A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

29 October 2007

Hospitalization - Part II

Sure, major surgery has its inconveniences which are to be expected (I pointed some out in Part 1 of my Hospitalization blogum located below) but what they are really good at is the little things. Little things mean a lot. Little things can be cute, as in kittens...little things can kill you, as in germs...and little things you can take for granted...well, they'll be the ones I'm referring to here. I can only speak on my personal cases of being in the hospital and for this story I'm sticking to things which occurred this time around.

- Bodily fluids and why are they fascinated with them in the hospital? Furthermore why do they have one bathroom for me and not another one for my visitors?? Do they know WHAT lurks IN my personal hospital bathroom? I feel like the consummate bad criminal in any killer movie when they reach to open the bathroom door...

"DON'T open THAT!!!!"
"Well, why? Whatcha hiding in there I can't look at?"
"Well, if it's nothing, tell me what it is."
"It's nothing I say."
"You aren't telling me the truth, are you?"

Why does the dialogue ever have to progress that far? I'll be honest with everyone here and now why those bathrooms are for the patient and the patient alone. They give you little bowls and containers with demarcation/deliniation lines...and they give them adorable little names...oh, like "hat". "Time to empty your 'hat'" they say. Well, they don't sell these hats in any haberdashery shop I've ever been in, nor at 'Bed Bath and Beyond'...they are WAY beyond what they sell. I think they get them from a guy who knows a guy who comes around in the back of the hospital twice a week...or they probably order them online or eBay.

Word to the wise...hospitalization is a series of private processes, especially for women who don't routinely sit on the sofa snarfing down nachos and guzzling back beer with men playing "pull my finger" games. Now, nothing's wrong with being that type of woman...but I'm not...I am more on the "demure" side of the fence. I don't want anyone to enter places to see things that even the nurses and doctors shouldn't have to see. So, when you reach your hand out to turn my bathroom door knob...let's just say the only way you aren't getting vituperatively scolded a well deserved "NO!" would be if I were in a coma...but if I were in a coma I wouldn't really be using the bathroom so you could probably use it. I believe you get the point here by now...even if that point is moot.

- I am 46...I'd like to be younger but I'm not. I have, to my credit, built up some medical vocabulary where I feel confident enough to speak to doctors and medical staff using and have them use back with me without my having that "huh??" look on my face. This comes from my odd habit of reading the PDR, medical papers, and hanging out at WebMD.com and MayoClinic.com much more than anyone should. But when a doctor says uncommon words, 99 percent of the time I know what they are saying and they don't have to spell everything out for me in plain laymen's vernacular. I find this to be a bonus and I think they appreciate it as well. But one thing eludes me during my stay this time and I will try to explain best I can. Enter one nurse after I rang the bell...the dialogue goes somewhat like this: Her: "What can I do for you?" Me: "Well, I have to be unstrapped from the blood-clot leg cuffs before I can toddle off to the bathroom and this is where you get to come in." Her: "Well, do you have to go 'tee-tee' or something else?" Me: "Ummmm - I only have to urinate." Now, I am not five or 10 even for that matter and I certainly hoped I exuded a little more knowledge than one click above brain-dead...why she called it "tee-tee" is a mystery to me...but I wrote it off as perhaps she normally works on the pediatric ward. And then after a bit of contemplation I figured I would indeed use this whole dialogue bit in a blog...yes, that's the way my mind works.

- For the love of all things sacred...please feed me something that might get my gastric juices flowing. Even Pavlov's dog would have just sat in the corner and licked his...uh...bells wouldn't have sent any salivary glands salivating in any experiments if he had pawned this stuff off as food in those experiments. And speaking of experiments, I think the Nutrition Department were conducting some of their own. During my "soft bland diet" phase, at lunch and dinner "something" which can only be envisioned as that dough blob that pops at full force out of the Poppin' Fresh dough cylinder when you poke the seam with a knife blade. Honestly, THAT is what it looked like and they were determined to get me to eat it and they had days and days to prove that theory.

-- Day one I was tempted to taste it - but I stood my ground as it didn't look like a pudding and it wasn't exactly an ice-cream as it never melted...so I put it in that illustrious food group in which Fruitcake belongs and sent it back. Voila! I'll get something else later for dinner. Or so I thought. There, mysteriously - right top quadrant of the tray...it was back again. Surely it must be a whole different one you are thinking. Au contrare...it looked the same...but instead of being pristinely white this time...it had diminished to "eggshell". Again I held my ground and returned it - surely it can't return again tomorrow I thought. Ha! I won! Well, I shouldn't pat myself on the back so quickly...plus I had an abdominal incision...it kinda hurts to twist like that.

