Wednesday, May 16, 2012

We are NOT pleased

It was going to be a glorious day today, just by virtue of the fact that I had a blood draw scheduled this morning. Huzzah! There’s nothing that makes me happier than leaving a trail of weeping and shattered blood techs in my wake.

So after stopping for coffee at Starbucks and studiously avoiding drinking any water (hey, plumping up my veins is NOT my responsibility!), I show up at Delnor to see Dr. Scott, the nice genetic counselor guy who says they have another genetic test they can run to see if there’s any familial component to this BC shit. I’m eager, excited, happy – I even text Cori and ask her if we should take bets on how many attempts it’ll take them to get blood. I’m guessing 6, which seems to be the minimum.

So imagine my shock and dismay when Scott and I sit down, and he starts opening up this kit that looks suspiciously nothing like a blood draw kit. Hmm. I narrow my eyes and gaze at Scott flintily. Don’t even, I’m thinking….

Scott: So instead of a blood draw we’re going to do this mouth rinse…
Me: NOOOoooooooooo! Nay! This. Can’t. BE!
Scott: But most peo…..
Me: I had my heart set on a blood draw! How else can I leave a trail of whimpering and defeated blood draw techs in my wake?
Scott: But….
Me, making the Sad Cancer Face: Isn’t there anything you can do?
Scott: Umm…..I guess I can try to make some phone calls..
Scott:…but I can’t promise anything. It depends on whether or not they have a tech available.
Me, happily: Okay, that’s fine, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Scott backs out of the room, keeping what seems to be a wary eye on me, but I’m sure I’m just imagining that. Clearly he sees this kind of bold forward-thinking all the time, right?

As I’m waiting, I text Cori to tell her about the impending tragedy that I’m hoping we manage to avoid, and then look around the room to see if there are any computers whose home pages I can set to my blog. Damn. Nothing. I’m about to wander through the offices (trust me, they thank me for my efforts), when Scott comes in, and I look at him with the Sad Cancer Face in full force.

Scott: Well, they said it would take about an hour to send a blood draw tech here….

I look at my watch and think hmm, an hour, that might not be too bad….

Scott: So we’ll have to do the mouth rinse.

Damn! How much is one person expected to bear?? There’s a moment of silence while we ponder this latest ignominy.

Me, sadly: Mouth rinse. That’s so….ungainly. Unseemly. There’s absolutely no drama and pathos in mouth rinse. There’s nothing….blogworthy about mouthwash. Bah.
Scott, sympathetically (in my mind, at least): I’m sorry. It would have been a true battle of wills.
Me: Exactly, throwing down the gauntlet.


Me: Wait. I have my camera! Let me at least take a picture of the mouthwash so that I can chronicle this latest bout with the cruel vagaries of fate.
Scott: Okay! Here, I’ll move this so there’s a white background.

I take my picture, and then listen as Scott explains this whole mouth rinse process. Then he tells me that he’ll help me out as I rinse and spit.

Me: Ack! No! We are NOT compounding this tragedy by having anyone watch me spit! Good lord!
Scott: Okay, I’ll let you do it yourself. I should warn you, some people can’t handle the mouthwash – it’s overly minty, or….mouthwashy.

I just look at him. Really? I am a fricking Goddess, dude, I can handle some fricking mouthwash.

He sets up my little Scope and spit-into receptacle in the bathroom, and something occurs to me.

Me: Don’t you worry about people, say, substituting someone else’s spit?
Scott: You mean like a urinalysis test?
Me: Exactly! Aren’t there any controls?
Scott: Well, the test is just for your benefit, so that wouldn’t really make sens…….
Me: Aha, but what if someone just wants to shake things up a bit? Make it more of a challenge?

I feel this is an important point to pursue, this seedy hidden underside to genetic testing that no one ever talks about, but alas, for some reason Scott has now left a little vapor trail as he’s left the bathroom, leaving me to my own devices. Ah well. He must have had some kind of emergency.

I do the little ignominious swish-spit mouth rinse thingie – thinking to myself, you know, this mouthwash IS overly and annoyingly minty – and go back into our original room, despondent.

