Saturday, December 31, 2011

Today I danced

I am not much of a dancer. As a child then as a teen I was ever conscious of my utterly absurd body shape, which unfortunately was then compounded by poor choices in clothing (1). The last time I can remember actually dancing all the way through one song was Billy Joel's 'We didn't start the fire' at a high school social (2) in the late '80s. I remember aching towards the end and just wishing someone would put out the flames already.

In uni days I detested going out dancing ... but went anyway because that's what you did. However inevitably I'd end up on the balcony, usually during the colder months since that's when classes were on, half-cut and having a shouty conversation with someone I'd bailed up in order to pester them about my own world and cultural views. Kind of like blogging live to an audience who couldn't get away.  Being a regional country town with a university it meant a fair amount of fuckwits were compressed into 2-3 drinking localities down town, and I'd have to endure their menacing of my short and stout person—a classic jape being the yanking of my then ponytail. 

So no ... I don't dance. Well ... not in public. At home, with the music pumping, I will dance on occasion. Though being bio-mechanically restricted my dancing basically looks like one of those inflatable blower men that advertise the giant p0rn clearance sales along Gladstone Street in Fyshwick.

I had a hip replacement in early December. In the past few days I have managed to get around without crutches. I even went down town—well, Woden—without them the other day. As long as I moved slowly I was okay.

Today ... today it feels almost as bad as it was before the operation. Which is to say a lot better since the operation. My hip was well-fucked before it was replaced, don't get me wrong, but I could still walk normally—just in a fair amount of pain and occasionally having to press the flat of my hand against my thigh as I walked to relieve the pain. 

So I can walk around, relatively normally, but with some pain and discomfort. That will eventually pass and I will be better than I was. Fortunately we have The Purgatory Cart (3), with the standard now five kays to aim for (and achieved in 17 minutes), helping the recovery speed faster along (4).

I was singing 'Wonder Boy' to theBoy and on a whim summoned him to the end room where the new and improved desk top machine lay in order to take in its goodness on YouTube. He didn't like it—mainly because his eyes was attracted to 'the fire one!' (5), which was in the row of 'you may also like' suggestions of other Tenacious D clips; in this case the one for 'Tribute' which showed a fire-limed Dave Grohl as the Devil.

Eventually, though, we started clicking on to non-Tenacious D stuff. 

It was then my body demanded it dance. So I did, doing the inflatable blower man, however  still being careful not to put too much weight on "the bad leg". 

And the choice of song? 

The Bloodhound Gang's 'The Bad Touch'


PS We're off to Casso's for New Years. Oh and fuck you, 2011.

(1) Such as my infamous "all brown" outfit of years 8 to 9. 
(2) In Oz, for the benefit of no one else, we call school dances 'socials'. A British hang-over? Perhaps. 
(3) Pried from the clutches of the swamp-hag Casso whose green-streaked hair, long nails, and snaggled teeth has excited would-be seekers of extreme sexual congress for centuries. Only I think she bites their heads off afterwards.
(4) theWife goes after me and matches time served ... plus a few seconds or a couple of minutes more than me. She's so competitive!
(5) I have dangerously instilled a love of fire in theBoy. Yesterday I showed him this. Previously I have also demonstrated butane-fuelled kitchen scorchers during a storyverse session much to his wide-eyed enjoyment.

Channeling his inner grump

theBoy was attempting to assemble a toy using a toy drill and parts. It wasn't working. Normally he goes Mad Goat and starts yelling and throwing stuff but lately he's been trying not to get mad at stuff—count to ten, that sort of thing. 

Just then he was annoyed. But he held it largely together and instead of yelling (slash) throwing of the offending item he simply snarled at it;  'I don't believe it!'

Yes, he did a Victor Meldrew


UPDATE: Eric Idle guest stars his voice on One Foot in the Grave.

Things you probably shouldn't say to your four-year-old

(In response to an annoyed theBoy who was trying to pummel me)

'My spoof made you. Think about that!'

Left power fist shout out to our Syrian brothers and sisters

Here in Oz most of us are looking forward to the New Year celebrations. theWife for example is at the shops getting some tasty treats. She didn't have to risk her life to do it.

In Syria half a million people (1) have taken to the streets seeking freedom. They brave guns. They brave tanks. They brave arbitrary detention where they can be tortured and killed. Their bravery and their courage to risk their lives to stand up against a government that has never been of the people and by the people is astonishing. I cannot express enough my admiration for those people who see something that is clearly shit standing up and pointing at the shit and declaring the shit is shit when friends and protectors of the shit have guns and mother fucking tanks. I mean holy crap, that's just fucking incredible.

So on this New Years, where our government is there to protect and serve with cops there to weed out fuckwits from ruining a good time for everyone else or ambos ready to help people who partied a little too hearty, spare a thought for those people whose government has a foot on their neck solely to preserve the power of an unelected elite who rob their people blind.

