Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Staying true to my obsessive nature, as a child, my Halloween costume for the first eight years of my life was a cat; teased hair, face paint, black leotard, felt tail and ears. And although I won't be dressing up as a feline this year, it's in that spirit that I say Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Perfect Excuse

I could be brainwashed by the relentless media coverage of drug resistant staph infections, but I’m fairly certain I’ve contracted (HA) MRSA, i.e. Hospital Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus.

It’s the pussing sore in my right nostril that tipped me off. I’ve had it ever since my tonsillectomy two months ago, and according to the Mayo Clinic, it’s in the hospital—during tonsillectomy-like procedures—where most of the 1.2 million MRSA infections a year are contracted.

Also according to the Mayo Clinic, there are four major risk factors for contracting the hospital acquired version of the strain:
  • A current or recent hospitalization;
  • Residing in a long-term care facility;
  • Invasive devises; and
  • Recent antibiotic use

Need I remind everyone that I had a recent hospitalization and that I was pumped with antibiotics twice a day for two weeks following that hospitalization? That’s exposure to two out of four factors. That’s not good. But what’s even worse is that I have the number one symptom of the infection; a painful, pussing wound, in—of all places—my nose, (the unfortunate body part where the majority of staph bacteria are housed).

But that’s not all, in the last couple days I’ve developed a cough. Now, this could be attributed to the two and half packs of Camel Lights I smoked this weekend, or more likely, to the advancement of my MRSA infection, which often kills people by infiltrating their lungs.

And as a side note, this (HA) MRSA is the perfect reason not to go to the hospital for my colon cancer/hemorrhoids. If I don't already have the "super bug" (as the news agencies so lovingly call it), which I most likely do, I'll surely get it by trekking into the doctor's office and having an "invasive device" shoved up my rear.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not for the Faint of Heart, Read at Your Own Risk

I’ve been silent because, frankly, what I have to say is unpleasant. The disease I’m suffering from is unpleasant. My existence is unpleasant. And despite the unpleasantness that has become my life, I’d like to think I have enough pride not to share it with the world. But I don’t, and I can only stay silent for so long.

I apologize now for the words that I will write, as they too will be unpleasant. I’m not one for bathroom talk. I don’t like to hear about people’s gastrointestinal “issues” and I don’t share my own. But under the unforeseeable circumstance that I’m afflicted with colon cancer, I figure my life is about to change, in more ways than one.

I have blood in my shit. Blood. In. My. Shit. This alone is cause for alarm. I’ve been on this earth for damn near twenty-three years and until a week and a half ago, I have NEVER had blood—not a trace—in my shit.

But that’s not all, I feel like I shit gravel. Fiery. Clumps. Of. Jagged. Gravel. I need not explain the trauma involved in this.

Oh, and depending on the day, I have diarrhea, or constipation, whichever is more inconvenient at the time. Lets just say this morning, as I repeatedly dashed from the shower to the toilet, (soaking wet in thirty degree temperatures), it wasn’t the latter.

All of the above, and the severe upper abdominal pain I’m suffering, are symptoms of colon cancer.

I don’t know what to do. I’m terrified.

I don’t dare go to the doctor. The last thing I want is to be sedated while a perfect stranger shoves a “long, flexible, tubular instrument about ½ inch in diameter” up my ass. Shitting fiery clumps of jagged gravel sounds like a day at the spa compared to that.

My doctor, (read WebMD), said hemorrhoids may also be the culprit. But just reading the four stages, see below, gives me diarrhea:

First degree: The hemorrhoid does not stick out from the anus.

Second degree: The hemorrhoid sticks out from the anus during a bowel movement but returns on its own to the anal canal afterward.

Third degree: The hemorrhoid sticks out from the anus during a bowel movement and does not return to the anal canal on its own. In this case you can push it inside the anus with your finger and then it will stay in.

Fourth degree: The hemorrhoid is always outside the anus and cannot be pushed into the anal canal.

I lost it at “you can push it inside the anus with your finger and then it will stay in.” WHAT THE FUCK!!! I want my innocence back.

