Wednesday, October 14, 2009

another reason why I should not be in social media

So yesterday I had this five minute interview at the local radio station on helmet safety, which is sort of my "baby" since I run the child safety program that our ambulance service sponsors. I was roped into being on the radio by my friend and coworker Chris, who is passionate like I am about child safety, except that I suspect she actually IS passionate about it, whereas with me it depends on what time of day it is whether I give a shit or not. At 10 AM I am all, let's get all these little munchkins wearing helmets damnit! And at 2 PM I'm just like, what, another idiot without a helmet rolled their ATV? Bring it on.
I'm kidding, of course. Well, mostly. I was nervous as hell about being on the radio but at least I got to see the questions beforehand and I was totally prepared with my research (which means I skimmed over a brochure I wrote at least a year ago, which is surprisingly well put together and my statistics are spot-on.)So even though they tried to trick me with questions like "why do we need kids to wear helmets now? we all grew up without them" I came right back with "well you never wore seatbelts when you were a kid either, did you, dumbass, but we all know now that seatbelts save lives!"
That is pretty much verbatim except for the dumbass comment, that was just in my head. Since it was early in the morning I was in full-on soap-box mode, though the truth is yes, I rode a bicycle for 2 years that didnt even have a seat and I rode from Northern MN to Mexico in the back window of my dad's station wagon, and look how fabulous I turned out. Most of my generation grew up drinking out of the watering trough and eating lead-based paint off the walls, which is probably why most of us are socially awkward and live on Prozac, but riding around in the back of pickup trucks didnt kill us.
Actually the show hosts were charming ladies and it all went very smoothly and overall I think we kicked ass. They are now talking about having us (Chris and I) on the show on a regular basis to talk about different safety topics. I think it would be totally cool. I was actually surprised when Bob told me he listened to the show and said I sounded very professional. I guess that's because he couldnt hear all the "dumbass" comments going off in my head, which made it kind of murky for me. What would be TOTALLY cool is if we could have a show where we could say whatever we wanted and talk about the idiots we see in the ER on a regular basis, but I'm not sure if this town is ready for that kind of show yet.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

summer is gone

The damp,sticky heat and the deep green leaves on the birches are gone. The long, lazy afternoons watching the hummingbirds feed and listening to the buzz of the bees in the raspberry bushes are gone. And something is wrong with me.
I never know why or when it happens. It has been a part of my makeup ever since I can remember. The sadness I feel is indescribable. At the mere mention of something out of the ordinary the panic begins to thicken in my throat and there is no where for me to go, no where for me to escape the anxiety I feel for such a trivial thing. I want to cry, I want to scream, but none of these emotions will come. I no longer find any pleasure in things that I love, and I want to, it just isnt there.
I want to say this is all caused by the monumental stress in my life. But I have always survived monumental stress, since I was born, I have lived with the fear of rejection, the fear of punishment, the fear of being lost, the fear of being abandoned... the list could go on and on. So why now, as an educated adult, are these fears paralyzing me?
I wish I knew.
The greatest fear of all is that this is something that will eventually take over me, and I will have no control. I struggle every day for control. I force myself to get up for a job that I love, because I cannot bear the thought of another day or going through the motions and no miracle will happen. I long for a miracle. Not a big one. Just something that will let me know, "you are needed here," or "you are wanted here," so I have a reason to be there.
Because right now the only reason I have for being here at all is my two beautiful children. They are the reason I go to work, to feed and clothe them. They are the reason I wake up, to see their smiles. They are the reason I go to soccer,and Cinderella auditions,and Girl Scouts and t-ball.
My anxiety is,will I always be here? whatwill happen if I do not stay in remission? It is very easy for those who have never been there to say, dont think like that, but unless you have been in my shoes, dont tell me what or how to rationalize.
They will go on without me and they will live amazing, wonderful productive lives. They may even get a new mommy who is wonderful and kind and loves them as much as any new mommy ever could.
But they would be doing it without me. And that's what makes me cry.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

in case the rest of you were wondering too

As I was dropping off a blood sample in the lab today, the tech stopped me before I was walking out the door.
"Wait a minute!"
I turned around. "Yeah?"
She was eyeing me shrewdly. "There's something weird about you. Something different."

