Knee-dful things…

Another excursion into the medical slaughterhouse today for ol’ daisyfae…  i love narcotics.  for pain. seriously –  just. for. pain.

i had very minor knee surgery this afternoon.  roto-rooter of cartilege shredded while attempting to shred a snow an ice covered mountain molehill on skis earlier this winter…  a few days of mandatory R&R, which includes a stack of books, magazines, catching up on season 4 of “Weeds”, and unlimited time to surf the internet.  while jacked to the stratosphere on the “V”.  stand by for even MORE annoying commentary in the blogosphere…

seeing as i’m once again* sailing on pain meds, here are a few ‘scores and highlights’ from my day…


Knee surgery requires me to be flat on my back for 3 days, “toes above nose” to prevent swelling.  My kids are in town, and are at the helm regarding my care and feeding**.  As we went through the minimal requirements they need to cover through the weekend, this exchange occurred:

daisyfae:  yeah, i can see you tormenting me as i’m pinned to the bed…”‘want a cookie?  huh?  huh?” while holding it out of reach…

The Boy:  More like “want a pain killer?  huh?  huh?  ooops!  that one was for me…. here’s another one? do you want it?  huh?”


Had a friend drive me to the surgery – he’s “paying it forward” so i can drive him to his next colonoscopy.  This is what single people do.  Barter spousal-esque favors with other pathetic and unwanted single friends… 


Before leaving, i wrote the kids phone numbers on a post-it note for my friend, and left his phone number on the table.  The kids were in the kitchen, farting around with food. From the living room,  i loudly said “i’m leaving his phone number for you on the table, if you want to check in, or have questions about anything…”. 

They collectively said “what?  huh?” from the kitchen.  Poking my head around the corner, packed up and ready to leave, they assaulted me “How to you get this microwave to cook something on half power?”.  Thoughtful little fuckers, ain’t they?  This then turned into “So, what time are you getting home?  Can you stop for some burritos at “Casa AssFire” on the way back?”  They were kidding.  i think…


Surgery was scheduled for 2:oo pm, so i worked showed up at the office this morning.  Since i was not allowed to eat solids after midnight, and only had a nutrition drink/diet coke for breakfast at 7:00 am, i was hungry.  And not caffeinated.  As the fates would have it, it was an unofficial “aromatic junk food day” at work.  The candy jars on the admin desks had been freshly stocked with the good stuff – not the leftover, gummified, formerly-hard christmas candy.  Tasty sugar-encrusted bagels – with yummy raspberry cream cheese – abandoned on a table in the hallway where the vultures gather. 

And the worst?  While hanging out with the computer geeks support folks to get my office laptop repaired so i can stay wired while horizontal, they took delivery of a metric ton of hot wings, bleu cheese dressing and other things that made me salivate.  i exacted revenge by leaving dribble spots on the ancient carpet squares…  Bastards.


Since i wouldn’t be driving myself home, i had to write down the name of the “responsible person” with me.  After writing his name on the form, there was a question of “relationship to patient”.  i gleefully used the opportunity to write “statistically significant other“.  After i was prepped for surgery – which included ANOTHER pregnancy check, looking for little Houdini – the nurse went to retrieve my friend so he could keep me company backstage in pre-op.   He was giggling pretty hard, because the nurse had gone to the waiting room and asked for “daisyfae’s statistically significant other…”


Not as much fun with the anaesthesiologist today.  He sure was purty, though.  Went through the drill… checked my teeth… all that crap.  When he asked “Do you have any questions?” i replied with my stock “What’s the capitol of North Dakota?”.  Without missing a beat, he said “Bismark”.  Woo hoo!  The man knows his state capitols.  Gave me confidence that he wouldn’t accidently gas me to Neptune while watching the NCAA basketball games on the monitors…


The Girl is handling kitchen duty tonight.  Made her bring me a cinnamon bagel before she went on the magazine run.  After that?  Turkey and Swiss on Wheat, with a beer.  Beer and Vicodan.  It’s whutz fer supper…


Goofin’ in the pre-op room with my friend.  He took a couple pictures of me, wired up to the IV pole, eyes crossed, and tongue lolling sideways towards my ear.  He sent these via text message to the kids, and a few friends.  The replies? 

