Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kona and Julius save the world

To recap, our hero Kona is staying at his girlfriend Terra’s place while mom recuperates from surgery, and is having a grand ol’ time, even as he suffers through a life of extreme deprivation. No petite scones, no bones to gnaw on, no rawhide. I know, the mind reels - Jennifer and Bo run a tight ship. This is why their dogs look like, well, dogs, as opposed to sausages, like my chunky Kone. Imagine that. But he has Terra the Exalted to play with, their Italian greyhound Dash, spry and adorable, and Julius, the foster Dobie, sweet as can be.

Last night at home:

(phone rings)

Me: Hello?
Jennifer: Hey, how’s it going? I wanted to see how you were doing…


: So….I hope you weren’t too attached to Kona’s red collar?
Me: The Mickey one? Umm, no, not really it was just a collar that I got for him at Disney, just for fun. Why, did he break it?
Jennifer: Well, you could kind of say that. The only part left of it is the buckle.
Me, laughing: What? Oh my god, how’d he manage that?
Jennifer: We’re not sure if it was him or Julius who totally chewed it up. Tags too. We’re waiting to see who poops red leather.
Me: Do you think Terra and Dash got into the fun?
Jennifer: No, we can rule them out, they were at obedience class so only Kona and Julius were home.
Me: Hmm…..I sense a bit of collusion here….

* * * * * * * *
(Friday night at the Kona’s girlfriend residence. All is quiet, with just Kona and Julius left to their own devices, sleeping like the little angels they are.)

Kona, waking up: *Yawn* - hey Jules, did you see my spiffy new collar? Huh, huh, did you? My mom got it for me from someplace cold. With a lot of old people. And she said something about Grumpy. So Russia maybe.

Julius: Yeah, I know, you keep pointing it out to me. Sniff - yeah, it's nice enough. I was thinki.....wait. WAIT a minute. Did you see what's actually ON that collar?

Kona: Huh? What do you mean?

Julius: It's got those dreaded LITTLE SQUIRRELS on it! The little squirrels with the round ears and long skinny tails! But they're still evil, since they're all just different forms of SQUIRRELS!!!

Kona, horrified: WHAT?? Not the SQUIRRELS! Quick, get it off me! Now, hurry!!

(Julius manages to help Kona tug the collar off. They both look at it in horror.)

Kona: Now, help me KILL IT!! Quick, tear it to shreds, evil evil evil!! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, my mom probably somehow got suckered into buying this EVIL SQUIRREL! Yeah, that's it. They're like the Borg! She'll be soooo happy we saved her from the SQUIRRELS!!

Julius: Whew, close call! Wait, there's a few inches left! (Pounces, destroys.) Okay, now I think the household is safe. Maybe. What do you think of these silver things?

Kona: Hmm, good question. They *were* attached to the evil squirrel thing, so just to be on the safe side…..(tags are chewed to nubs)

Julius: Good work there. (gets a worried frown on his little Dobie forehead) Say – you don’t think our people will think we did that just for fun, do you? I mean, they’ll figure out that we were just trying to save mankind from the evil squirrels, right?

Kona: Don’t worry, my mom is too smart – she’ll figure it out and see us as the heroes we really are. Otherwise it would be like that Lady and the Tramp movie, where Tramp saves the baby from the evil squirrel and at first the stupid mother-in-law who’s obviously crazy because she doesn’t like dogs takes Tramp to the Bad Place until the smart owners come and rescue him. So my mom is like the smart owners, not the crazy mother-in-law. They’ll be very proud of us. I’m sure of it.

Julius: Okay then. I just worry about being sent to the Bad Place, where no one ever leaves…

Kona: Ha, that’ll never happen. You’re with IDR now, Jules. That means you’re in like Lassie. My mom always tells me she’s going to take me to the glue factory, and I just give her the “yes I’m guilty but boy aren’t I cute” look and she melts and gives me a biscuit. And I’ve told you how I conned her into keeping me in the first place – “foster” indeed! Ha! That was some of my best work, hard as it was. (Kona looks off into the distance, reminiscing fondly over those early days when he was on his perfect, no-chasing-squirrels behavior, just until the adoption papers were signed, ink not even dry.) So you’re definitely safe.

Julius: Whew, okay, that’s good to know. I’m glad our people are so smart.

Kona: Me too.

Julius: Boy, I'm exhausted from all that hard work. Nap time.

Kona: Nap time. (Dreams of mom, and ridding the world of evil, one squirrel at a time…….)

Friday, January 29, 2010

My adoring public makes itself heard

First, from alert reader Missy, a rather startling development, as here she is recounting her conversation with her husband:

Me: I wanna get boobs like TASHA!!
Mr. Man
: Who is TASHA!!


I, well, I’m almost struck speechless by this. Does the man perchance live in a cave?? “Who is Tasha”??? What’s next – who is that Obama dude anyway? Who’s Cher? Who’s Dolly, or MarisaTomei? You know, all stars for whom one name is generally sufficient. I’m weeping right alongside you, Missy......

Then of course there have been all the requests here and on Facebook as my elevens (dare we now say twelves?) of readers clamor for actual pictures of the new boobages. Though it’s telling that all of said clamoring is from men. Now then. I would looove to post pics of the new girls, truly, I would. Just to prove that a) I’m not taking Vicodin on a regular basis because I’m your regular garden-variety junkie (to be clear, I’m a recovering-from-surgery junkie, hmph!) , and b) I’m not some 55-year-old guy living in his mom’s basement and looking for random pics of boobs to post, under the guise of the whole cancer/surgery thing. We just won’t even touch the scary issue that is “man boobs” – I’d like to hang onto the readers I do have.

