You’re Up Next, After the Dead Dude: a Medical History Out of Monty Python

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In the course of my life I have sort of drawn the short straw as far as physical robustness goes.  I’ve had bronchitis and pneumonia so many times I’ve lost count.  I’ve had sinus infections from hell- even after sinus surgery.  I got rheumatic fever from an untreated case of strep throat when I was ten years old which has led to countless joint sprains and strains.  Any time an orthopedist looks at any x-ray of mine, they anticipate the repeat business.  They see dollar signs and drool.   I’ve had ongoing female issues ever since the illustrious birth of the POMC – severe pelvic pain and other unmentionable nasties- that culminated in a hysterectomy almost four years ago (which hindsight being 20/20 I wish had been done right along with the Childbirth From Hell and saved me the years of hassle.)

To add to the fun, I’m also diabetic.  Yay.

lantussolostar-sanofi

One of the several surgeries I’ve had was memorable for the humor involved.  About 13 years ago I had a funky, mole-like growth on the side of my head about the size of a dime.  I really didn’t care about it much because my hair covered it up nicely, but I made the mistake of mentioning it at a Dr.’s appointment when he asked me if I had any funky skin issues.

Of course, that meant a trip to a dermatologist and then a plastic surgeon, because said funky growth was right on top of an important facial nerve.  If it caused a problem (i.e. if it was melanoma or some other horrible cancer thing like that) or even if it was removed incorrectly, I’d end up drooling out the side of my mouth, and my speech would be incoherent.  Forever.  Oh, what fun to be a drooling imbecile, should this guy cut through the wrong thing- but should it be melanoma- well, let’s take the risk and get rid of that.

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The good news is that the plastic surgeon was comfortable doing this surgery with a local anesthetic (oh, dammit, Lidocaine burns…) so they set me up at one of those outpatient surgical centers where people go to have stuff done that would have been done in the primary care Dr.’s office back in the day, but that they’re too afraid of lawsuits to do in the office now.

I got to the center about 15 minutes early.  I was supposed to have this done at 7:30 AM, be done before 9, and back to work in the afternoon.

One really sucky thing about even an outpatient, local-anesthetic surgery is they won’t let you eat a damned thing for hours and hours ahead of time, because they’re afraid you’ll ralph on them.  By 1:30 (PM)  I was getting pretty pissy from not eating, and highly annoyed from enduring the barrage of torrid daytime TV garbage cranked up in the surgical waiting room.  I had already finished both my word-find and my crossword books, and was actually thinking about reading the three year old copies of such lovely periodicals as Urology Digest, Hemorrhoid Monthly and Sports Illustrated.  I was so perturbed that I almost didn’t notice all the activity going in and out of one of the operating rooms.

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There is boredom, and there is waiting room boredom.  It’s excruciating.

Apparently the guy who was on my surgeon’s schedule ahead of me dropped dead on the operating table while having some sort of minor surgery, like an ingrown toenail removal or something.  Only he took his time dropping dead, because they had the freaking trauma team running in and out of there for about three hours.

At 2PM the surgeon finally comes out to get me, and frankly, I’m somewhat rattled by that time.  I hadn’t eaten all day (or the night before) and I was not in a very nice mood.  He asks me if I want to go ahead and get it done. I told him hell yes, because I had only taken one day off work, and knowing the ass-clown paper pushers at that hospital I’d be 90 years old before they would see fit to schedule me in again.

 

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So I get wheeled in and the surgeon starts in with the Lidocaine- with what I thought was a bit of unnecessary roughness, but I figured I better not comment because I know what happened to the last guy.  As my head is burning from all the Lidocaine shots, he comments,

“Just don’t die on me like the last guy.  It sort of makes me look bad when my patients drop dead.”

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Five minutes later the funky growth was on its way to pathology, and I had about 8 stitches in the side of my head.   In spite of his roughness with injecting all that Lidocaine, the actual repair was done very neatly, and I’m happy to report he left me vocally articulate and drool-free.

Thankfully whatever the funky growth was, it never came back, and it wasn’t melanoma or anything else that would have killed me. It probably could have stayed there forever and not been any kind of big deal- but- Murphy’s Law being what it is, if I’d left it there it would have turned into something nasty.

bring out your dead

What scares me is that the way that the healthcare industry is going (and especially with the government gravy train and the abominable, evil Obama being involved in it) is that people like me with chronic conditions are going to be hurried along to die.  Part of me sort of goes along with that- and there is a time when medical intervention is pretty much pointless, but part of me wonders why it’s so hard to get just basic, necessary care.  Every time you go to a doctor they want to send you for this or that test or this or that specialist or this or that study, when they know that a.) nothing you have can really be cured, just managed somewhat, and b.) you don’t need to see 14 different specialists for every stupid basic problem that a primary care Dr. should be able to (and allowed to) treat.  The entire medical industry is geared toward how much money they can shovel in.  The doctors are more afraid of lawsuits than anything, and they can’t really afford to care much about actually getting people better.  They care more about not getting sued, and I can’t blame them.

