Vigorous Anonymity

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…for me to start this back up again.  I wish it was because I’m all happy and cheery and want to share the goodness, but, alas…no.  I am writing again in the aftermath of a series of medical traumas that my husband has gone through, and the resulting way that our lives have changed.  I’m just going to be jumping in with both feet here.  The writing is for me.  I don’t expect anyone else to read it or understand it, but little by little I imagine the whole story will be told.

Jackass had a series of grand mal seizures, from August to mid-November, and after 3 months of tests was diagnosed with a fistula in his brain.  It has a real name, which I don’t want to write down, lest a google search should lead someone back here.  Like I said, this writing is for me, and I need it to stay that way.

Anyway, the fistula caused irritation in the brain, which set off the seizures, which inevitably left him with some damage.  Speech issues, cognitive issues, memory lapses.  Physically, he’s the same.  The fistula was embolized – twice.  And the doctors think that within three months the swelling will be reduced and the  problems he is having will right themselves.  I am less certain.

He has good days and bad.  Today, not so good.  He woke up belligerent and frustrated, and has argued with me over everything.  How much water to put in the coffee pot, whether or not to put the Christmas tree lights on…just stupid stuff because that is the focus of his days.  Gone is the intelligent, driven professional, and in his place is this man who is withdrawn, depressed and probably terrified.  He is not alone.

I’ve been on family leave since December 1st, but that ends in a week and a half.  Going back to work full-time on January 9 and I’m not sure how we will manage.  But I have to go back at some point, and I don’t see things changing dramatically from one week to the next.

So that’s that.  The whole story needs telling, but I’m not there yet.  But I feel better already having written that much of it down.

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So we’re going on a cruise in August.  FIRST.TIME.EVER.  And the first time we haven’t gone to the Jersey Shore in…god…18 years???  This is the first vacation since my husband and I were married that I won’t be cooking and making beds.  I’m downright giddy.

We’re flying into Miami on 8/23, hopping on a ship, and then heading to Key West and Cozumel, Mexico.  I can’t tell you how excited we are.  Well ok Jackass and I are excited, but Ingrid and Morris are a little concerned about the no cell phone policy I will have to institute, and wondering what exactly there will be for them to do.

I’m just looking forward to walking away from an unmade bed for the first time and not having be unmade when I get back in it at night.

When a baby is born in a New Jersey hospital, the parents are given a green, pink and white blanket, an ID bracelet, and a roll of quarters.  The quarters are for Parkway tolls.  Because every New Jersey kid comes with a prerequisite that its parents introduce it to the Jersey shore.

In New Jersey, we don’t go to the beach.  We go “down the shore”.  It doesn’t matter that a lot of territory that isn’t the beach also isn’t north of it.  If you live in Camden, you pretty much just drive straight across the state…still, you’re going down the shore.

I made my first trip down the shore when I was about six.  My parents took me, because, like I said, it’s a prerequisite.  If you can picture in your head the palest, most ill-equipped people to sit on a beach, you have my parents.  I’m pretty sure my father was wearing black socks.  We only went the one time, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was a “day trip”, we probably only spent a few hours on the beach, but Dad and I collected sea shells, which back in the 60s were in prominence on the beach, but now are incredibly rare.  I was afraid of the water (still can’t swim) but the smells and the sounds were amazing.  And once a Jersey kid experiences it, they have to refill the cup on a regular basis.  There are rules about these things.

When I was a teenager but too young to drive, I went to Seaside Heights all the time with my friend Becky because her parents were big into day trips.  We used to wear the precursor to the tankini, which was basically a little bikini bottom and what was almost a mini dress over the top.  We thought we looked awesome.

Enter the first boyfriend, he with the 1978 Firebird Formula – fire engine red, with black leather interior and the T-roof.  No air conditioning though.  Jerry regretted that a long time.  We would drive down to Belmar after he was done with work on Friday nights and we’d spend 3 hours just cruising up and down the boardwalk, winning stuffed animals and stuffing our faces with funnel cake.  The boardwalk at night was magic.  The lights, the voices, the smell of Coppertone.  Magic.

