Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Belly Drama - Day 2

I tumbled into bed at 3:30 am wondering if I would be able to make it into the office. I didn't have a whole lot of sick time accrued and I never like wasting sick time for something like being sick. Determined to wake up at 6am and shake it all off, I hit the pillow running.

At 6:35 am, my phone rang, a car pooling colleague calling to ask if I wanted to ride in to work with her. I was pretty disoriented, my tummy still hurt, and I was exhausted so I told her I was going to drive in a little later.

I called in sick.

My sister Bellie and cousin Starbuck were both annoyed that I was sent home with Oxycotin and a pat on the head. They urged me to call my doctor for reparations. To my surprise, my doctor's office was not pleased with the outcome either and wanted to see me. We made a 3:30 pm appointment. I expected little, but the pain was still there and I was getting surly.

My nice Asian Dr. was very young and very sweet, explained everything to me, showed me the CT scan results and wanted me to get a second opinion from a surgeon friend in a nearby town as well as schedule an MRI to be sure I had no girlie things troubling. I was direct - if it was girlie, wasn't a bunch we could do but let it pass, and at this late hour, it was unlikely I was going to get in to see his surgeon friend, so chances were slim I was going to follow up. Like I said, he was young and sweet and probably wrote the word "BEEYOTCH" in my chart.

Surprise #2 of the day; Dr. Surgeon called me right back. He didn't like the way things looked and wanted another CT scan. Ugly being my tone of the day, I was pretty sure they were soaking the insurance company, but went to the ER at his behest. Starbuck took me.

I was accustomed to the routine this time; the questions, the answers, the prodding, the needles. My nurse Mike joked and laughed and made us smile. He was a delight. Dr. Surgeon came in.

Woof. Yum. Mommy. Nice.

Urine, Contrast, CT, blabbity blah, let's take out the appendix. All this was decided as I was on the phone with Guest Blogger. Nurse Mike came in declared he wanted me naked.

"A man has come into my room and wants me naked. I have to go!"


The pre and post op staff (Barb) were wonderful. I still got asked all my questions, I had all the right answers, I asked a few myself. My IV got poked with a needle and that's all I remember until I woke up in pain and with a dry mouth. Nurse Barb was a chatty sweetheart, refused me any water. I may have offered it up, but I don't think I did it with any gusto. I was wheeled into a room at 2am, given some water and ginger ale which I promptly consumed, given pain killers and fell asleep.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Belly Drama

Appendix: Addendum, adjunct; supplement both meaning material added at the end of a book. An appendix gives useful additional information, but even without it the rest of the book is complete.

An interesting definition given the subject (for all that my life is a book), but doesn’t really tell the story (haaaaa).

Vermiform Appendix - A narrow, blind tube protruding from the cecum, having no known useful function, in humans being 3 to 4 in. (8 to 10 cm) long and situated in the lower right-hand part of the abdomen.

Ahhhh, yeah, that’s the one.

Monday, September 15 was a day like any other. I remember being particularly crabby, having called Guest Blogger to lament on my crabbiness, not wanting my readership to endure an arbitrary rant on hating humanity. I've overdone that one. We laughed, it got better. For lunch, I remember having some sort of Mexican side dish that included corn and kidney beans. I remember this particularly because I got a nasty belly ache at around 3pm that I couldn’t shake. I mentioned it to my colleague who made me some kind of red tea that was supposed to help. I sipped it on the way home, wanting to die, it didn’t go away as easily as the crabbiness. I was certain it was gas – darn Mexican beans.

Monday night was bad. I was feverish and doubled over in pain, forcing me to stay home from work on Tuesday. Usually, staying home from work is a treat, I mean, you’re home from work. Nope. This hurt. When Guest Blogger called to suggest I come over for crosswords, I declined. So unlike me. The promise of crosswords and martinis is nearly always a sure draw. I was encouraged to see a doctor – could have been a whole host of things – diverticulitis, appendicitis. I was still certain it was just stubborn gas. *&^%(*ing Mexican beans.

I called my sister, hoping to get validation of my self-diagnosis. She didn’t help. I moaned, “It’s not so bad. I’ll feel like an idiot if I go to the ER and it’s nothing.” “Well, you’re going to feel like an idiot of your appendix ruptures and you didn’t go to the ER when you could have. You’re going to feel like an idiot anyway, you might as well go.” Couldn’t argue with that. Guest Blogger took me to the ER.