Me: Sigh. All done. Mouth…wash…(I can barely spit the words out, bitterly)
Scott: Next time. I promise, next time we’ll find a reason to do a blood draw. Oh, I know, the research studies I was telling you about – for that we’d have to draw bloo…
Me, interrupting: YESSSSS!

Happiness is restored. Especially when I recall that tomorrow, yes tomorrow, I have an appointment with another doctor. And yes……I need a blood draw.

Life is good again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weird doesn't even begin to cover it

There are many more things I can point to that speak to how magically weird Portland is: the cancer cures being offered at every turn (“Apricot kernels,” whispered the Starbucks guy), my actual sighting of a “go, no you go” situation in the Nice Fred Meyer parking lot, or my acting like a total moron across the entire city every time I bought something (“What? $4.50 is the exact price? Seriously? No sales tax? That’s astonishing! In Chicago it’s over 10%! My god, this is a great state!”).

(As an aside, I was discussing Portland with a dog park friend, and he noted that when he was there he thought the legally required gas station attendant was a homeless person. “No thanks dude, here’s a buck, I can pump my own gas.” “Umm, sorry sir, I work here.”)
But all of that is small potatoes compared to….well, let’s take a look.

The Whole Foods parking lot

Kim and I decide to head to Whole Foods to see if they have vegan donuts, after we were foiled by the long line at Voodoo Donuts even though it’s a Monday afternoon. Hello, why aren’t all you people at work? Anyway.

We buy our stuff and head back out to the parking lot, when I mention that I’d like to stop at the Starbucks that’s just down the street on the corner, less than half a block away.

Kim: Okay, let’s go.

She oddly starts walking towards the Starbucks.

Me: Umm, Kim, what are you doing? We can’t leave the car here – we need to repark.

Kim looks at me as if I’ve lost my mind.

Kim: How long are you going to be there?
Me: Just a minute, but it doesn’t matter, the car will be towed!
Kim: What are you talking about?
Me: This is the Whole Foods parking lot! We can’t just willy-nilly go to another store! We won’t have a car to come back to!
Kim: They won’t tow it in 5 minutes!
Me: Of course they will – where have you been your whole life?
Kim: Umm, Portland?
Me: Okay, fine, but I’m telling you, this is a mistake. We’ll get towed and then have to track down the car and pay an exorbitant fee to get it out….just you wait and see.
Kim: Okay then….

We go get our coffees, head back to the Whole Foods parking lot, and, lo and behold, it’s a miracle! The car is still there!

Me: Oh my god! It’s a miracle! Now you understand we got lucky this time – no sense in tempting fate next time.

You know, it’s odd how Kim keeps picking up these odd tics while I’m in town. First she was darting out of stores, now her right eye is twitching. Strange.

The Bob’s Red Mill parking lot

Our big excursion to Mecca, aka Bob’s Red Mill, was a grand success as we walked out toting all manner of quinoa flour, hemp seed, ingredients for Lucy’s pupcakes, and the like. Even better, Bob’s is right across the street from Dave’s Killer Breadquarters, so we could head there next. The dufecta! We put our stuff in the car and I start getting in.

Kim: Didn’t you want to go to Dave’s Killer Bread?
Me: Yes, but it’s across the street.

There’s a moment of silence as Kim and I look at each other across the hood of the car, both of us clearly wondering if we’ve been spending time with a madman.

I patiently explain: We can’t just leave the car here. It’ll get towed!
Kim: We’re just going across the street.
Me: Across the street, across town, it doesn’t matter! The parking vultures are lurking, ready to jump out and tow us the second we step foot off this property!

Kim looks around at the bucolic surroundings in this subdivision of businesses, and seems at a loss for words.

Me: Parking vultures, I tell you!
Kim: But…but….it’s just across the street. It would be silly to drive…
Me: Argh! Okay fine! But when we get towed, it’ll be on your head!

We go buy our bread, head back over to the parking lot, and…….the car is still there! Hallelujah! Another miracle!

Me: Oh my god, Kim, do you have any idea how lucky we are? Our luck, it is a changing……Kim….Kim?

See, now she’s back to the darting off thing. I have such weird friends.