Rock on our Syrian brothers and sisters. May 2012 be your year of freedom.

(raises fist)

(1) Syria has about the same population as Australia. The most we ever had people on the streets for was 300 000 gathering in Adelaide ... to catch a glimpse of the Beatles. Puts things in perspective.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I wonder...

... if Lord Haw Haw ever fell in a Ha-ha?

Carrot and Stick

theBoy's level of power within the indomitable trio, him plus we, is not great. We're bigger than him and control all the resources. So when it comes to threats then really he doesn't have much to threaten us with. 

Except that is party access. On several occasions we've now been dis-invited to his "party". Not just any party, either but a Transformers party. Usually we pout as a reaction and eventually he relents and re-invites us. Though of course who sets up and runs the party to which he is referring to has not been made clear—and thus I presume it's us—so in truth I'm not sure his threat has any weight behind it.

Once theWife went to pick him up at day care. You can hear the action in the day care main gathering room well up the corridor as you approach. She was walking along and as she got closer she heard a bunch of kids dis-inviting each other to parties. 'Yeah, well you can't come to my party; it's a Transformer party!' 'Oh yeah, well I am having a party also, and it's also a Transformer party, and you can't come!' Several separate bunches of kids interacting with multiple separate instances of dis-invitations to Transformer parties. 

I hope theBoy wasn't responsible for it ... though I am hoping against reason here. He's like the shit stirrer from Asterix and the Roman Agent

Today theBoy added a new Carrot and Stick to his armoury—badges.

I did something wrong, not listening to him I suppose, and he launched into the revelation about the hitherto unknown existence of badges and the fact I was not going to get one.

'Well you're not getting a badge. You only get a badge if you listen to me and do what I say!' he yelled. 

Fortunately for me, on the ex-govie furniture (1) grey computer desk, was a pack of First Dog on the Moon post-it notes (2). I pulled a post-it note off and stuck it to my chest. 

'Oh yeah—check it out. A badge!'

theBoy leaped for me, scrambled across the bed, and grasped for the badge. A delightful rumble ensued. Then, victorious, with the "badge" in hand he scrunched it up and tossed it away.

So I got another post-it note...

This went on for some time. At one point I doubled up like had on papery stripper tassels. There's now a dozen scrunched up self-awarded badges of awesomeness that were retrieved by a giggling theBoy lying scattered by the side of the end room bed. 

Which of course theWife will have to pick up given my infirmities.

She was cool with it. Fuck I love rumbling with my son. It's like the most enjoyable thing ever. It's going to cut deep when he decides I am lame.

Then, later, during a storyverse session, I got him to say "Rhinoceros' Arse-hole". theWife and I were on the end room bed when it happened. We had to press our faces against bed clothes to stiffle the giggles while theBoy kept shrieking at us to 'stop laughing!'

A golden indomitable trio moment for sure.

UPDATE: I am of course saving for the next time he threatens to not badge me a delicious rejoinder of 'Badges? BADGES? I don't need your stinkin' badges!' In your face four-year-old that has no frame of reference in regards to that line (3).

(1) I'm from Canberra. Ninety per cent of our furniture as purchased in our early years was ex-govie furniture. My old work knocked down some buildings and sold all the fittings just prior to demolitions. So we went along and spent $100 on several veneer bookshelves and old office chairs and desks so as to outfit our house. Alas the only thing left on active service is the grey computer desk. The shelves have been banished to the shed.
(2) First dog is the in-house cartoonist for Crikey. Awesome stuff. 
(3) How awesome is it that Wiki has a wiki on that line? If you use Wiki then donate today!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Largely mobile

Today we went to the movies to see Happy Feet Two. Feeling adventurous, even downright saucy, I elected to do a tent preacher move and cast away my crutches. theWife dropped me off closer to the door and I lurched across the road like Krammer in his too tight jeans, and awaited theBoy and theWife. Armed with popcorn (of which I ate but a fraction) and a choc top (1) we went in. Naturally the screen was the one at the far end of the cardboard movie stand lined passage-way, which was a bit tiring to traverse, but I made it up there and back with only mild discomfort.

Happy Feet Two was a decent sequel, though the nature of the plot constrained the localities used in the movie. The end sequence, which I watched from the entrance, having done a typical Mikey and gone to the toilet at a crucial moment of the movie (2), was easily the best bit. I even found myself crooning along to the chosen Queen number (3), though my lyric recall is limited, unlike theRainman that is theWife when it comes to lyrics, and for once I didn't care when I fucked them up.