I was stumped. "Ummm...." I looked at the other tech, who seemed just as baffled as I was. "Ok?"

"I got it!" She finally exclaimed. "You have hair!"

So that's it, folks. That's why I've been looking hot lately.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

somebody punch me

Ok, note to self: no more posting when you are on a self-pity binge. Ugh. That was so gay. I'm surprised I don't have comments telling me to shut up. Nobody likes whiners.
Today has been awesome. I met a friend at Pincushion mountain and we did a 2 mile hike with our kids, my two-year-old pooped out quickly so most of the walk was with him on my shoulders, but it was so worth it. The weather is HOT for this time of year, so of course I'm sweating bullets.
Now I'm out on the deck drinking bloody marys while Cade takes a nap and Emma is at the lake jet-skiing with a friend. Life is good.
PS: please ignore the whiner posts. I would take them down, but I'm lazy and you never know when I might need them for an insanity plea.

did I mention this week sucked

So it is Saturday, and I have never been so happy to see the end of a work week. Every day this past week I had thought I wasn't going to make it - I was exausted from overtime and really having a lot of pain issues - even more than usual. I had thought, however irrational it may seem, that once I was done with chemo my pain would go away. This has not been the case. In fact, *this* week, it felt worse.
Before cancer, I prided myself on having a high tolerance for pain. I recovered from a broken back in my early twenties which resulted in chronic back pain that I have always managed well. I bore two children naturally, for heaven's sake. So it came as quite a surprise to me that chemo could reduce me to such a sniveling, pathetic hot mess.
Pain can make me kind of snarky, too. Yesterday I told my husband I had made plans for us today which involved a picnic on the Shore in my hometown, and of course the first thing that came to his mind was our last attempt at picnicking there years ago.
"Oh, you just want me to get stung by hornets again," he groused.
"We can only hope," I said.

Did I mention I am glad Thursday is over? I was dreading it all week. After a long 10 hours at work fit-testing my colleagues for respirator masks, I had to rush over to the school and set up a booth for open house. After carting all my boxes of shit in, I realized I had forgotten the one thing I usually always have on my person - tape. The nice young man setting up a Boy Scouts table next to mine offered me his.
"Thank you," I said. "By the way, how old do you have to be to join Boy Scouts?"
"First grade," he replied.

"Really? What about two-year-olds?"

He laughed, a little nervously.

"No seriously. Can't you make an exception?"

Well it's finally over (I know I said that already) and, it wasn't really that bad, looking back. If you don't count the brutal back-to-back ambulance transfers I almost fell asleep at the wheel on and the two mini-breakdowns midweek. Or the emotional conversation with my plastic surgeon. But that's another story.
Honestly? It *was* that bad. Until my sister called. Somehow, after an hour and a half sitting in the late afternoon sun while bawling my eyes out over the phone, I am better. Now I can calmly take next week.
I love you, sis.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Read of the Day

I didn't write this, but it is so awesome I wish I had.

How to Poop at Work

We've all been there but don't like to admit it. We've all kicked back
in our cubicles and suddenly felt something brewing down below. As much
as we try to convince ourselves otherwise, the WORK POOP is inevitable.
For those who hate pooping at work, following is the Survival Guide for
taking a dump at work.

*CROP DUSTING* When farting, you walk really fast around the office so
the smell is not in your area and everyone else gets a whiff, but
doesn't know where it came from. Be careful when you do this.Do not
stop until the full fart has been expelled. Walk an extra 30 feet to
make sure the smell has left your pants.

*FLY BY* the act of scouting out a bathroom before pooping. Walk in and
check for other poopers. If there are others in the bathroom, leave and
come back again. Be careful not to become a FREQUENT FLYER. People may
become suspicious if they catch you constantly going into the bathroom.

