Category Archives: health

Ouch.

Pain is dark.

It’s quiet and lonely and heavy and it throbs.  It sure can take your breath away. It’s a hard thing to explain to somebody even when they are desperately trying to understand how much it hurts. There is not a lot of sound here.  I can hear the ceiling fan and a random giggle from downstairs that feels good and also a little sad. Even now, I am lying on my side and I’m staring at a picture of my kids, trying to cope with every joint in my body hurting.  I want to scream the F bomb.

Here is my view:

There are some interesting things in this picture..Thor’s unmade side of the bed, Cracker’s lost boot: the reason she had a 34 minute before-school tantrum on Friday morning…Whoop, dere it is!  Found it, you little brat. (That’s OK, mommy loves you.)

I know you want to know about the camera. (Insert 70’s porn music here). TOO BAD!!! No kinky shenanigans.  Just my pals trying to bring music to ME while in confinement…we made a little music video. If you have an extra 14 minutes and 36 seconds just lying around, check it out.  It’s a sweet examination into the compassionate world of friends who will do anything to make you feel better.  But wear your low expectations hat because I was trying to sing sick in bed with a vacuum attached to my belly.  Vacuum belly!!! It’s mission? To suck out Ghostbusters slime grossness out of my wound.   That Vac was a constant companion….I called it “my little friend.” But you have to say it out loud with the Tony Montana Scarface accent. You try it.  Say it:”my little friend.”  Say it again.  “My little friend.” So fun, huh?  That vac went everywhere with me.  It was like carrying around the grossest purse in the world.  But I couldn’t go anywhere for long because of it.  I could only run around in social circles and with gangs that had a lot of outlets handy…here’s the video!

The Sick Sessions with Gritman&Moran
But seriously.  Go back to the above photo and look at that picture of my kids, taken on our favorite beach in Naples.  Omg.  It’s precious to me and I’ll never forget that moment. That picture in itself is an anti-inflammatory for the soul; it’s OxyContin for my heart; it’s a Kleenex, stopping the trail of my tears. I have been staring at it in pain for a over a month. It’s the best gift I’ve ever gotten….a beautiful soul had it blown up for me.  Thank you, my sweet, red-headed friend. 

At this point, I am not really feeling any pain from the surgery. My wound is kind of closing up and I am just weak from being laid up so long. I was able to scrounge my way through a couple of gigs and run a few errands but now I’m back in bed jail. And it’s not even really from the earlier craziness.  It’s due to a medical condition I have had for about 6 years.  Most of the time you would never even know I have it.  It’s called Rheumatoid Disease aka Rheumatoid Arthritis aka RA aka Evil Bitch From Hell. They changed the name from RA to add the word “disease” because it’s a nightmare of an auto-immune disorder. And frankly, the RA powers that be were probably sick of people not understanding it.  Like every time they mentioned that they had rheumatoid arthritis to the person talking to them, the other person would inevitably start complaining about how their knuckles hurt when it rains. Not the same thing. Weather has nothing to do with this.  Here is what it is, deftly illustrated by a select chosen lot of drunk people dancing:

Immune system broken….like going all crazy on itself…like THIS…but instead of flouncy dancing at your joints, it’s punching them…like THIS. Humira, a miracle drug that I shoot in my thigh every week, calms my immune system down so it’s like THIS. You get the idea. Dance like no one’s watching.  (But we are.). (And we’re laughing.)

Th whole mess happened because sometimes when I’m on the drug, my immune system can’t fight anything. So if I get, let’s say a random chest cold or a stupid little bug bite, unlike most people, my body can’t fight it. It’s one of the more rare side effects of the drug, like I think it’s written near the bottom of side effects on the warning label, listed under “spontaneous eyeball bleeding.” It rarely happens, but this is how lucky I am! Weeeeee!!!