We headed out to the food court afterwards. I saw my old, old, old boss++, from like over ten years ago, walking along with his doll-sized wife. They were hand in hand. However I held back so as not to draw attention because if I talked to him then I would have ended up talking about my boring health crap. The other thing was that when he worked for my org he was regarded as a debonair sophisticated gent, that set the girls' hearts a fluttering, only today he was wearing long pink board shorts that were in a"Harry High" position. It just didn't seem like him.

My chosen lunch of four mini spring rolls proved a fail when they were discovered to be cold and chewy. But in truth I was still feeling like partially gelatinous cat crap so I didn't need a replacement. I just sat there with my Costco mini Diet Coke can instead. theBoy decided he wanted some Humpty and Stumpy action, and who am I to disagree? (4) So we started, the boys on a magic paddle boat and getting up to mischief. As the story progressed I noticed a girl on the table next to us—a higher table with stools instead of chairs—was listening in. She was about five or six.

She started to join in.

It wasn't like she pulled her stool up and introduced herself. She just sat and interjected with comments like 'paddle boats are the boat that never ends!' Her dad didn't seem to notice, he didn't turn away from his spaced out steady cud-chewing of his salad sandy, nor did the girl's sisters seem to notice. I semi acknowledged her contribution with non committed responses like 'yes' and 'indeed' but it was all too weird and I wasn't sure what the protocol was on food court improv and whether outsiders should join in. Not that theBoy cared. He didn't seem to notice she was trying to be part of it either.

Finally it was back to the car and home. I walked around sans crutches some more and did my cycle—now up to 16 minutes (slash) 4.4 kays. Incredibly, even though she mowed the lawn and did a bunch of chores stuff, theWife still matched me minute-for-minute on The Purgatory Cart. She's a machine!

It's now the dying embers of December 29. I just went and got some raisin toast and spread out a grub mat - okay, it's a bath mat - on the bed so as to catch crumbs.  As I walked to and fro during the toasts' preparation I noticed that I was actually walking near normally. As in not lurching too badly and with a near normal gait.

So despite all the lingering yucky crap that's afflicted me post-op, Gastro and this gunk lung thing, as far as the hip replacement is going ... well it's going gang-busters. Every new day is noticeable improvement. Soon I will be at a mobility point that will be better than what I had just prior to the operation. Then eventually better than what I had my entire life. For someone that has only ever previously experienced steady bodily ruination, having an actual body improvement is a somewhat unique experience ... and it's a most welcomed one at that.

Summer of George!

(1) In addition to my OCD of not starting a choc top until the start of the movie, I have another tradition - or rather we as a couple do - of giving each other the cone end of our choc top. I know ... it's sickeningly cute.
(2) I missed the end of Van Helsing when thanks to an ill-advised agreeing to up-size my combo I drank two litres of post-mix Fanta and had to do a mad dash for the toot lest I voided myself spectacularly.
(3) Freddy Mercury died when I was in high school, or close to it. He was a man at the pinnacle of his profession but cut down by disease a good forty years before his body clock said it should have been. When theBoy was a toddler I'd play old Queen music clips, 'I want to Break Free', 'We will rock you', 'Under Pressure', 'I want it all' etc. As I watched the end sequence to the chosen Queen song I couldn't but help think that Freddy would have approved of having his music sung by a massed penguin choir.
(4) My children need wine!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

You have to admire his native cunning

theBoy loves cuddles from his mum. To the extent that she has to fob him off when he's super clingy. Cuddles from me, however, he resists. Probably because we turned it into a game where if I get a cuddle I win.

He does not like to lose.

My mobility has improved now that I don't need to really use a crutch unless I am outside the house. It still hurts and I can only walk slowly but for the most part, in the home at least, I can make it around okay and without fear of falling if the I put weight on the recovering leg.

All of this means is that I am able to play some of our games. Like sing that I am going to cuddle him which means he takes to his feet and with a glorious trilling of excitement runs off down to end room to evade me ... and usually taking advantage of the time I take to lumber after him with my dicky lurching walk by hiding or making himself inaccessible.

When I made it down to the end room I discovered he'd pulled a Ned Kelly (1) and improv-created himself some armour to thwart my cuddles. How? He'd simply tipped theWife's clothes out of her tall plastic grill-work clothes basket and slotted it down over his body. This combined with kneeling meant he became impossible to cuddle.

You win this round, theBoy...

UPDATE: Having finished Michael Burleigh's Blood and Rage, an interesting look at various manifestations of terrorism since the mid-nineteenth century (2), it was back onto the Kindle wagon and continuing on with Life on the Mississippi (3).  All that saucy riverboat (slash) steamboat (slash) paddle steamer talk made me declare that I would like to take in such a river-bourne adventure the next time we're in the region of the Murray (4). In storyverse sessions I've taken to using Google Images or YouTube to call up examples of a concept mentioned during the story to give theBoy grounding in what I am talking about. Or I will even sketch, Pictionary-style, a pic of an item mentioned (5).