The Boy:  That’s good.  (later found out that they had no idea who had sent the pic… thought it could have been from the hospital)

The Girl:  Thanks!  That picture is totally going on the fridge.

RJAK:  She looks awesome!  Just sent that out on the global distribution e-mail list at work…


* worth revisiting the post on my last surgery – only for the comments!  y’all are a funny bunch of people…

** i can get up for potty breaks.  which is a good thing.  they’ve made it clear that they would have nothing to do with THAT task… i’ll need to be at least 30-40 years older, and have a much higher net worth – making myself much more valuable dead – for that to happen…

Behind the Powder Room Door

Once again i shall post a warning to any readers, male or otherwise, who simply do not care to look behind the Powder Room Door, under the estro-curtain, and peek under the sink into the musty warren of – female plumbing.

WARNING:  Some de-mystification of female hydro-genitalia may occur.  Proceed with caution.  You can’t un-read this after the fact…

Several months back i embarked on a pleasant gynecological holiday, into the inner-workings of my girly bits.  In a quest to keep my OEM hormone generation parts, avoiding primitive evisceration hysterectomy, i settled on an intermediate option to meet my needs*.  Endometrial ablation.

It’s pretty much what it sounds like.  Unlike an ultrasound, this probe doesn’t vibrate – it has a mesh heating element.  Doc pulls vacuum (10E-3 torr for any geeks still reading) on my uterus, turns on the juice, and it’s done.  In and out (so to speak) just like an Indy pit stop.  At the hospital at 6:00**, general anesthesia by 7:15, awake in recovery by 8:30, and on my way home by 9:00.  Total preparation time: 2 1/4 hour.  Bake time: 45 minutes.

Hey, Mom!  What’s For Supper!


Now with STEM CELLS!

Special treat tonight, kids!  It’s Uterus Helper***!

Pardon me.  Did i mention there are painkillers involved.  More on that shortly… 

As always, my way of dealing with hospitals and medical issues is pretty simple.  i behave like a 6 year old boy, telling jokes, being silly and trying to completely minimize the amount of hassle – for me, and anyone else involved. 

Had a friend drop me off.  He offered to stay and wait, but i encouraged him to kick me out at the curb and go to work – sort of a “Medical FedEx”.  He was nice, and stopped the car… After surgery, i called him when they pulled the IV.  Thought it would be fun to be picked up “drive-by” style.  Couldn’t get enough leverage from the wheelchair to dive in the open window…

The Anesthesiologist, and Nurse Anesthetist, were pretty sprightly considering the early hour.  They do get the best drugs…  They asked me to stick out my tongue, so of course i did so in the style of a small child, complete with both hands behind my ears, fingers splayed and wagging. 

i asked to see the menu, enquiring about something mildly hallucinogenic, with perhaps just a hint of nutmeg.  Rather than have amnesia upon recovery, i wanted funky animals and trippy colors.  Maybe space flight. 

And so it went.  We had fun.  When the Anesthetist said he’d give me something to relax me?  i winked at him and said “Confident young fella, ain’t ya?”.  The Anaesthesiologist suggested they also give me something to make the jokes better…

With the “instructions for discharge”****, there was some good news and some bad news.  The bad news?  No sex for three weeks.  My reaction: “WHAT?  Doc didn’t tell me THAT?!?!?”  He’s being a big stinkin’ baby.  Was probably afraid i’d hit him.  i’ll have to improvise.  Or get a silver bullet.  To bite. 

The good news?  Darvocet.  Oh, yeah… so maybe i won’t care that i’m not getting laid?