*ESCAPEE* A fart that slips out while taking a pee or forcing a poop in
a stall. This is usually accompanied by a sudden wave of embarrassment.
If you release an escapee, do not acknowledge it. Pretend it did not
happen. If you are a man and are standing next to the farter in the
urinal, pretend you did not hear it. No one likes an escapee. It is
uncomfortable for all involved. Making a joke or laughing makes both
parties feel uneasy.

*JAILBREAK* When forcing a poop, several farts slip out at a machine gun
pace. This is usually a side effect of diarrhea or a hangover. If this
should happen, do not panic. Remain in the stall until everyone has left
the bathroom to spare everyone the awkwardness of what just occurred.

*COURTESY FLUSH* the act of flushing the toilet the instant the poop
hits the water! This reduces the amount of air time the poop has to
stink up the bathroom. This can help you avoid being caught doing the

*WALK OF SHAME* Walking from the stall, to the sink, to the door after
you have just stunk up the bathroom. This can be a very uncomfortable
moment if someone walks in and busts you. As with farts, it is best to
pretend that the smell does not exist. This can be avoided with the use of

*OUT OF THE CLOSET POOPER* A colleague who poops at work and is Doggone
proud of it. You will often see an Out Of the Closet Pooper enter the
bathroom with a newspaper or magazine under their arm. Always look
around the office for the Out Of the Closet Pooper before entering the

*THE POOPING FRIENDS NETWORK (P.F.N)* A group of co-workers who band
together to ensure emergency pooping goes off without incident. This
group can help you to monitor the whereabouts of Out Of the Closet
Poopers, and identify SAFE HAVENS.

*SAFE HAVENS* A seldom used bathroom somewhere in the building where you
can least expect visitors. Try floors that are predominantly of the
opposite sex. This will reduce the odds of a pooper of your sex entering
the bathroom.

*TURD BURGLAR* someone who does not realize that you are in the stall
and tries to force the door open. This is one of the most shocking and
vulnerable moments that can occur when taking a poop at work. If this
occurs, remain in the stall until the Turd Burglar leaves. This way you
will avoid all uncomfortable eye contact.

*CAMO-COUGH* A phony cough that alerts all new entrants into the
bathroom that you are in a stall. This can be used to cover-up a
WATERMELON, or to alert potential Turd Burglars. Very effective when
used in conjunction with a SHIRLEY TEMPLE.

*SHIRLEY TEMPLE* A subtle toe-tapping that is used to alert potential
Turd Burglars that you are occupying a stall. This will remove all doubt
that the stall l is occupied. If you hear a SHIRLEY TEMPLE, leave the
bathroom immediately so the pooper can poop in peace.

*WATERMELON* A poop that creates a loud splash when hitting the toilet
water. This is also an embarrassing incident. If you feel a Watermelon
coming on, create a diversion. See CAMO-COUGH.

*HAVANA-OMELET* A case of diarrhea that creates a series of loud
splashes in the toilet water. Often accompanied by an Escapee... Try

*AUNT BETTY* A bathroom user who seems to linger around forever...Could
spend extended lengths of time in front of the mirror or sitting on the
pot. An AUNT BETTY makes it difficult to relax while on the crapper, as
you should always wait to poop when the bathroom is empty. This
benefits you as well as the other bathroom attendees!

The King Poop = this kind is the kind of poop that killed! Elvis. It
doesn't come until you're all sweaty, trembling and purple from
straining so hard.

Bali Belly Poop = you poop so much you lose 5 lbs.

Cement Block = you wish you'd gotten a spinal block before you poop.

Cork Poop (Also Known as Floater Poop) = Even after the third flush,
it's still floating in there. How do I get rid of it? This poop usually
happens at someone else's house.

The Bungee Poop = the kind of poop that just hangs off your rear before
it falls into the water...

The Crippler = The kind of poop where you have to sit on the toilet so
long your legs go numb from the waist down.

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang = the kind of poop that hits you when you're
trapped in your car in a traffic jam.

The Party Pooper = the giant poop you take at a party. And when you
flush the toilet, you watch in horror as the water starts to rise...