The triage nurses at the hospital were not on fire Tuesday night. After about an hour I shuffled over and asked nicely if they had forgotten about me. It was the only way I could think of bringing the issue up without saying “What the ^&%# are you people doing back there?” They graciously thanked me for my patience, told me they were still working on several people ahead of me and they’d get to me as soon as they could.

An hour and a half and 2.5 crossword puzzles later, I went to the ladies room. Shortly after, I was triaged, and eventually registered. Thus began the litany of questions I would eventually memorize.
Of course, it was right then AFTER I had gone to the bathroom, I was asked for a urine sample. Triage nurse 1 asked:

What is your first and last name? What is your date of birth? Where is the pain? When did is start? On a scale of 1-10 1 being the least and 10 being the worst, what is the pain level? Any nausea? Any vomiting? Any diarreah? Any blood in your stool? Any blood in your urine? When was your last period? When did you last eat? Are you taking any prescription medicines?

I got into a room at approximately 9:30 pm. ER Nurse 1 asked:

What is your first and last name? What is your date of birth? Where is the pain? When did is start? On a scale of 1-10 1 being the least and 10 being the worst, what is the pain level? Any nausea? Any vomiting? Any diarreah? Any blood in your stool? Any blood in your urine? When was your last period? When did you last eat? Are you taking any prescription medicines?

Blood was drawn and vials were left at my table. Hmmmmm. My IV line was looking fabulous when ER Physician Assistant came in asked me:

What is your first and last name? What is your date of birth? Where is the pain? When did is start? On a scale of 1-10 1 being the least and 10 being the worst, what is the pain level? Any nausea? Any vomiting? Any diarreah? Any blood in your stool? Any blood in your urine? When was your last period? When did you last eat? Are you taking any prescription medicines?

Blabbity blah blah blah.

At this point, Guest Blogger, never a fan of the bodily function discussions, burst into a giggling frenzy. She covered her face, blocked her mouth and kept laughing. I started laughing. The ER Physician Assistant and the Blood Nurse just looked at us both, probably wondering if they should run a tox screen for traces of cannabis. Noting their faces, I tried to cover; “It’s 10pm, and we’ve been waiting 2 and a half hours - - we’re both a little punchy."

My blood letter remarked, “I was going to say, and how old are we girls?” Yeah, well *&^) you Blood Nurse, why don’t you *$@##*ing take my vials of blood to the lab and shut the *%$# up?

I wasn’t feeling very tolerant in my head.

I mentioned feeling nauseated in the ER so they shot me up with some anti-nausea medicine. Just a friendly piece of advice? Unless you are puking up bile? Don’t take this stuff. I could feel hot lava juice squirting up the veins in my arm, into my neck, proceeding into my head, and my finally stomach. An agitated plea - “Is that normal?? Is that OK?” was greeted with nonchalance. It eventually settled down and determined never ever to tell anyone I had nausea again unless I spied ovaries in the bowl.

Not long after, I was treated to some morphine for the pain. THEN I was told I had to drink “contrast” to help them see my appendix on the CT Scan. WTF? Some icy pink carbonated juicy juice was placed in front of me. I encouraged Guest Blogger to go home and sleep; I wasn’t going home any time soon.

ER Physician’s Assistant gave me the game plan; I had an hour to drink the “contrast”, an hour to wait, then the CT scan, then an hour to wait and voila! Diagnosis.

Morphine does nothing to help one focus on baby step goals. I wanted only to sleep. But I am nothing if not compliant; I drank that stuff down like a champ.

ER Doctor came in, asked me the same questions, "
What is your first and last name? What is your date of birth? Where is ....." patted my hand, explained the CT process….I nodded off, and woke up being wheeled in to the CT scan room. This time, contrast was injected into my IV line and I was warned that I’d start to feel warm. I sure did. In my arm, my throat, my face and then when I was certain I was peeing myself, I decided to trust in the process and not raise a bladder control question.

Crap, I have to finish this quick – appendicitis inconclusive. Sent me home at 3am with Oxycotin and a note to stay home from work. I got a cabbie who didn’t know how to get to my house, so I gave him directions. He was displeased with my payment by credit card and kept the meter running while he located his prehistoric card machine, a slip of paper and a pen. It added $3 to my cab fare. I gave him a $1 tip.

More tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008


A few weeks ago, I begged my daughter to watch one of my favorite Korean dramas ~ "Thank You". I was shameless ~ and used an almost unfair bargaining chip by tapping into her current obsession – the Twilight series of books by Stephanie Meyer. I told her that if she watched “Thank You” with me, I’d read the books.

She watched the series and she really got invested in the characters – we had a good time watching together. But then, it was my turn.

The premise, for anyone who doesn’t have a teenage daughter in the house, is 17 year old, loner in her own mind, Bella Swan moves to Washington state to live with her Dad. After a tortured beginning, Bella falls crazy in love with Greek god-like Edward Cullen. Edward is one of seven Cullens; Ma and Pa (Esme and Carlisle) Cullen, Edward, Alice, Jasper, Rosalie, and Emmett. The Cullen’s don’t hunt humans for food, so they are considered “good” vampires – the vegetarians of the vampire world I suppose. Pa Cullen, the first of their clan, has overcome his human-blood lust (he didn’t want to be a ‘monster’) and uses his super powers for good as a doctor. Of course, he has had a few hundred years to do this. The rest of the clan still struggles to remain…let’s just say 'vegan'.

When Bella first meets Edward he seems positively repulsed by her; angry and hateful. We find out later that his initial reaction was because he was having a hard time overcoming her yummy-smelling blood and his urge to…remain vegan. It’s not just that, we find too that he is powerfully attracted to Bella indeed - throughout a good half of the book, Edward struggles with this feeling, knowing that it simply is not in Bella’s best interest to hang out with him and his vegan family.

Blabbitty blah blah blah, they acknowledge their love, he saves her from James, a…uhm…non-vegan who is determined to separate Bella from her heart juice and they all live happily ever after. Well, at least until prom. There’s four more books to wade through.

It was a shame that I had just finished “Exile” by Richard North Patterson. “Exile” was an extraordinarily well written book, smart and thoroughly entertaining. It was brilliant. I finished that book marveling at his genius.

And then I read “Twilight”.

God help me it was everything that “Exile” was not; horribly inane and poorly written. I suppose one could compare it to watching an episode of “Law and Order” and then on it’s heels, “Reba”. Or watching a marvelous k-drama series like “Thank You” and then viewing a corresponding “Hello Miss!” Awful. “Twilight” is the badly written book I think I have in me. Sure, one could argue that it was directed to an audience of teenage girls. Let me tell you, compared to “Twilight” the Harry Potter series is a frickin’ triumph of literature.

That said, Stephanie Meyer is totally doing what I cannot; she’s making gobs of money, the movie will be released in November and she has generated a teenage feeding frenzy of character adoration for the tormented Edward. God Bless her. I wish her nothing but health, wealth and success. Huzzah Meyer! More power to you!

The book’s message on complete and total true sacrificial love isn’t a bad one; though certainly easier to swallow when you’re 17. Unfortunately, the unintended message underlined for girls in this book is “He loves me, he’ll change.” They never change – girls need to get that message drilled in early and often in life.

There are good messages in the book. The Cullens are creatures if you will, who struggle to conquer their baser animal being. They didn’t make themselves what they were, they can’t help that they are vampires, but they can work to overcome their reactions to their instincts and be better “people”, “vampires”, or “vegans”. It’s a good message for teenagers; a good message for all of us. Be better than what you are, rise above what life has dealt and make the world a better place. Though I’d far rather young women read “Pride and Prejudice” and fall in love with the beautiful Fitzwilliam Darcy than the tortured blood sucking Edward.

I’ll let you know how the rest of the books are. I’ve promised to read them and since there is little to challenge the mind, I expect to have them finished by the end of this weekend.

But my daughter is absolutely delighted I’m reading her beloved series of books. She has wanted to have critical conversation about the characters and the plot and it’s a wonderful place to discuss obsessive behavior in young teenage girls and the consequences. As far as I’m concerned, this best thing about this book.

Oh, that, and she watched "Thank You".

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Winter Sonata

Every once in a while, I get in a mood, thinking that there are certain movies that I have to watch. You know, iconic films that have so entered the lexicon of the culture that you feel like less of an American for not having seen. Brando's "On The Waterfront" ("I coooduh beenuh contenduh!") or "Annie Hall" (Woody Allen....shudder). Can you believe I've never seen Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho"? Don't get me wrong, I know what the movie is about, I've seen the shower clip (who hasn't?) and I've heard the loving thousand wax poetic. I really don't need to see it...but yeah, I need to see it.

