Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adventures in Boobages

Today I went to see Dr. Fine, aka Plastic Surgeon to the Stars, for some Boobage adjustment. It’s been a while. I had been under the impression that for this appointment they’d remove the marvel known as ports from the girls (sob!), so I changed my original appointment which was right before the Great Alpian Adventure, thinking stitches, vicodin and the like. Turns out, Dr. Fine, genius that he is, was in no hurry to remove them.

Dr. Fine: So, how are they doing?

Me: Good, but you see how this one is a little bigger? Well, maybe not bigger in terms of volume, but it projects more so it seems bigger.

Dr. Fine: Well, you know, most natural breasts aren’t the same size…

I just look at him, with a face fraught with skepticism.

Dr. Fine: Or we could remove some saline from the left one to make it smaller…

Now I look at him in horror.

Me: NO! No! We’re not making the Boobages any smaller!

Dr. Fine: Okay, so we’ll add some to the right and see how that looks.

Me: Yes!

Then the fun starts. Because you may recall, dear reader(s), that when we tried a Boobage adjustment back in June, on the left side, the port had flipped around and was thus inaccessible. The port being attached to the saline implant, hence making the Boobages wonderfully adjustable. As it turns out, it’s a good thing we couldn’t adjust then, because the right one wound up being smaller, thanks to the radiation which continues to fuck with your skin and tighten everything up. Cancer, the gift that keeps on giving.

So there we are, Dr. Fine with a needle poking around for the port, which has somehow drifted down to my ribcage. Poke poke poke.

Dr. Fine: Hmm, it seems to have flipped…..

I start chuckling. He keeps poking around.

Dr. Fine: You know what, I’ll anesthetize the area, and then try again…

At which point I start giggling, rather uncontrollably.

Me: Don’t you remember? This is exactly what happened with the left one!

Dr. Fine: Really? Because this really doesn’t happen often at all.

Me: Well, I do have the worst luck of anyone I know, so……

Luckily this time he gets the port flipped around, and Boobage Adjustment commences. For those curious or not in the know, this procedure is probably exactly what you’d imagine it to be. Insert a needle attached to a big-ass syringe, this one with 50ccs of saline. Push saline into Boobage. Watch Boobage get insta-bigger. Yes, it’s kind of like blow-up doll technology for CancerChicks. Instaboobs!

Then we’re chatting, and I mention to Dr. Fine the GAA…

Me:….and you know what? You were right – the lat flap didn’t affect my cycling at all!

Dr. Fine: Glad to hear it – I didn’t think it would. That muscle really is just used for pushing down.

Me: Oh, well, I haven’t tried swimming yet, so I’ll have to see how that goes…

Dr. Fine: Well, for most people and their typical splashing around, this won’t affect them either.

Wait. Splashing around? This was like déjà vu all over again! Of course, the difference being that the last time we had this conversation, I was in a state of deep cancer angst, still trying to find doctors and figure out treatment, hence less able to see the humor in the situation. Now? Now I just agree that the few seconds difference in swim times won’t make much of a difference for a Triathlon Alpian Goddess such as myself, and note that it’s the bike that really matters anyway. And we smile, understanding each other perfectly. And we leave the ports in – so yes, these babies? Still. Adjustable.


Next month on the Boobage front: tattoos!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How the hell do they do it?

Once in a great while I like to pull myself away from the humor, wisdom, and pathos that is my own little blog, and check out what else is out there in BlogLand.

Generally I come scurrying back here in fear, as what’s out there can be truly frightening in so many ways. Hello, punctuation and grammar? America is looking for you!

But sometimes I, like any mere mortal, get sucked into a different world, and then find myself in an endless loop of blogs within that genre. Like now. Where I’m fascinated by nursing blogs. Especially the ones that have entertaining or poignant or scary stories about their patients. And some are mind-boggling…..but not in a good way.

And here, dear fifteens of readers, is where these nurses and I part ways. Because if I had patients in my ER who:

1) Came in faking pain so they could get narcotics, and do this every few days;

2) Come in for the sniffles or a paper cut and demand to be seen right away;

3) Call me all sorts of nasty things and demand lunch, coffee, water for their 16 ho-bag friends; or

4) Come in with the same problems every week, because they refuse to take care of themselves in even the most basic of ways…..