But don’t think you’re in the clear, fifty percent of people encounter hemorrhoids in their lifetime.

This is the epitome of a no win situation. Shoot me now. I beg you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And I'm the Crazy One

It was an ordinary day as I fell out of bed this morning grumbling to Rey about the nightmares that stalked me through the night. Elevators were the subject. Not uncommon. Not terribly exciting. Just the typical forget to push your floor, end up on the 12th, crash to your death.

So, I headed off to work and arrived five minutes early—only because my supervisor was in town—to encounter an elevator maintenance crew in the lobby of my building. Coincidence, I thought.

But apparently, I thought wrong, because upon entering the elevator, the following conversation ensued:

“I don’t like to see those guys working on the elevators”

“Neither do I.”

“You know, the elevator to the right of us fell yesterday.”

“Are you kidding!?!”

“No! One of our attorneys was riding it down. It only fell one floor and he wasn’t hurt, but he was pissed off!”

This is where I exited the death ride. Am I the only one who knows the meaning of foreshadowing? Stairs are in my near future.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I Should Have Saved the Last Post’s Title for Today

I have colon cancer and a tumor in my neck and brain. I realize how ridiculous this sounds, but despite the absurdity, I am wholly convinced that I display symptoms for each.

I’m not going to elaborate, other then to say I’m freaking the fuck out. I can’t hear or see with my right ear and eye respectively, and I have shooting pains coursing through the left side of my neck. (I refuse to elaborate on the colon cancer symptoms, but trust me there’s not a more fitting diagnosis).

Excuse me while I go try—for the second time tonight—to convince Rey to take me to the emergency room.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Death Becomes Me

I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately—my cat’s death mostly, and my own death, of course—but not in the usual, panic-stricken way. The distinction between my recent thoughts and the thoughts I’ve had most of my adult life, is, recently, my thoughts seem to address mortality from a state of awe, rather than a state of holy shit I’m gonna die right now.

In idle moments, my mind drifts to thoughts of mine and my cat’s deaths, but instead of focusing on the particularities of the deaths, i.e. the pain, or lack there of, the last thoughts, the fear, the loneliness, the tears, the feeling of knowing you’re dying, instead, I find myself thinking of the greater implication of ceasing not to exist. I’m consumed by the enormity and insignificance of the end of a life. People die everyday. Young people, old people, people just like me. They die, everyday. It’s insane.

I’m suddenly baffled by the idea that such a sweet little creature, my cat, so full of life and personality will one day close her eyes, become limp and cease to exist. I don’t know what to make of it, but I do know it’s a perspective of death that I haven’t taken in the recent past.

A step forward? Perhaps…

Monday, October 08, 2007

Anticipatory Anxiety

Although I haven’t mentioned it here, I’m beyond thrilled to have an out from my company Christmas Party this year. The ordinary person may think I’m insane to dodge a free trip to Vegas and a stay at the Wynn, but frankly, I live in a town where gambling and prostitution are legal (which takes all the fun out of Vegas), and I like my house more than my coworkers.

There’s just one problem, I traded my soul to the devil to get out of the event. This year, instead of attending the Christmas Party, Rey and I will host thirty members of his ridiculously large family for a graduation party in his honor.

What will I wear? What will we talk about? How will they get here from the airport? Where will they stay? What will we eat? What if I crap myself? What if they don’t like my home d├ęcor? What if they want me to say something in Rey’s honor? What if they think I’m a horrible host?

Aside from all the customary questions racing through my mind, I’m largely concerned with the demeanor I’ll exhibit in such a large group. One-on-one, I can be charming and witty, which is not always the case, but it happens—I’d like to think—more often than not. Put me in a group of more than two and I clam up, sweat profusely, shake in my boots. Unless large amounts of alcohol are involved, me and groups don’t mix.

Aside from social anxiety, anticipatory anxiety is the form of anxiety I struggle with the most. Maybe they’re byproducts of each other, maybe they’re one in the same, but whatever they are, I know them both extraordinarily well.