Monday, September 14, 2009


I'm not feeling very chipper today. I'm just a little pissed with myself because, once again, I am playing catch-up and it's exausting. I have a booth at the school's open house this week (thurs) that I basically have NOTHING prepared for, late last week I got the lovely assignment of fit-testing all 164 of our employees for the N95 respirator masks, I haven't studied at ALL for my written exam - and wednesday I have an appointment with my plastic surgeon to discuss my reconstructive breast surgery.
I am just a tad nervous about that last one one.
I hate that I am such a procrastinator. But I can never seem to stop my self-destructing behavior. I put things off til the last minute or I over-schedule so I don't have enough time to get things done *right*. Help us!
I was all cocky earlier today, whipping through a project on my desk thinking I would even finish and sneak out of work early- then a 911 went out for someone who had fallen off a 30 ft cliff. It took us 30 minutes to get to the scene 27 miles away because of road construction. The patient turned out to be OK, but we packaged him and transported anyway because he was 80, and had multiple lacerations that needed cleaning too.
Back in the ER, the nurse asked me to take vitals on another patient in bed C because she couldn't get a blood pressure on the guy. He had one - 124/74 - but by the time I got done giving him shit, it was 15 minutes later and I still had my rig to gas up, wash and O2 tanks to swap. By the time I got back in the ambulance bay, almost everyone else had left for the day shift, so I turned the radio up and the hose on.
I was so frickin tired after washing that beast, and pretty much soaked to the skin from sweat and spray from the hose, when I got back to my desk and saw my abandoned work from earlier, I just groaned.
Oh well. It will still be there at 0600 tomorrow. It was just 17 minutes shy of 1800 when I finally punched out. Not a terribly long day, but long enough.
Now supper is over, my daughter is doing her homework on one side of me, and my son is curled up on the other watching Scooby doo. There are a million things that need to be done. But I can't, not right now.
Because I don't want to regret *not* doing this. Watching my daughter read, I feel regret for all of the things I have left undone, today, over the years... A million things I never did right. But right here there are two that I did, and they are perfect.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm dumping my psychologist for e-therapy

So I called my therapist today and told him I was dumping him for someone on the internet. He was quiet for a moment.
"Sarah? Are you okay?"
Right away I was irritated because there was a hint of amusement in his voice, like he couldn't help it but he wasn't taking me seriously.
"Of course I'm ok. You don't believe me?"
He sighed. "Ok... So why are you cancelling our appointment? And what do you mean, you're getting e-shrunk?"
"I found someone on the internet to psycho-analyze me," I said.
He was baffled now. "What? I thought we were making progress. I thought you liked me."
"I do. We were. But this guy will do it for free."
"But your sessions are covered by insurance." He sounded suspiciously like he wanted to laugh. That just pissed me off.
"Look, doc, no offense, but you're really hard to get ahold of. You didn't call me back for half an hour. And I pay dearly for that insurance!"
"So who's this internet shrink?"
I knew he was just jealous. "I don't know. Some guy."
"Some guy! Is he even a real shrink?"
Me: "no, but he's really good. I just email him and he sends me the answers. He's so accurate it's uncanny!"
I can almost hear Dr A's eyes rolling. "Alright. Hey, do you want to come in this afternoon instead of tomorrow? I have a cancellation."
Two weeks ago I would have caved. Now I feel empowered, and I say, "no, Dr A. Thanks, but no thanks." And hang up.

As long as he doesn't send out a search party before our appointment tomorrow, I'm good.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More proof of a conspiracy