Having mentioned the desire to ride a paddle-boat I called up a YouTube video of one steaming along on the river to show theBoy. Having watched it for a bit he got excited, ran over to theWife's iPhone, theWife having sacrificed it in order to get some reading / bed lying time, dialled up one of his puzzle games then deftly completed the puzzle. When the puzzle is completed the entire pic animates into life. So he held up the screen to show it to me what it was ... an animated paddle-boat steaming stage left. What a Chooky!

(1) Unlike Ned Kelly of course theBoy's armour actually worked. It's funny how in Oz we celebrate celebrated failure. Gallipoli is our Homeric Creation Myth and we laud Ned Kelly for his Backyyard Blitz style beating of ploughshares into armour plate, plus natty slitted hat, but neglect the fact that the first time he tried to use his armour the cops simply shot him in his unprotected legs to bring him down. Cops: 1, Kelly: 0.   
(2)  That alas is somewhat hampered by Burleigh's whinging about "TEH Left", the judiciary, multiculturalism, Bono, Michael Foucault, and Jean-Michael Sartre, as well as blaming much terrorism on the fact that higher education was opened to the proles in the '60s.
(3) I can now spell Mississippi without having to redline-then-right-click-for-correct-spelling first. Thank you, Mr Twain. 
(4) A favourite Australian-set kids story from my yoof is The Adventures of Riverboat Bill. I believe I had a copy somewhere.
(5) The other day I drew a bandoleer. Why? Because I wore one with corks in the cartridge slots because Humpty and Stumpty kept bouncing on the trampoline where I was asleep to wake me up and in order to prevent their cavorting I had to Ninja-star throw corks ... into their butt-holes. Whereupon they go to hop/spit/al ("nee, nor; nee, nor; nee, nor") and a Doctor that sounds suspiciously like Dr. Hibbert, but is not due to copyright, chips the corks from their butts. theBoy chooses which sound effect to make—the chipping of the cork ("chip, chip, chip,. chip, chip") or the exclamations of pain! ("ow, ow, ow, ow, ow").   

Oh Lordy

I am sick. Still. Coughing up or nose-blowing out gunk, the sore eyeballs, and just general malaise. It bites the wang.

I made the mistake of watching Game of Thrones before turning out the light. Still wracked by fever dreams I became part of it; a chaotic welter of half-thoughts and fragments of plot. I woke every couple of hours and lay there in a stupor trying to shift the mind fuzz of fever dreams in order to get up and go to the toilet only to return to bed and have the Game of Thrones once more suck me back in. I think at one point I may have been the Khal's brother, and thus an attractive muscular ultimate bad boy, which says a lot about the pathetic state of my subconscious.

theBoy came in just after 6 am. I was so wrung out by fever sleep I soon gave up on our mutual dozing, he half-nude and sprawled out on a mountain of tangled bed clothes, and eventually we decided we were up. So we cracked open Horton Hears a Who and started to watch as I railed against being sick and having had shitty sleep.

Now I am in the lounge room, shivering and with a snot-swollen nose as theBoy has a breakfast break from Horton, doing this. I keep doing these massive yawns where tears leak down my cheeks and past my snot bubble producing nose.

... Summer of George ...

UPDATE: theWife sent me back to bed when she got up. It's now early afternoon and I feel a lot better. We had a delightful BBQ outside then Casso and P turned up to festoon us with belated gifts from themselves and other friends (1). Only a couple bouts of gut pain since then, though I've coughed so hard now I have a pain in me Gulliver.

(1) As due to illness we'd missed P's much anticipated and looked forward to Boxing Day extravaganza; an event that features gift giving! ...even though we'd inadvertently Bah Humbugged on Wobs this year given our bunkering down because of the TFCWM and hadn't gift given outside children of immediate family. So next year we will be better! Thanks to all those people who thought to give us stuff and look out for us during all the badness of late.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Got the Boxing Day Blues

(cue atmospheric harmonica music; in, up, under: 30 seconds)

So I am sick ... again. I'd put it down to having a reduced constitution due to the ole hip replacement except theWife has a touch of it as well.

My eyeballs hurt. Seriously, they do. And I am coughing up hideous gunk again.

Wracked with mega-ouchies that seemed to utterly riven my body I crawled back into bed at around three. I dozed off with delirium-filled dreams for a couple of hours in which the topic of the book I was reading just before I closed my eyes infested my dreamscape. Specifically it was a book about terrorism where the author—not exactly a paragon of objectivity with his snide commentary about the left-wing side of the political spectrum—presented the history of the topic by looking at a number of examples of terror groups that have emerged since the anarchist wave, fuelled by the new invention dynamite, of the late nineteenth century blossomed onto the geopolitical landscape.