The hospital stories are coming next. But I’m grossed out.  I am a person who does not handle anything yucky well at all.  For instance, If you are walking with me on the street and you lean over and you spit, I will throw up.  When I clean a toilet, I do it while I am dry-heaving.  If you have an eye-related incident, you’re going to have to go to somebody else with it. And when my kids spurted any blood throughout their childhoods, I have been known to completely run the other way. There is also a very large unrelated issue with clowns.  So you can imagine how traumatizing it was for me to be in the hospital with a gaping, staph-infected hole in my stomach.  I was never able to even look at it.  But everyone else in the free world sure did!  And I was really good at reading everyone’s face when they were looking at it so I could tell how bad it really was.  I’m nothing if not painfully observant. My husband Thor tried to take pictures of it and I groggily threatened divorce.  A very good friend came to visit me and I was happy to see him until he (1) tried to plan with another visiting friend on how they could get their hands on my morphine and (2)tried to take a picture of my wound and start a public fan Facebook page. I know. Funny but awful.  

So I think tomorrow I will start writing about all those gross things but I just can’t bear to do it today. 

And here we are. I’m banned from Humira for another month and everything hurts. EV-ER-EE-THING. I’m sorry, but I’m whiny.  I have a whole in my stomach the size of the Grand Canyon, medical professionals keep sticking their fingers in it, my family has been through hell, my dream job fired me, I have missed countless gigs so I’m broke as hell and I have sunk so low trying to entertain myself, that I am currently binge-watching The Nanny. Do NOT tell anyone that.

But this is not how I’m going to play this. A pity party is not how I’m going to choose to handle this.  It’s beneath me.  It’s going to go down exactly like this:

I have a great bed. Cable has not been shut off yet. Look at my kids, please. They’re adorbs. My husband Alpha, the best man in the world, would definitely be Knighted by the Queen if we lived in Great Britain. My parents are incredible; all of them. I have this ridiculously fantastic nurse who came to my house and she healed me inside and out and she was so nice, she didn’t even try to tie wood chunks on my ankles and break them so I couldn’t run away. (Great movie) Voice text on my iPad is the BOMB. I have so many incredible friends who are so loving and giving, I could spaz out with love for them. And I get to sing, sing, sing with my homies and I get to sing, sing, sing for people that I love. I have a house, I drive the Blueberry and I live in the best town in the land.  Soon my gaping wound will be gone, “my little friend” The Vac will be returned, cleaned, sanitized and sent off to suck Ghostbusters slime out of some other poor bastard. I will be back on Humira and no one will know that I even have this stupid disease. I will get a new job, have a kick ass summer on Bangs Lake and watch a buttload of Alpha playing lacrosse.  And most importantly, I will always have the memories of the time when I desperately needed a village and the village came running. 

It Takes An Open Wound…

…to get a girl back to blog land.

I have recently been through a life-threatening medical trauma.  But we will get to that in my next installation because I am a big fan of suspense. At my lowest moment, when I didn’t think I could take any more insanity, I stared up at the hospital ceiling and thought, “Jesus.  I need to blog this shit.”

Conveniently enough, that day my family visited me and brought me a bag of get-well goodies.  My favorite things were the roll of Rolos and an adult coloring book.  It sounds kind of pornographic, but it’s not.  It’s not pages filled with nasty bits, if thats what you had in mind.  Yucky on you.  They are filled with grown up and pretty and hard-to-stay-in-the-lines pictures.  I’ve seen these coloring books on The Facebook but I didn’t fully understand the hype.  Omg.  Best invention ever.  So calming…so calming…so calming…

The Wound Journal.


It might have been the continuous IV Morphine and Norco cocktail, but I decided that I needed to color the shit out of this thing and use it as a diary to write the greatest non-fictional novel ever known to man, entitled “The Wound Chronicles”.
Then I realized that it was just too soon. Way too soon to laugh about any of it.  I kept on trying to start talking about it, but much like me not being able to actually LOOK at the wound, I still couldn’t even really tell anybody much about it.  Until yesterday, when I went on an adventure to visit my infectious disease doctor – yes, I have one of those.  Don’t be jelly. 