While we were visiting my sister, Rose, she asked my two kids if they wanted to help her clean out the chicken coop. Of course they said yes - I have been successful in teaching them that manual labor is an honor, after all, or maybe they are still too young to realize the real reason I conceived them - at any rate, the prospect of handling animal feces thrilled them and off they went.
I was still reeling from the emotional trauma brought on by my husband's suggestion that we get our own chickens, so my first instinct was to forbid the children anything to do with chickens, but then I remembered that would only make them want chickens more.
So I bit my lip and let them go.
Oh I suppose you still want to know why I hate chickens. Yes, I said it - I hate them. If eggs were not so good to eat, I would say kill them all! But I can't deny that every time I eat a chicken sandwich a small part of me is secretly glad another one is dead. I don't hate them because they are smelly, filthy and their poop makes your eyes water. I hate them because one pecked my nose off.
No lie. My entire nose. Since I was only 2 years old at the time, my nose wasn't very big, but still. My mother tells a harrowing tale of that day:
I had headed outside announcing my intent to play with "the kitchens," as I called them, when moments later my mom was alerted to my piercing screams from the backyard. Looking out the window, she saw me on my back on the ground, and our large, notoriously agressive Leghorn rooster atop my chest, pecking away at my bloodied face.
She says her greatest fear was for my eyes. She rushed me inside and laid me down on the washing machine while she prepared a wet washcloth. Carefully, mom wiped the blood from my face with the cloth, and to her horror, as she drew the cloth across my face my nose came with it. Somehow, even in the mass hysteria that ensued, she was able to gather me, my other five siblings, my nose, and get us all in the car for the 45 minute trek to the county hospital where Dr MacDonald stitched my nose back on. I think that was in the days before 911, or getting your nose pecked off didn't warrant a real emergency, I'm not sure which. I know these days anyone would call an ambulance first, because now even not being able to poop at 3 am is an emergency. I get bullshit calls all the time like "I can't feel my legs" and I'm like, ok, how long has this been going on? And they're like, "my back has been going out on me for years" and I repeat "how long have you *not* been able to feel your legs?" And they look at me like I'm kind of retarded and say more loudly and slowly, "I HAVEN'T FELT THEM IN YEARS" so then I think they have a hearing problem and I ask "SO WHAT MADE YOU CALL 911 TONIGHT?" And
Ahh crap. Where was I. Oh. Before you get all you-should-know-when-911-was-invented, no, I don't remember. When you call an ambulance, (and it better be for an emergency and not because you slipped getting in the tub and the beer bottle 'just sitting there' you landed on got stuck in your rectum), do you want me to remember when 911 was started or how to jump-start your heart? Because there's not room for all of it in my head.
So anyway, I'm not sure where I was headed with this post, but after watching (from a safe distance) my kids gleefully scoop chicken poop, I am pretty sure there is a conspiracy movement underway. I even have photographic evidence, which I would post but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. When I turn up dead or in a nut ward, I hope I have at least one loyal fan who will show this blog to the police.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sending me over the edge

Sometimes I think my husband is driving me crazy. Let me rephrase that: he IS driving me crazy. On purpose. Granted, it's a short drive, but that's what makes it all the more evil.
Why would you WANT to put someone over the edge? Unless you are evil. If you think I'm making this up, because you all know him and you're all like he-would-never-he-is-the-nicest-guy-ever-you-are-so-overreacting, here is proof.
A random, everyday conversation between us (this happened in the car, which is even more disturbing - we could get in an accident, all die, and he would never get the chance to apologize. In that case, I hope he survives, so he has to live with the fact that he killed me. Not that the conversation could cause the accident, but that is not the point):
"I think we should get some chickens." (Bob)
"I think you are insane." (Me)
*An evil grin* "Co'mon, wouldn't you like fresh eggs everyday?" (Bob)
"I'll take my eggs boughten and pasturized, thank you." (Me)
"Are you sure? The kids could collect the eggs, you wouldn't even have to go in the coop." (Bob)
(Do I even need more proof at this point? This only shows how pre-meditated the evilness is. He has thought this through!)
"Stop it. Just stop it! No!" (Me)
"Nice, fresh eggs. All you can eat. Yum." (Bob)
There. Rubbing my nose in my guilt for not boycotting eggs for the rest of my life. Like it's my fault that the sight of chickens makes me nauseous and break into a sweat, like my childhood trauma makes me an egg-eating hypocrite. Well, maybe I am, but again, that's not the point here.
"I think we should." He pauses to glance in the rearview mirror at the kids. "What do you think, kids? Should we get our own chickens?"
Has he no shame? Amid a chorus of "Yay!"s from the backseat, I am sickened at the mere thought of chickens running around my yard. He is relentless. By the time we get home I am hyperventilating. This is domestic abuse, plain and simple. Now, instead of doing something fun with the kids or catching up on housework, I must spend my evening devising a plan of revenge. So you see? It's his fault I am a bad mother and housewife, too.
I hope he's happy.
For those of you who don't know my chicken trauma story, I would explain, but I am too upset right now. Maybe I will post more after I call my therapist.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's not your day to die