……I wouldn’t be able to treat them. My head would explode. You wanna call me a honky bitch and demand narcotics for your made-up pain? Uh, right. You get nothing, and you’ll sit there for 10 hours getting nothing. Apparently, the ER is Command Central for every POS scumbag dreg of society, who thinks nothing of using said ER as a waystation for anything and everything. Hey, I need my drug fix! Why don’t I go to the hospital and take precious time and resources away from the few people who actually need them?

So that’s the cynical and bitchy side of me.

Then there’s the logical side. And here I part ways as well.

Because if I had a 94-year-old demented, incontinent, brain-damaged husk of a person who will never have any kind of life that’s not hooked up to ventilators, and who will never regain consciousness, much less sit up in bed asking for a Coke, so to speak – and yet the family wants all measures taken to keep this husk of a person alive……well, I couldn’t do that either. God’s will? Right. According to God, that person would have been dead a long time ago, and it’s only man’s machines that are keeping them alive. Doing chest compressions and all these other heroic measures just because the family doesn’t have the guts to do the right thing? Nope. Again, the head-exploding thing.

This is why I think nurses are so kick-ass, for being able to do what they do. And not because it must be pretty damn hard to deal with death and dying and shattered lives on a regular basis, like every day, but because of all the other stuff. The insanity of it all. The illogic. The rage I’d feel in having to try and help people who are basically a blot on society. Yeah, no, not gonna happen. I’d be Nurse Ratched. On steroids.

And if I for whatever reason ever wind up drooling and stupid in a hospital bed, unable to read or write (2 key things in my book), for god’s sake, someone pull the damn plug already. Even if you have to “accidentally” kick it out of its socket and distract doctors by doing some enfeebled magic tricks that are awesome in their badness. Please, just do what needs to be done. Thank you.

And all you nurses out there? Yeah, you guys rock. Big time. Thanks for dealing with all this shit so the rest of us don’t have to. I am in awe.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A primer on dating

I know, I know. I know exactly what you’re thinking. “But Miss Tasha, what could you possibly know about dating? You, who’s waiting for Perfect Man to show up on your doorstep?”

Be that as it may – and who says it couldn’t happen, huh? – there are still some incontrovertible truths about dating that I know to be fact. To wit:

· Finding out that the guy you’re dating, who you think of as Mr. Schlumpy i.e. too dorky to ever cheat on you, has pictures of his dick plastered on Adult Friend Finders as he attempts to hook up with every skank in existence – this is Not A Good Thing. (Note: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you do perchance decide to go trolling on AFF and similar sites, it’s probably not a good idea to have your sign-in name be anything with the word “littleman.” I’m just sayin.’)

· A guy who uses the words “magical and special” in a sentence and he’s not talking about DisneyWorld – this is Bad.

· Grown men owning ferrets – this is Weird.

And so on. So at least I have some street cred when I talk about dating, even though I fully expect Perfect Man to fall in love with me through my blog and then show up at my door to sweep me off my feet. Like that’s at all unrealistic. Please.

So it came to pass that my dear friend Mary Ellen was visiting me, and like many people these days, she’s turned to the internets to find true love, or something resembling it. We wind up looking at the profiles of the guys she’s at least vaguely interested in, since she wants to know what I think.

ME: Okay, the first guy, he’s Jewish and an animal activist and has some kind of math degree.

Tasha: So he’s a bow-tie-wearing PETA-supporting vegan accountant?

ME: Maybe?

I start looking at the profile. Well, at least I got the bow-tie wearing part right. Then….wait a minute…

Tasha: Mary Ellen, he has 2 cats! No non-gay guy has 2 cats!

ME: Are you sure? That doesn’t really mean anything, does it?

Tasha: Are you serious? Of course it does! And…..oh my god, look at this. “Loves Enya” – seriously?

ME: Bu….

Tasha: OH my god, LOOK – “Enjoys reading romance novels.” Mary Ellen!! What are you thinking?

ME: Bu….

Tasha: Oh, and of course he “likes plays, and is on a play kick right now.” What next, show tunes? Card-carrying member of the Liberace museum?

ME: So you’re saying you don’t think he would be good for me to date?

Tasha: Mary Ellen!!

ME: Okay, okay…

Girls, I know times can be tough, but really. Next time stop reading at “Enya,” okay? Trust me on this.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lofty Alpian thoughts by Miss Tasha

We return from France and, since I’ve managed to convey to Stacey the meltdown I’ll suffer if I spend my final day in Europe on rental Clown Bike from the London shop, we decide to head to Bath instead. And just as scores of tourists have done before us, we tour beautiful Bath in the pouring rain – in fact, I don’t think the sun ever actually shines here.