As I was sitting in the waiting room and I was trying not to touch ANYTHING (seriously, I think I left my arms above the armrests for a full 47 minutes.)  I was side-staring at people, germ profiling them and worrying about how they were going to spread their tse-tse flu or Zika virus tainted cells into my healing wound.  I was being a germist form of a rascist and I was very ashamed.  And then I was worried that they might be grossed out by me, so I started to have a full-blown panic attack.  I began quiet Lamaze breathing.  That made me look weirder.  I totally started upper lip face-sweating.  WHY WAS THE COMPLIMENTARY TV OFF?  This was a torture chamber.  They had to know that an episode of “House Hunter: International” would have calmed all of us freaks down.   I was a shell of a woman.  They finally called my name and I hobbled faster than a turtle to get away from everyone. I am quite sure they were equally glad to get rid of the sweaty, strange woman puffing her breath and leering at all of them with her arms up in the air.

The nurse made me lie down and she removed my dressing.  She didn’t even put anything over it. Exposed naked wound in room 4!  She left me and the gaping hole and all of the whole mess just out there, exposed for the world to see and ripe for a brand new strain of MRSA.  I had to wait way too long for the doctor in that vulnerable state.  As every minute passed, I realized that now my wound was on display to the open air and to the WHOLE PLANET and anyone even walking by the window. I was distraught that I left my phone in my purse so I couldn’t be distracted from the crazed images of invisible flying death germs stealthily dive-bombing directly into my healing cavity.  At this point, I was absolutely sure that I was going to get the conga flu in the hole or rickets or polio and I really, really hoped that it wasn’t going to turn black.  I started to hum the theme to the movie “Tootsie” for absolutely no other reason than that I was coming completely unhinged.

There it was.  That was the Oprah “aha” moment.  It was while I humming “somethings telling me it might be you” that I laughed very loudly at myself and my mental instability and I realized…yep.  It’s time.  It’s time to share the epic story of the wound.

For now, I have to wrap this up because I’m so tired.  I still get weak.  Doing nothing throws me into nappy time.  It’s so totally stupid.  Typing this has put me into a near coma and I’m already practically lying down.  But I look forward to going back to my notes and sharing some crazy wound crap with anyone who came stomach it enough to read it.  My goal is to post one a day but I have no follow-through.  See you tomorrow?  Or in 2019.  My last post on here was from 2012.  I wish me the best of luck. 

One-Armed Wrapping Doesn’t Have To Be Lonely…

I apologize the for low quality of this photo. Perhaps you will forgive me, since I only have ONE WORKING ARM.

I blame Love’s frozen yogurt.  You chilly,swirly bastard.

I was with Cracker yesterday, just leaving an appointment and I saw a sign that had this retro international symbol of awesomeness…

"Open to the public!"

I totally slammed on the breaks and did a U-ey…man, I used to love that stuff!  Where has it been??? The whole Frozen Yogurt Movement!!  It used to be all over the place…wasn’t it?  Am I crazy?  I mean, I think the last time I had one, I was wearing a Bosom Buddies t-shirt.  I kept on telling Cracker it was ice cream, hoping that it wasn’t going to taste like crap.

It was inside of a workout facility for seniors and they were trying to promote the “healthy” vibe in there.   When we walked out, some old lady actually asked Cracker if she just finished working out.  Cracker giggled adorably and said “no”.  And the lady said, in all seriousness, “then you don’t deserve to have that”.  I seriously, seriously almost bitch-slapped her.  Seriously.

So, you remember, you can twist that all up together…two flavors…remember that????  So I got a french vanilla, just for nostalgia-sake, and some sugar free/fat free pepermint.  Holiday party in.my.tummy, ya’ll!

HELLO, SELF, you idiot.  I am allergic to anything NOT PURE.  There is nothing that is pure in a sugar free/fat free yogurt.  Like, what IS IT?  And it kinda tasted like peppermint baby vomit.  But I ate it in defiance.  The whole freaking thing.  I could hear Cracker in the back seat, going “ew” a couple of times, but I think she ate it in defiance, too.  In defiance of what, I am not certain, but has a tenancy to run a little surly.