This weekend is Memorial Day, and thus the cycle begins again.  New Jersey will once again be heading down the shore.  It will be Springsteen and Southside Johnny on the iPod for as long as the kids in the back seat will allow it.  It will be the mad calculations about when to leave and how to miss the traffic and what detours to take when you get near what used to be the Garden State Arts Center but is now called the PNC something-or-other.  Because the other thing that Memorial Day brings is traffic.  Mounds and mounds of traffic.  Basically, if you have to go south in Jersey, you don’t do it on a Friday night, and if you need to come north for work on Monday, you leave 3 hours before work starts and drive straight there.  Otherwise, you’ll spend 5 hours in bumper to bumper traffic with two screaming kids in the back seat and a husband who curses at everything that moves faster than he does.

It’s a big time in Jersey.  I can’t remember a summer I didn’t spend down the shore in some fashion or another.  A day.  A weeekend…sometimes two weeks in a row if we were fortunate.  And that first smell of dead clams as you cross the causeway is worth the 5 hours it took you to make a 2 hour drive.  Trust me.  It is.

So thank you all for the feminine hygiene tips (yes I’m looking at you, Shania), but I think I’ve gotten that part down pat…so to speak.

Yesterday, I went to a urologist, who I shall call Dr. Luv.  First of all that’s part of his name, but my adoration goes oh so much deeper than that.

He was about 42, funny, cute and playful.  LOVE that about a doctor.  I almost don’t care if they can cure me if they’re willing to flirt with me a little.

Anyway, he looked things over (yes…all “things”) and decided this has been one long infection that hasn’t been treated well and not 3 individual recurrences.  He switched me from antibiotics to an antiseptic, which I’ve never taken orally (I’ve put it on the occasional burn but I’m guessing it’s not the same thing in cream form) and which has turned my pee a lovely shade of azure blue.  Really, you haven’t lived until you get up from the pot and glance behind to find the Caribbean Sea in your toilet.

I’ve had 2 of these pills and I feel 100% better.  The blue piss is just a plus.

He’s sending me for an ultrasound to check on the parts, because I said I hated cat-scans.  He agreed and said an ultrasound was fine.  Like I said, love the Dr. Luv.  Gave me samples of the drugs so I don’t have to buy them.  And on the way out…wait for it…told me I could drink on these pills!  WINE, come to my baby!

I’ve been dry for 3 weeks now.  I’m cranky.  My first drink will be in honor of Dr. Luv.

I’ve had a bladder infection for 6 weeks.  I’m a little testy about it…it’s irritating and painful and causing me to run through my sick/personal time like the water I can’t pass.   Pardon the pun, but it’s pissing me off.

I’ve been on 3 rounds of antibiotics, and if you know anything about me at all, it’s that I don’t do well on antibiotics.  Amazingly, all these have done is make me throw up a lot.  Hell, I’ve even lost a few pounds!  But at least I haven’t stopped breathing for any significant amount of time, so there’s that.

Basically, I stop the antibiotics and a week later it’s back.  The second time this happened, I was in so much pain and had spike a fever so high and so fast that I decided a trip to the ER was the only thing that was going to help.

And today, I am going to see a urologist.  Can I just tell you how much I am dreading this?  The official name of the practice is “Prostate Cancer and Urology Center”.  Prostate…I’m pretty sure I don’t have one of those.  So I imagining sitting in a waiting room full of squirmy men, all wondering what the hell I’m doing there.

I really don’t want to go, but I know I must.  I even decided this morning I was feeling miraculously better and maybe I wouldn’t bother.  And then I beat myself about the head and shoulders and came to my senses.  But still…don’t want to goooo!

So yeah, this whole thing is making me a little testes…er…testy.

And this one is no exception.  Thanks to my lover, Ree, for this one.

1. I’ve come to realize that my chest-size…needs to be measured vertically.

2. I’ve come to realize that my job … is absolutely ridiculous.

3. I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving … it better be light out, because I can no longer see well enough to drive at night.