One highlight – in addition to the required tea and scones - is our look inside the Bath Abbey, which is stunningly gorgeous. And as I’m walking around, I see a little table with a note on it: “God is always listening.”

Really? Always? Shit, I think to myself. I swear too damn much for God to be listening all the time. But then I realize that instead of this being an admonishment, they’re actually encouraging us to use the little slips of paper to write notes to God, which will then be taken up to the altar on Sunday for His perusal. Sweet!

I keep my note simple, unlike others who seem to have written miniature novels. Even I know that God’s a busy guy. I’m confident that now my life will totally turn around and I’ll have sunshine and rainbows accompanying me wherever I go.

We walk back outside, where it’s raining even harder, if such a thing is possible.

I find one final absurdity at the airport, of course, as I'm trudging through the back hallways to hand in my form for my VAT reimbursement.

Though this doesn't make my blood boil as it does when I make it back to Chicago, O'Hare airport, where it now costs FOUR dollars to rent a luggage cart for the 5 minutes it takes to wheel your stuff to the car. $4??? Now THAT pisses me off. Welcome to Chicago!

* * * * * * * *

Some people have read my little blog here and said something along the lines of, so Miss Tasha, I guess you didn’t have a very good trip, did you? At which point I look at them as if they’ve lost their ever-loving minds. Not a good trip? Where in the world did they get such a preposterous notion? Best. Vacation. Ever.

* * * * * * * *

On one of our final nights, Stacey and I are chatting and I ask her what she has next on her agenda as far as cycling trips are concerned.

Stacey: I really don’t know – I don’t have anything planned yet. Maybe Italy?

Me: Ooh, Italy – that’s always seemed like a great place to ride.

Stacey: And the Dolomites are there – those are even harder to climb than the Alps.

Me: Seriously? We should do it!

We look at each other and smile.

Stacey, resolutely: I’ll start looking into it.

The adventures continue…..

* * * * * * * *

I suppose in my little trip here there are some lessons about

stubbornness and determination and the like – though I don’t know what those are, other than the

confirmation that I can be insanely determined and stubborn to a fault. I know, big surprise there.

But at least now if someone googles “dumbass attempting Alpian climbing on 5 weeks of training, after surgeries”, there’ll be at least one hit, just like there’s one for “dumbass attempting Ironman shortly after cancer treatment” thanks to my blog postings last year during IronSpud training.

So yes, it’s possible – though I would urge anyone attempting something similar to remember to practice the downhills, in the rain. And I can also say that feeling like you’ve just accomplished the impossible, the Herculean, the crazy – that translates quite beautifully into feeling like you’re invincible. Like you can conquer the world. And that, my friends, is priceless.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Paradise found, and lost

With Clown Bike returned and thus no more Alpian cycling on the agenda, I turn my attention on our last day to exploring the rest of Annecy, which is such a perfectly charming little town that it looks like a movie set, or Disney. In fact, I keep saying that to Stacey: “It’s just like DisneyWorld!” It’s clear that Annecy was modeled after Disney – why else the similarities?

I also find bikes that might have been more my speed, and that look like they’re better taken care of and maintained than Clown Bike. Ah, had only I known!

And it is only on this last day that I suffer the one true tragedy of this entire trip, the kind that makes one want to wail and gnash one’s teeth at the injustice of it all. That day – it pains me even now to write this –

but that day, I innocently go off to the farmers

market nestled within the cobblestone streets of Annecy, and there, surrounded by every kind of beautiful produce known to man, pulled fresh from the earth that morning, as well as loaves of crusty freshly-baked bread and every kind of wonderful cheese you can imagine….I realize that I would be unable to buy anything. Because we were leaving

that afternoon.

Now really, if this isn’t the worst kind of torture, being at a market in FRANCE and knowing you can’t buy many hunks of cheeses, well, then I just don’t know what is. I console myself by having a couple of peaches, and maybe a gelato or three – I forget the details, as it’s all a blur now.

And so, it’s back to London, and civilization, of a sort. At least the kind that doesn’t involve cycling in some of the most beautiful country known to man. Somehow the cornfields won’t look quite the same after this….

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Miss Tasha the Alpian Goddess

The next morning, our first full day in Annecy, I bustle out of bed, determined to get to Roule Ma Poule and trade in the Clown Bike so that I can go suffering up another mountain. After all, isn’t that what being in France is all about?