At one point I think I dreamed that I was a member of the Red Brigade, the Italian group from the 70s and 80s, and that in addition to being a fierce member of this cabal of self-appointed guardians of "the workers", despite the fact the Red Brigade did stuff all for the workers apart that is for blowing them up either inadvertently or as collateral damage, I also happened to be a woman. Typical. I dream I am a woman and instead of taking the sensible approach to remote myself and play with my body I run around with a beret and a sub-machinegun like I am some sort of Signora Thanatos.

Thank you, fever dreams.

There was also a point during the fever sleep that I was convinced I had to punish myself by lying on my wound lest the authorities see me as a threat or some-such.

I woke from this hideous restless sleep then dragged myself up to do things until I am properly tired and won't drift back into another fever sleep.

Thus far, by way of staying awake and active, I am reading Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain and utterly hating the now long-dead old coot for his sheer fucking talent.

Ah the Summer of George continues with its heady mixture of recovery, recurring illness, and awesome bunkering down in our compound-esq house to enjoy the sedentary delights that is not going away for Christmas and avoiding having to live out of a suitcase. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Low key but fun

And so this was Christmas...

With my still recovering from my hip operation it meant we were Canberra bound for Wobs, AKA Xmas. So today it was just us; the indomitable trio.

It all kicked off around 8 am with theBoy ripping into his assorted haul, but not before checking the offering of milk, mince pies and carrots had been accepted (they were!). Then it was a day of hanging, grazing on delish theWife prepared or purchased Wobs fare, and watching stuff. theBoy pulled out an old fave of Monsters inc. and watched it two or three times in a row as he and theWife built their way through the large hoard of Lego-esq blocks that just happen to also work with actual proper Lego. Thank you the Internet. Well ... Santa as it twas he wot brought them.

And even though this is the most food indulgent day of the year we still both had our cycle - for theWife has taken up the gauntlet of a daily duel with The Purgatory Cart, matching me for time served each day. So far she hasn't missed a day since I restarted, my having had a two week break - which was the first break in daily exercise I've had in three years and six months - due to the hip operation. I am about half way back to my pre-op capability with about 14 minutes my current giving up threshold, with 3.8 kays my aim-for distance. At those points my wounded leg begins to ache. This aching now enhanced with arthritic pain blossoming up from my knee and through my thigh and hip thanks to the unseasonably cool and humid weather. I had to have an über hot shower to dial the pain swells back and rug up in black tracksuit pants, top, and zip-up black jacket. I looked like a mirror universe Michelin Man (1).

Anyway so not only is theWife having to wrangle theBoy and myself, and do all the household stuff instead of ninety per cent, she's set herself a goal of daily exercise and has stuck to it.

As ever I am *super proud* of her.

Anyway I hope you too had a good day and if you were with family that it was good and not crap. And that if you are away from family that it went okay also.

I leave you with my favourite Christmas sentiment; Ho ho ho I have a machine gun.

I don't really. Though theBoy did get a kewl water pistol. The universe lays even money that the first time he uses it that within half an hour he will have shot me in the crotch...

(1) In storyverse theBoy's mirror universe double is now making appearances. He's called Bad theBoy, Evil theBoy or Naughty theBoy. Naturally he also has a pencil moustache. Which reminds me ... how do mirror universe lady doubles get distinguished from their prime? Just different hair? Or total difference like good Willow vs vampire Willow? Your thoughts?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Virtual hide and seek

With my healng hip I can't rumble and ramble with theBoy as much. Indeed, at all. Pre-op we would play hide and seek. A game at which theBoy eventually learned to master and he actualy hides in hard-to-spot locales.

So post-op we decided to go virtual. The contestants being theBoy, various storyverse characters - like Humpty and Stumpty - and characters from movies that theBoy has great love for - such as Lightning McQueen and his bestie Mater. The latter allowed to use a little bit of Santa's shrinking spray in order they can effectively compete given their larger-sized vehicular natures.

Basically it works like this. Someone is "IT" and the IT starts counting. As the IT counts the others hide and I have to rattle off where they're hiding. Then "ready or not, here I come!" Then the IT starts looking and eventually they discover one of the hiding characters. Usually theBoy gets found last but like communist pass the parcel I do mix it up in order that the role of IT isn't always alternating with theBoy (since the new IT is the last one found).

So today we were outside. And thus virtual hide and seek was on outside and outside locations were the only locations that could be hidden in. This outside rule was expressly noted. Humpty was IT and counting and the others were racing to hide - Stumpty for example headed for theBoy's hiding tree which, when real hide and seek is played, is theBoy's go to hiding spot.

'So, Noodles,' I said. 'Where are you going to hide?'

He thought about it then came to a decision.

'I go inside and hide in the cupboard.'

Yes, that's right, theBoy cheated at virtual hide and seek.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

This morning, at around 8 am

From outside the door to my bedroom; 'Daddy, can I please hang with you?'