4. I’ve come to realize that I need…to spend time with MY friends, and not always Jackass’ friends.

5. I’ve come to realize that I have lost … my sex drive.  And I mourn its passing.

6. I’ve come to realize that I hate it when … Jackass chuckles when reading emails, because I know that means he wants to share, even if I don’t feel like it.

7. I’ve come to realize that if I’m drunk … I’m usually with Damn Girl.

8. I’ve come to realize that money … is nice, when you have it.

9. I’ve come to realize that certain people … are like slinkies.  They don’t have a purpose, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs.

10. I’ve come to realize that I’ll always … enjoy a good romance novel.

11. I’ve come to realize that my siblings … and I are never going to be close.

12. I’ve come to realize that my mom … was very funny and very warm.

13. I’ve come to realize that my cell phone … is like a third hand, and I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

14. I’ve come to realize that when I woke up this morning … I said a little thank you to whoever created Vicodin.

15. I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep … I wasn’t ready to go to sleep and ended up staring at the ceiling for an hour.

16. I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking … how good this soup I’m eating is.

17. I’ve come to realize that my dad … who died of esophageal cancer, probably had gastric reflux and SO DO I.

18. I’ve come to realize that when I get on Facebook … I am always disappointed and bored.

19. I’ve come to realize that today … I have to figure out the ferry schedule into NYC because President Obama is there and it will be impossible to drive in.

20. I’ve come to realize that tonight … I need to know about the ferry because we’re going to see Jersey Boys.

21. I’ve come to realize that tomorrow … I’m going to be very very tired.

22. I’ve come to realize that I really want to … go shopping.

23. I’ve come to realize that the person who is most likely to repost this is … no one since there are only a few people left reading my sad little blog.

24. I’ve come to realize that life…is shorter than I realized 10 years ago.

25. I’ve come to realize that this weekend … could be fun, but will most likely be a source of annoyance (but a really good blog post).

26. I’ve come to realize that marriage … should come with directions.

27. I’ve come to realize that my friends … tolerate me in ways for which they should be given medals.

28. I’ve come to realize that this year … my youngest child will get his driver’s license.

29. I’ve come to realize that my ex is … nonexistent.

30. I’ve come to realize that maybe I should … go to the dentist.

31. I’ve come to realize that I love … Rock Band parties (more for the people I go to them with than the actual Rock Band, you see).

32. I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand … the appeal of grandchildren.

33. I’ve come to realize my past … is something no one else in my life knows anything about.

34. I’ve come to realize that parties … with the right people, are more fun than should be legal.

35. I’ve come to realize that I’m totally terrified … going to the dentist!

That was one long damned meme.  If you leave a comment, I want you to tell me how far you actually read.  I will not be mad if you stopped at 2.  I swear.

I need to go to the dentist.  I hate the dentist.  I will do anything to avoid the dentist.  I am running out of excuses not to go to the dentist.

I have a tooth that needs to go.  The filling fell out a while back, and I went (GASP!!) to have it fixed, but the dentist said then he could only give me a temporary filling, but the tooth needed to come out.  So he recommended an oral surgeon.  I did not call.

The temporary filling has been very good to me, and is still in place, and I am ignoring the need to call the oral surgeon.  However, about 4 months ago, it started to hurt.  I mean seriously hurt, as in I would lie down at night and OH! the throbbing!  So I…gulp…called the oral surgeon.

The oral surgeon (notice how often I’m using those words…I’m trying to get used to them) was unable to see me for 3 weeks at that time…excellent!  And since they had never seen me, they wouldn’t prescribe anything for the OH! THROBBING! or for the obvious abscess going on in my gum.  Sorry!

I couldn’t call the dentist because he put in the temporary filling with the directive to GO TO THE ORAL SURGEON and I ignored him.

So I called my doctor with a sob story about how the oral surgeon couldn’t help me and I was all OH! THROBBING! and could he help?  And they gave me a giant bottle of Percoset (I love him for that) and 2 weeks worth of antibiotics.