Anyway, back to pictures. I have the feeling that folks in ReaderLand are perhaps being influenced by the warp in the time-space continuum that takes place in TVLand. Where people have surgery one day, and the very next day, they’re up and about, running that 10K. Which, mind you, would normally NOT be a problem for a triathlon goddess such as myself, no sirree! Except for two things, one of which is that I didn’t have the normal boob job, where they just tuck an implant in, but rather the lat flap, where they take a big chunk of muscle and skin from one place (my back) and move it elsewhere (boobages). AND they also left these drains in, of which 2 are still there, meaning, well, let’s just say that anyone who’s wanted to see said drains has invariable responded with an “eww” when I’ve tugged them out for show-and-tell. So that’s what you’d be getting pictures of, drains and stitches and bruising, rather than the super-fine perky boobs yet to come.

So I can only ask for your patience at this time, my dear twelves of readers. Patience. The boobages will have many moments of glory in the years to come, but they will not – should not – be rushed before their time.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Back to the boobages

Unfortunately, Corner Bakery does NOT serve cocktails, which I don’t quite get. They’re right next to a hospital – who among us doesn’t need a drink under such circumstances? So we make our way upstairs, and while we’re waiting, Cori shows up also with her mom in tow, and we start yakking away, basically turning the waiting room into one big coffee klatsch. A woman who’s waiting hears us talking and starts asking us questions – she was just diagnosed recently and is waiting to see Dr. Fine for her first appointment, since she’s getting a mastectomy and immediate recon, and is understandably nervous about it all. So of course Cori pulls up her shirt to show her how good the new foobage can look, and I’m about to do the same when I’m called in. Where my legend precedes me.

Nurse: So you two made your appointments to come in at about the same time?
Me: Yep, we scheduled our surgeries for the same day, so we figured we might as well keep it up.
Nurse: But she got out of the hospital before you did, I hear.
Me: Umm, yeah, I had that whole peeing problem.
Nurse, sympathetically: I heard.

Damn, I guess it’s true what BFF Noreen said, that nurses are all about the peeing and such. I swear, I’ll do better next time!

Then it’s time to see Dr. Fine.

Dr. F.: And how are things going?
Me: Great! I’m still taking the drugs, so I feel pretty good. Drugs are good!

(Dr. Fine must think I’m the biggest idiot on the planet, though he does a good job of hiding it.)

Dr. F.: Well, that’s good – just keep doing whatever you have to.
Me: And Cori and I were just comparing our boobages in your waiting room, showing them off. And I’ve been writing about your brilliance on my blog.
Dr. F.: Ah, then I had better make sure this doesn’t hurt, right? Otherwise that would be the first thing on the blog. This is why my strategy is to make sure if anything’s going to hurt, it goes last. You never want the first things to be painful.
Me: Exactly! Lull them into a false sense of security – pain at the end is a fleeting thing. Say, not to jump the gun here, but we can make adjustments, do more lifting on the left one, and so on, right? I just want to make sure I have perky boobs. Not that there’s pressure on you or anything, but I’m already planning a New Boobages party in June.
Dr. F.: Oh, of course. You probably can’t tell, but you actually have a port in the implants, so we can add saline to make them bigger or smaller.
Me: You’re telling me I have……adjustable boobages?
Dr. F.: Exactly.

Well. Well! This certainly makes things look even better, from where I sit. So after annoying Dr. Fine with a few more questions, telling him that I’ll have pics of his fine work plastered all over the blog and anywhere else I can get them, and explaining my bitter hatred of asshat doctors who have the idiocy to tell potential patients that “of course even with reconstruction your breasts will never look like normal breasts” (ahem, Dr. Kobleigh), Dr. Fine takes out Slacker Drain #3 (which doesn’t hurt at all), and we’re done.

And I feel pretty pleased with my prowess in getting rid of Slacker Drain, until Cori finishes up her appointment and walks out…..drainless! What the hell? Sigh, first the peeing, now the drains – she’s totally kicking my ass. But I think it’s a sign of how “special” I am that I actually saw Dr. Fine, and she only saw Michelle, his nursing assistant. Special in what way I’m not sure, but definitely special.

After lunch with Cori and her mom, we head home. To my place, that is, not my mom’s. Because the thought of being in the car all the way back to my mom’s, and then next week driving back into the city….I just can’t take it. Even the drive home is one hazard after another. Starting with the parking garage issues – again, can’t get to the ticket, driving 2 MPH, randomly hitting the brakes at the possibility of phantom cars darting in front of her, of waiting until she’s driving to start putting her seatbelt on – and then once we emerge, with my mom starting to drive across a street, then slamming on the brakes.

Me: Mom! What are you doing?!
Mom: That woman looked like she was maybe thinking about possibly starting to cross the street.
Me: Who cares?! Once the car is already crossing, the driver has the right of way. Pedestrians need to pay attention – it’s survival of the fittest out here! Besides, we’re right by a hospital anyway…..

Then I’m pretty sure without my repeating “Straight! Straight! NOW left!” we would have wound up going the wrong way on Lake Shore Drive. And I thought I had cleverly preempted any problems by not telling my mom beforehand which exit we were getting off at, because I knew what would happen – she’d immediately get all the way over to the right, and then keep hitting the brakes because of cars merging. But as soon as I do tell her which exit is ours, she gets over and then goes from the aforementioned 38 to about 20. A mile before the exit. I close my eyes. Again.

