bean pretty boaring. But sum gud stuff happened.

Wun reel gud fing wuz dat The Big Gug camed home. Mai Momma wuz reel reel happy when he camed home and she gaved him many kisses and hugs. He sed 'Ok, we have to stop. Things are happening and the kids are around' a lot, and then him and Mai Momma wented upstairs to their room and shutted teh door and I heered Mai Momma laffing a lot when they wuz in dere. I listened outsied teh door, and after a little while she qwit laffing and it sounded like she had hurted herself a little bit. I wuz gonna wait to see if she wuz ok, but den The Big Guy sounded liek he had hurted HISself too so I gotted skeered and started saying fings liek 'is you ok, Mai Momma? Does yew need you ambeelunce?' but The Big Guy said shuddup Noods and whas yew barking foar and I knewed they wuz alright and I wuzznd skeered no moar. After a bit they gotted into teh fing dey call a shower togevver, and when dey camed out of the room they bed wuz all messed up and it smelled reel interesting in dere. I doan know whut happened in there, but its been happening a LOT. Liek almost every day. I shore wud liek to know whut happens to maek mai momma and teh Big Guy laff and then get hurted all at teh same tiem like dat.

Me and mai sister Grace had to stay in our room ALL day one day becuz our peoples wented to sum plaice called Indian Banana for sumfing called Kwistmuss. I didnt liek staying in mai room, but me and Grace both liek dis Kwistmuss bizness. We gotted pwesunts wif shiny papers on dem, and there was ALL kinds of gud fud for mai peoples to eat...and cuz dey got to eated it, me and Grace got to eated sum too. I liek dis Kwistmuss. I wished it wuz Kwistmuss ALL da tiem. After Kwistmuss mai people wented to sum plaice called Noo Yurr. Noo Yurr means they stayed up reel late, gotted up reel laet teh next dai and it gaved mai momma a headake. Noo Yurr is not as much as Kwistmuss, I fink.

I am reel proud of Mai Momma, peoples. She has gone to dis plaice called teh jim a LOT and she doesnt drink soduhs as much as she used to. She even wented running outsied in teh cold! Me and mai sister Grace didnt want to go outsied that dai bucuz it was reel reel cold, but mai momma sed that she was gunna go run and she DID. Me and Grace looked out of teh winnder and we seed mai momma out there running. I wuz reel proud of her and so wuz Grace. Mai momma is also getting smaller. She sed her cloths wuz loose byt teh Big Guy sed to teh kidz that he didn't see it but then yesterdai he seed mai momma in her jeans and he sed 'Hey, you DID lose weight, those pants are pretty loose!' and that maded mai momma smile and maded her happy. I liek it when mai momma is happy. It maeks ME happy too.

Ooh, I almoast forgetted to tell yew dis: mai momma tooked the gate away frum teh stairs. She sed that I am a reel gud gurl now becuz I don't tiddle on teh rug or poop in teh howse no moar and that she can twust me. So now I get to go UP the stairs as well as down teh stairs, and dat meenz I can be in mai mommas room wif her and in mai kidz rooms too. One day last week mai momma layed down to take a nap and guess whut? I gotted to layed down on her bed WIF her!!! I was SO esscited! She layed down on her side and I founded a reel nice spot behind her nees and we both layed there and tooked a reel nice nap together. It maded me feel like a very big important dawg and mai momma sed it was reel naise to have her gud dawg wif her to keep her companny.

It has beaned a good tiem since I last speaked wif yew, teh interwebz. I fink dat it mite just stay dis wai, too....



In all the excitement, I forgot.

What with vertigo and hospice and not a lot of sleep mid-week, I forgot to tell y'all about my appointment with Doc Bassman.

I don't have to go to physical therapy anymore. I have a decent range of motion (I lost a few degrees, but that was supposed to happen. I needed a tighter joint, and that's what I got) and now it's time to work on regaining the muscle strength I lost when I was confined to an immobilizer and sling for a total of 7 weeks.

