Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Close Call

It’s a good thing my daughter is a Certified Nurse's Assistant, because when I fainted on Sunday, she knew exactly what to do. Aside from catching me before I hit the floor, she kept saying over and over to sit down and put my head between my knees. (Which, by the way, really does work). Of course, I had no idea she was saying anything because I had already blacked out, but she gave me a second by second replay later on. Not sure why it happened; dehydration and/or lack of food while in the sun, I assume, but it made me reflect back to all the times I came close to death. Three, to be exact. I hopefully have 6 more lives to go because I'm not counting this last episode as a near death experience. But let me tell you, fainting is not fun. It's very strange to not remember those few seconds when you have left consciousness.

But I do recall my near death experiences. And I mean really another 20 minutes and I would have been gone. For good. Adios. Arrivederci, Au Revoir, Hasta la vista baby.

The first time was back in my 20’s. It was a normal workday and I was at my office sitting at my desk, doing my job, when all of a sudden the pain going through my abdomen was excruciating. I figured I just had a really bad stomach ache and lay on the floor doubled over in pain for 4 hours. That’s right…four hours. Why is it that we don’t call our doctors right away because we don’t want to ‘bother’ them, in case it’s a false alarm? How ridiculous is that? When the pain started spasming through my rectum (sorry to be so graphic), I decided gas was not the diagnosis of the day and realized it was time to make that call. He wasted no time in telling me to meet him in the emergency room. He also wasted no time in taking out a 15 inch needle and shooting it into my cervix. ARE YOU F**KING KIDDING ME?!?!? What would a good word be for 10 times worse than excruciating? I don’t know…let me see…ummmmm…there is none?? Torturous comes to mind but that’s not horrible enough. Labor pains are a minor annoyance compared to that pain. And not only did he do it once…he did it 3 times. “Just to be sure”. And it was like a boomerang. He shot it in and out it came. In…out…in…out. Good thing my legs were strapped in or a swift kick in the face wouldn’t have been out of the question. In fact, it would have been an absolute sure thing. In fact, maybe I would have aimed lower just so he could experience a quarter of the pain he was inflicting on me.

I was taken into the operating room within minutes having internal bleeding. They cut me open as if I was having a c-section and stitched up my burst cysts on my ovaries. Cysts have been the bane of my existence my entire life. A little one here, a big one there, and never do they come quietly. Geez…there’s got to be something they can come up with to catch these little suckers before they catch you.

My biggest mistake was coming home from the hospital with 20 staples in my tummy and watching ‘Airplane’. You can NOT laugh with 20 staples in your stomach. After about 5 minutes of trying to hold my incision together, the T.V. was turned off.

My next almost jump into the netherworld kept me from work for 8 weeks. Every time I stood up I would black out and get headaches that I can only assume mimic migraines. Whoa…that wasn’t fun. To this day…no clue where the internal bleeding  was coming from. But after a lot of iron pills, a lot of rest, and time to recoup, I was fit as a fiddle. Fit as a fiddle…what the hell is that supposed to mean anyway. Fiddles are fit? They’re inanimate. How can they be fit? If I was inanimate, I would make myself fit, too. With a D cup for my boobs and a 22 inch waist, blue eyes, no cellulite and never age past 34.  Anyway…as always, I digress. But have you ever taken an inordinate amount of iron and realized what a number that does on your stomach? That’s fodder for a whole other blog.

My last near death excursion to hell (or maybe heaven? Nah…probably hell) was quite a bit more dramatic at the onset. It was like one of those scenes in the movies where someone is on the ground, dragging themselves towards a phone, trying to get help, after they’ve been shot. It was around midnight and I had gone downstairs to use the bathroom so I didn’t wake my husband, since I wasn’t feeling too well. I was nauseous and feeling a little weak. Once I saw the blood pour out of me, I crawled out of the bathroom to the stairs. There I was…pulling myself up the stairs to yell to him, but I had no strength to do either. So I hung on, draped across about 5 steps, for a minute or two, and finally got the words out, in a barely audible voice.  “Help me.”  How he heard me is beyond my comprehension, but he jumped out of bed and within seconds we were in the car on the way to emergency. Have you ever been in a cop car on a high speed chase? Well, this was as close as you could get. Two bleeding ulcers later, and a shitload of blood transfused, and I was on the road to recovery. It was a hard lesson to learn that taking too many anti-inflammatory pills could burn holes in your stomach. Having a tube stuck down your throat into your duodenum isn’t the most pleasant either. But who the f**k cared…I was in a twilight haze and happy as a clam to be on the operating table. Cauterize all you want, doc. Close up those suckers. But keep me anesthetized! Woohoo. There’s something to be said for anesthesia. 