There are some Korean dramas/movies that I think are the same. Last year I watched the canceriffic drama "Stairway to Heaven".... (eh...not so much) and "My Sassy Girl" - which I thoroughly enjoyed. At the time I watched it, I had no idea that "My Name is Kim Sam Soon" was allegorical as well.
Piano-04 - Piano-04

Last night and today - I finally watched the much ballyhoo'd television blockbuster "Winter Sonata" starring Bae Yong Joon as the tragic Kang Joon Sang / Lee Min Hyung and Choi Ji Woo as the impacted by loving Mr. Tragic Jung Yu Jin.

Maaaaaan, was this one crazy convoluted complicated boat ride. An attempt to sum up would take pages. But I'm game! BFF loves Angel Face, Angel Face thinks of BFF as a brother. Seriously Depressed Lonely Boy meets Angel Face, Angel Falls in love with Lonely, BFF is pissed. Hair is blown in slow motion, snow folk kiss, bicycles are ridden, angst is shared. BFF is pissed.

Lonely dies, Angel weeps, BFF comforts. Lonely's Doppleganger shows up, with freshly washed highlights in his hair, on the eve of Angel's and BFFs engagement, throws Angel into a tailspin of angst, depression and girly pain. Doppleganger is confused, Angel is a weepy mess, BFF is pissed.

Twists worthy of palace machinations offer swooning, magical hypnosis memory inserts, a car accident, a bus accident, a construction accident, brain aneurysms, maybe-incest, paternity tests, insane mothers wanting to believe the baby they had out of wedlock was the fruit of her love with her forbidden when really it was the illegitimate seed of his best friend, obsession and true "will always remember you because I wasn't stricken with amnesia" love and the inevitable blindness. Blind Guy living ironically in a very real "Land of Shadow" on the continent of the "Perpetual Winter Coat". I don't think BFF is pissed anymore.

Perfectly clear. Let's get on with the review, shall we?

Ponder Angst – The ponder angst killed me. I've never hit the ffd button so much in my life. I don't think the letters are on the remote anymore. I even started speed reading by ffding x4 so I could get through the slow dialogue. WS loses points - first time ever - we got a -10.

Love “ – “ Angles – It's a square of love. Doppleganger loves Angel, Angel loves Dopplganger, BFF loves Angel and B*tch Scag loves Doppleganger. 16 points

Sizzle – The only sizzle in Winter Sonata was when some soju spilled on a grill in a restaurant. Kidding...Sorta. Bae Yong Joon provides the only sizzle the show has. A gifted actor, his man-pain made my chest hurt. His stop dead in the snow "I think I'm falling in love with Angel" moments were wrenching. Some people got it, BYJ's got it. I'll give WS 20 points just because I liked BYJ.

Physical Intimacy – Sweet kisses, lots of hugs. Not a whole lot going on here, but gently typical of k-drama. 10 points

Tragic Heartwrenching Disease and/or Character Death from Same – Mmmmmm, constipation quotient. Like I said, swooning, aneurysms, amnesia, packed with depression and obsessive behavior, Winter Sonata was a pantheon of medical intervention. I'm giving it 25 just for the heartwrenching, loss of balance causing brain haematoma requiring immediate surgery, forcing Doppleganger to sacrifice his love on the altar of medical martyrdom resulting in his eventual and complete blindness. 25 points. Oh, if someone could tell me why he needed glasses after he LOST HIS FRICKIN' EYESIGHT I'D APPRECIATE IT!

Going to the Beach – There was sadly, no real suicidal ideation in the series (unless I ff'd past it) and though beaches were plentiful, no one decided to utilize the ocean as a blessed release from this mortal coil. No bonus.

I will, however, give myself 10 points for recognizing Sam Sik's Buddy from "MNIKSS" and for identifiying the eunich from "Jewel in the Palace". So padded, Winter Sonata gets a big 71 points. I think this will disappoint fans of the show - from what I read, it's well loved. The music was beautiful, made extra special by the Bee Gees "How Deep is Your Love" playing in the background during one scene. (Yeah, that's how much I was paying attention the action and dialogue).

Winter Sonata was OK - which made me sad - I wanted and was ready for another "Thank You" to love.

It's ok. Maybe I'll watch "Psycho" next.

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