Take that anxiety, throw in some quasi-in-laws, and that trip to Vegas suddenly ain’t looking so bad. “Don’t trade the devil you know for the devil you don’t” never had so much meaning.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Potty Mouth

There’s a toilet paper dispenser in my office bathroom that has increasingly become the subject of my thoughts. This dispenser isn’t special upon first inspection, it’s your run of the mill, round metal bar with a circular metal stopper on each end. And every stall in the three-stall bathroom has two of these ordinary dispensers situated neatly under a small metal shelf, which typically holds extra rolls of toilet paper.

Now that’s all fine and dandy, but there’s one minor detail specific to the first dispenser in the first stall that is plaguing me. You see, the circular metal stopper that holds the toilet paper in place is broken, so when you pull the paper from the roll, it gently slides to the right and threatens to fall to the floor. Now, this in and of itself is no problem for the person with common sense (who can easily use their free hand to hold the roll in place), but as Rey’s Grandpa once said, common sense aint so common, and I’ve never heard a truer statement.

It didn’t occur to me until a conversation with a coworker, that this dispenser was more than an inconvenience; it was a disease waiting to happen.

Upon entering the bathroom together and noticing a roll of toilet paper strewn across the floor, my unwitting coworker made the following remark:

“People are so disgusting! How rude do you have to be to drop a roll of toilet paper on the ground and not pick it up?”

It occurred to me at that moment that, holy fuck, she—and who knows how many other filthy bathroom goers—were entering that first stall and dropping rolls of toilet paper from that rickety dispenser, on to the infested bathroom floor, only to pick them up for me—and who know how many other unknowing sanitarians—to walk in and wipe our asses with festering disease rags.

I nearly lost my lunch. I couldn’t even “go” after that little comment, and silently trudged right back out that bathroom door to sit at my desk for the next three hours and stew over the multitudes of diseases I must have been exposed to over the course of my employment, all the while holding my piss.

Sparing any details, I’ve since developed a condition in response to this discovery, and I blame it on that damn toilet paper dispenser. I think I'll start carrying my own roll.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Wine is Back on the Menu, Boys

Rey had a surprise for me this evening when I got in the car after waiting for him for two hours after work while he attended his statistics class. He had a tasty little morsel waiting for me and he could hardly control himself when I got in the car. It wasn’t chocolate, which I’m not particularly fond of anyway. It was this tasty little piece of advice that his professor had imparted upon him:

“Never give up your vices based on the results of a study.”

That came from the mouth of a woman with a Ph.D. in Psychology who specializes in statistical analysis, which means it might as well have come from the mouth of God.

According to her, studies are unreliable because they’re frequently conducted by professors seeking tenure at their colleges. To receive tenure, the professors must have published studies. The catch is this: schools frown on replication—which is the backbone of any reliable study—hence the bogus results, i.e. wine will strangle you in your sleep.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, Take 492 is officially over. Cheers!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Layin’ Off the Sauce, Take 492

Tonight doesn’t count, because I have an excuse in Monday Night Football, but starting tomorrow, there’ll be no drinking in my house on weeknights. And I use the term weeknights very loosely. Mondays and Sundays are excluded, due to my football obligations, and Fridays and Saturdays are no-brainers. That leaves three days, or “weeknights,” if you will.

Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday.

That’s seventy-two hours in which a drop of alcohol must not touch thy lips. Actually, if you subtract work and sleep hours from that figure, it’s twenty-four waking hours. Simple enough.

There are two reasons I’m instituting this law:

  • I don’t want to die a horrible and painful death caused by prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption; and
  • I don’t want to die a horrible and painful death caused by prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption.

But, my fear of a horrible and painful death caused by prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption, apparently doesn’t outweigh my attraction to chilled chardonnay. I’ve attempted this “program” several times in the past, and each time, it’s the same result: misery, followed by excessive alcohol consumption on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

I don’t know why alcohol is so instrumental in my happiness. Maybe being raised by alcoholics has something to do with it. But in my mind, there’s nothing like a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer to relax to after work.

I’ll be back tomorrow to cry about how horrible my life is sans alcohol. Until then, cheers.