Monday, October 28, 2013

There's Always Tuesday

Mondays are rough anyway, so why not have an endoscopy, right?  Especially if you are sick and tired of your esophagus revolting against everything you even think about eating.

An endoscopy, for those of you that don't travel in gastrointestinal health circles, is an INVASIVE procedure where someone runs a scope down your throat to look around in there, and, if they feel so inclined, scrape off some samples with a weapon of their choosing.  The scope is smaller than a hunting scope on a rifle, but still big enough that they have to knock you out to do it.

Anesthesia is a fun trip, assuming you come back from it.  One minute I was staring at a room full of people in scrubs and hooked to a bunch of machines, and the next someone was waking me up in a totally different location with nary a nose cannula in sight.  Where am I?  How did I get here?  When did I get here?  Where's the nice man with the drugs?

Once I got my wits about me, my first real question was "What did you find?"  Obviously, I wanted the answer to be nothing, for them to say I'm healthy as a horse with the silky mane of one too.  But because this procedure cost us hundreds of dollars, I did sort of want them to find something.  Something that warranted the expense.  Like maybe if they had found Jimmy Hoffa down there, it would have all been worth it.

They didn't find Hoffa, or gold, or anything worth the tools they sent down.  What they saw was a very angry and irritated looking stomach and esophagus.  I don't know what my stomach has to be irritated about, I'm the one who can't eat Mexican food or chocolate!

The doctor did take some soil samples on the way down, just like NASA does every time we visit the moon.  He won't know if my stomach can sustain lifeforms for a couple of weeks, but in the meantime he gave me a prescription to help with my symptoms.  And the nurses gave me a pamphlet on what not to eat.  It includes everything I've already eliminated plus TUMS fruit smoothies.  Apparently TUMS (a.k.a. extra calcium) can create more acid in your stomach.  Guess what I've been self-medicating with for weeks?  Reason #256 of why you can't get a medical degree from a cracker jack box.

Another nurse mentioned that stress can make my situation worse.  In my opinion, stress can make any situation worse.  But mine in particular, I guess.  She didn't have a prescription for that, but I do.  I've contacted my insurance company and suggested they send me on a Caribbean vacation with Jim Gaffigan.  I know, I know, you're thinking, Heather, you want Jim Gaffigan to be your companion on an island getaway?  Have you not seen Channing Tatum?  But here's the thing, laughter is the antidote for stress and Jim Gaffigan is the funniest person I can think of.  I'd be stress free with a fully-functioning esophagus by the end of the week.  (Even meeting Channing Tatum would only stress me out more.  I'd be checking to make sure I didn't have any food on my teeth every five seconds and holding my stomach in until it touched my back.  No thank you!)

So, I'm "recuperating" now.  It involves lying around in the new fuzzy socks my mommy bought me for my procedure, eating mashed potatoes she made me for dinner again tonight, and holding a small memorial service for the Halloween candy I won't be eating this year.

I feel okay, but not great.  My throat feels like someone shoved a rusty pipe down it and I'm not allowed to take the edge off with Sprite or Ginger Ale, which stresses me out, which creates more acid in my stomach, which is lighting my sore throat on fire, which is why, United Healthcare, I need a vacation with Jim Gaffigan!

yours truly,

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rain Balloons

I can't remember exactly when this rainbow loom fad came to my attention, just that several months ago these stretchy bracelets started showing up on my girls' arms.  They looked like a nicely woven mess of those colored rubber bands I used on my braces back in the 80s.  I don't think those were getting much mileage on braces anymore, what with the invention of Invisalign and good common sense, so I assume whoever was storing those sold them to patient zero of this infectious loom disease.

I don't succumb to fads usually.  I never once bought silly bandz, nor did I let my kids buy them.  Yet, we ended up with dozens.  Because my mom and most of my friends/friends' kids get into these kinds of things.  And, by the way, where are all of these must-have silly bandz now?  Wouldn't be caught dead in them?  (cough, cough...told ya so.)  I actually feel sorry for the silly bandz now, because they remind me of the salsa on the table after the queso arrives.  (Rainbow loom bracelets are the queso in that analogy, in case you didn't follow.  But, let the record show, I think queso is amazing and rainbow loom bracelets are silly.)

It might be more than I don't succumb to fads, I might be fad resistant.  Last year all the boys my son's age had to have Nike Elite socks.  And Brainy begged and he pleaded and he felt insecure about his regular tall black Nike socks, but those Elite socks are like fifteen bucks a pair and they just go on your smelly feet, so no.  And women have been wearing scarves around their necks as accessories for years now and I've yet to buy one.  I have a warm gray scarf I wear with my winter coat when it's freezing outside, but my neck doesn't stay cold year round, so I go without most days.  I don't know if I haven't gotten into those because I'm fad resistant or because I don't want to have to learn how to tie one properly.  I learned how to tie my shoes when I was four, shouldn't that be enough?

My girls are seven so of course they think they need American Girl dolls.  Correction, my girls are seven and they think they have American Girl dolls.  (Shhh!!  They are affordable Target alternatives.  And if you take care of their hair, no one can tell the difference without a blood test anyway.)