"Cool" I said "so, I can do push ups and pull ups now?"

The response, whilst it was polite, had undertones of not just NO but FUCK NO to it. Not unless I want to have my shoulder re-reconstructed, that is. I certainly don't want that, push ups on the living room floor for me. Or pull ups on the bar across the doorway in the garage. Or dips off the edge of the coffee table. Not that I've tried to do any of those things already, I'm a good girl and I ALWAYS do exactly what my doctor tells me to do. Really. I do, honestly. anyway, I was looking for those stretchy tubes that you can use to do resistance training, and found this thing called a 'Door Gym' - it's stretchy elastic cords and pulleys that you can hook up to a door and do all kinds of upper and lower body stuff with. I'm doing bicep curls and triceps extensions and lateral rows and this punching exercise where you hold on to one of the cords and literally throw a punch. It feels pretty good - there's enough resistance to make me work, but not so much that I feel like I'm asking too much of my shoulder.

I go back to see Doc Bassman on the 19th of February. Hopefully he'll be more willing to let me start to do some calisthenics by then. Until that time, I'm going to focus on cardio - running every other day (although I took last week off and I'm sure that the run I'm fixing to go do when I get done with this article is going to kick my ass) and riding either my own bike outside or the stationary bike at the gym. I'm also going to start rucking on a regular basis....I'm loading my backpack up with 15 to 20lbs of miscellaneous stuff, and I'm heading out on a mile or more march. I figure that will not only help my cardio along, but it'll get me somewhat accustomed to carrying a ruck full of gear.

Ok, I can't put the gym off any longer. Quit procrastinating NM, and get your arse out of here....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

When pore spelers atack

More spelling fun from around the 'net. As usual, commentary in italics is mine...

Car for sale: standered transmisson, cruese control, electronic suspentions.

Applyences for sail: trash compacktor and frig, white.
('frig'? A masturbating icebox, perhaps?)

Free fire would.
(fire would what, exactly?)

Willsons black lather "coat".
(A foamy coat! I don't know how well that would do in the rain; could be kinda messy)

Book of Maps to help you get to youre distination earlyer
(Again with the your/you're confusion. I don't understand why it's so difficult for people to understand...and I'm not even going to get into the 'earlyer' or 'distination')

(from a craigslist dating ad): I am a attractive dominate man looking for a submiissive girl she has got to be as smart as me and in good shaep and real cut to but i need for her to be have some common intrusts as well as myself i have my own plaice and a car and a job and i need to share it with a submiissive girl who will does what shes told.
(Err....'as smart as me'? Jaysus, a fucking tree stump is as smart as you, Einstein, so that's not too tall of an order.)

(Does it ever occur to anyone that when selling yourself or a service you provide, it MIGHT just be a good idea to spellcheck your ad BEFORE you post it? Apparently not...)

Genuwine antique mahoggany table THIS IS THE REEL DEAL NOT NO FAKE SHIT.
(I don't believe I've ever seen a genuine 'mahoggany' ANYthing before)

You know, having perused some ads in the paper and online today, I think I'm going to have to devote a whole article to personal ads...'cause some of the ones I've seen today are real doozies!

Coming soon on TANMAND: 'When pore spelers dayt'!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Con te partiro

She had managed to stay at home for most of her illness, fighting hard and long and sacrificing physical comfort so she could be with her husband and their dog. "I'm not afraid of pain" she'd say "as long as I have Will and Boomer, I can manage anything".

The decision to move her to a hospital room was made after many days of pain so severe that I cannot even comprehend it. The PO medication our service physician had prescribed for her wasn't even touching the pain she had, and the constant nausea and vomiting were making what life she had left an utter misery. We talked at length about what being admitted would mean. "But the visiting hours are SO restrictive, my Will won't be able to come and see me whenever he wants. Boomer will be here alone and he'll think I've forgotten him". Tears pooled in the corners of her eyes "it's bad enough that I have to leave him; I can't bear him thinking that I've rejected him".