At this point, I must draw your attention to this which was added just today from the musty old blog, in which I almost die from an antibiotic allergy.  There are similar stories, including the one in which we went to Washington DC with a pic-line in my arm to administer IV-antibiotics because that’s all I can take.  And that was what made me decide to remove that chunk of ruined colon.

So anyway, back to the tooth story…(are you still there?  hello??)

The antibiotics the doctor gave me were the absolute last ones I can take orally without a life threatening allergic reaction.  I took them, but with each pill, I took one Benadryl, just in case.  Nothing happened, no swelling, no itching, no throat closing, no inability to breathe.  The abscess went away and I stopped taking the antibiotics but I saved about 6 of them (I know…very bad of me not to finish the bottle) so that just in case I needed them again before I had worked up the courage to go to the oral surgeon I had one more dose.  And then Thursday night happened.

The tooth has been bothering me the last few days.  Nothing I can’t handle but I know it’s there.  I know it’s abscessing again.  Don’t need a dentist to tell me this.  Still I haven’t called the oral surgeon. *

I suddenly remembered that there were 6 antibiotics in the cupboard and I set off to take one on Thursday night, with the intention of just seeing if it helped.  I opened the pill and was surprised to see the Benadryl in there (I’d forgotten I had combined them in the bottle) so I haphazardly popped one antibiotic and one Benadryl and set about my night.

Fifteen minutes later my fingers and feet started to tingle.  Sixteen minutes later I was filled with dread as I realized what was going on.  I was now allergic to the very last antibiotic I could safely take.  It was 9PM and Jackass wasn’t home.  Morris was asleep.  I was alone.  DAMNED TOOTH!

I ran to the cupboard to find the new bottle of Benadryl I had bought, all the while I’m rubbing my screaming itching hands on my legs and scratching my feet against the carpet to soothe them.  I popped the Benadryl and took two more, and then sat down to hope for the best.

That’s when my heart started to pound.  Anxiety?  Maybe.  Part of the reaction?  Maybe.  I didn’t know for sure, but I was terrified.  My heart was beating so loudly I could hear it in my ears and it was sooo fast.  It didn’t exactly hurt, it was just out of control.  The itching continued, my heart was racing, and my breathing started to get raspy.

Just as I was about to panic for real, Jackass came in and I explained what happened.  This meant a confessional about the tooth because I hadn’t really told him about how bad it was.  Come on, you can guess the first thing he said.  “You have to go to the dentist!!”  Jackass.

He was virtually useless while I tried to decide what to do next.  He hung up his clothes.  Poured himself a drink.  I sweated.  Itched.  Raced.  He turned on the Yankees.  I panicked.  Paced.  Scratched.

Finally, the Benadryl kicked in and I calmed down.  I sat still for the first time in 20 minutes.  Had a bottle of water.  Breathed.

We watched the Yankees a while.  And then, about 40 minutes after it had stopped, I got all clammy.  My heart started to race again!  I had that “I’m going to pass out” feeling.  I felt like there was an elephant on my chest and then it started to burn.

I looked at him and said “I think I need to go to the hospital.”  He never moved.  I don’t know what to think about that.

5 minutes later it all stopped.  Everything.  The itching, the heart pouding, the burning chest.  Done.  Over.

It was scary.  And disappointing, because now I cannot take any known oral antibiotics.  And that’s a scary proposition down the road.  And still…I need to go to the dentist.

So if anyone out there knows anything about homeopathic remedies to deal with things, I’m interested.

*There is a reason I don’t want to go to the oral surgeon.  Because once he removes the tooth I will have a gaping hole in my mouth and we cannot afford the implants that I will then need to go in the hole and I really would like to avoid dentures.

**The oral surgeon will put me out to do the extraction so it’s not that.  No, really it’s not!

***Anyone ever gone to a seda-dentist?



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  • TheQueen: Yeah, perhaps next year suggest you ALL just skip the adult gifts and focus on the little ones. I'm sure you won't miss it!
  • kristabella: Yay! You're back!
  • Shania Ring: Out of all of that, the only thing in my head is 20?!? Twenty? I remember a little boy in middle school when I first started reading you. Are you SURE