Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A rock and a hard place

Well, now….this is about a bitch.

I have Bells Palsy. The standard treatment for Bells is acyclovir and prednisone. I can't tolerate prednisone orally, I have an ulcer and one dose of the oral stuff over the weekend set me off into belly pain hell. I have been given a choice: either take the oral stuff, increase the nexium I take from one dose a day to two and hope I don't develop a gastric bleed, or get admitted to the hospital for IV steroids.

Neither of those choices is an option for me.

Taking the oral prednisone puts me at risk of a gastric bleed, the consequences of which can be very, very bad indeed. Like life threatening bad. As in 'get an NG tube, endoscopic surgery and admitted to the hospital for a week' bad. Getting admitted at this point in the semester would mean I'd miss classes and would end up getting dropped and failing, and I'm not prepared to do that.

Getting admitted for IV steroids is not an option either – I'd miss lectures, would get dropped from classes and would fail. Not gonna do that; I've worked too damn hard to let that happen.

The other option that has been suggested by friends who are medical professionals is getting a PICC line with a heplock on it. I can still get IV steroids, but I don't have to be admitted – so I can attend lectures. I'm not sure how to go about getting that; my PCM has told me that if I can't tolerate the prednisone I have to go back to the ER. Do I ask for it there? Do I call my PCM and ask him about it? Do I tough it out and see what happens….and if I'm no better in a week ask to be admitted them (Thanksgiving break. I won't miss classes)? I don't know.

All I know is that I'm not failing this semester. Period.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Why do people think that because they attach "just kidding" or "joke!" after an offensive statement, that somehow it negates the jackass-iness of what they said?

It's happened 3 times in the past 12 hours, all about the same subject.

First, it was some arse in Art class this morning making a joke about the "Chair Force. Har har. Just kidding….".

Then, some bigger arse (literally and figureatively)at the store said "them air force men and wimmin think they all that, but they aint never go nowhere". When he saw I was wearing a USAF hoodie and staring at him, he said "I's only jokin', huh huh…."

Finally another arse on Marko The Munchkin Wrangler's blog saying 'since when does wearing a USAF uniform make someone part of the military (joke!)' (or words to that effect).

Yeah, I get it. People think that the USAF isn't bas-ass enough to qualify as part of the 'real' military; that they never deploy anywhere or do anything dangerous. Of course, not all of them do. Just like not every Marine or every Soldier gets to be a door-kicker in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Some of them, however, DO put themselves in danger. Pilots, aircrew, Ravens, cops, medics, combat controllers, pararescuemen …all those guys put themselves in harm's way every day. The Army doesn't have the monopoly on deployments, either: there are squadrons on this base that have guys who deploy for 9 months, are home for 6, then turn around and deploy again for another 9 months. It's not 12 months like the Army deployments are, but it's more frequent.

To those people who think the 'Chair' Force isn't part of the 'real' military, that it's not dangerous and that AF personnel have it easy, I have this to say: enlist. Get a commission. Put on a uniform, and give some years of YOUR life to the service of this country. Then, when you hear some smart-arse who wouldn't know the meaning of 'service before self' if it jumped up and bit him on his incredibly small and altogether unimpressive penis saying things like I heard the trio-of-asshats saying today, maybe then you'll understand why saying 'just kidding' or 'joke' does NOT make it any less offensive, and it does NOT make it okay.

To those of you who have thanked my husband for his service in the past, I have this to say: thank YOU. Not for being grateful to him, but for understanding.

Apparently, not everybody does.




Dr Grumpy told us about his kids getting shots their flu shots today. I feel for his wife, because I have had very similar experiences with my own children.

One incident that I recall pretty vividly was when my middle kid had to get his 3 year old booster shots. I took him to the immunizations clinic with his siblings in tow. I had told them all beforehand that Numbah Two was going to get some shots, and nobody, Numbah Two included, had a problem with it. When we were called back to the treatment room, Numbah Two clambered up onto the exam table and asked if he was going to get a sticker and a Marvin the Martian band-aid when he was done.

"If you're a good boy, yes" I said "and you can even have a sucker and a cookie if you're extra, super-duper good".

He was fine until the nurse pulled the first syringe out; when he saw it he started screaming and held on to the exam table so tightly his knuckles were white. His screaming started the other two screaming – even though they weren't getting any shots – and made other kids in the waiting area start screaming too.

The nurse asked me to sit him on my lap and roll his sleeve up. I managed to roll a sleeve up and pry one hand off the table, but had to let go of the free hand to try and get the OTHER hand off….and he just grabbed the table with the free hand. The nurse called in two male techs to come help. When we got him off the table he made a break for freedom and ran towards the door. One tech grabbed him before he could exit, but he caught hold of the door frame and clung to that like a drowning man clings to a life raft. The second tech had to peel his fingers away from the frame and it took the two of them to deposit him in my lap. I held his head against my chest and the techs held his arms still: it took 4 adults to give one 5 year old a shot, and I think we all lost some hearing that day. I don't know if you've ever been in an enclosed room with 3 shrieking, screaming kids, but it's LOUD.

Once the needle was in his arm, he held his breath for an alarmingly lengthy amount of time. I swear I have some hearing damage from the shriek that he let out; my ear was ringing for a day and a half afterwards. That frightened his brother and sister even more and they raised the intensity and decibel level of their screams to match those of their brother.

All 3 of them were given stickers and Numbah Two got his Marvin the Martian band-aid and TWO suckers, but there was no placating any of them. The screamed their way back into the waiting room shrieked down the hallway, cried on their way out of the front doors and sobbed as I strapped them into their car seats.

"Was it REALLY that bad?" I asked. "Really? It was just a little shot, it can't have been SO horrible…did it hurt that bad?"

"No, mama" said Numbah Two as he licked a sucker "it didn't hurted me at all, not eben one liddle bit!"

"So why were you screaming like that? You scared your baby bro and your big sister and other kids, too."

"I dunno, mama. Can I have my cookie now? Look FTS, I has a Marbin Martian band-aid on my owie!"

And just like that, the hysteria was over. All the screaming and shrieking was forgotten and all that mattered was the sucker and the promise of a cookie.

I made his dad take him the next time he had to get shots.