Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Dying Of Blood Loss

Having a mystery illness has become a rather odd adventure.  Maybe it just seems that way because I've become an invalid recluse so even a trip for more tests at the Doctor's office is interesting.  Husbandman and I are discovering that the term "specialists" just means you'll get the same experience, it'll just cost a whole lot more.  Our visits to the General Practitioners office have become pretty routine.  Go in, wait, get weighed, check blood pressure, wait, see Doctor, confuse Doctor, make Doctor laugh uncomfortably because my type of humor makes him nervous, wait, have the lab withdraw vast amounts of blood.  If we're lucky they'll throw in an EKG.  Husbandman and I have come to the conclusion that before they can diagnose this I will die of blood loss because of how much I've had drawn lately.  If that does happen let this be the record that I promised LAEL my record collection, most importantly my David Bowie vinyl.  Here's a random tidbit of information, it is a shockingly long wait to get into see specialists.  It's like, "Oh, hey.  You are seriously ill and getting progressively worse every day?  OK cool.  We'll see you in two months.  If you die before then don't forget to let us know so we can fill your slot."

On a more serious note I do get a little nervous before the tests and appointments with the different specialists.  The EEG actually turned out to be weirdly hilarious and fun.  It was a sleep deprivation test so things got pretty weird.  The tech did tell me I was her funniest patient ever but that was probably only because I have no filter when I'm sleep deprived and was telling her embarrassing moments from my life.  Other people's humiliation is always funny.  Always.  Also, Husbandman took pictures.  I look awful.  What a wonderful memory to cherish.  I looked like an escaped mental patient who had taken a bad fall and cracked their head  open after being electrocuted.  I think Husbandman's favorite part was when I told the tech that the strobe light "is like wheel of fortune on my eyes."  Anyone who's had the test can probably vouch to that.  It's a fair comparison.  The judges would also accept "price is right bonus wheel on my eyes".

Today was our first visit with the heart dude.  He prefers Cardiologist or Dr (insert last name I can't remember here).  I prefer heart dude.  I felt very shy from the moment we walked in for a few reasons.
1) I can't walk very far unsupported anymore and the walk from the car was surprisingly far so Husbandman was propping me up as I wheezed like a chain smoking monkey.
2) I was easily the youngest person there by 50 years besides the socially inept receptionist.  This made Husbandman and I a sort of novelty I assume because the old geezers in there would NOT stop staring which was a tad shocking because I assumed they all had horrible eyesight judging by the size of the Reader's Digests in there.  I have never seen magazines that large of print in my entire life.
3) It smelled like watermelon jolly ranchers and poo.  You know old people.  They love their hard candy and Depends.

Once we got called back into the exam room things weren't as bad.  The nurse was nice.  How nice I think people are is in direct correlation to how much they laugh at my lame jokes.  Technically I think this makes them empathetic or pitying but I like to think that I am witty and they are nice.  After checking all my stats and laughing at all the appropriate moments the nurse very bluntly stated, "Judging by your vitals you shouldn't be in here."  Tell me about it lady.  We know.  That's why I'm a mystery, duh.  Husbandman, nurse lady and I got into a very nice discussion about my Syncope and how it's better to call it Syncope rather than just fainting.  At least with Syncope it sounds all cool and official and not like some spoiled southern belle who belongs on a plantation.  Nurse lady and I prefer Syncope for that reason.  Husbandman prefers fainting or passing out because he says Syncope makes me sound like a psychotic serial killer.  Oh that Husbandman.  If he really thought that he wouldn't fall asleep so readily with me nearby *shifty eyes*.

I was just getting into the good part of the mandatory exam room People magazine story about Kate and 8 and their life after Jon and all that crap when the heart dude came in.  This dude was really serious.  But when he did laugh it was a very contagious (not the sort of thing you want in a health facility) real laugh.  The only weird part was how random it was.  He did not laugh when I tried to explain to him that it feels like my heart is an old fat guy, probably with back problems and my lungs think it's funny to scare him by yelling "SURPRISE!" at random times.  And with the back problems and old fatness and all he can't race away but he can stand there out of breath clutching his little heart chest going "Gnuh!  Gnuh!" over and over.

I'm just glad heart dude didn't mention the apparent immaturity of Husbandman and myself.  Normally we can hide it.  Kind of.  OK maybe not at all but we can usually keep up appearances for a little while.  Not with heart dude though.  When he was using the stethoscope thing to check my pulse in millions of places I've never had my pulse checked before he accidentally kinda boob punched me with the stethoscope.  I wanted to look at Husbandman to see if he had seen the accidental boob shifting or if he had been distracted by the weird posters on the wall that make different parts of the heart look like bum holes (no joke).  So I made the mistake of looking at him.  He was doing is rapidly darting gaze thing that means he trying not to laugh which makes me want to laugh.  But we were doing good.  We were stone.  Until he smiled.  Then all bets were off and Husbandman and I laughed like 6 year old kids laugh at a fanny burp (see that mom?  I purposely found a different phrase for fart because I know how much you hate "the f word" as you call it).