But this comeback of the loom is a surprising one.  Weren't looms popular hundreds of years ago, like pre-Industrial Revolution?  Is our economy in such bad shape that we're training child laborers to operate looms again.  Is this where we're headed when the bubble finally bursts?  Is a return to steam engines and blacksmiths far behind?  Will the whole country start to look like Colonial Williamsburg again?

For now I'm just going to keep my kids in school, working with iPads and Smart boards, gambling that I don't need to teach them to grind their own flour.  Whereas, apparently, the rest of you have already pulled yours from school to work in rainbow loom sweatshops all day.  How else can you explain some of these girls that have rainbow loom bracelets up to their elbows on both sides and hanging around their necks like to-go nooses?  I had a fourth grade girl sitting next to me in reading group this week who seriously had so many rainbow loom bracelets that I thought if she took it just a little further, she could have full body armor and therefore be able to repel spears if and when Native Americans throw them at her.

I also have to point out that this isn't just a trend with girls.  My son has had boys over here to play ball with him and they have to remove their "bracelets" before they go out for a catch.  Stretch and Reckless may always hold their lack of a loom against me, but my son will thank me someday.

And, finally, I will admit that with every fad I avoid, and I don't avoid them all, but with the ones I do, I run the risk of becoming out-dated.  I risk being that mom wearing the fuchsia, purple and white windbreaker to the mall with her kids in 2013, even though she bought it at the mall when she was a kid in 1983.  (Note, I don't have any clothes that are more than six years old because that's when I lost sixty pounds.)

I will also admit that for the first two or three months the girls were talking about these bracelets, I thought they were saying Rain Balloon bracelets, not Rainbow Loom bracelets.  I'm not sure there's a difference or if it matters; I'm not even sure they weren't saying Rain Balloon.  But I have started calling them by the right name, just in time for the next big thing to come along.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

This Will Sound Trivial...

Last spring, one of my friends posted on Facebook that she and her husband had just gotten their kids in bed and were about to challenge each other in Trivial Pursuit.  That's the kind of post that immediately snags my attention...What?  Trivial Pursuit, you say?  I love that game!  I haven't played in years.  (I'm not saying the posts of cats saying funny things don't get my attention, they do.  I mean, who doesn't like a sarcastic feline?)

The next time I saw them (my friends not the witty kitties) at church, I pleaded with them to come over for a couples Trivial Pursuit challenge versus me and The Voice of Reason.  It took about six months to make that happen, thanks to my perpetually busy schedule and chronically forgetful mind.  But we finally got together this past Sunday night.

Let me just say that I expected to win.  Unless I'm competing against my brother in something, I always expect to win.  It took me the better part of a decade to finally walk away with a Trivial Pursuit victory over my big brother, ditto the nightly Jeopardy match-ups we held in our living room.  But that's just the point, I grew up playing these games relentlessly.  We didn't have a lot of other things to waste our time on.  We had a TV with two channels, but unless sports, Jeopardy or The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, or Night Court was on, the TV was useless.  (And okay, I'm not gonna lie; I watched ALF.)

And we didn't have video games until pretty late in our childhood, and, to continue in a spirit of honesty, Duck Hunt and Mario Bros. were my brother's, not mine, so I technically never had video games.  And I think I'm the smarter for it.  I've been playing Jeopardy against my son this year and he knows next to nothing about Russian literature, world capitals, or potpourri, and I can only assume it's because he plays too much Madden on the Xbox.  (Though my husband thinks it's because Brainy is only nine.)

Back to Sunday night, when I lost Trivial Pursuit!  Well, actually my husband and I both lost.  But I feel my loss the most.  We were playing against a well-educated couple, so I knew it would be a tough fight.  And I'm not sure if we lost because we're intellectually inferior or because we make bad joint decisions (see also the comforter we had on our bed from 1999-2003).

More than once my husband and I would have the answer narrowed down to two choices, the right one and its doppelganger.  But every time, we went with the doppelganger and it was wrong.  The other couple beat us with six pies to our five.  Ultimately, I've decided that The Voice of Reason and I don't know enough about Fran Tarkenton or mixed drinks.

I do, however, know way too much about the cast of Cheers and can usually match an author to a book title with both hands tied behind my back.  But alas it wasn't enough.  Even though, and here is the victory within the loss, I got the science question right!  (I know, it surprised me too.)  I mean, that's the whole reason I married my husband, I needed someone to answer the science and technology related questions.  But on Sunday, the science question was, "Anthracite and lignite are forms of what fossil fuel?"

The first thing I said was, "I don't know what a fossil fuel is, honey, so you'll have to answer this one."  He was thinking silently and I piped up again, "This might sound stupid, but is coal a fossil fuel, because those two words make me think of coal."  Which makes me think of that great movie, October Sky, from when Jake Gyllenhaal was younger, he's one of my favorite actors, oh wait, doesn't he have a movie out right now, I need to see that.  My husband interrupted my derailed train of thought with, "Coal is a fossil fuel, and that actually sounds like a really good answer."  So, I looked at the other couple across the table and said, "Coal."

"That is correct."  Woo-hoo!!  Both of my fists shot up in the air victoriously.  Of course the game wasn't over, so that was silly.  Meanwhile, I'm gonna have to find another use for my husband now that I don't need him to answer the science questions for me.  I guess I can just let him continue to pay all of the bills and provide for our family.  That's better than nothing.