* My needs?  When i asked my doctor about options for ending my monthly annoyance, he assumed that it was primarily due to “usual” problems.  My reply: “Umm… not really.  I’m recently single, with a menopause time bomb hanging over my ovaries.  Won’t be able to use hormones due to breast cancer – so i’m not wasting a minute… Short answer, Doc?  i don’t like being on the bench one week a month”.  My nerdly little doctor turned various shades of bluish-purple, and hasn’t asked again… sort of averts his eyes and blushes whenever he sees me.  Poor dear…

** i had to have a pregnancy test.  yeah, i know, legalities and all.  but my tubes were cut, tied, cauterized, super-glued, clamped and duct-taped shut in 1999.  i told the nurse if i’m pregnant, we’re calling the little fucker “Houdini”.

*** Surprisingly, i couldn’t find an image for “Uterus Helper”.  But there was this yummy treat – from an old Saturday Night Live skit…  Mmmmmm, good!

**** discharge FROM THE HOSPITAL.  Ewww… you guys….  yuk….

Icky Girl Stuff

As a woman in her mid-forties, ineligible for hormone therapy once menopause strikes*, i’m acutely aware of my aging ovaries.  They are my friends.  i try to take good care of them.  Although the eggs nestled within are dwindling in number, and are desiccating and shriveling on a daily basis, the hormones they send surging through my body represent the receding tide of my sexuality…

In other, far less poetic, words: i’m terrified of drying up like so much fem-dust.

As a result, i listen to my doctor and nurture my ovoid parts.  This morning, i started my day with a visit to the Gynecological Imaging lab for a routine ultrasound.  Normally i can amuse myself during testing by asking questions about the equipment, grilling the technicians on techniques and protocols or just watching things happen on the monitors**. 

Today?  Couldn’t get past the unfortunate word choice uttered by the ultrasound technician as we began the examination.  She hands me a large*** condom-covered probe, and asks me to “introduce the instrument to my vagina”. 

Exercising all the restraint i could muster, i followed direction, at which point she takes over “driving”, and i focus on the monitor to keep from succumbing to a terrible case of the giggles.  “Vagina?  Meet Buzzy McTwatprobe!”

the translator must be quite proud of this bit of work….

* breast cancer.  not even the soy-based “natural” hormone replacements are an option.  breast cancer likes estrogen, even things that mimic estrogen.  [note to self:  no more Richard Simmons ‘sweatin’ to the oldies’ aerobic videos]

** my tumor biopsy was done via needle aspiration using ultrasonic imaging for guidance.  i didn’t feel a thing because i was mesmerized by the monitor.  This helped me detach from the procedure at hand – and pretend i was watching a medical documentary on The Discovery Channel. 

*** i’m being generous.  it was 6″ – average at best….

Sneakin’ and geekin’…

Two steps forward, one step backward today in the cardiac ICU with Mom. Pneumonia threat has backed off – whew! That’s the scary one… And the intestinal problems have been managed more effectively, making her more comfortable. But the newest issue is a slight heart arrhythmia – common a few days after heart surgery.

An annoyance today regarding her IV’s. She had plugs and tubes coming from her neck, arms, and hands – and they began to get dicked up*.  Morning Nurse recommended a pericutaneous intravenous catheter to manage ports better – and it would also make Mom more comfortable.

In the meantime, the damn IV pumps would become “obstructed”, and alarms would sound.  Around lunchtime, Mom had been up all morning and was exhausted.  The IV pump alarms had kept her awake the night before, too.  She was trying to sleep, but the damn alarms kept waking her up.  The nurse would come in, play with the lines, then hit the “reset” button on the pump.  Alarm off for five minutes.  Alarm on again, waking her up.  Repeat for about 30 minutes…

Finally, since the nurse had explained that it was just the saline line becoming “dicked up”, i started hitting the reset button myself.  At least until Nurse Ratchet** caught me – and recommended that i stop playing with the equipment.  i apologized, of course, promising not to do it again – but continued to sneak over and hit the reset until Mom’s nurse returned from lunch and just shut the damn thing off…

It’s during the family medical situations that i regret not going into the medical field.  Unfortunately, i’m insanely squeamish about the gooey-sciences, and have a tendency to pass out at the sight of puncture wounds. 