We finally make it to our exit, Irving Park Road, and once we get off, I find it’s safer to keep my eyes closed, and mumble “Just go straight, straight, keep going straight.” It’s just too scary otherwise.

Finally, home sweet home. Terra firma. I have alcohol in the house, don’t I? Please?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Life, so fleeting and precious

Yesterday I ventured out for basically the first time since Rackotomy Day, leaving the comfort of my mom’s home to head downtown into the big city for my follow-up appointment with Dr. Neil Fine, Plastic Surgeon to the Stars. And while I figured the day would be fraught with the usual peril that follows me whenever I, say, leave the house, it wasn’t the medical stuff or drains being pulled out or wounds inspected that almost did me in, no sirree. It was being in the same car with my mom – with her doing the driving – for an extended period of time.

There’s a reason I try to avoid letting my mom drive, and that reason is basically this: she’s a terrible driver. Sorry mom, but it’s true. She hits the brakes if there’s even the slightest possibility that someone might freakishly lurch out of a strip mall parking lot. She drives a cautious 38 mph on Lake Shore Drive. She doesn’t understand the basic rule of merging in the city, which is if there’s even the slightest window of opportunity, you take it – and I myself like to give a cheery thank-you wave when I do this – because otherwise you’ll be sitting there long enough to get a parking ticket. She putters along in the center lane on I-90, then wonders why all the “crazy drivers” are zooming past her. Yes mom, they’re crazy, but that’s why you need to get ALL the way to the right and stay there. Any changing of lanes is done with the same amount of thought given to planning the Battle of Waterloo, with numerous over-the-shoulder checks, an even further tightening of hands on the steering wheel, a turn signal for several miles, then finally, the big event, a spastic lane change.

I love my mom dearly, mind you, but driving isn’t one of her core competencies, as we’d say at Wharton.

So naturally, by the time we had gotten about 15 minutes into our drive, I was nauseated from the motion sickness you get with a lot of lurching and touching-of-brakes, and had closed my eyes so that I could just ignore it all. Please, make it stop, let me be at the doctor’s office so I can get drains yanked out, anything but this! And then…..then, we got to the parking garage. Where my mom:

a) Doesn’t pull close enough to the ticket thingie, so she has to unbuckle her seatbelt, open the door, get the ticket, etc.
b) Puts her turn signal on as we’re going around corners. In a parking garage.
c) Drives at about 2 mph.

Finally we get to my usual Barbra Streisand floor, and there are tons of spots. Millions. Enough such that my mom can pull into a spot on the right where there are NO other cars around. So what happens?

Me, looking at how my mom is parking: Mom, what are you doing?
Mom: Did I park okay?
Me: Umm, no, actually, you kind of parked like, well, like a jerk. You’re in the middle of the ocean here, at a weird angle no less.
Mom: Is this better?
Me: No, now you’re at an even weirder angle.

My mom then proceeds to back out, then in, then out, in, all at this weird angle where she’s more perpendicular rather than angled in, and she does this literally about 10 times before I can’t take it anymore.

Me: Mom! Stop! I need to get out – I….I can’t take this anymore.

I get out and watch in amazement as my mom keeps doing this little backing out and in thing, again, about 10 more times, until I escape to the refuge of the Barbra Streisand vestibule. You know things are bad when you’d rather listen to Memories warbled over and over again rather than watch someone try to park.

Finally, my mom makes it to the elevators, and I can only look at her in horror.

Me: Mom, what WAS that?? You had tons of space!
Mom: I wanted to park right!
Me: I….I…..(shaking my head)….I need a drink. 9:45AM isn’t too early for a drink, is it? Corner Bakery, do they sell cocktails?

Next up: seeing Dr. Fine and learning about the wonder of adjustable boobages….

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lessons from the boobages

• First and foremost: drugs are your friend. Good drugs. None of that Alleve shit. You might as well be taking Pez if you decide to go the OTC route.

• Lugging drains around kinda makes it look like you’re sporting the shoplifter look. This almost makes me want to try shopping at the Wal-Mart down the street…..just think of all the hilarity that could potentially ensue??

• The stack of books I bought for post-recovery, not so useful given that my eyes burn after reading for a short while. Maybe I can just spend time looking at pretty pictures on the internets?

• Did I mention that drugs are your friend? And if you forget to take them, you’ll realize just how much this is true because suddenly you’ll be in a world of hurt? Just sayin’…..

• Though deciding to venture out while on said drugs is probably not a great idea, given the motion sickness that sets in after just 5 minutes in a car. Oops.

• The new boobages look mighty fine, stitches and swelling and all. Plus I like the word boobages – though that could be the drugs talking.

• Ow! Hurts! Must be time for more drugs....

• When you’re recuperating from surgery, shows like Grey’s Anatomy where they have one character whining about her fricking chicken pox like she just had a limb amputated without anesthesia – well, it’s pretty damn annoying. Just STFU already, and suck it up.

• Yes, I feel free to adjust the boobages in public – or at least the bandages wrapped around the boobages. You got a problem with that?

• Drugs, whee!

• Drain #3, aka The Slacker, will hopefully be coming out on Tuesday when I see the doc. It's not being very useful, which just goes to show you, there's a free rider in every group, letting others do all the work. There's never any escaping the need to downsize.