-- Day two I hear voices from Poltergeist II in the back of my mind..."They're ba-aaak" - and sure enough, it was. Again, had I access to those paint colour swatches I could've discerned this one wasn't even "eggshell" anymore, but now was more closely graduating to "ecru". By the time they came to collect it - I made a joke about how it returns but always a shade darker...I think they either didn't get it or they now knew I was wise to them. I was certain it wouldn't make it to my dinner menu.

-- Enter my children who haven't had me at the house for days dealing with my witty banter (oh go along with me - I had major surgery) on a continuing basis...so I had to relay to them the "scary ever-colour-changing blob which shows up at each meal except breakfast" tale. My daughter hatched a plan - "Stab it!" she says. "NOOOOOOOOO!!!" I say..."Didn't you learn ANYTHING from watching those Sci-Fi movies from the 50s? That 'thing' will slide off the plate, slip under the door, kill three people at the nurses' station and then double back and break my window to kill me when my back is turned to it whilst I'm reporting the whole incident to the police on the phone!" It happens EVERY time - best not tempt providence. And, true to form...the colour was indeed a little darker still...and had lost some sheen...it was now fast approaching "faded ivory piano keys" shade. My son was brave, even with my cautionary words of impending doom...he totally annihilated the poor unsuspecting "upper right food tray blob" and alas, it came back no more. I really don't want to think about why it didn't too long so I'll just gloss right over that whole episode. But at the time, it was pretty much my only form of entertainment...so much so we took photos.

Word must have gotten back to the "mother ship" that I was not going to cave in and consume that thing so I believe they decided they had no use for me anymore and when the doctor came in to see me the next day he stated if I ate some "real food" and "participated" in some honest to goodness "pull my finger" jocularity, I could vacate the premises and be on my merry way home. For years I've tried to class up my interactive comedy website by not catering to the lowest common denominator, "fart jokes"...and here it all came back to bite me on the proverbial...um...arse.

So, again, some of the littlest things you take for granted are your ticket out...and this was to be the one time I would proudly proclaim "I did it!.

20 October 2007

Hospital Stay...or Should I Go?

I figured, for your reading enjoyment, I would do this installment in two parts (actually, truth be told - I did it so I would be able to split one long story into two...but "your reading enjoyment" sounds much less self-serving) :) ...

Part 1:

By now, if you know me...or at least kept up with my blogumns (I refuse to call them blogs as they are more like short stories or columns), you'll have gathered that I was in the hospital for a few days following what can only be referred to as "a hysterectomy of some necessity". And "yes", to answer that question that everyone asks, "they took my ovaries out as well".

But, to add to the discomfort of the obvious...the hospital has a few tricks up their hospital gown sleeves to get you up and out that door they always manage to not close behind them (even tho it was closed when they came in) to get you out as fast as humanly possible. Sure, people might say they release you too soon...but I'm betting most people jump at that opportunity to return home for just the most "take for granted" reasons that are out there. We are, after all, creatures of comfort and the hospital is hardly packed with creature comforts...staph infections, yes...but those are a whole different creature and I could easily digress, but I won't. I will, however, point some things out one by one that got me thinking about all this...however, this is not a Top Ten list, so they come in no order whatsoever...you be the judge as to which would send you packing fastest.

- Why is that television set ALL the way up there? "So you can see it better when you are lying there, flat on your back, in your bed" you might say. Wrong! First off, no matter how prone you get, it's still too high to watch comfortably. Try again. "Because if they had it lower, people would bonk their heads into it and then sue?" Well, you are getting warmer - people would indeed sue if they hit their heads into it...but they are in the hospital and probably wouldn't be able to sue them "REAL good" because they nearly bled to death since they were on the floor for hours before someone found them. Someone's bound to find you in the hospital since someone always comes in every hour to take blood, take blood pressure, take your urine away, talk about your urine, talk about your bowel movements, give you medication, and just to leave your door open to annoy you. Here's a little trick I found that works wonders: Want them to stop coming in for a while so you can get some rest? Buzz for a nurse...that will ensure no one stops by for a while. (Oh, I'm joking here...they were very, very, very nice this time around to me.) But to answer my own question...my son actually figured this one out: The television is that high so that you can screw up your neck so you can stay in the hospital longer - or at the very least generate some more business their way.

