Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Yeah. That's about right.

There is going to be a theme on many of my blog posts - horrifying, hysterical hospital and/or doctor stories.

I have the most ABSURD luck when it comes to healthcare.

What's that? You don't believe me? Well, sit back and let's start to unpack my bold claim, shall we?

(Oh, and if you are easily embarrassed you might want to come back later - I have no shame. Seriously. The main character of this story is my hoo-ha.)

Some background: I have had three major surgeries, a bajillion diagnostic tests, a parade of odd diagnoses, etc. Nothing serious, just a lot of annoyances.

One of said diagnostic tests involved putting a camera in the artery (vein? I honestly don't know which one) at my groin and pushing it down my leg to look at something. Again, I don't really know what they were actually doing. I really need to start reading consent forms more closely...

What I DO know is that there is nothing quite as embarrassing as being 16 years old and contemplating the idea of a herd of people crowding around your crotch with a giant knife and a video camera. Thus, on the day of the procedure I was a LEETLE nervous.

::twinkly memory music:: (please feel free to imagine me staring vacantly into space)

I'm laying in the uncomfortable bed waiting, clutching the sheet up under my chin, and a nurse walks in and tells me she's here to help me get ready.

Oh, good. I need someone to hold my hand and make sure I feel ready for this. Phew.

Huh. I wonder what's that in her hand. It kind of looks like the razor my mom uses to cut my dad's hair, but ten times bigger.

Why is she grabbing my sheet? HEY, I WAS CLUTCHING THAT.

I'm paralyzed by horror. She yanks up my paper gown and asks me to lift my leg out of the way.

... out of the way of what? Oh. My. Gosh. She's shaving me like a poodle. What is happening? How did I end up here? Is this really in her job description?

I'm laying on the bed with my leg hiked up and the nurse is preparing the surgical site by removing the hair, standard procedure. EXCEPT THAT THE SURGICAL AREA IS MY LADY BITS.

Maybe if I don't move this isn't actually happening. Life doesn't get worse than this. I have no where to go but up.

Oh hey, it's my doctor. And a herd of medical students. Huh. I was wrong. This is worse.

I can't move. I don't even blink. No one is paying attention to me, which is unfortunate because I'm dying. Of humiliation.

The nurse looks at me, holding the world's largest razor and says in front of an audience of ten adult men, "would you like me to do the other side?"


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"You would not get out alive." Yes Bear, I'm aware of that.

Facts about John:
1. He’s an eagle scout.
2. He’s inherently athletic.
3. He’s a survivor type – he’d be the Rick in our zombie apocalypse camp.

Facts about Anna:
I’m a brownie reject (I was only a girl scout because my friends were).
I’m inherently dramatic.
I’m a run and scream and get eaten by zombies type – I’d be the Amy in our camp (you probably don’t remember her. She’s dead).

Keep these facts in mind as we discuss the following scenario.

John and I were watching Get Out Alive, which is the new Bear Grylls reality show. It has pairs of people competing for half a million dollars by going through ridiculous survival scenarios and skill tests. Some highlights of the episode we watched: they forded a glacial river (don’t worry their oxen didn’t die), bush whacked through a jungle, carved and ate a deer, drank their own pee mixed with muddy water, ate a giant fish eye, and other everyday survival tasks.

It was horrifying. I watched the whole thing slack-jawed and wide-eyed. John watched the whole thing excitedly, adding how he’d do things differently or giving them props when they did something smart. I had a sinking suspicion that he was envisioning us on this show that might as well be called, “Everything on the Planet That Anna Could Never, Ever Do.”

I finally said to him, “you do realize that I wouldn’t even survive the helicopter ride?” His response was something along the lines of, “oh no, we’d be fine, I’d help you.” Cue more bug-eyed staring.

Let’s exam this shall we.

What John would bring to the team:
1. Ability to start fire, build shelters, find food, purify water.
2. A can-do attitude and outside the box thinking.
3. General Bear Grylls like awesomeness.

What Anna would bring to the team:
1. A rousing rendition of “Welcome to the Jungle” sung off-key and with gusto.
2.The ability to state what everyone else is thinking but won’t say because they want to seem tough. For example:
“I don’t even know how I can get my pee in the bottle, let alone drink it.”
“Bear, why are you okay with us dying?”
"No, absolutely not.”

Needless to say, John needs someone else to be his buddy to take on the wild. We are now accepting applications.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Osie the Oompii

All Oompiis are born looking similar. They are lean, four-legged creatures with tightly fitting shells around their torsos. It isn’t long after an Oompii is born that their shells start to get damaged. Most adult Oompiis work all day to earn paint to cover up the scars and dents on their shells. All Oompiis know that a beautiful shell is the only way to be happy and to earn the favor of Papa Oompii, the village elder.