"Miss Ellie" I said " Will can come and be with you as much as he likes. He can even sleep there....I'll talk to the ward nurses and we'll make sure that he's given as much time with you as he wants. And, if any of them complains or gives you a hard time about it, I'll personally go whup their nursey butts".

She tried to giggle, but the giggle morphed into a grimace as another wave of pain washed over her now emaciated body. I think that's the hardest part of watching someone die - seeing the physical changes that happen as a disease process takes it's toll on them. I can't imagine how it must feel to actually BE in the body that's being ravaged.

She knew that we couldn't arrange for Boomer, their Australian shepherd/Collie cross to come stay at the hospital with her, so she said her goodbye to him before the ambulance service came to transport her. It was incredibly emotional and I cried unashamedly as I watched her run her hands through his fur for what she knew would be the last time. "Be a good boy for Will, now. Remember he doesn't speak woofer-ese, so you can't just stand in front of the fridge and bark, you have to find some other way to let him know you want some ice. I won't ever be very far away, Boo...I'll be waiting for you when you come across that rainbow bridge"

When the ambulance arrived I was relieved to see a familiar face in the passenger seat. "This is Johnny, Miss Ellie. I know him from EMT class and I know he's a really good guy. He'll look after you just fine" I met Johnny's glance across the stretcher. He had a smile pasted on his mouth, but his eyes told a different story....much like mine did, I suppose. "I'll meet you at the hospital, ok? I'll probably get there before you, so I'll go sort out your room and try to get things squared away the way you like them".

Will and I drove to the hospital in my car. He was younger than Miss Ellie, and I had always thought that they were somewhat of an odd couple: she was very well educated and liked to read classic literature, he had worked a menial job and, in his retirement, had developed a passion for game shows. He sat in the passenger seat silently, wringing his hands the entire 20 minute journey. As we were pulling into the hospital parking lot, he looked at me and said "this is it, isn't it NM? She aint comin' home, is she? I'm-a hafta say goodbye to my girl before too long here...."
I was quiet for a moment - I was trying to find the most appropriate words to tell this man that yes, this was the end for his wife and no, she probably wouldn't be coming home again. As eloquent and verbose as I usually am, this time my vocabulary failed me.
"I'm so sorry, Will. I don't think she'll be coming home again...."
" I failed her! I done let her down! She made me promise to make sure she died at home, and I can't make that happen! The one time she needed me, and I let her down....." and he started to sob.
The only thing I could think to do was to park the car and hold him as he cried.

After we got Miss Ellie situated and comfortable in her room (IV morphine, 20mgs/hr, IV Ativan and Zofran and an NG tube) I fetched Will from the family room. As we walked down the hallway to Ellie's room, I tried to explain to him what to expect.....but it felt as if, in that short space of time, he'd built a wall around himself. He was very quiet and very stoic and when we entered the room he barely even looked at her before going and sitting on the other bed, announcing that he was tired and would it be ok if he took a nap.
"Of course, Will. Is it ok if I stay and keep an eye on Miss Ellie?"
"Sure"...and he rolled over to face the wall.

Once she was comfortable, Miss Ellie went downhill very quickly. Within half an hour, she was unresponsive to verbal stimuli, and an hour after that she was scoring a 3 on the GCS and had pronounced Kussmaul respirations. I sat with her the whole time, holding her hand and stroking her hair. I thought that Will was still sleeping until I got up to stretch my legs and saw him laying on his side, watching his wife.
"I don't think it'll be much longer, Will. Do you want to come and sit with her?"
"No, I'm ok where I am."