- How do they expect me to sleep on this horrible mattress with a blood pressure cup attached to my arm that goes off every 30 minutes, blood clot leg massagers that inflate/deflate every three minutes, two IV lines...one put in at exactly the right (or is that 'wrong') angle to make it virtually impossible to bend my wrist for any support whatsoever to help me get up, an IV baggie that keeps getting lower and lower and you remember watching that episode of Marcus Welby, MD where there was one little air bubble in it and the person nearly died because of it, them coming in every couple hours to poke, prod, or generally annoy me to do something, and why do they insist on leaving my light on that they know I can't turn off without getting up...other than to shut the door they continually leave open? Answer: They don't - it's the hospital...leave already.

- You mean I have to actually time my bathroom breaks with the commercials now??? Only those with TiVo will understand this little luxury that, once you experience, you will never live without. You might think it's pretty silly as you've lived your whole life until that point getting up during commercial breaks to make that run. Well, you get a hysterectomy, then lie there waiting for a commercial for 15 minutes when you have to go. Really go. Oh...then remember you have a TiVo at home. Enough said.

- Okay, I just had an operation and I have to be on a "liquid diet" followed by a "soft diet" until I pass gas and can eat "real food" again? First off, this is a hospital..."real food" is debatable. But, I am sure I can live for a day or two eating this stuff. Bring it on. (Two days later...) Well, call me an idiot...I underestimated these people. You see, people IN the "Nutrition Department" of the hospital undoubtedly have a lot of time on their hands between meals to sit around thinking of things that no one in their right mind would ever voluntarily eat...er um..."eat" being the key word here. "Eat" in this case means anything you could sip up thru a straw without much sucking involved. In fact, I believe they have, in their possession, dozens of catalogues of totally inedible food that people didn't know existed that they can order from. Where are these items...I've never seen them in any store? There's a reason they don't have them in a store - the hospital is their sole client. Somewhere out there are companies devoted to making "nourishing" meals that are so incredibly bland and unappetizing in taste, texture and aesthetics they don't have to market them. But the containers they come in try their hardest to get you to taste them...silly names, dancing cartoon figures, vitamins with even sillier bios than their names, etc. They have a lot to learn. Willpower is much stronger than words. So is the gag reflex.

End of Part 1

18 October 2007

Not My Old Self

Well, I've managed to do up one HumorMeOnline update last night, so I'm trying to gradually get back to some semblance of my former self without overdoing it. I will try to get a blog up today or tomorrow - but far between Percocet doses the pain kicks back in and it's not comfortable to type and during the time it does work, my eyes unfocus...which makes it rather annoying TO type...so I can't exactly win here.

But hey, at least I'm trying. :)

14 October 2007

Back Home Again

Well, I've been in the hospital for the past few days...went straight from a gynecological appointment to the hospital, so I had to pretty much make a decision right then and there as time was of the essence. That wasn't much fun.

Not feeling the best yet, nor will be according to everything I've read...for quite some time. Will try to post some of my hospital food photos and such in the next few days...things that I at least found quite interesting. Hey, you have to keep yourself entertained somehow while there, don't you?

Thanks go out to those who prayed and sent me good wishes and kept me in their thoughts - please continue to do so, if you don't mind...as I really am rather hurting.

09 October 2007

"Pause" to Think...

Well, I haven't been having the best month and some here...let's just say perimenopause doesn't have its moments. Between one ER visit, at least three gyno visits a couple doctor visits and one visit to Pri-Med, I am ready to succumb to the wishes of those with greater womanly knowledge than I possess to yank out of me whatever it takes to get this all to stop. When your blood levels drop to the point where they are talking about doing "transfusions"...well, let's just say something needs to be done and be done quickly. I've always been tethered to the "anemic" bungee jump rope (you could call it), bouncing up and down, but my cord's apparently snapped and I'm plummeting head-first down onto the "inflated black abyss" and I'm not sure what'll happens next. Yes, I am in the "scary zone" in pre-menopauseland and I want no more part of this. I don't want to be strapped on any more of these rides, thank you. Furthermore I'd like to see this part of the park closed down for good. I'd like to believe that hanging out at "you CAN leave your houseland" and "maybe I WILL go away for a weekend" can and will turn from being a "funhouse" nightmare into an actual pleasant experience. I'm ready for that change...I relish that change.

So, all those reading out there, please send me your best thoughts, your prayers, your good vibes...whatever you send, just as long as they are good. I'd sincerely appreciate them all...and will definitely need them for my gynecological visit tomorrow.

Mariann aka Tiny Litte Scaredy Cat