• Starbucks raised their prices AGAIN?? Given that my misto (which is just coffee with steamed milk) went up by 27 cents in September, it had better not have gone up again, or there will be problems. Big problems. Kona would be just as happy with part of a McDonald’s biscuit as he is with his petite scone, you know…..

• Speaking of The Kone, he’s having a grand ol’ time at his girlfriend’s place, so much so that he’ll probably hide when I eventually get to pick him up. Which might not be anytime soon, as I have this horrific vision of him being his usual exuberant self, getting a paw entangled with a tube from the drains…..quelle horror!

• Yay, time for more drugs, whee!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Go big, then go home

It’s amazing how you can wake up without either a migraine or crippling nausea, and suddenly life is all bright and sunshiny once more. That was me Tuesday morning – still with the cath, and the electric compression things around my legs to make sure I didn’t get blood clots, and all the tubes and drains, but whee, no migraine and no puking! Is life good or what?

And then, the highlight of the day – the Band of Happy Residents come by for a visit. No, really, it’s like it’s a requirement to be a resident at NW, that you have be young, good-looking, and super-nice. This group of about 10 of them troop in, all in their shiny white coats, totally sympathetic about my peeing failure (“Oh, that’s common with anesthesia!”), all chipper and so gosh darn nice I look past them for the tv camera filming them for some reality tv show. Nada. So sad to see them go.

But in the meantime, I get a visit from Bridget, who brings a plethora of boob cookies made by herself and Annette, and a card and bonbons from Deanna. And then Motya comes by with a, yes, a bundt cake! And since I keep trotting out to the nurses’ station with treats, they all pretty much adore me. Which I’m sure they would have anyway, so the treats are just a bonus. But my awesome nurse Jean brings me a latte from the Starbucks downstairs, and they take turns walking with me around the hallways – and, well, basically doing what they can to be near someone of my triathlon goddess stature. Which I guess I should be used to by now, but I still always find it touching, this adulation by the little people.

Anyway, by now I’m pretty sure that my peeing failure has everything to do with my finely honed athleticism - that my body has become SO efficient at all its functions, any slight change in the routine throws everything off kilter. That sounds good, right? Because the cath is out, I’m drinking water like there’s no tomorrow…..and still no peeing. Suddenly peeing is like the Holy Grail, and I think of all the days of my life where I just took peeing for granted, and how that’ll never happen again if somehow my body relearns how to pee, in all its complexity. Cori left the hospital hours ago, awesome nurse Jean’s shift ended so she came by to give me a goodbye hug – “I know you’ll have peed by tomorrow, I’m sure you can do it!” – and yet, here I am.

Finally, at 4PM, a miracle occurs: I pee! Hallalujah! I go bounding into the hallway, and I would be lifting up my arms in my classic V for Victory pose, but that wouldn’t be the wisest thing to do now, so I settle for gleefully informing everyone “I peed! YAY for me! Am I a rock star or what??!” and doing a little happy jig.

Now, lest anyone think this was overkill, I’d just like to note that my announcement prompted a ticker tape parade, a mariachi band, and a celebratory cake being wheeled out, so no, I wasn’t making too much of this. I got hugs from my nurses, many congratulations, and man, wouldn’t life be great if every seemingly small, so-called “achievement” in bodily functions were met with that kind of joy? “How cool, you’re breathing, let’s go celebrate with drinks!” I may need to start a trend here.

Once I had the peeing thing down, I was out of there within the hour and off to my mom’s, with a stop at the Jewel/Osco first to get my prescriptions. Note that I schlump into the store wearing sweats, drains visible at the bottom of my shirt and around my neck, wearing the FC hat, and bandages on my hands from where the tubes were.

Me: I need to get a couple of prescriptions. I usually use the Osco in the city, so I should be in your system?

Pharmacy woman: Okay…we’ll have to put you in new, because of course just because you’re in the system at one of our other Osco stores doesn’t mean that the information carries over anywhere else.

Me: O…kay then.

(I give her the relevant information.)

PW: Who’s your doctor?

Me: Dr. Fine.

PW: There’s some other signature on the prescription.

Me: Well, on this form there’s the name of someone else as well – his assistant maybe?

PW: I wonder who that could be. Who is this other person? Not your doctor?

Me: Umm, NO, my surgeon is Dr. Fine. This other doctor, I have no idea. An assistant?

PW: Hmm, I wonder if it’s another doctor or assistant.

I have the sinking feeling that my pharmacist isn't exactly in the rocket scientist category of health care providers.

PW: Oh, okay, I found the other doctor’s name. What are these medications for?

Me: I just had surgery.

PW: What kind?
Me: Reconstruction.

PW: And what was that for?

Me, tempted to say, “just for the hell of it”: Breast cancer.

PW: Breast cancer. Okay… did you have this surgery recently? How long ago was it?

No, lady, I had it 4 weeks ago, but they like to leave the drains in as long as possible these days, just for yucks. Is it wrong that I’m losing my patience? I finally get my meds, and then go off to scare the kids working the front register, because they at least recognize tired and surly when they see it and are too intimidated to even waste my time with their usual spiel about their “supersaver item of the week” or whatever crap they usually rattle on about. Kids these days are apparently a bit more savvy than their adult counterparts. “When was your surgery” indeed.

As a footnote, I’d like to apologize to those who came here from other blogs looking for advice on a new bike rack. For you I can only offer this: never go with the ones that go on top of your car. Because you WILL eventually drive into something with the bikes still on top. Guaranteed.