I was a rookie EMT when I encountered my first abdominal aortic aneurysm. It was a dark, frigid day in late January with a storm front moving in. That's why Lifeflight couldn't fly, and that's why I was called, consequently, to take the ALS ground transfer. We still staffed 2 EMTs on ALS transports - to help the nurses, of course.
The patient was already loaded on the ambulance cot in the ER when I arrived. He was a bear of a man; he looked alert, so I approached and introduced myself. His eyes focused on my face, and my heart dropped.
You are going to die on us, you poor bastard. I don't even know what's wrong with you, but I know what death looks like, and he is looking over your shoulder and laughing at me because he knows what I do know that you don't: the nearest trauma center is a hundred and ten miles away, there is a blizzard blowing and there is absolutely no other way out of here for you.
He was watching me so intently, I had to mentally shift gears, afraid he could read my thoughts. I busied myself helping C, our nurse, finish getting him ready to roll. He had two large bore IVs infusing and C asked me to carry several more bags of fluid from the warmer. There was such a sense of urgency, as we scrambled to get everything we needed in the rig, that it all seemed futile at the same time. My mind was racing - there was no sign of trauma. No blood. Internal injuries? I saw the last BP reading as I ripped the auto-cuff off his arm - 80/45.
The ER doc opened the back door of the ambulance as we were getting our patient hooked up. A blast of arctic wind and snow hit me in the face. "Fly like the wind! It's his aorta!"
The door had barely slammed shut and we were into the storm, lights and sirens dimly penetrating the blizzard.
I looked at our patient. He was so white. Damn!
I busied myself with what I needed to do, but I could feel his eyes on me. "It's my heart, isn't it?" He asked. Without waiting for a reply, he sighed and looked at the ceiling. "I knew it. All day long, when I was layin' on that trail, I told my buddy, I'm having a heart attack."
I froze. What the hell was I going to say? No, dude, the good news is it's not a heart attack - it's just that any moment your LARGEST BLOOD VESSEL is going to burst and you will bleed out and you will be dead AND there is NOTHING I can do for you... ?
Thank God for experienced nurses. C distracted him before I was able to pry my dried out tongue from the roof of my mouth, saving me from a horrible gaffe. When I finally found my voice, I asked him to tell me about his day. Boy, I wished I hadn't.
He had been snowmobiling with a friend when he started to experience "horrible back pain, but it was in my chest, too" that got so bad he was forced to get off his sled somewhere mid-trail and lie down on the snow-packed ground. He said he laid there for hours, he thought, in too much pain to go on. His friend wanted to go for help, "but I wouldnt let him," he told me. "I knew, I just knew, that if he left me alone, I would die out there."
Eventually he was able to climb back on his sled and they made to the nearest road, where they flagged down a car and got a ride to a nearby resort where an ambulance was called. He was transported to us, the only hospital in the county, and now we were transfering him to the nearest trauma center, over 2 hours away. He had a CT scan done in the ED, but the doc had arranged for transfer without waiting for results because of his condition. The results had come over the wire minutes before we left.
That ride through the storm is one I will never forget. At some point, I remember our patient telling us the pain was moving lower in his back, and we imagined the worst - blood was starting to pool there. We kept the spare fluids for his IVs warm under our shirts. He laughed at us - he had no idea how close to death he was. I watched his blood pressure drop steadily, and my heart sunk along with it. I was trying to steel myself for the inevitable, I thought. I still didnt think he was going to make it. The road was rough, and every bump, sway and lurch brought the fear into my throat.
We arrived at the trauma center amidst a screaming blizzard, and I have never been more thankful to see the harsh lights of the ED in all my life. Our patient was ashen, and no longer able to hold his head up, but he was alive and still talking to us. We were met at the doors by a trauma team of roughly 12-15 people, and as we prepared to transfer him from our cot to theirs, the surgeon's shrill voice cut through the others - "Watch it! Be very, VERY careful moving him!"
Like we didnt know that.
Our patient smiled weakly up at him. "It's okay, doc, if you only knew how many hours of rough road I've been over today, you'd think this is a piece of cake."
"I know exactly where you came from," the surgeon retorted crisply, "And I'm saying you've used up all your good luck today."
The surgeon looked at me. I shook my head. His eyes widened in disbelief. His tone was much softer when he spoke. "You have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, sir. That means you could have bled out hours ago."
My patient, now on the ED cot and surrounded by nurses pulling him away from me, reached out and took my hand. I walked alongside the cot for him. If it was possible, his face had gone whiter at the doc's words. "You knew?" He asked.
I nodded.
"You thought I was going to die." It wasn't a question.
"But you didn't," I said, feeling a little choked up.
A slow smile spread across his face. I had to let go as they took him away from me. "It wasn't my day to die," he called after me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