And speaking of happy as a clam. What the hell does that one mean? Clams are happy? How do you know clams are happy? Is it because their shells look like they’re smiling?

[I think I’m going to coin a phrase. First I want to know where ‘coin a phrase’ came from. Who coins phrases? How does coin and phrase end up in the same thought?]

Life. How I cherish my life. After these 3 near death experiences, (actually 5 because I almost drowned twice as a toddler), I never take anything for granted nor do I take chances. My doctors are on speed dial. I’m a member of ‘Life Alert’, I’m having a tracking device implanted in my body, I have a list of all my meds and medical history permanently tattooed on my chest, I’ve map quested every hospital within 50 miles, I’ve friended every fireman, health care provider and medical assistant I could find. I have a siren with blinking lights in my glove compartment, and I visit the doctor on a weekly basis. Just for the hell of it. Medical paranoia has now become a part of my makeup but who cares. I’d rather be a hypochondriac then dead. Welcome to MY world!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Open Wide

Have you ever had a tooth pulled? I've had more teeth pulled than I have left in my mouth. Last week I had another molar extracted. A little laughing gas, a lot of novocaine, and 5 minutes later...toothless. Just like that. I never had laughing gas before so I was a little worried what words might come out of my mouth since I had no idea what state it would put me in. Who knew what kind of propositions and gestures I would offer the oral surgeon. Luckily, I was a good girl. At least I think I was. Ok...maybe not so much. Ok...sue me...he was adorable...I couldn't help myself!

Trying to drink from a glass with some novocaine left in your mouth is a pretty humorous feat. I wasn't really paying attention but when my shirt started getting soaking wet...I realized I was drooling down my chin for the last 20 minutes. I'm surprised any of the water made it into my mouth and down my throat. My numb, droopy lip and lack of facial muscle control should have been an indication that I still had no feeling in my face.

Chewing on dry gauze is like nails on a chalk board combined with chewing chalk and licking the black board. I cringed every time I would have to replace the piece of gauze in the socket. And they don't give you 'hole- appropriate' sizes...they give you huge squares so that you look like you are chewing on golf balls...and it sticks half way down your throat so you are gagging most of the time. And the feeling of chewing dry gauze is just....ugh...I can't even think about it anymore.

Trying to talk with a new crater in your mouth ith challenging. The air that now flowth through your teeth, or lack thereof, causeth a lovely lithping thound. A bit Thylvethter-like.

It takes a little getting used to but eventually you realize you will not need to hire a speech therapist. You do ultimately figure out how to redirect the air so your tongue hits your palate behind your front teeth and your speech sounds normal. Or so you think, until someone is staring at you with head cocked, brows furrowed, scratching their chin, trying to figure out what you are saying.

Eating food also has its challenges. Now that I have very few molars left, conquering mastication is a victory. Of course, most of my food ends up in my digestive tract in whole pieces. I can now trace the incredibly large chunks of food as they meander through my colon, following the large lump down my body to its destination. It's very alien-like. Actually, it’s pretty creepy. It has finally dawned on me why I have so many digestive problems. Duh.

I assume that over the next few years all the roots of my teeth will slowly get weaker and worn down, and one by one, they will be removed from my mouth. First will be the few remaining molars. Then each tooth, from the back forward, will disappear until I am totally gumming it.

Another chapter in the aging process. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.’

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hide and Seek

While I was visiting my sister in N.Y. last week I had a few incidences with her so called daughter that I wasn't thrilled about. She would take liberties with my stuff that I would never allow in my house. I would find things missing from my suitcase and couldn't figure out where they had disappeared. A couple of shirts and other items were nowhere to be found. I thought how could she just take them without asking? Pretty rude if you ask me. Even my socks were missing and I was thinking...ew...why would she want my socks...especially after I wore them. I found some of my things after a day or two stuffed behind the couch cushions, under the couch, and hidden in the closets. Did she think I wouldn't find them there? I was starting to get really angry. I asked my sister to please talk to her, but it didn't seem to help at all.

One night she snuck into my bed and snuggled up to me. I couldn't fall back asleep and kept pushing her over but she would continue to move closer to me again. It was becoming really annoying. Maybe that was her way of asking for my forgiveness, but it wasn't really working for me.