How about tort reform?  Get rid of the bullshit lawsuits, and let doctors do what they’ve been trained to do.  Unfortunately that would make too much sense and save too much money, so nobody’s going to do anything to derail the gravy train.

If I could I’d go to the dogs’ vet.  She went to school longer and has a lot more actual sense than a lot of medical doctors, and she charges a whole hell of a lot less.

Dog Doo, Tea Bagging, Dingbats and Family Annoyances

only chick

I’ve never been much for political correctness, but my boobs aren’t speaking to you, bubba.

I’ve always had a sort of loathing for meetings/seminars/workshops in which the facilitator requires the participants to wear name tags.  At least a name tag like this could have served a practical purpose in a few of those sort of events.  I appreciate my anonymity, and hide behind it whenever I can.   I never had the choice of a cute HK tag to wear, even as the only chick at most of the automotive functions (there still aren’t very many female parts or service managers in car dealerships) I’ve attended.

I really don’t give two shits in a high wind if some stranger from Moose Dick, Alaska, who I will never see again, remembers my boobs, or my name.  I’d rather he forget them both.  Unless he’s hot, and there are exactly -0- hot guys on the planet who have ever bothered to drool on my shirt.

I’ve considered it a plus when the boob-oglers had teeth and hair.

Of course now that I’m older, the kinds of guys who would be ogling my cleavage (providing their vision is still good enough) have gotten even more scary than they used to be.

Some older guys are hot.  Unfortunately they were hot when they were younger too, and they ignored me then, too.  I was a kegger when I was 21, and that has not improved with age.  I am not one of the beautiful people, and usually that doesn’t bother me much.

tbagI guess if you’re that dumb, you deserve to be removed from the gene pool.

Today I’m sounding pretty misandrist (which is unusual for me, because I generally like men and get along better with them than with other women) and I’m sure it has to do with Jerry.  He did go and work out last night which I am proud of him for.  I just hope he isn’t too disheartened to find out that he can’t keep up with me.  I can bench press more than he can.  But in all fairness I quit smoking over 10 years ago, I don’t drink, and I’ve been working out already pretty consistently for the past 3 years.  He’s 12 years older than me, still smokes like a freight train, considers beer a food group, and lifts weights 12 ounces at a time.  That mindset apparently doesn’t do jack for your upper body strength.

Jerry can be a horrible dingbat at times and he displayed that today.  I really hate any family member calling me at work unless it’s something important.  Usually it’s dumb shit that can wait.  Unless someone is in the hospital or dead, or by some Miracle of God I’ve come into some serious money, I really don’t want to hear about it.  I have to talk to enough people and hear about enough problems while I’m at work without listening to anyone’s tirade about this that or the other thing that I can’t remedy until later anyway.  Jerry calls me with stupid shit (pun intended) such as “Sheena had the shits all over the floor.”

poopYes, Jerry, clean it up!  With your bare hands!  Why not?

So then I get to dread cleaning up congealed diarrheal dog shit for all the rest of the day.  Thanks, Jerry, for being the shit monitor.  How about YOU cleaning it up every once in awhile?  Jerry’s really good about pointing out the (blessedly rare) dog or cat accidents, but then he claims that “I can’t clean it up, because I’ll puke.”  Granted, I have a very limited sense of smell, but I can see, and I can feel, and I can be weird about germs, so what makes you think cleaning up shit is less gross for me, Captain Oblivious?

Mom is just as bad. She will call me with some (usually) imagined crisis (usually involving Steve-o, Sophie, or one of my nephews)  that I can’t do a damned thing about, only to find out later that she was making yet another mountain out of another molehill.  Steve-o is 21.  If he decides he wants to hang out with his buddies, or whatever, it’s not a Federal case.  As far as how he is raising his daughter, he and her mother seem to be doing a good job. Barring neglect or abuse, I will not intervene with their parenting. I had a hell of enough time raising my own offspring to be butting in on how others raise theirs.

happy yr home

As far as parenting my nephews, apparently she doesn’t have the courage to approach my sisters every time she thinks they’ve stepped outside their bounds.  In reality, my sisters are much stricter with my nephews than I ever was with Steve-o.  Unless they are doing illegal things or egregiously immoral things, it is none of my business and my sisters are responsible for correcting them anyway.

“Mother” does not start with “s.”  She is his grandmother, but the no-smother clause works with grandparents as well.   She might be Catholic, but, Steve-o’s not.  (See the video clip from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life on Protestantism which is pretty funny.) Though I may not approve of fornication, I also know that a.) he’s going to, and b.) if he’s going to, using a rubber is a pretty good idea.  He already has one offspring that we know about.

old-lady-with-naughty-ooooooh-look“Oooh, what are you doing with condoms!”