And for alert reader T-Odd, who was wondering what “hiking the AppalachianTrail” is a euphemism for – that would mean the same as “flying to Argentina to continue the torrid affair with my Argentinian mistress when I should be governing the state.” Or just “engaging in a torrid affair” for short.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Feeling like a million.....something

I love surgery, if for no other reason than it’s all over with so quickly. Mine took what, like 5 minutes? Or at least from my perspective it did. Actually about 4 ½ hours, but who’s counting? Me, I get to chit-chat, get put under, then wake up almost instantaneously with new boobage. What’s not to like?

After being in recovery for a couple of hours, I get wheeled over to Feinberg via a tunnel under the city streets that’s about a mile long. It’s as all tunnels are: dark, cold, water dripping down the sides, moss and lichen growing in the corners, the squeal of things best left unknown…….oh, okay, it’s actually as bright and chipper as the rest of the place, dammit. And what fun is that??

Anyway considering that I’ve just had major surgery and am chock full of tubes, drains, stitches, etc., I feel pretty damn good! Chattering away like a magpie, feelin’ fine……I didn’t realize until later, when things started to go downhill, that this was the drugs talking. Yep, it’s amazing what heavy anesthesia will do to a person. I even feel fine when Debbie stops by – with bonbons, whee! My first bonbons, *sniffle*. I’m sure she’ll forgive me eventually that I was falling asleep during her visit.

Then Cori wheels herself down the hallway to visit, along with her mom, and even in our painful, med-induced state, we could already recognize the brilliance of Dr. Fine’s work. Cori even flashed me so that I could admire his handiwork – very nice! – and I would have done the same, but this was the point at which things went a bit south. To wit, the migraine. Nausea. And of course, my abject failure at peeing. Yes, peeing. Apparently this is a side effect of the anesthesia, the fact that your body forgets how to pee – so no matter how long the water in the sink ran, how long I attempted to pee, there remained a total disconnect.

“I’m a failure at peeing!” I wail to my wonderful nurse Jean, when she comes back into the room.

She of course tries to reassure me that this is pretty common, but I know the truth: FAIL.

So that was the first time I got the catheter, and when I still wasn’t peeing at 1AM, I got the catheter again, and this time they left it in, apparently worried that I might never pee again under my own volition and would have to wander around like some geriatric 90-year-old the rest of my enfeebled life. Which, I note, would only make me even MORE of a catch, me and my bad self, what with the catheter, the brittle bones which might snap at any moment, The Cancer. What guy wouldn’t look at all that and see it as an exciting challenge?

That night, they have to pester my doctor to get some special migraine meds ordered (sorry Dr. Fine!), and they keep putting anti-nausea meds into my IV, even as I sleep nestled next to a plastic bucket all night, just in case. And my nighttime nurse did like the fact that I put the Fuck Cancer hat on my head, to see if it could help the migraine go away by compressing the blood vessels on my head. Good times….

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tasha’s Big Day, revisited

I showed up at the Prentice on Monday morning ready for battle, determined to fight the good fight, to win one for the Gipper, to do whatever it took, etc. I’m talking about getting my witty banter, of course.

For good measure, I had homemade brownies with me, to bribe whoever I needed to – so I was making friends as soon as I walked in the door, with the two guys working security at the front desk. I knew if I had to be sprung outta this joint for some reason, I could count on these guys to cover for me. Brownies will do that.

So we schlep our way upstairs, and just as I’m contemplating their waiting room computers, where yet again the homepage is NOT set to my blog for some strange reason, I get called into my pre-op room, to get prepped, chat with the surgeon, and get doped up. And unlike last time, where it was clear to me why Mr. Rolling Eyes became an anesthesiologist, this guy is very pleasant, and we chat about hockey and sundry other things. Including my hatred of the whole “forget everything” drug, as I’m now calling it, and about which I sound crazily paranoid.

“Is that the forgetting drug? Is this where I start to not remember anything? Is that it now?”

I’m happy to report however that after a long, drawn-out epic battle and argument, I get my way.

Anesthesiologist: “Oh sure, I can not give you the drug, and then you’ll remember everything until we put you under in the operating room. That’s not a problem at all!”

Whew, I’m still recuperating from the struggle THAT was.

And of course, when anyone asks what procedure I'm having done, I note that we're doing the Lat Flap "to take care of the Appalachian Mountain Boob problem, of course." Yes, I throw around that technical term quite freely - Appalachian Mountain Boob - and accompany it with a slashing motion with my hand, as if one were shearing the top off a mountain, like they do in Appalachia. Which is all completely non-related to the idea of "hiking the Appalachian Trial", just to make that clear. Or more confusing -I'm not sure which.

So after all that fussing, what did my witty banter consist of, or at least my contribution to it?

- some mention of Nurse Ratched, though I don’t recall exactly what the context was

- “So what kind of music do you listen to during surgery? Could you please make sure you do NOT include any Huey Lewis and the News, or any Jefferson Starship, especially that “We Built This City” song, which is the most heinous song known to man?

- “Dr. Fine, you know your reputation precedes you - all the YSC girls are going to be checking out your latest handiwork, comparing mine and Cori's and Jen's - I'm just sayin'…”

- “Hey, how come it’s so bright in here? On Grey’s Anatomy, it’s always so dark in the operating rooms, which really doesn’t make much sens…..mphsdfhoihofiahiho…”

I guess it was time to put me under at that point, as I got the little mask over my mouth, even though they were still puttering around getting ready. Hmm.

(to be continued)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rackotomy Day is here!