Aw ... what a total heart swell. I got up, my Beloved in tow, and we (1) watched Kung Fu Panda while we waited for theWife to rise. 

They're just got back from their Costco adventure. I just came back in from giving The Purgatory Cart (2) a damn good seeing to.  Off to the shower!

(1) Well he watched. I was using the Beloved to idly surf.
(2) From Casso etc.

Well it had to happen ... the diary

theWife is an empiricist. She's also wicked smart and dislikes conundrums besetting her. So she's decided to take on my IBS and work out the root causes etc. 

So now I have a intake (slash) output diary. It records everything I eat and drink along with bowel motions and medicines taken. The idea is to build up a body of data and then theWife will put her mind to it and work out what seems to impact me the least or, in turn, help me to poop the best (1).

You know that bit in the vows of 'and in sickness and in health'? Well I've really been riding the clutch on the sickness part. It can't be easy or fun living with someone who is best by various ailments. 

Prim and proper people, like George Pell (who is celibate and wears ceremonial dresses), moan and whine about the failure of 50 per cent of marriages in today's rich and heady climes. But when you think about it then it's surprising it's not more. We live far longer than we're supposed to, and in doing so endure more physical limitations as a result of surviving conditions that would ordinarily kill us. So married for life means married for say twice as long as when marriage was initially codified, and often when one or both are beset with ailments (physical or mental; hello depression). Women, mostly those in the west, are now largely emancipated from having to be married. A woman can live a fulfilling meaningful life without the pressures of a man looming around their house in a grumpy fashion, shedding hair and creating other mess, and basically fucking-up the household with assorted man-crap. Hence women don't have to stay in shitty relationships. 

Social network technology too is there to assist in not only giving people avenues for entertainment but enabling covert or semi-covert communication with other people you're romantically interested in. In a Good Weekend article (2) a detective said that thanks to Facebook the number of cases he'd taken on for infedility where the husband was tracking theWife had risen three-fold (3).

Finding someone you're willing to live with day-to-day where they not only find you interesting but they enjoy your company is a pretty lucky break. Especially when in living with them they have to care for you when you're sick and endure you when you're being a shit.

And I have someone willing to create and maintain an intake (slash) output diary of my internal comings-and-goings. That's pretty spesh.

(1) As my Kiwi specialist would say the ideal production is 'a lovely log'; basically a 3.5
(2) Alas I can only recall having read it; I don't have actual Issue (slash) Title references.
(3) He also said that women practiced decent Op Sec (or Operational Security). Where an adulterous male would simply drive from the home directly to the place of boingo then return home again, women were far more subtle. They tended to go out to a public area, like a shopping mall, puruse for a bit, then duck out a side entrance to meet their lover and to go to their nest of temp love from there. Then they would be returned to the public area, peruse some more, then drift back to their car and home. Ladies, I doff my hat.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From my beloved

So I am in bed and blogging with the beloved. l just popped in to talk about raised stains. Raised stains? Yes, raised stains.

I tend to get clothes in bulk. As in if I have to get clothes then I will get or receive a bunch of the same style of pants or shirts in the one hit. Clothes for me are like haircuts; I try and maximise the time between visits.

I have a bunch of tops that can be worn either to bed or to work. They have minimal buttons—merely three small decorative ones around the collar—and the cloth used is a soft material. They also have raised print on them that looks a little like partly-worn-away street graffiti. Classy. The only trouble is that to my finger tips, as they scrape across my clothed flesh, the partially-present raised print feels like a raised stain - like you'd get if you honked up a goob and it did a Something about Mary and ended up somewhere on your clothing only to dry and harden in place. Then hours later you discover it and—the horror ... the horror—you then pick or scrape the crud off with hesitant nails. Thus my instinct to pick off such kicks in whenever I wear such a shirt because inevitably I will be scratching away, find the print, shudder, then start picking at it.

Speaking of stains. We went to the movies today—we saw Puss in Boots with theBoy. He liked it—though at one point he seemed more interested in sitting all sprawled in his seat with his shirt ridden up and puling his belly button out as far as it would go.

When at the movies—and in spite of my IBS that flares when I ingest rich dairy foods—I usually get a choc top. A boring vanilla choc top. Only I do a somewhat boring OCD thing and not begin eating it until the opening credits roll. I also give the bottom of the cone to theWife Since I am waiting a while the ice-cream tends to be a bit soft and the choc top fragile on the initial crunch. Shards break free of the top and given their softness I might not realise they have struck me. When later I emerge into life I may have poo-colured stains somewhere on my chest, stomach or upper legs—all of which are in the shard fall zone.

Today I had such a stain all right. And I didn't see it until looking in the bathroom mirror ... fortunately one that was still at the cinema.

The fallen shard had missed my shirt ... only to fall on my chest and matt in my chest hair, thanks to the upper buttons that had come undone at some point.