I only wish Jerry had been calling to bitch about something as trivial as dog shit.  Apparently he failed to understand what I meant, on numerous occasions, when I said I was cancelling a very expensive automatic recurring withdrawal from my checking account (i.e. that I could no longer pay for his life insurance, etc. that had been coming out of my checking account, and that he swore up and down, “yeah, I’ll pay you for it” but never did.)  Apparently (oh lucky freaking me) dumb-ass answered the home phone when he was home at lunch, which is only really there for phone solicitors and other people I don’t want to talk to.  So the insurance people were wondering why we had cancelled, etc. (and those people are annoying as shit when they call because they get a spiff on every policy they convince you not to cancel) so, not remembering I said I was cancelling the EFT, he proceeded to call me at work and give me a nasty little tirade about it.

pretendidiotJust because I’m used to irrational tirades doesn’t mean I enjoy them.

Joy.

I know I shouldn’t let him take financial advantage of me, (and I’m done with subsidizing these ridiculously overpriced insurance policies) but I will have hell to pay for it.  I’m not looking forward to that at all.

My Playlists are Awesome, and Planned Euthanasia Really Sounds Sucky- When You’re Old

Some people (like me) absolutely adore it, the rest of the world (even some Journey fans) absolutely hates it, but Dream, After Dream isn’t your typical rock album.

I was thinking about it this morning, what an awesome collection I have of music that doesn’t suck on MP3.  Most music (with a few notable exceptions) written after 1985 sucks major ass.  That’s OK because most of the good stuff is readily available on MP3 if you know where to look (Amazon…), which means no farting about with vinyl records, cassette tapes or even CDs.

This morning started off with Don McLean’s “American Pie,” “A Girl Like You,” by the Smithereens, the amazing live version of Journey’s “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin'” from the Greatest Hits Live album, and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” by Night Ranger.  I’ve got the good stuff.  I  have some choice rarities- all on MP3- such as Journey’s Dream, After Dream, Journey, Look Into the Future, and Next, and Gregg Rolie’s album simply titled Gregg Rolie, (these are sort of obscure) as well as some more recognizable 70’s and 80’s fare such as REO Speedwagon’s Hi InFidelity, Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell, and Rush’s 2112. 

The album art was a lot more interesting when record companies had all that surface area to work with and actual artists designing the covers.  I must say Journey’s Departure album is the greatest cover art ever:

Multi-colored motifs are not just for gay pride.  Remember that.

I have to say my favorite pic of Steve Perry on a Journey album cover is the one from Evolution:

It was 1979.  Steve Perry was wearing Spandex.  All  was pretty much right with the world.

It disturbs me at times just how archaic I am becoming.  It’s pretty bad when half the population can’t get most of my reference points.  I was thinking about the whole idea of how our society views older people.  I’m not a total fossil yet- at 43 I have not quite made it to the “ancient” category, but I’ve lived a year longer than Elvis.   (If you don’t know who Elvis was, click on the previous link.)  Elvis died in 1977.  I remember that.  A lot of my friends’ mothers were brought to tears over that one.  I wasn’t really much of an Elvis fan (I was only 8) so I wasn’t as devastated by his death as some other people were.  Of course, there are those who speculate that Elvis is still alive- but then Jimmy Hoffa might be alive somewhere too.

In 1975 there was a movie released called Logan’s RunI am generally not a fan of science fiction, (in fact, normally I rather loathe the genre) but I remember watching this movie back in the 80’s and thinking that it wouldn’t be so bad to be spared the indignity of living past age 30 and being “old.”  From today’s perspective (and having passed that milestone over a decade ago) that’s some scary shit.

Guess what?  Your time’s expired!

Humans have a little something called a self-preservation instinct, and it’s a pretty intense drive.  If not for this instinct, suicide would probably be so rampant that nobody would make it past puberty.  All those people who tell you that “man, if I had to live like that just shoot me,” have a totally different perspective after the open heart surgery or colonoscopy or course of chemo.  People hang on just as tenaciously- if not more so- to life at age 80 with a laundry list of catastrophic health issues than do healthy young people.  They have looked death in the face and it scares the hell out of them.

 Yeah, you’re old, but just not quite ready to die right now.

In Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, we get to see a wonderful example of the self-preservation instinct in action.   “I don’t want to go on the cart!”  No shit.  Nobody does, and I don’t care if you’re 8 or 80.

Steve-o is always telling me if he had to give himself shots he would rather die.  Yeah, right. He might say that now but if it’s a choice between shots or death, I’m pretty sure he will acclimate himself to the shots.  I’m diabetic and on insulin.  Believe me, I am the first one to go and fill that insulin script.  Needles?  Who gives a royal hang?  Once you get used to giving yourself the shots- which really doesn’t take long- it’s just something you do, like brushing your teeth or putting on shoes.