my beef with automatic flushers

Whose bright idea was it to come up with automatic flushing toilets?!? They annoy the shit out of me! (Pun intended) Isn't there far grander goals for us as humans (like world peace) than sucking away our waste at the speed of light? And at the most inopportune moments, I might add! I'll decide when I'm done, thank you!
Don't pretend like you haven't leaned forward to rest your elbows on your knees, during a paticularly stressful pooping session, only to have the auto-flusher go off, sending you crashing into the stall door - cursing - cutting your lip or forehead open and possibly even your knees.
Not to mention how they frighten little children.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My margarita recipe

It was a hot summer a few years ago when my girlfriend Holly and I stumbled onto our favorite drink. It was a rare day off for me, and Holly too, as we were both in school at the time and working fulltime. By noon we had two coolers packed (one for food, one for booze) and we were headed to a local beach off the beaten path where the odds of sharing with other locals was probable but the chance of tourists was slim. Exactly how we like it.
Anyway, we were out to catch a little sun, a buzz, and relax. As I pulled the Jose and mix from the cooler, Holly reached into the food cooler and came out with a bag of frozen raspberries. "Should we throw some of these in?"
"Why not?" I replied. I had the freshly sliced limes ready to go, too. And kosher salt. We have always been serious about our margarita ingredients, whether we were on the deck at home or camping in the middle of nowhere. We don't do half-assed margaritas.
The addition of the raspberries was delightful. As the afternoon wore on, we lost more articles of clothing, and our lounge chairs slid deeper into the water, the raspberries thawed into a soupy mess. This only made the drinks better. A handful of berries followed by a shot of juice in our drinks made the perfect margarita.
Three hours later, it occurred to us we would not be driving home. "Don't worry, Bob will come and get us," I assured Holly, digging for my cell phone. Not that she was worried.
I called my husband. It went something like this.
"Honey! You're home now."
"Of course I'm home. It's six o'clock. Where are you?"
"We're at Sand Point. We were SO hot, we had to go swimming."
"Honey? Can you come get us? I think we drank too many margaritas."
"What were we gonna do for supper?" There was my second clue. At first it went right over my tequila-befuddled head. I giggled, "oh we don't feel like eating yet. We've been having chicken 'n biskits with can cheese."
A big sigh. "OK, give me a minute." He hung up.
"Is he mad?" Holly asked, although she couldn't wipe the shit-eating grin off her face. "No," I started to laugh, then suddenly remembered. I stared, my hand over my mouth, horrified.
"What?" Holly tried to look alarmed, but was overcome with a fit of the giggles.
"Today is his birthday. Oh my God!"
She howled with laughter.
"Shit, Holly!"
I slipped on a rock and landed on my ass next to my chair, up to my armpits in the warm water. "Oh my god, did you pee over here?" I was laughing now too. "The closer I am to your chair, the warmer the water is!"
When Bob arrived, we were still in the water. We tried to make it up to him by taking him down the lake to our favorite supper club for dinner, and he graciously accepted, my long-suffering husband, even though we were tipsy and maybe a little rowdy.
It's August again, I still drink perfect margaritas, but everything's different.
I miss you, Holly.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