So we haven’t even gone in yet, and Dr. Fine’s nurses already think that Cori and I are a couple of crazy psycho stalkers. How did we manage this? Well, Cori and I know each other from the YSC message board, and when we figured out that we had the same doc, were having the same procedure, in about the same time frame, we figured hey, let’s have them on the same day! So she’s going in today as well, and we’ve been emailing to find out who has what information. Thus, when she was told she’d be at Prentice initially, and me at the Galt, we both started calling the doctor’s office to find out what the deal was.

Of course, I sounded a bit silly when I called, saying something along the lines of “Yes, I wanted to know if Cori and I are going to be in the same building, as we have all sorts of hijinks planned. Yes, Cori – you know....umm.....Ringosmommy?”

That was when I realized that duh, I had no idea what Cori’s actual last name was, as opposed to her screen name. Oops! We’ve resolved that little issue by now, so now we’ll just be stalking each other in our respective recovery rooms. See you in NewBoobLand, Cori! Muah!

I’m also going in with freshly made brownies for the nursing staff, as I figure it doesn’t hurt to have them on your side, especially when you a) need heavy psychotropic drugs, and b) are wanting to sneak out for real coffee. I’m just sayin.’

On another note entirely – I was going to title this section “Morbid or Practical?” – because it concerns the fact that I don’t have a will. I know, I know, it’s not like this is a dangerous surgery or anything, and clearly nothing bad will happen, because then I’ll be really really pissed off, and I think even the Fates don’t want to deal with that kind of anger. But this has been a thought of mine, that what if I get hit by that proverbial killer bus one day, and then all my money will go to my mom, which is fine, who then in her grief decides to make a huge donation to the Todd Stroger Re-Election Fund or something? Obviously we can’t let that happen.

But then the question becomes – a formal will, huh? I guess I could write something up, but my mom would never find it on my computer, and to have something floating around on my desk that says “Last Will and Testament” – that would just be depressing. Hence, I’m throwing it out here on my blog, for all posterity, just in case. If I were truly being morbid, I’d parcel out all my worldly possessions, but that would be silly. And morbid. And I don’t really care who gets my stuff. Seriously, someone dies and people are fighting over teacups? What the hell, folks, what the hell.

Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking this: “But Miss Tasha, you is po’! What money you be talkin’ about?”

And this is true, I am po.’ But once when I wasn’t po,’ I paid off a lot of my house, so I have a shitload of equity in it, even with the crappy housing prices these days. Several hundred thousand dollars at least. So here are the basics:

1) Kona should be kept in the style to which he’s accustomed. ‘Nuff said. Whatever that takes.
2) IDR, the Doberman Rescue people, get a big chunk of money. This is an amazing organization, amazing bunch of people who run it and volunteer and who’ve saved countless Dobies and other animals. They rock.
3) My brother Andrew gets the other big chunk, to start up his winery, which has long been a dream of his. Or to do whatever he wants with it, but the winery is an option.

And of course, some should go to the NRDC and the Save-a-Manatee organizations. And Laura and Tessie can have all my jewelry, because I know they’d have fun with it. And I’m done with this topic, because damn, this is depressing. Practical, but depressing. Now I know why people never do this stuff and then things wind up so sticky and messy after they’re gone. Because it’s fucking depressing.

So, to not end on that note, I’ll close with something I’ve learned, and which I’m passing along to all of you, my elevens of readers, and that is this: if you’re ever going in for surgery, make sure that you have a brain injury and are on heavy doses of Oxycontin beforehand. Because that was the situation with me before my cancer/collarbone surgeries, and man, I was chipper as can be! At least I think I was – I don’t even remember going to the hospital. So I’d say it’s a pretty good bet that I wasn’t the least bit nervous beforehand. Brain injury and Oxycontin - see, another useful tip from Miss Tasha.

One final thought – I have ONE GOAL for tomorrow’s surgery, and that is to remember the witty banter. You see, for the last surgery, they snuck something into my IV – “to help you relax” - such that the last thing I remembered was them putting the little cap on my head to cover my hair, and then poof, I was waking up from surgery. And boy, was I pissed off! Dr. Jeruss mentioned that afterwards when she was checking up on me, I kept babbling “What happened? How could I have already had my surgery? What the hell?” Apparently I was pretty outraged, which a nurse chalked up to someone of my fine athletic physique being more affected by the anesthesia than most people. Umm, yeah, I sure glommed onto that explanation.

But this time? I want my witty banter as I’m rolled into the operating room, dammit. I will report back, after I have fought the good fight on behalf of all of the banter-loving folk out there. Again, I say - courage.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Today's WTF moment, brought to you by Miss Tasha

So I’ve been having some wee intermittent neck pain over the last week – nothing major, or even minor really – it’s barely been there. Just once in a great while, a twinge. No big deal, right?

This morning I’m puttering around getting ready to take Kona to the dog park – when suddenly, out of nowhere, the entire right side of my neck AND shoulder/back is in serious pain. Serious as in can-barely-move pain, and I can’t turn my head at all, so I’m moving around like Herman Munster. Fantastic. And now I’m back home after the park, thinking about the shitload of things I need to do...and wondering if popping oxycontin would help at all, or if I should hold off on that, try maybe a hot bath first? Ech, baby steps, who needs them.

It’ll be just SUPER if I’m still dealing with this when I go in this Monday the 18th for my 7:30AM surgery at Prentice with Dr. Fine, where I’ll then be for a couple of days post-surgery, relying on bonbons as a healing mechanism. Just super.