But give me electronics and gadgets?  Hoo-AHH! 


* It’s a medical term. When i hang around hospitals long enough, i pick up the lingo… i’m a veritable sponge for occupational lingo.

** Not Mom’s nurse for the morning, so she wasn’t used to me and probably thought i was trying to “put her down” to collect the inheritance to pay off gambling debts or something…

Teddy Bears and Marxism at the Hospital

Mom’s doing ok – about 2 days post-operative and she’s been up walking, is gaining strength, but still very tired.  Issues with trailer park behavior are minimal – although i’m considering bringing a baseball bat tomorrow just in case.

Scores and Highlights:

     – Recovering from invasive surgery, such as bypass, includes a regimen of coughing.  It helps keep pneumonia at bay, brings up excess lung-butter and exercises the pulmonary system.  The challenge is the suture line – too much pressure and internal organs make unwelcome cameo appearances.  Hospitals routinely use a device known as “Sir Koff-a-lot” to aid patients.  It’s beautiful to see all of the patients in cardiac intensive care – mostly elderly – clinging tightly to their bears.  Mom is quite fond of her bear, and wants him tucked in with her before sleeping – “in case i need to cough”.  If she didn’t look like hell, i’d take a picture.  When she’s feeling better, we’ll need to name him.  My suggestion?  “Loogie”…

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Tales From The Crypt (?)

Yesterday, while chatting in the intensive care unit waiting room, my brother hacked up a most juicy morsel regarding family dynamics.  While my brother was visiting Mom on Mother’s Day, she called the assembled children together to provide some “direction” regarding the worst case post-surgical scenario.  At the table were my brother, my niece, DQ, and my sister, S (the weepin’ wailer). 

Mom wanted them all to fully comprehend her desire not to be prematurely taken off life support.  S, of course, waved her arms and quit listening, deflecting all that nasty reality Mom offered.  DQ and my brother nodded, acknowledged her wishes and continued to listen.  Further, Mom made it clear that daisyfae – as the holder of medical/durable power-of-attorney – was not to make a unilateral decision on this matter, without consulting the rest of the family.

i’m not surprised that Mom emphasized this point to my siblings. 

She and i ultimately had to “agree to disagree” regarding the decision to end life support measures for Dad after he became non-responsive – not whether to do so, but when.  He had made it clear – at least to those paying attention – that he wanted no heroic measures, did not want to suffer, and did not want to linger on life support.  After five days, and many obtuse discussions with his physicians, it was clear that he would not recover.  In fact, on the fourth day, DQ and i were beside his bed.  During a brief moment of mental alertness – although he couldn’t speak – he looked from one of us to the other, vigorously shaking his head “no”.

i had no doubts.  But ultimately, Mom had to be comfortable with the decision.  For the next five days i made sure she was present for all medical discussions with staff – i asked pointed questions*, they gave squishy answers.  On the 6th day she signed the “do not resuscitate” order.  By the 7th day, it was a grim, agonizing wait… Finally, on the 10th day, with the entire family present she said “daisyfae** thinks it’s time… i guess we should…”

Fast forward to current events.  i had to chuckle when my brother told me she was adamant that there must be a family discussion and family decision before drastic measures are taken.

Does she really think i’m going to harvest her organs and sell her kidneys on eBay? 

For christsake, if she’d taken better care of herself they might be worth something… i may be heartless, but i’ve got some business sense.


* Doctors won’t tell you “it’s over”.  They will eventually say “we’ve done all we can do and he’s not getting better” if you press them.  Competitive bastards… i think they just hate losing.

** i was ok with her need to put it on me.  Annoyed, but ok.  Dad and i had even discussed this part… it was part of my annointment as “number one son“.