When I went to brush my teeth the next morning, I found my toothbrush on the floor. Seriously? What could she have possibly been thinking to take my toothbrush and then leave it on the bathroom floor? She had absolutely no respect for my belongings. I checked my toiletry bag to see if she had taken anything from that, especially my medications, and luckily she hadn't gotten to those, but she did manage to take my hair brush and some of my make-up brushes.

One afternoon a friend of hers had come over, and it seemed like more of my things had disappeared into the black hole. It was like a conspiracy between the two of them.

Finally I had had enough. I decided I needed to have a sit down and tell her exactly how I felt. When I could finally get her to stay and listen, she looked up at me with those big brown eyes…

                              And that was the end of that.



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Run for Your Life

As I’ve gotten older, my workout routine has slowed down somewhat. Not only do I have more aches and pains, but I have to say, my stamina is definitely not what it used to be. I get winded just walking up and down my stairs.

I know they say that working out keeps your body younger and healthier…HA. I believe it’s done more damage than good. Of course, in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s…I absolutely thought that working out was the greatest discovery on earth. But once you hit that half century mark…you’re screwed. The body may still look okay on the outside, but that inner working mechanism is saying uh uh…no way am I running that fast or that far. Running 3 miles every day…yeah…right. Now…speed walking. That’s the way to go. You may look like a dork, but at least your hips aren’t screaming at you to slow the hell down. Of course they are so damaged now that they don’t have the strength to scream anymore. And my knees…I believe I left them behind somewhere in my 40’s. I now have two knobs that attempt to hold up the rest of my body. And not so well. The creaks that emanate from them are mind boggling. People look around and ask me “What was that sound?” “Oh, just my knees settling into their comfort zone. Please excuse them while they find their rocking chair.”

The other day I decided I was going to speed walk to my doctor’s appointment. It’s only about two and a half miles, so I thought…piece of cake.  I walk around 2 miles at least 5-6 days a week anyway, so why not. I gave myself just over a half hour to get there since I didn’t have to really worry about hitting traffic. Well…that was stupid. The flow of traffic has more than one definition. It’s not only about cars. It could have to do with the flow of blood through your veins. There just could be a minor traffic jam going through your body, too. Just ask my brain. I believe my brain was telling my blood flow to push harder on the accelerator. Forge ahead!

So there I was, boppin’ to the music on my ipod, wind blowing in my face, sun shining down, enjoying the spring air. Had my new walking shoes on, which are incredible, by the way. I was going to see a new doctor, since my previous one decided, after 14 years, to not take my insurance anymore. [So what else is new?]
I was walking at a pretty good pace, just short of shin splints, when I realized I was going to be late.  I didn’t want to make a bad first impression on my new doctor because, as we all know, doctors are always right on time. And oh yeah…they are also god. Why is it that their time seems to be more valuable than our time? It’s ok for them to keep us waiting, but if we are late, we either miss our appointment, or have to wait until they can then slide us in between other patients.
Anyway…as I realized I was going to be late to meet god, I sped up my pace even more. I guess you could call it a slow sprint. Which then turned into a fast sprint, which then turned into a high speed car chase, had I been a car. What was I nuts? Who runs like that unless you’re in the Olympics competing for a gold medal for all the world to see. Maybe 20 people saw me as they zipped by in their cars. I was like lightning. Ok…maybe not lightning…but my body felt like that. Well…maybe it felt more like it was STRUCK by lightning. And every blood vessel in my entire being felt like it was ready to burst. With my head throbbing and my heart pounding out of my chest, I almost ran right into the reception desk because I couldn’t slow down in time.

So there I was, huffing and puffing. I could barely talk. I had to sign in but my hand was shaking so badly she couldn’t read my writing.

“Hi……..I’m…..Jaime………I’m…here…to...see…Dr….God.”  I then had to fill out enough forms to fill the Annals of Internal Medicine. I must’ve looked like hell because all the nurses asked if I was ok, and one brought out water to me, while I sat ‘Waiting for Godot’.  I was sweaty and beet red, still struggling to breathe when they brought me into the examining room. Good thing I had to wait another 10 minutes. It gave me time to get my composure and my heart rate and blood pressure down, until HE walked in. Of course the most gorgeous man on earth had to be my doctor. There went my ‘resting’ heart rate. I hate having great looking doctors because who wants to have Dr. Gorgeous God examine you and see what’s really under those clothes? I’d rather have him examine me at home, in the dark…with mood lighting, and music playing and…oh, sorry. I tend to get carried away at times with my fantasies.  Anyway…looking my best, we had our meeting of the mind and body and all was good. At least I thought all was good.
And then………..I realized………………I still had to get back home.
Stretcher please!!