Another two hours passed and Miss Ellie was doggedly hanging on. I'd asked Will a couple of times if he wanted to come and sit with her, and each time he'd refused. That man laid in the same position the whole two hours; it was as if he was frozen by grief. After some careful thought, I got up and went to sit next to him.
"Will, I think she's waiting for you"
"Whaddaya mean?"
"Sometimes when people are dying, they wait for folks. Some people want to die alone and will wait until everyone has left, other folks hold on and on until a certain person is there with them. I think that Miss Ellie is waiting for you.....she's been on the verge of letting go for hours now, and I just get this feeling that she's waiting for you. Y'all did everything together during life..."

He sighed, and tears began to curl down the bridge of his nose and plop onto the pillow.
"How can I do that, NM? How can I say goodbye to her? She doesn't even know I'm here"
"She DOES know, Will. There's no doubt in my mind that she can still hear....come sit on the bed with her and talk to her. She can hear you, trust me".

Wiping his eyes, he sat up and shuffled over to Ellie's bed. He stood there for a moment, swallowing hard and brushing away the tears that were still falling with the back of one work hardened hand. He looked over at me as if to say 'what do I do know?' so I got up and knelt down on the floor next to Ellie's pillow and took her hand.
"Miss Ellie, Will's here. Don't be afraid, sweet pea. Will's right here..."

I nodded at him, and he sat on her bed. I put her tiny white hand in his, and he kissed it
"I'm here, my love. I didn't leave you....I won't ever leave you. I love you, Ell. I love you so much.....but if you need to go, honey, then you go right ahead. Con te partiro, Ell. Time to say goodbye and go on home now... con te partiro, my darling"...and he kissed her hand again and clasped it to his cheek.

Not 10 seconds after he'd spoken, she died. She simply stopped breathing and her heart ceased to beat at the same time.

She was waiting for him. She needed him one last time.....

He played Andre Boccelli's 'Con Te Partiro' at her funeral.

I still see Will from time to time. I wondered about his ability to cope after she died; I thought that he might perhaps go into a decline and follow suit (I've seen it happen; one lady lost her husband of 63 years on a Thursday afternoon and died herself on the Sunday morning) but he surprised me. Our social workers followed up with him and arranged for him to go to a couple of social gatherings, and he took that ball and ran with it. He is, by all accounts, a regular social butterfly... he bowls and lunches and can be seen on any given morning walking Boomer in one of the local parks. I am not only happy for him, I'm also grateful to him for letting me be a part of he and his wife's life. I won't forget either of them.

(I miss you, Miss Ellie. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with me.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Goddam piece of shite motherfucker.

I am fit to be tied, y'all. Madder than the proverbial wet hen.

Why, you ask? (hey, I know you didn't ask, but it's my blog so I'm going to tell you)

That motherfucking child rapist had the fucking AUDACITY to give Urbaner's cell number to a PI his attorney hired and told them to call Urbie for a character reference.

That MOTHERFUCKER. Couldn't even call Urbie himself and say 'hey man, will you do this for me? Is it cool with you that I give out your number to my defense attorney and will you tell him I'm a good dude?' No, he's too much of a lying scrote to do that. That would require some HONESTY, a concept he's entirely unfamiliar with.

That slimy douchebag has the fucking cojones to just assume that because Urbie worked with him (and almost got fucked over by him, but that's a different story), he's on his 'side'.

And you know what else is pissing me off? Urbie is actually considering talking to this PI. Says he wants to see what he has to say, see what kind of questions he's going to ask. I can sort of understand his curiosity; he was like a brother to this guy when they worked together (albeit a brother who got talked a lot of shit about.) and I honestly think he's having a hard time believing the whole thing.

But this PI is working for the DEFENSE. He's not likely to be exactly forthcoming with negative and/or privileged information. And, if Urbie DOES talk, he runs the risk of getting subpoenaed and having to go all the fucking way up there to testify at trial. That's not only a pain in the ass, it's going to mean that HE will be on record as having testified on behalf of a fucking child rapist; a man who systematically raped and used his daughter for his own sexual gratification. I'm not even going to bother with any 'allegedly' disclaimers here - he got fucking extradited from one state to another and has been in pre-trial confinement for months. That doesn't happen without some damn good evidence to back up the allegations.