So heart dude paused trying to find the pulse in my toenails while Husbandman and I shook with uncontrollable immature laughter.  Then it was back to business.  Heart dude says I am "too young, too healthy, and too chronic" for this to be an easy solve.  So we have to start the process of elimination.  This isn't going to be an easy diagnosis and all that jazz.  First up was testing my blood for tiny clots.  Yay.  More blood getting drawn.  That was fun.  Next up is a meeting with Dr Wang (no joke, and heart dude thought we laughed about boobs a lot!) Dr Wang will be giving me a tilt test.  Heart dude was a little reluctant to tell me what that entailed but I got it out of him.  They're gonna strap me to a table (is this a ruse to get me committed?) and then tilt the table in weird ways and inject me with adrenaline to induce Syncope.  A week or so after that is my treadmill test.  I hope they have a helmet I can wear considering I can't even just sit somewhere without passing out sometimes.  Even if I don't pass out on the treadmill and crack my head open I know I'm going to fall off somehow.  I'm not graceful or coordinated in the least.  Remember the Segway incident?  Yeah.  I have a feeling this is gonna be something like that.  The treadmill test section of the visit did give heart dude and I a chance to bond over the fact that pretty much anytime a treadmill test is shown in TV or movies it is a comedic adventure.  Good times heart dude, good times.

I felt pretty lame when we left the office because one of the other heart patients who was about a million years old held the door open for Husbandman and I because I am freaking Scarlet O'Hara.  I think that's her name anyway.  Come to think of it, this lady was old enough to BE Scarlet O'Hara.  I should have asked for her autograph.  Dang it!  When Husbandman and I got out into the parking lot it was horribly obvious that a nearby sewer pipe was having issues.  The whole time Husbandman was dragging/walking me to the car I was dry heaving and gagging.  There is no way to gag pretty.  Especially when Husbandman starts chanting "please don't puke on me, please don't puke on me" the whole way to the car.

So that was my adventure for this week.  The rest of the week I should probably spend my time making reminder cards to hang around places Husbandman frequents reminding him to stop yelling, "BOO!" at the heart patient.  If any of my crafty friends want to help with that I will be sure to reward you with some heartfelt wheezing of gratitude from my couch.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Hope I Didn't Kill Anyone's Pets In My Sleep

Occasionally if I can't sleep I'll take half of a certain sleep aid my doctor gave me.  Usually it just makes me have very odd dreams.  Last night I had more trouble than usual sleeping so I took a whole one.  They're aren't very high strength but they hit me hard.  I became THAT person.  You know, the one who gets really drunk or high and then calls people.  Luckily I only called Husbandman.  I don't remember that phone call.  But from what he says I decided that it would be a good idea to make a new playlist on my iPod to fall asleep to.  I called him because I couldn't do it because if I didn't keep one eye closed there were three iPods and many unreal features.  I also tried to text and play Hanging With Friends.  Turns out QUATBR isn't a word.  I woke up very confused this morning because Billy Idol was screaming in my ear and I had a lot of texts from close friends telling me to check out the texts I sent last night.  I couldn't figure out why I was wearing headphones but it all makes sense now.  I played detective and have pieced together a good portion of my trip.  First I called Husbandman to try and make a playlist because none of my other playlists were good enough to sleep to.  I rarely listen to music to sleep, when I need something I play meditation tracks.  I found the new playlist, it's titled "Trijjjpokbnnb baakbsssjlll".  It is a very odd collection of music, especially for sleeping.  It sounds a Quintin Tarintino soundtrack had a baby with the Labyrinth soundtrack.  After...or during the making of the playlist I text some close friends to tell them I took Ambien and things were getting weird.  Most of it was gibberish and incoherent but the few things I could decode were this:
1) There was a marshmallow lady in my room dressed like a nanny
2) There was also a square headed blonde ghost child named Greta or Gertie
3) If my playlist every got into a boxing match with anyone else's playlist it would stand in the rain with a lighter waving in the air like at a bad rock concert and offer free hippie hugs
4) I brag about my awesomeness at Hanging With Friends
5) This was the best playlist ever made in the history of ever and it made me wish I had a lighter to wave through the air
6) I think the letter Q is British because of the whole thing with it being followed by U all the time
7) I really wanted to put the song Under Pressure on the playlist because it is the best song in the world and it should be illegal to have a playlist without the song Under Pressure
There was a lot more but it was mostly stuff like this: alkdja aieouwou woj balsk
I want to formally apologize to anyone I may have woken up.  I'm relatively certain I didn't leave my room, but in case I did, I'm sorry to anyone I may have harmed.  Rest assured I will never take a sleep aid without Husbandman being home.  Poor Husbandman.  Sleepy time me is weird and moody like a teenager.  No wonder he is always tired when he wakes up.  He probably never gets any sleep with all the flailing and playlist making and what not.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Grandma Is A Racist Sylvester Stallone

Did you see Sylvester Stallone in The Expendables?  I couldn't focus on the movie because he looked weird, like he had a bad face lift or Botox and is puffy from all the alcohol.  He and Sean Patrick Flanery should start a club, but that's not the point.  The point is Sylvester Stallone's eyebrow is stretched up really high above his eye at the arch.  Here let me just show you:

Maybe he's just getting old, but whatever the reason, he and my Grandma look a lot alike.  That's how she draws her eyebrows on, high and pointy.  At least his aren't orange.  She still has yet to learn how to match her hair and eyebrow shades.  Black and Orange, maybe she just really likes Halloween.
Anyway, we had to have dinner with her the other night.  In Public.  Husbandman had never had to meet her before.  He's heard many a horror story about her but never had the honor of witnessing one firsthand.  We don't see her often.
We were the first ones at the restaurant, I forgot to adjust from normal people time to family time on the clock.  We were WAY early by that standard.  I saw a car in the parking lot and felt a dark presence and just knew that she was here.  I did not want to subject Husbandman to her alone so we ducked into a nearby store and waited for more people to show up so the weirdness could be spread around.  My Uncle arrived about ten minutes later so Husbandman and I went back to the restaurant.  It was just the five of us.  Me, Husbandman, Uncle, Husband of Darkness (Grandma's husband), and the Bringer of Darkness (Grandma).    
The first thing the Bringer of Darkness did was tell other patrons they were disgustingly obese.  That was fun. There was lots of awkward throat clearing and red faces from Uncle and I.  I think Husbandman was stuck in disbelief.  He just kinda sat there, not moving or breathing.  We were all safe as long as she was distracted by strangers.  Soon other family came shuffling in, not making eye contact with the Bringer of Darkness and we were seated.  The poor waitress.  The Bringer of Darkness was not very kind in telling her that she didn't care if her meal came with soup or salad, she didn't want either of those.  She was FINE.  We were given bread, I attempted to cut off a slice but the knife was too dull to even break the crust.  Family laughed and thought, "Oh that Anastasia, always clumsily doing things *knowing laughs and smiles exchanged*."  So the Husband of Darkness decided to cut the bread for everyone.  Lots of Bostonian mumbling ensued and the bread was smashed into a pancake and everyone had to tear their portion off.  In your faces everyone, looks like it was the knife and not just clumsy me.  How do you like them apples?!
After the weird bread thing we got our soup or salads.  Waitress got yelled at by the Bringer of Darkness again.  "Where is MY salad?"  Poor waitress.  Stuck between a rock and an soul sucking old lady.  I'm just glad it wasn't me.
It's probably a good thing I wasn't there for this next part.  I have this really bad habit of uncontrollable laughter when I get uncomfortable, scared, nervous, anxious, or embarrassed.  That would have just thrown fuel onto the racist fire.  I was only gone a few minutes but knew something was up as I was walking back to the table.  A few family members were looking at me with this expression of "We're in a special circle of Hell and I'm actually considering murdering an old woman in order to get out."  As soon as I sit down Husbandman nonchalantly tells says, "You missed it.  Your Grandma just asked your uncle if he remembered being called the n-word that one time.  Then she laughed."  Husbandman has a way of downplaying the situation, if that was how it had played out I don't think everyone would look like they were constipated.  I went back to my salad when brother made Husbandman lean forward so we could whisper to each other behind his back.  Not like behind his back as in talking about Husbandman, but behind his back as in actually using him as our whisper shield.  Brother told me a more involved version of what had happened.  Apparently the Bringer of Darkness had to repeat the question to my Uncle three times because they were seated so far apart that he couldn't hear her.  And she didn't say n-word, she actually used the N word.  Multiple times.  And then said, "That was funny!" And started cackling.  People stared.  I can't help but wonder if that was the reason the manager stood by and kept watch over our table for the rest of the meal. Something like this happens every time we go out with her.  I don't know why we keep going in public, it's embarrassing to have all the other tables staring at us.  They always seem to seat us in the middle of restaurants, other patrons surround us.  We may be banned from three or four different Olive Gardens...I bet we never have dinner with her at our homes because that's like inviting an evil spirit inside.  Exorcisms are SO time consuming.
The Bringer of Darkness was the one to teach/introduce me to all the different racist terminology when I was a child.  I didn't know then that she was evil and was teaching me things that should not be repeated so I would work them into every day casual conversations.  It probably didn't help that I had bleach blonde hair and blue eyes as a kid.  After having multiple conversations/interrogations about my language with my parents I learned to always ask them the definition of any word Grandma taught me.
Back to Dinner: After Grandma yelled the n-word a few times dinner resumed and finished with forced conversation and minimal eye contact.  There was also a guy making balloon animals who seemed to be under the influence of some sort of drug but that didn't phase anyone.  You can still make balloon animals when you're on a paranoid twitch trip.  We left generous tips, even to the drugged out balloon guy.  He probably needed to buy another hit after working our table.
I probably sound callous and rude.  I know it's not "normal" to call one's grandmother the Bringer of Darkness, but that's the way life is sometimes.  Sometimes old ladies are nice and give you gross hard candy or sweaty raisins they've been clutching in the palm of their hand for 3 hours (true story).  But sometimes they are just racists.