Osie was a happy Oompii who worked hard for her paints. She worked as a carrier, moving rocks down to the river, where they were used to build a bridge. She enjoyed carrying the rocks. She liked being outside and spending time with other Oompiis, it was the perfect job for her. The problem was that Osie always carried too much. She would haul rocks that were too big for her, damaging her shell, in an effort to earn more paint. She desperately wanted to make her shell beautiful, because she wanted to be one of Papa Oompii’s favorites.

Osie often saw Papa Oompii from afar by the river, but would make sure that he didn’t get too close because she did not want him to see her ugly shell. As he would try to walk closer to her, she would yell towards him that she would come see him later after she had done some more work. He would always look sadly at her when she said that, and she knew it was because she wasn’t earning her paint fast enough.  

One morning Osie realized she was close to earning a soft pink color that would make her shell perfect. As she was gathering up rocks to carry down to the river she got more than she ever had before, in the hopes of earning the pink that very day. Straining as hard as she could, she started to move the load of rocks.

Suddenly, a horrible cracking sound surrounded her and she realized she had shattered her shell. She stood staring in shock at the broken pieces of all her hard work surrounding her. She sat back in surprise and started to cry. She couldn’t believe it. She would never be able to impress Papa Oompii now. She would never be a favorite. She couldn’t even do the job she loved anymore. Everything had gone so wrong.

“What happened here?” Osie looked up, startled, and saw Papa Oompii looking down at her.

“I was trying so hard to earn paints so that I could paint my shell for you,” Osie sobbed out, “I just wanted everything to be perfect and now it’s all ruined. I can’t work, I can’t come see you, I can’t do anything.” Osie put her head on the ground, squeezing her eyes shut, and felt the grief welling up in her. It was hard to breath and it felt like everything in her was broken, not just her shell. Everything was destroyed, and now Papa Oompii knew it too.

After a long silence Osie opened her eyes and saw Papa Oompii gathering the pieces of her ugly, shattered shell. His face was twisted in concentration and pain and he was carefully putting her shell back together. Osie could not believe what she was seeing. What magic was this?

As she continued to watch she saw that every break Papa Oompii fixed appeared as a vivid cut on his shell. She had never seen his shell up close before, but saw now that it was covered in scars like the ones that were appearing before her eyes. She cried out as she realized what was happening, “What are you doing? You are ruining your shell! My shell is broken. There’s no point!”  

Papa Oompii looked at her as he continued to work, teeth gritted in pain. “There’s always a point. No shell is beyond my power to fix. It’s always been so sad to me how hard my Oompiis work for useless paint. A shell’s beauty is not in fake color, but in the healed wounds that show the work that has been done by you and done by me. I am able to heal any break, and the beautiful scar is a reminder of my love for you.” Sighing in relief, he handed her back her shell which was now whole again.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Red Letter Day

For the last few weeks I have been bogged down by a sinus infection. The kind of sickness that feels like your eyes are trying to escape your body by sheer force of will and you don’t understand how your body is still producing mucus. I was super foggy during it all, as a side effect of feeling like I had the plague.

Examples of said fogginess:

-          Talking with the doctor after he expressed concern that I had circled ‘shortness of breath’ as one of my symptoms – “Oh no, I meant shortness of breath like, when I walk upstairs I can’t breathe through the snot and it makes me want to rip my own face off. Sorry. I didn’t mean to be alarming with my circling.”

-          Thirty minutes later to the pharmacist – “Yes, I need the medication that will un-inflame my face and that I have to show you my I.D. for so you can make sure I don’t do meth.” (Sudafed was the answer we were looking for).

-          Standing at my car trying to unlock it for ten minutes, only to realize it isn’t my car. The realization came after the actual owner of the car pityingly told me it was hers.

-          Tripping every few steps because walking is apparently one of the hardest things I do all day.

You get the picture. It wasn’t pretty. Luckily, over the last week things have been on the uphill – hizzah! (I figured this blog needs regular hizzahs to keep things interesting). By this weekend I felt back to 100%. So imagine my surprise when all afternoon I was a walking mess.

Examples of said embarrassing events with no excuse whatsoever:

-          I noticed at about three, after John pointed it out to me, that I had spilled tea all down the front of me. I had no recollection of this event at all.

-          At the annual liter sale (where I buy all my shampoo for the whole year in one swoop) – I was holding four bottles of hair care products when the sales lady said I could leave them on the counter. I was hugely relieved because my arms were wicked tired. I then dropped them all on the ground. Apparently, my brain thought “put on counter” meant “LET GO NOW!” We all stared at the bottles and all I could say was, “huh. I have absolutely no explanation for what just happened.”

-          Went to a store to buy a dress for an upcoming wedding and smacked into the wrong side of a sliding glass door. Really hard – I was very committed to walking through that door.

-          And finally, walking back out of the store I decided at the last second to not go through the automatic door again since it had ended poorly for me earlier, whipped around, and slammed into the giant anti-theft screen thingies.

Moral of the story: don’t stand near me. I’ll probably run you over with my car or accidentally tar and feather you.