Of course, the one time we DID talk to the lying sack of shite, he claimed he was innocent. Uh huh. Of course, American prisons are FULL of innocent people and our judicial system is deliberately flawed so that nobody gets a fair trial. Yep, and OJ Simpson didn't kill his wife and that Goldman boy, either. Or attempt to rob anyone in a Vegas hotel room. Uh huh. Charlie Manson didn't do a fucking thing, either.


I refuse to let this crap come between us again. Fuck that. If Urbie wants to talk to him, then I'll be as supportive as I can. I don't have to talk to the PI, though, and I don't intend to. If he contacts me, he's going to be met with a heart "fuck right off, jackass, and tell your client's client to lose my number".

I think it's the least I can do.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Crispy Kale

I ADORE kale. The green, curly leafy stuff you find between the mustard greens, swiss chard and the leeks in your grocers produce section....looks kinda like savoy cabbage leaves, but much darker. It tastes yummy and is really good for you too.

The problem is finding ways to cook it. It's too tough for use in salads and doesn't lend itself well to being boiled. Most of the time, I use it in stir fry recipes, but even those got old of late.

Today, I decided to try something a little different with it. I baked it. Drizzled it with a little cider apple/virgin olive oil vinegrette and shoved it in the oven for half an hour.

The result: crispy kale. It came out crunchy, but light, and with a little salt on it it was dee-lisshh! Even my 'lings ate it!

NM's Deelish crispy kale

I bunch of kale
2tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cider vinegar
salt, to taste.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and make sure you've got one of the racks at the lowest setting.

Whilst your oven is heating, wash and de-stalk your kale - I treat mine like the stalks are the spine of a book, and I bend the leaves backwards like I'm bending the pages of the book the wrong way. The leaves usually come right off.

Once you've got your leaves off, blot them dry with a paper towel and spread them out on a cookie sheet or on the bottom of a baking pan.

Mix the olive oil and vinegar well, and drizzle it over the kale, tossing the leaves with your hand to coat thoroughly.

Put on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 10 or 15 mins, then take it out, toss the kale again and back once more for about 5 more mins or until all your kale is crispy.

Once it's nice and crispy, remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt (I use sea salt) to taste. Be careful, you won't need a lot!


Monday, January 5, 2009

By the way....

...I have labrynthitis. I started having tinnitus this afternoon, which is another symptom common to the condition, and it kinda sealed the deal. The doc seemed really sure that's what it was, but until the tinnitus came on I harbored doubts.

Now I'm sure that's what it is.

Meclizine, Tigran and rest are what I've been prescribed, and I have to say the Meclizine helps a lot.

Apparently I'm walking like I'm a sailor and I feel like I used to when I got really drunk and got the spins. Urbaner had to drive me home from the clinic today and had to keep grabbing my arm to guide me back on course when I started in on my drunken stumble.

I had to cancel my ortho surgeon's appointment this afternoon because I couldn't drive there myself and reschedule it for Thursday morning. Hopefully I'll be ok to drive by then.

In short, vertigo sucks.


I woke up in the night and had to pee, and about fell off the toilet seat because I was unbalanced. I figured it was because I was half asleep and went back to bed...but not to sleep.

I have vertigo. Not dizziness or lightheadedness, but vertio - a very distinct sense of motion where there is none. It's there all the time to a degree (I haven't felt 'right' since last night) but sometimes it gets worse and makes me vomit. I have a hard time walking straight and turning my head right or left seems to make it worse.

I haven't had any cold symptoms, tinnitus, or hearing loss. I can make my ears pop when I try Valsalva's Maneuver and there's no pain. My BP is 120/72, my pulse is in the 90's, respers at 18. My left pupil is larger than the right (I can't measure accurately) and is slower to respond to light. Urbaner says I have nystagmus (he's trained to administer field sobriety tests and know what nystagmus looks like).