It took about 30 minutes before I started to feel “THE TWINGE” in my left shoulder.  It can be any joint.  My immune system likes to change it up and leave me guessing.  “THE TWINGE” is quickly followed by the voice in my head saying “Uh oh.  ‘THE TWINGE.’  I will be virtually lame within an hour.”  By the time we finished errands and I am rushing home to teach a lesson, I could barely steer.  On goes the sling.  I really need to bling that thing up.

After dinner, I realize that I have to get my nieces’ gifts in the mail, wrapped, so they can be delivered in time for Christmas.  I annually SUCK at all things having anything to do with Christmas deadlines, but  “As God is my witness…not this year!” she says, holding up a radish to the skies…

Look, she only has one arm, too.

Now, I had my arm in a sling, not because it’s frozen, but because if I move it a cillimeter of a millimeter of an eigth of an inch, shooting daggers of pain whip up my arm, through my shoulder and stab my brain.  So, I just try not to move it.

Thor sweetly offered to help, but he was busy helping Alpha finish the project at the last minute that he had TWO WEEKS TO DO BUT DON’T GET ME STARTED.  Cracker was off somewhere having her Barbie’s kiss and hug ’cause that’s her newest thing and Bambi is running around the house like the quadruped Turkish tribe who walks on all fours.  We are strange, yo.

So I had to wrap all these presents.   Bambi eventually returned to Bipedalism and offered to help.  She actually got really excited and put on Christmas music.  She said, with kind of a maniacal and over-caffeinated look in her eyes, “This is great, you guys, I feel like an only child!!!”  *Sigh*  I love her.

And I was thinking while we were doing it, every crease, every fold, every piece of tape thrown on there and the bow, Lord of the RINGS, the bow…all of it was literally made very slowly, painfully and with a helluva lot of love.  And in the end, with all three of us together, Thor and I agreed on one thing:  a nice wrapping job, done well and with care, is definitely part of the present 😉

And I will NOT be accepting Love’s frozen yogurt gift certs this year, thankyouverymuch.

(And you can only imagine how long it took me to type up this post with only 4 fingers from my right hand.  Love, people; that’s love.)

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And Now For Something Completely Serious…

xray

It has been a long time since I have been inspired to blog.

My hospital stay with pneumonia last week was a catalyst for me jumping back on the wagon here.  Actually, it was my prescription drug-addicted roommate that put me over the edge.

It was bad enough that I struggled to breathe with a viral cement in my chest and my out of control asthma, horrible that I was on (and still am)  8 different medications that prevent me from sleeping.  But I was forced to endure three straight days of her moaning and screaming for her next round of meds. It was something out of a bad dream, to be completely cliche.

With every Shirley McClaine/Terms of Endearment rant she went on, I felt the box of hell that I was trapped in enclosing around me in the little corner of Good Shepard hospital room 342, bed one.  At one very low point, I was was in fact begging the nurses myself to not skip her dose and wake her up because when she would waken, she would already be withdrawing and I could not handle one minute more of the mania.

She was actually in there for a week already before I got there, with a torn rotator cuff.  She fell and her daughter found her.  I don’t know why she fell.  She has a cane propped up near her bed.  I don’t know what it’s for.  She pees in a bed chair an arms length away from my head.  Behind the curtain, of course.  In my mind, I secretly discouraged her from drinking any liquids so I didn’t have to lie there and listen to her spray in a plastic container next to my head.  Just to let you know, she hadn’t had a bowel movement in a week.  She told everyone this.  I was actually quite relieved about that.  And let’s call her Vexx.  I will save you the Google: Vexx means Goddess of Pain.

When they initially wheeled me into the room on my gurney, Vexx looked at me and said, “What kinda shit is this?  They told me my new roommate was gunna be a guy.”

Charming.

Fantastic.

Vexx sadly also suffers from internal lupus, fibromyalgia and side effects of diabetes.  Although, one of the many annoyed and perplexed doctors who rotated in and out of our room insisted that she was borderline diabetes and does not need to be on a special diet.  And then she would cry.  Because I think she wanted as many ailments as possible that might qualify her for an extra narco or V.