why i like feta cheese

I am not a refined or complicated girl. I was raised on oatmeal for breakfast, bread and butter for lunch and something with beans in it for supper. So it may come as no surprise that I still love oatmeal, but I am having a blast trying new foods, of which there seems to be an endless supply!
I don't remember my first taste of feta, but I do remember when I began craving it.
It was a typical "chemo day" for me in the fall of '08, about five months into my 16 month treatment plan for breast cancer. My morning started with a parade of nurses and technicians taking turns trying to access my port. After at least 6 tries they had a line in, which almost immediately infiltrated and had to be restarted with an intra-peritoneal needle. It felt like a nail in my chest. I gritted my teeth and cursed my surgeon's placement for the hundredth time. The nurse flushed my port with normal saline, one eye on my face for my reaction, and sighed in relief at my shudder when the taste hit my mouth.
"What do you want to eat, honey?"
I looked up at my husband in disbelief. He always asked this; I just couldn't believe his inate ability to ask at the exact moment I felt the most nauseous. I realized I was still holding my breath from the anticipation of the nail going in. I blew it out slowly.
"I'll have pizza."
It was our little ritual, every chemo day. I would get plugged in, and he would wander down to our favorite cafe, knowing by the time he went through the line and got back upstairs, my pre-meds would be kicking in and I would be hungry.
So he nods and saunters out, cracking a joke at the nurse as he leaves. My funny, wise-ass husband is clearly a favorite here among the mainly female staff of nurses (and one effeminate male nurse he shamelessly flirts with), so I would like to go off on a side note and describe him to you.
His name is Robert. He hates it, so I call him Bob. Everyone else, calls him Bobby.
Bob has been through a lot in the past 8 months or so. The night I was diagnosed, I was 6 doors down the hall from his mother's room, who was dying of a rare peritoneal cancer. She passed away shortly after that. In the midst of his grief he was still there for me during multiple surgeries, complications, illnesses. He took care of our children, then 7 and 1, when I was too weak or sick to hold them, changed diapers, made school snacks, shaved my head for me - and somehow maintained his sanity and sense of humor. He'll probably never know how much I really love him for that.
Bob returned with two takeout containers and two fountain drinks. "They have a new pizza," he told me, opening mine up on the side table of my recliner. "It has artichokes but I figured you would like it."
It smelled heavenly. Fifteen minutes ago, I felt like vomiting. The pre-meds were working!
The pizza looked like a flatbread with artichokes, calameta olives and feta cheese. It tasted like nectar from the gods. There wasn't much those days I cared to eat, but I loved that pizza.
Bob ate his turkey sandwich in the straight-backed chair across from me, looking pleased with himself. My nurse returned, ready to change my IV bag.
"Time for your Benadryl, Sarah. Oh my, is that pizza from downstairs?"
"Yes! Its a new one. So yummy. You like feta cheese?"
I stopped smacking long enough to offer her a piece. We ohhed and ahhed together between bites while she changed my bag. The benadryl was the favorite part of my day- as soon as it started infusing I would start to feel sleepy, and soon I wouldn't be able to hold my eyes open. The nap, a precious commodity these days, would also be on a full stomach.
I saw a woman, well-dressed and with her own hair, watching us from the hallway with a strange look on her face. Obviously, she was either new to the Infusion Center, or not a patient. Not everyone understands.
I leaned back into my recliner, still some grease on my face, yet strangely content for the moment. My eyelids were heavy as I listened to Bob and Amy, my nurse, discuss the latest Top Chef. My bald head felt chilly, but Amy, anticipating this, was already tucking a warmed blanket around me. I drifted off and dreamt I was eating feta cheese pizza again.