My Old Friend Montezuma Stopped By, and He Brought His Cousin, Ralph

happy superfriends birthdayThis year’s birthday really, really sucked ass.  Then again, I should refrain from any toilet-related verbage for awhile, probably.
I appreciate the birthday wishes everyone sent me Tuesday even though I didn’t reply to anyone on Facebook or anywhere else.  I wasn’t being rude intentionally.  I was home in bed and quite miserable- and not because I wanted to be.
Monday, when I’d already arranged (of course) to take the day off for Sophia’s birthday and then to take Tuesday off for my own, I got to spend both days in the company of Montezuma and his cousin Ralph.  They are not nice houseguests.
diarrhea tsunamiNot my idea of a good time.  Ever.
Steve-o and I left early Monday morning with Sophie to go to Easton so she could do Build-a-Bear for her birthday.  We got through the Build-a-Bear (she picked the Hello Kitty- and her clothes) and then I got deathly ill.
I’m just glad I knew where the ladies’ was at Easton, and that I could trot fast enough to get there in time to avoid a most embarrassing and aesthetically unpleasant scene.  Not too many people are “down with the fountain of brown.” Steve-o had to take me home and I spent the rest of the day Monday and most of the day Tuesday between bed and…well, you know where.
overflowI had better aim than that, thankfully, but yeah, it was about that bad.
It was my typical bad luck to schedule days off only to be sick, but then I thought at least, 1. I had taken vacation time already anyway, and 2. getting sick while on vacation saved me the dreaded necessity of calling off, which I won’t do, unless, of course, I am physically unable to remain vertical.
Tuesday night, once I did manage to keep down some saltine crackers and Diet 7UP, I felt a little bit up to reading the pages on fasting in our Lenten study book from church.  I know my sort of imposed fasting of late isn’t exactly what I’d call a spiritual discipline, at least not when the cause for one’s fast is: Don’t eat – unless you want to visit Cousin Ralph.  Even so, I did not fail to see the irony in reading about fasting when all I’d had to eat in the past 24 hours was a few saltine crackers.  Being hungry sucks.  It sucks even worse when you know that anything you think you’re going to put down is going to come right back up.
throw_upNot one of my favorite activities.  It’s right down there with standing in line at the BMV.
I know as a diabetic, fasting from food, in the traditional sense of a fast, is Not a Good Idea, especially when my blood sugar was 60 Tuesday morning (don’t worry, it was 110 yesterday morning and 118 this morning, which is acceptable, so today at least, I’m staying vertical.) For the past few days, though, in spite of being somewhat vertical yesterday and today, I’ve felt like a freeze-dried dog turd.
crappy-mug
However, even in my non-voluntary fast, I learned a few important things.  One is the ever present lesson that my physical body and stamina are quite limited.  Lately I had been burning the candle at both ends as well as in the middle, and it caught up with me.  Sometimes these annoying (though thankfully, usually brief and not deadly in the long term) ailments give one just enough time to stop and rest and realize that there’s too much noise and too much running around and various crud going on.  Saturday I was between Columbus and Marion.  Sunday I was between Columbus and Lancaster and then back to Marion. Monday I’d gone back from Marion to Columbus after staying in my parents’ guest room, being kept up all night by the spooky sounds of the trains.
train2
It’s a backwater, but even in Marion the trains are diesel-electrics, not like the cool steam engine pictured above.
If you live there, you get used to the trains, but when you don’t live there, the incessant noise of the trains is creepy, probably like the airport would be for people who don’t live less than a mile from Port Columbus.
diesel-electricThis is a diesel-electric locomotive engine- the ones that are in use today- constantly hauling thousands of coal cars back and forth across central Ohio.
The bottom line was I was running too much, and trying to cram 10# of fertilizer into a 5# bag.  That’s sort of normal for me, only the older I get I have less and less tolerance for it.  If my body and mind don’t get the rest and recharging they think they need, sometimes they take it by force. Sometimes they hire Monte and Ralph to do the job.
I was forced to step back and realize that no, I wasn’t going to be able to get all the laundry done.  I was going to have to ask Jerry to go get catfood (and hope and pray that the catfood bags still have pictures of cats on the front so he doesn’t come home with hog feed or something.) I wasn’t going to get to spend a day traipsing about Easton with my son and granddaughter.  I was more than aware that if I wasn’t able to get myself vertical and drag myself out the door that calling off Wednesday would have been a distinct possibility (and maybe should have been…)
catfood
Jerry: no, it’s not cat meat in the bag, it’s what you feed the cats.  Just so I’m clear.
It’s hard to take a hiatus from our own demands, (even if we try to plan for it) but it’s even harder to take a hiatus from the demands of others.
I think I understand what John Lennon meant about sitting and watching the wheels go ’round and ’round.  I’d like to get off the merry-go-round from time to time, but it seems the only time I get that opportunity is when my grip on the merry-go-round gets overwhelmed by the centrifugal force of the world spinning.  I let go, and I fall off of it.  Unlike John Lennon, I don’t have the luxury of staying off the bloody thing for too long, but I need to do it more often, and before I have to be pried off of it by illness, weakness and sometimes, even, my own pride.
There is an even more profound lesson to be found in all of this.  All of our provision comes from God.  Apart from Him I am not able to do anything.  It’s not my strength we’re talking about, but His. Sometimes I need times like this to be reminded that it’s not about my plans or what I’ve set out to do.   Sometimes God simply says: “Sit down and shut up and rest for once. You have no power at all save for Me.”  It’s a necessary and humbling reminder.
Monte and Ralph have beaten me up pretty good over the past couple of days.  I will need to change the cat boxes tonight though, because Jerry will NOT do that.  I took him way out of his comfort zone by asking him to unload the dryer and hang up his clothes. 🙂
 Explosive-DiarrheaThen again, maybe not.