Get used to it, you wuss.  I can think of much worse things- like being subjected to bad country music at 11 PM.

Of course, because I’m diabetic and have a nice little list of chronic illnesses I’ll probably be targeted for Obama’s death list sooner or later.  I can see it now: This one is just too expensive to maintain.  What scares me about the whole idea of rationed health care is that necessarily some people are going to simply be denied the treatments and medications they need to live.  As the program costs more and more,  fewer people will be deemed “sustainable,”  and those with expensive chronic illnesses will be the first to be assigned to die- first by neglect (hell, just make sure the diabetics can’t afford their insulin!) and eventually by force.  Maybe I’m being paranoid, (and I should never watch science fiction anyway) but I see Logan’s Run as an eventuality should socialism be played out to its objectives.

On the bright side, the old people have all the money, at least right now.  As the population ages, perhaps we won’t have such a negative view of the elderly and/or infirm.  Hell, we are almost hip. Notice that Lawrence Welk is not included in my playlists.  I’m not that ancient- yet.

Lawrence Welk, not so much.

But Ozzy’s cool.

Whistling as the Hearse Goes By, and Morbid Humor

The only thing worse than a monster truck hearse would have to be the mini-van-as-hearse which sort of strikes me as being cheap.  I really don’t want to make my last trip in a modified Grand Caravan.

Something about this van just screams, “LAME!”   Please don’t take me on my first leg of my journey to the Great Beyond in a Mom van. Especially a Grand Caravan- a vehicle noted for having a top speed of 45MPH going downhill in a windstorm.  If that’s how life after death starts out, then I can envision heaven not as a mansion with many rooms, but as the Motel 6.  I know they leave the light on for you, but I was sort of hoping eternity might prove to be a bit more exciting than free HBO and a continental breakfast.    If I were into pomp and circumstance surrounding funerals- and I doubt if the two or three people who make it to my funeral will really care- but if I were there to enjoy the festivities, I’d want a really classy hearse, and nothing says classy quite like the old Caddys:

That’s my idea of a hearse. One of those would have been great for transporting band equipment back in the day too, but a ’70 Caddy like the one pictured above would have been equipped with either a 472 or 500 cubic inch V8 engine. That would be either 7.7 or 8.2 liters, if you think about engine displacement in liters like I do.  In the world of imports engine displacement is always measured in liters, and automotive (even the domestics, since about 1980 or so) uses metric measurements in general, so you get used to it.  I can see why. It’s sort of lame to think the displacement of your car’s engine is 92 cubic inches, when 1.5 liters sounds better in a  strange sort of way.   The old Caddy with either of those behemoth V8s (and a horrendously inefficient four barrel carburetor- no fuel injection back then!) would have sucked up tons of gasoline, on top of being rather pricey to maintain.  It would have looked awesome though.

Then again, since I’ve had a lot of exposure to things automotive, it would stand to reason I would want to be a bit on the dramatic/traditional side.

There are some things I simply can’t change, so I can either get my undies in a bunch about them, or find the humor in them.  The challenge to find the humor in the things that perplex has proven to be both fun and educational.

The Brits (God love them, because they speak English and have worse teeth than American rednecks, which is amazing in a weird sort of way in and of itself) have elevated morbid humor to an art form.  Benny Hill was known for his irreverent treatment of everything from classic literature (his spoof on Gone With the Wind is hilarious) to sex and death.  Monty Python dealt with death throughout The Meaning of Life and in the classic spot in The Quest for the Holy GrailAmericans can do a good job at morbid humor too, (the Kentucky Fried Movie’s spoof United Appeal for the Dead is simply classic) though there’s something super silly about the way the Brits do it.

I don’t know why I have seem to have found a strange comfort surrounding the subject of death.  I remember being terrified at Girl Scout camp (now there’s an adventure- sleeping in tents and using outhouses) when we went to an old graveyard to do grave rubbings with sheets of paper and crayons.  Today I would find the old tombstones fascinating, but not then.  Most of the girls were more creeped out by the potential to encounter bugs and snakes.  I wasn’t fond of  bugs or snakes either, (especially flying insects) but at that time just the idea of  being that close to dead people really creeped me out. 

Perhaps the closer we get to the grave, the more we get comfortable with the inevitability of death.

Just yesterday someone was calling looking for a recently deceased co-worker.  I didn’t talk to the person but I did overhear the conversation.  “The person who handles that is not available at the moment,” was the response.  Hell, be honest about it.  He’s out permanently. It’s true he’s not available, but the person who did talk to the inquirer should have let him know that it’s not just a matter of so-and-so being on vacation or out of the office for a bit.

It’s not the end.  Yet.