It honestly looked like someone had attempted a Cleveland steamer on my chest but that I had fortunately woken in time to stop them.

Yay it is to be me. 

Kim Jong-il

... now dead.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Staples ... OUT!

Charming, eh?

That's my left side (inc. arse) presented for the benefit of the poor nurse who then had to remove all my surgical staples.

The removal went well. Better than the last time I had staples removed which was when I had my Gall Bladder out. On that occasion the staples had become infected and I nearly bit through the brim of my hat when they were snipped free.

Prior to today's removal we decided to see how going to the movies would go. It went okay. I even had to legit use the disabled lav before I went in. The facility for that was decent although the various stations of toilet, sink, and blower were in different corners of the room and thus you had to manuever to reach each in turn. Presumably that's a design requirement for manoeuvring with a chair or somesuch.

We saw Mission Impossible 4. It was pretty cool. Simon Pegg's turn as a semi-hapless nerdy agent was the best part of it. But then I am biased in that I have a mad man-crush on Simon Pegg and everything he's ever done and in fact will do. Damn my stupid man-crushes.

As I waited for theWife outside the medical centre where my staples were removed I happened to enjoy that wait right next to the ambulance bay. The one marked 'No Standing' and 'Ambulances only'. In my time there I saw one man park for five minutes to grab his waiting wife, though she was on crutches and on a nearby bench so it could be excused. Then there was the medical courier who parked there for about ten minutes, returning to his car whilst swinging his medical esky back-and-forth to the accompaniment of a tuneless whistle. Then there was the mum with her three school-aged kids in the car. She pulled in ... and stayed. No indicating she was picking anyone up. The kids looked like they were eating happy meals.

If I hadn't had been on crutches and just myself relocated into my own vehicle, theWife picking me up curb side, I would have gone over and pointed at the sign with my long, long crutch, then shaken my head in that sad kind of way like when you're watching a doco on a drought and see a mass bird death.

The next step (ho, ho) is seeing a physio, who will actually come to me instead of me to them, to work out my needs (I'm down to one crutch for moving around the house and in truth can even no use it for small trips). I think probably I will get a cane. Hopefully a kewl cane with a fucking sword in it. Or even a normal sword that is celibate in its behaviour. At any rate, copulating or not, the fact is the sword will be sheathed and therefore protected against unwanted conception.

But as for the doc wot done my hip revision then I don't need to see him until well into January. Hooray! Although I am kind of looking forward to see him. If only to laugh about BFF, the not-very-charming Intensive Care registrar whose medical assessment on my sweaty large form was  'passed out due to excessive fatness' as opposed to the more medically accurate 'likely had an embolism which knocked him unconsciousness'. That and he's got a good sense of humour; he likes Seinfeld, The Simpsons ... and he laughed at my foreskin joke.

Anyway, here's to getting the staples out! (smashes crockery once more in a riotous Mediterranean-culture celebratory fashion). 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

On da mend

So the gastro is nearly passed. Or is it past? At any rate it's nearly out and thank divine figures this is the case. I've basically been cruising around with severely ill guts since I got out of the medical chokey, and spending much of my time gobbling meds and writhing. 

As for my leg, well it's improving in figurative leaps and bounds. It still hurts when used or banged into. And I am forced into a kind of lurching shuffle to get anywhere ... if I elect to move without a cane or crutch.

Yes. that's right, just over two weeks out from having had the TFCWM I can actually walk short distances without assistance. Tomorrow I attempt The Purgatory Cart (1) once more, though I will limit myself to a short session so I don't over do it and get disheartened. 

I am massively stoked by the speediness of that part of the recovery. I was dreading hobbling around for weeks at a time. I have to admit I was worried about theBoy's tendency to lurk then launch a surprise attack on my person, usually his melon lowered and aimed for my groin or thighs. It got to the point that I was checking possible hiding locations, like Clouseau on the watch for his man-servant Cato. I was also worried about theBoy's scat in the form of toys and other crutch-catchers that could readily bring me down will one ill-advised crutch-placement. Fortunately my bad leg can take my weight now, though just, so I am not at immediate risk of TIMBER! should I be charged into or slip.

Sitting to type is a chore. I've basically limited typing to responding to key emails or this. Otherwise it's too meh. Hopefully once I am off the super meds, aka Hillbilly Heroin, I will no longer feel quite as meh and be hungry to write once more.
I saw too that Hitchens finally died. He'd been a sick man for a long while, and his type of cancer (oesophageal) was nasty. It's probably a fair cop to say that his 'sucking the marrow from life' had a part to play given his renowned ability to eat, drink, and be merry.
I've not read any of his books, though I did see him on Lateline a few times, reliably speech slurred in that  hard hack from the 70s Fleet Street kind of way, and I've read a few of his columns. The one that resonated with me the most was when Hitchens, a ardentant supporter of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 (2), volunteering to be water boarded to determine whether it was torture or "enhanced interrogation". Hitchens to his credit declared it torture

In addition for his fame as a hard drinking, hard smoking, hard writing, former leftist he also declared early on for atheism. Indeed he penned a best seller on it; God Is Not Great. Apparently, though I can't find the link for the moment, on a self-google he discovered someone had a book on whether he'd death-bed convert. Apparently, as far as I am aware, he didn't. 