And, we had a question from astute reader D, who asks, “Yo, what’s up with this ticket and the driver’s ed class? Do they make you sit in those clunky simulator things like we all did in high school where you pretend to drive but no one's really paying attention, as the only practice before we were sent out on the road and tried to not kill people?”

To recap, I got this ticket back in October, driving home from a Hawks game at 10:30PM with no other cars around, going down Western at the ungodly speed of 45mph. Now, it tells you something that whenever I explain this to people, I get incredulous guffaws of laughter, since Western is a major street and if you actually drive less than 50mph on it, you’ll get plowed over. But hey, Chicago needs to get its pound of flesh any way it can.

And for some reason, the asshat officer took my driver’s license, after determining that no, I didn’t have a bond card to give him instead. So since then all I’ve had as an ID is the crumpled piece of paper from the ticket, which it amuses me to no end to pull out when I’m at the airport, buying liquor, etc.

As for driver’s ed, the state has a nice racket going on, whereby you can either pay the ticket outright ($95) and have it show up on your record, OR you can pay $40 more, take the driver’s ed class, and maintain a clean record. Which means showing up somewhere on the south side on an inconvenient day and time, or lookie, you can pay yet ANOTHER $20 to take the course online! Which was what I opted for, but in my usual Schleprockian mode of being, for some reason they screwed up and assigned me a class, and then told me I had to pay ANOTHER $20 to be moved to the online class.

Not that this is a racket or anything.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Some of you will remember this post, where I professed puzzlement at the flier for Dan Farley, potential Congressman to the Stars, aka the guy running for State Rep. Seems like a good enough guy, but the picture on that particular flier, with his wife in the pleather dominatrix-style boots, was a bit....odd. Or maybe I’m just behind the times, who knows.

Anyway, I’m working out yesterday, i.e. breathing deeply and visualizing my triathlon greatness, when the doorbell rings. I peek out the window to make sure it’s not the paparazzi or hordes of fans, but it’s a lone guy who has a stack of signs or something in his hand. Figuring it must be politics related – after all, I get about 7 calls a day now on my cell phone from various candidates – I actually answer the door. And who should be standing there but......Dan Farley! Yes, in Tasha’s BizarroWorld, the one politician who I kind-of-mocked-but-not-really is on my doorstep, placards in hand.

I know, I know, you’re all waiting to hear about how I grilled him on important topics – “What’s with your wife’s boots, dude? And the cute family dog staring off screen at the biscuit – is that really your dog or just a prop?” But no, I didn’t have the heart for it, as he seemed like a very nice guy, and he’s endorsed by Mike Quigley, hockey goon and former thorn in Todd Stroger’s side, so that’s good enough for me, pleather boots and all. Plus anyone who goes door-to-door on a blustery winter night looking for votes has gumption, or something. Let’s go with gumption. Dan Farley, you’ve got my vote – and since only about 67 people in this district of yours actually vote in the primary, well, that could very well be the deciding factor.

* * * * * * *
On another note, I went downtown today for my 6-month mammogram – whee! – and yet again it was borne out how the Fuck Cancer hat brings people together, as I went to the Prentice (site of my surgery THIS Monday, bon-bons permitted on the premises) and got onto the elevator, where there were already three doctorly types. I push my button, the door closes, and I start chatting with my new BFFs.

Cute doctor #1: I just have to tell you, I love your hat! That’s great!
Me: Thanks! Yeah, it’s my happy hat – kind of sums it all up, doesn’t it?
Doctor #2: Let’s see........oh yeah, that’s so awesome! We’re all cancer doctors, so.....
Me: Oh, then I’m sure you especially get the sentiment...
Doctor #3: Hey, we should get that written on our coats!

And I get off on my floor, with my new friends happily chatting away about bringing Fuck Cancer to the masses in whatever way possible. It really does take a village.

* * * * *
And on a somewhat sad note, I finally received in the mail the password and such that I need to get online and take my driver’s ed class because of that damn ticket, after which I presume I’ll get my driver’s license back. They don’t state this explicitly, instead babbling about some “certificate” I receive (yes, really), but I hope the DL is included in that somewhere? Maybe?

On the other hand, I’m kinda going to miss that lil’ ol’ crumpled piece of paper. We’ve been through so much together.....

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Today was Kona's birthday - the Big 2! - so we went to the dog park, then to Starbucks for a petite scone for him, and then he went to play with his friends at daycare, then we stopped at Zane and Zara's for him to pick out a toy that he then ripped to shreds when he got home, right before he got some steak.

So in other words, it was a pretty typical day for The Kone......

You know, I still recognize that even though fate hands me a load of crap to deal with on a regular basis, like daily, the one great thing that basically fell into my lap was The Kone. Happy birthday, my little man.....

Commentary not needed

Forecast for Orlando, FL

Friday, Jan 15
High: 74 °F RealFeel®: 73 °F
Partly sunny and delightful
Friday Night, Jan 15
Low: 62 °F RealFeel®: 59 °F
Mostly cloudy and mild

Heralding the Apocalypse

Monday morning

Hmm, let’s see. I was up at 3AM talking to Disney tech support to try to get their internet access to work, so that I could email some work that my computer at home screwed up before I left, it’s been raining/sleeting on us the whole time we’ve been here as the temperature continues to plummet daily, and I’ve gotten very little sleep overall due to racing, working, etc. Gee, I wonder why I wake up this morning having come down with Ebola? Or what is almost certainly Ebola, or perhaps the plague. Sniffling, hacking, can’t breathe, my head is on the verge of exploding, and of course there’s the cough that instantly settled into my lungs and makes me think a hot poultice or something might not be the worst thing. Hot poultice or a nog, whatever works.