Of course, when I get there, I come up against what might be termed a whole lot of indifference to me and my little problems.

Me: I’m here to get the small bike we reserved!

French Guy: Oui? But ve have no smalls.

Me: Umm, but you’re supposed to. See right there, in your little book, we reserved a small. This is not a small.

FG, with a shrug: I can do nothing about it.

Me: How about calling the other Roll My Chicken store?

FG, after a brief call in which he merrily blathers in French: They have no ze smalls either.

Me: Well, this bike is the wrong size, and not the size we ordered.

FG: I can do ze nothing about it. Call back at 5 and ve vill see if there is another. Or you can trade for one of zose bikes!

He points to a row of hybrid-commuter-bikes that have everything but the basket in front – though maybe they have that too.

Me, with steely glare: No. That will not do. I assume this means I’ll be getting a discount.

FG: Oh, oui, a discount!

Not that I give a rat’s ass about the discount – I just want a bike I can ride – but at least it’s something. Sigh. I ride around town for the day, check back with the store at 5 – no smaller bikes, of course – then head back to the hotel, deciding that I’ll take a different route than the super-busy one that Stacey and I took the other day. I start off on a lovely cobblestone road, with cute little shops and people wandering about. Ah, France. So lovely. This road is still busy, but by now I’m getting to be a master at making my way on busy streets, charging ahead when the light turns green, dodging and weaving through crazy drivers. I get through one particularly busy intersection and think to myself, my, Stacey would be so proud of me!

Then as I’m cycling I’m thinking, where the hell is the street I’m supposed to turn on? Hmm, I didn’t recall there being an overpass on the map. And a cloverleaf. I look to the right – oops, good thing I didn’t go that way, as that’s clearly a highway in that direction. I guess I’m supposed to go straight. I set off confidently, making my way up another hill with ease.

To find myself on a highway. Oops.

Finally after much map gazing and car dodging and in general dithering around, I realize that the street that I was so proud about getting on through, traffic lights and all, was the one I should have turned on. What’s that saying about pride going before a fall, in which you get squashed like a pancake because you blundered onto a super-highway? Yeah, that one. That’s me in spades. But seriously, can't these French people even come up with visible street signs? Seriously people!

That evening as I’m sulking about the Clown Bike, Stacey comes in all chipper and sprightly talking about her latest ride, where she only got lost 3 times as she went up and down 5 or 7 mountains, I forget how many exactly.

Stacey: So you should go out with me tomorr..

Me: I’m riding up Semnoz! I’m getting up that damn mountain if it kills me!

Stacey: But there are other climbs that are much prett….

Me: I’m going up Semnoz! I don’t care about pretty! I just want another damn mountain!

Stacey: But if we go rid…

Me: Clown Bike is so horrible that if I have to ride some distance before we get to the mountains, I’ll never get up the damn mountain itself, I’ll be in such a sad state by then. Semnoz or bust!

Stacey: But…

Me: Semnoz! Tomorrow!

Stacey continues downloading maps and routes and directions onto her Garmin and iPhone, while I plot my revenge against one more Alp. Since Ade told Stacey that he thought she’d like Semnoz (and she decided he was on drugs at the time), but didn’t say the same to me, I feel a bit….underestimated. I can climb UP those damn mountains, dammit! I can! Is it MY fault they make it so hard to get back down them?

Annecy – Day Three

So what can I say about Le Semnoz that hasn’t already been said? Perhaps something about how damn boring it is working your way to the top, since it’s all through a forest? All. Of. It. For 3 hours. The most entertaining thing I saw consisted of two men in super short-short-shorts frolicking and gamboling about through the woods, with their hiking poles helping them scamper nimbly over boulders. For a second I felt like I was on a gay porn movie set, but soon enough it was back to boring trees. And that’s saying a lot, since we all know how much I like trees and nature and all that crap.

But when you’re puttering along up a mountain that has grades of 12-14% and is unrelenting, and it’s taking you hours to get to the top, then I can tell you that you’re pretty much cursing the forest, the trees, the French, their love of hairpin curves, and anything else you can think of. I hate France! Those damn French!

I make it to the top. 15.1 miles, 4,306 ft of climbing. I now officially proclaim myself a goddess of Alpian climbing. And now I can relax and take in the other sights and sounds of France, in my, umm…….last day here? Damn, how did that happen? But I love France - we need more time here!

First things first though - I have to walk down this mountain. Of course.