2001 Redux, Things I Do Not Wish to Repeat, the Good, the Bad and the Indifferent

I finally decided (Thursday) to call my Dr.s office about my heart palpitations and other funkiness and I got the answer that I pretty much assumed I would get.

Hang up, call 911 and let the squad take you to the ER.

Yay.  But I did follow instructions, mostly because I knew they weren’t just going to set me up to see a cardiologist in a week or two.  They wanted me to get that cardiac workup one way or another that I’d been denying I needed to get and that I’d put off for a few years.

The plus side of the fun 5 mile ride in the squad was the view.  Hate to admit it, but the one paramedic was maybe early 30s or so, and very easy on the eyes.  Shame on me for noticing, but I’m not dead yet.  Maybe I should have just told them that since I could still ascertain that the one guy was rather hot even while he’s putting electrodes all over me and getting an IV started in my arm, that it would be cool to just let me out.  However, I don’t think they would be allowed to just drop me off somewhere along I270, no matter how awkward it was that I was thinking some rather randy thoughts.

Yes, I watched the Emergency! TV reruns all through the 80s.  They were hot, except for the 80’s hair, which was considered hot then too.

When I get to the hospital (which was the one hospital where I really didn’t want to go, but they have to take you to the closest one that has room) then I get put in one of those exam rooms and get questioned as to what’s been going on and how long, etc.  Another interesting aside- in the ER all the nurses and techs I encountered were young men.  How distracting, but I’m not complaining.  I feel sorry for them for being forced to have to view my old saggy chest to wire me up.  I’m sure they’ve seen worse and they’re not there for the view, but still.

What was really scary (and why I wanted to go to a different hospital, because this one is notorious for its poor record keeping) was that as I was being put in the ER bay one of the techs looks at the computer and says, “Hi, Mildred, how’s your diarrhea?”

Dahlink, I thought you would never ask!

Mildred, apparently was the woman who was just being released from that room before I was assigned to it.  I heard the physician assistant almost screaming at this poor lady who must have been at least 95, to drink lots of water and have her son stop at the CVS to get her some Imodium, before they wheeled her out.  I looked over and asked the guy if I looked like a “Mildred,” to which I got a sort of puzzled look, then he asked me my name and what they brought me in for.  I didn’t bother to tell him that “Mildred” was old enough to be my grandmother, and I know full well what to do about the shits without going to the ER, but when you’re as old as that lady was even a good case of the shits can kill you.

So I sit and stew for about half an hour, when Jerry finally showed up (doing God knows what with my car) and, after a few phone calls and not a little bit of under the breath profanity, the nurses were finally able to find my information in the computer.  They were fortunate enough to catch some of the palpitation incidents on the monitor, which was enough for the physician assistant (who was the only woman I saw working in the ER) to decide to confer with her boss about admitting me for the night.   Just don’t call me Mildred or ask me about my diarrhea and we will get along OK.

In the meanwhile I’m just lying back on the cot while they wait to put me in a room.  Then another squad brings a lady in from a nursing home who won’t stop screaming.  After awhile they wheel her off and it gets a bit quiet.  Then the transport guy shows up to take me upstairs.  I’d been under the impression I’d end up in one of the cardiac observation rooms which are private, but all those rooms were full, so I end up sharing a room with the howler monkey from the ER.   Wonderful.  To make it worse from the time the squad brought me in- 3:30- until I landed in the room- 10:30- I’d had absolutely nothing to eat.  One of the aides was kind enough to dig me up a sandwich, and the nurse was finally able to find and give me my evening meds so I thought I could go to sleep.

Then Howler Monkey Woman’s sedation must have worn off because she kept setting off the bed alarm, and crapping the bed, so that the nurses and aides were over there hosing her down half the night.  The plus side of this is at least I had the toilet all to myself.  I might have slept an hour or two but I doubt it.

Yesterday morning (Friday) I finally got to talk to the cardiologist, who decided to do both a stress test and an echocardiogram to rule out any really serious stuff since I’d not had a heart attack but I wasn’t exactly “normal” either.  Suffice to say that the chemical stress test is not a pleasant experience and neither is the sort of reverse rotisserie machine they take pictures of you with. I was so glad to get out of there last night I immediately took a shower and went to bed.  It’s better to be home.

The conclusion so far?  I got referred to a pulmonologist for a sleep study as the cardiologist seems to think that my irregular heart rhythm and palpitations are caused by sleep apnea.

To me it sounds like 2001 all over again.  At least I’m not dead yet.  But I already know I don’t sleep for shit.  What I didn’t know is that not sleeping for shit can eventually kill you, which is sort of sad in a way.