Since I feel like shit, I tell Jillian and Deanna to go to breakfast without me, while I try to rally so that we can go to the Magic Kingdom as planned today. They offer to bring me back a biscuit or something, but I’m oddly hesitant. I wonder why…..

Breakfast Saturday morning at the Waffle Shack

Jillian: My biscuit is really weird. Here, try it, it tastes like it’s fried in Crisco or something.
Me, taking a bite out of the biscuit that Jillian’s already eaten half of: Ack…. agh..a.a.cka…ack……(spitting it out)…oh my god, that’s GROSS! That’s not fried in Crisco, that’s fried in RANCID Crisco! Why’d you make me try that?
Jillian: I don’t know, I guess I thought you might want to try the rancid Crisco biscuit!
Me: Oh my GOD that was horrible. I thought we were friends, yet here you are, pushing a rancid biscuit on me! Et tu, Jillian, et tu?!

Back to Monday

I tell them thanks, but I’ll pass on the biscuit. After chugging down a passel of hot Mickey tea, I still feel like crap, but at least I’m hydrated. Jillian and Deanna get back, and off we go for a day of fun and festivities at Disney on this 30-degree day. Where we learn that foreigners are pretty damn rude when it comes to basic things like lines and not stepping on or pushing into people, that you could easily lose your sanity if you go on the It’s a Small World ride more than once, that the Pirates of the Caribbean ride isn’t the same since they got rid of the pirates-chasing-scantily-clad-wenches scene, and that the Haunted House and Space Mountain are still pretty damn cool.

By 5PM, however, I’m done, so I go back to the hotel and leave Deanna and Jillian to inflict themselves on the unsuspecting Disney masses. That night I watch the news, where the top items are: the extreme bitter cold, the frozen orange crop, the sea turtles they’re trying to rescue from the too-cold water, the iguanas that are getting too low in body temp and falling from trees, the too-cold manatees. And this comment from the weatherman:

“You have just one more night of bitter cold to endure, folks, so hang in there! Tomorrow it starts warming up, and it’ll be in the 70s by the weekend! Back to normal Florida temperatures!”

I would lament that we’re leaving tomorrow, except for the fact that I seem to be bringing crop failure and apocalypse raining down on Florida, so it’s probably for the best.

* * * * * * * *


We head to the airport and Deanna and I go to the counter of AirTran – or Crazy Bitch Air, as I’ve come to think of it. My main worry is that my suitcase might be overweight. I know, 50 pounds, what the hell am I packing, right? But I don’t have a carry-on since I figure if I’m going to pay for luggage, I might as well stuff everything in there, and of course I have all the toiletries and such that I couldn’t take on the plane anyway. So it adds up. On the way over I had 47 pounds, and the only thing I’ve added were the race shirts, which collectively weigh less than a pound. So I check in, and put my suitcase on the scale thing. 50.5. I look at Crazy Bitch, and am about to say…..something, when suddenly….

CB: 53 pounds. It’s over. That’s $49.95.
Me, suspicious as to how it suddenly leapt in weight: I’m not paying that – I’ll remove something.

I take out my laptop, then as an afterthought, a half jar of peanut butter. Those 3 ounces could make all the difference. Bag goes back on the scale. Survey says…..47!

Me: Okay then. I’m going to put this jar of peanut butter back in.
CB: It’s still over, you still have to pay.

I look at the scale, and lo and behold, it’s back up to 53. Which might have something to do with the fact that Crazy Bitch has her hand on my bag, holding it down. WTF? Now I'm pissed.

Me: Umm, that's because your hand is on it. Take it off, now.

She does, and we’re back down to 47. Again, WTF was that about, like I wouldn’t notice??

She slaps the necessary sticker on my bag, and then tells me I have to carry my suitcase around the corner to security. Which is behind some kind of construction that they’re doing. In other words, not visible to the AirTran CB Lady.

Me, to Deanna: Okay, that’s stupid. I wonder if I could just put my laptop back in my suitcase now?
Deanna: I don’t see why not.

So I do. And please note that neither CB Lady nor the TSA guy noticed that my passport was expired. Naturally.

And my luggage makes it to Chicago unscathed, though I would like to take this opportunity to state the following:

Open Letter to the TSA people who inspect luggage after it's been checked in:

Given that now every time I’ve traveled in the last year I’ve found that slip of paper in my suitcase informing me that you’ve searched my luggage, I can only conclude that there’s something about my luggage that simply screams “terrorist.” Perhaps it’s the jaunty green LL Bean bag that captures your attention? Just the kind of thing the modern-day shoe or underwear bomber would use. Oh, wait, except for the fact that those guys never check any luggage anyway. So never mind.

Maybe the scanners this time picked up the puffy white Mickey Mouse hands that I bought at Disney? I guess it would be pretty difficult to discern fluffy white cotton batting from, say, lethal chemicals and weapons. I feel your pain on that one.

Now, of course I have no problem with this. Have at it. Really. Dig and paw through whatever you want, looking for….something. But for the love of GOD, could you for chrissake please leave things as they WERE before you started?? Because I’m a little tired of pulling out my toiletry bag, for example, and having things go tumbling every which way because you couldn’t close the zipper, or having my lotions leak on stuff because you couldn’t handle closing the plastic bags they were in, or any of the other lazy things you do.

Thank you.