It is no wonder she is on a lot of medication.  It is NOT her fault that she has a drug addiction.  She is in pain and she needs relief and sadly, the body develops an intolerance, therefore the need for an bigger dosage.  I think pain pill addiction is the saddest because it comes out of a place where you are in physical pain and you need help managing it.  He children probably do not understand this.  They just see that their mother has gone away and probably have stopped wondering if she is ever going to come back.

In some of her more severe withdrawal moments, I could see her sitting up and rocking, hugging herself and screaming, throwing Kleenex boxes and lotion bottles and she would cry that she hates this stupid fucking hospital because gets more meds at home.  She should be home…she should be home…she should be home…she locks her pills in her bedroom so her kids can’t get them.

One of the many annoyed and perplexed doctors who rotated in and out of our room verified that she was born in 1959 and I had to pump up my oxygen when I overheard that.

Surely Vexx was in her late 60’s.  I pegged her for almost 70.  I thought it strange that she rambled about her 14 year old daughter and that she should be at home helping her with her homework.  I knew that something was off: I thought national Enquirer, old ladies having babies, images of elderly women breastfeeding infants swirled in my mind.  She is NOT ONLY 10 years older than I am.  But alas, Vexx very much the definition of rode hard and hung up wet.

He kids did not want to visit her.  In a rant, she told me that they miss their old mom…they don’t like to see her like this…do ya think?

On my medication, my heart rate stays at a constant 108 to 135.  But when she would pass out after a dose, she would drift off and I would see my monitor bump down every once in awhile to 103,102,101…ahhh…sweet relief.

I didn’t have any visitors until I broke down on the second day and called Mike crying to pop in and see me.   I was losing my edge with her, unable to endure much more of her unsolicited conversations through the curtain.  The nurses gave me headphones so I could plug into my remote control and watch 12 uninterrupted sleepless hours of a House marathon on USA network.  I am sure the headset cost me about $100 but worth every penny.  They are still in my purse in case I have to go back.

But let’s discuss the visitors of Vex…

The first night I was there, her husband came in, an Ethan Frome, a sad insurance salesman who is apparently about to get downsized, as I hear from one of Vexx’s many erratic cell phone calls.  He is a little man, beaten down and there isn’t enough Wild Turkey in the world to help him forget that that this woman is going to eventually come back home.  She cried and she whined and said to him, “Why didn’t you call me back, I have been calling and calling you (and believe me, she did) and he said to her, “There is something wrong with my phone, it keeps on going dead” and Ethan Frome and I both knew that it’s dead because he can’t bare to turn the god damn thing back on.

Vexx tries to throw the curtain open for the tenth time to show me the mickey mouse boxers that he brought her from his underwear drawer.  And she has been showing them to me all day.  She repeats herself a lot.  I start to clutch my keegel when I hear her stretch and moan in pain for the curtain.  She would pull it back and then I have to look at her sagging tits hanging out the sides of her hospital gown, shaking sad Ethan Frome’s ridiculous Disney boxers that you know he got for Christmas 5 years ago.  She yells at him for bringing her some of his old t shirts for her to wear: he “fucked up” because they have “baloney pits.”

*Sigh*

all I could do at that point is sit back and wait for the nurse to come in and check my vitals so I can signal her to pull the curtain shut again. I could fffffeeeelllll him trying to leave.  I can hear him saying, “Ok, well..” half a dozen times, he cannot take one more minute with her.  I think about what it was like when they met and fell in love?  She was the outgoing one.  Did he court her?  Were they affectionate?  How long did it take in their marriage before he became shrunken by her constant badgering, nagging, complaining, whining, crying, never ending beat down.  Or did she become that way because he never paid any attention to her?  Wasn’t interested in hearing the sound of her voice?  If I have to hear the sound of her voice one more time, I think that I might stab her with a fork and then we will see how much medication she will need.

Frome leaves and Vexx howls.  I buzz my nurse for an Ambian.  It’s going to be a long night.

But now here I am back home.  I am tired now, really feckin weak and still trying to recover.  I get really short of breath and need to lie down after every little mundane task.  It’s all very Camille.  But I am not cleansed of this experience quite yet.  I still have yet to talk about the mother of Vexx and the gas bill visit.

The world seems to me a lot darker after the time change.

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