I don't know if I have labrynthitis or what the fuck is going on. I do know that I'm seeing my doc at 0920 this morning, because this aint right.

Anyone got any ideas?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dude, I've eaten a LOT of stuff!

I stole this from Matt G, who I admire greatly (although he doesn't know it and has no clue who I am).

I didn't realize I've eaten so much stuff....

Feel free to play along!

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results

1. Venison
2. Nettle teas
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (I ate alligator on more than one occasion. Does that count?
6. Black pudding (I grew up in England, and it's not as bad as everyone thinks it is. Rather nice, actually)
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart 'Dirty Water Dog' from a street vendor in Manhattan. Nothing like it in the whole world)
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine (my dad was an amateur winemaker. I've been drinking wine since I was 5 or 6)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries (right off the bush in the English countryside. Delish)
23. Foie Gras (yes, and it's yummy)
24. Rice and beans (when I was down south this summer I ate some butter beans and rice that were the BEST I'd ever eaten. EVER)
25. Brawn (my parents and grandparents were country folk who lived through WWII and WWI; they knew how to make something out of almost nothing. I recall walking into granny's kitchen when I was a kid and lifting the lid of a pot on the stove, only to see a whole hog's head simmering away in there. Ick)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (yes, with a group of high ranking AF fliers many years ago. They knew their cognac and tobacco....and has huge egos to boot)
37. Clotted cream tea (Matt, it's not what you think. It's a fresh scone, still warm from the oven, with real butter and some homemade jam on it, topped with a dollop of what we Brits call 'double cream', accompanied by a nice cup of tea. Anytime you and your fam want to have one, you let me know and I'll make some for you)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (of course. I went to college...)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail (Oxtail soup....SOOOOOO good)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (only whilst riding a motorcycle whilst wearing a faceless helmet, and not intentionally)
43. Phaal (Tandoori, yes. Phaal, no. I like my tastebuds and mucous membranes)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (see #68)
46. Fugu (no, and I'm tempted to say never)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV (Dad made beer, too)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads ( I wasn't impressed)
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis (yes, with tatties and neeps and a very expensive malt, every year on Burn's Night. I have Scottish kin)
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe (yes!!!!!!!! I'm on the lookout for an absinthe spoon and glass, preferrable antique!)
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (yes. I have vivid memories of dad running over rabbits in the car whilst mum and I squealed in displeasure. I ate some stew once and vomited it back up when I found out what it was I was eating. I was only 3 or 4 and got my ass whupped for that one)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail (wild ones. We went out after a rain storm when we were living in Aix En Provence for a couple of months, picking up snails. They got put in a container of seasoned flour on the porch for a couple of days so they can clear any digested vegetation from their guts - and literally marinade themselves - and then put on a grill with a little garlic butter in their shells. Very yummy, but with a very distinct texture)
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare (ick. Very stringy and gamey taste)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I think that growing up in England and being exposed to Asian and European cultures right on my doorstep really helped me develop a taste for different foods.

The question I have to ask myself is: if I've eaten and enjoyed all these foods in the past, why is my repatoire of recipes so limited now? I know the answer: family. Family with limited tastes.

I should try and find another person with a somewhat interesting tastes and see if we can't bounce some recipe ideas off each other. Anyone game...? If so, let me know!

Say what?!?

Urbaner, the 'lings and I went out for lunch today. Nowhere very exciting, just Golden Corral - we have four meat eaters and a vegetarian, so a buffet style lets everyone eat what they like and want.

We sat at two tables; the 'lings at one and Urbie and I at the other. They were off scouting for food and I was in the middle of a nice salad - actually, I had a cherry tomato in my mouth - when Urbaner looks up at me and with a very stoic expression on his face and says " So, how about a blowjob?"

He's had to do the Heimlich on me once before (chunk of chicken breast that went down the wrong way) and he very nearly had to do it again.

(And, no, he didn't get what he asked for. Yet, anyway....)