He endured nearly two years of fairly intensive medical treatment, leaving his skin radiation burned raw at one point, and it can't have been an easy fight. I can only imagine the number of times he'd have wanted to have just given up. 

But he's at peace now, for the simple dint of not being alive, and at least he left a pretty decent legacy. Not only did people want to read his words ... they wanted to party hearty with him too.

That's not a bad life to have lived.

UPDATE: It should be noted I didn't agree with much of what Hitchens wrote. But he sure wrote it all purty-like. 

(1) Thrust from the lake into my gauntleted hand by the liquidly moist Casso who dwells within a pristine grotto high in the hills above my castle etc. 
(2) Actually, so was I. Based on the apparent possession on WMD. Once that justification vanished, the fact he was gone was still a blessing, but not justification for the war. Sort of a blessing. I imagine being one of the relatives of the 100k+ likely additional victims of the war, would think otherwise. Besides the Arab Spring I think points to the fact that even with massive state suppression the people will rise up when circumstances permit and eventually I think his family would have eventually faced the same fate as Gaddafi.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

More than meets the eye

Last night was bad. Much writhing with acute abdominal pain; pain-wracked dozing sprawled across the foot of the bed; a 2 am visit to produce what I’d best describe pleasantly as green phosphorus. It was a wild scene.

As such I’d missed the normal storyverse session that occurs post-pyjamas but before bed (1). This morning, with my rising by the ungodly-for-a-Saturday hour of 8.30 am (2), theBoy was a tad pent up. He demanded storyverse.

He decided that Lamby, Lamby, Forty, Forty (3), Synybatbat, and Humpty and Stumpty, had all come around our place to do craft. On a whim I decided it was IRONCRAFT!—a cheesy knock-off of the Iron Chef franchise.

The mysterious compare of IRONCRAFT!, dressed in voluminous robes (4), then announced the secret ingredient … paper!

And they were off. theBoy won, he almost always does due in part to his yelling ‘and I winned!’ the moment a comp kicks off in storyverse, having folded his piece of paper into a car shape then used a "magic jar" (5) to physically transform it into an actual car then that car in turn becoming a Transformer.

Naturally Synybatbat accused theBoy of cheating for theBoy having used magic (‘he’s a MONSTER!’)  but we soon worked out magic hadn’t been banned in the rules and therefore, though tarnished, the result stood.

Hooray! Of course the others used magic too and I was quick to have someone else win the second round of IRONCRAFT!, and did so by screaming  ‘and they winned!’ before theBoy could open his mouth; with a Lamby and Lamby creation victorious.

I was however curious as to the identity of the Transformer theBoy had created when he won the inaugural IRONCRAFT! so I asked him. Eventually the details boiled up thusly;

Name: Fatarf (6)
Colour: Blue
Car / Vehicle type before Robotic transformation: Car-carrier truck plus trailer
Additional amendments:  Sword and shotgun which Fatarf “summons” by coughing them up like fur-balls.
Odd trait: He eats metal

Soon there was just one element undecided—the voice. I asked theBoy.

Me—‘So what voice, Chooky?’

theBoy—‘That one you do now.’

Me—‘This one? The compare for IRONCRAFT!?’


Awesome. Because while my IRONCRAFT! compare did evoke the real deal, gravelly Asian-style voice, it was more based on something far cooler.

Thus it was that not only did theBoy create his own Transformer concept, with very little steering by my goodself, he gave it one of the best voices in the biz.

Mako … as per his turn as the narrator (7) in the original Conan movies.

Storyverse rules!

(1) Our normal routine is dinner (mum) bath (dad) pyjamas / grease (dad) storyverse, aka ‘Humpty and Stumpy’ (1a), regular stories (mum), then bed.
(1a) The central protagonists; two small-sized humanoid people; (cough) Hobbits (cough); who live inside a giant tree down by the river (1b)
(1b) there they sold contraceptives (flip/flip/flip)
(2) I get to sleep in on Saturday’s, theWife gets Sundays. It’s a good system! Mind you she does almost all the other mornings anyway…
(3) Woodland lawyers. Their offices are in the woods that border the big tree down by the river where Humpty and Stumpy live.
(4) Best; Synonym for a lady part; Ever is, of course, a “wizard’s sleeve”.
(5) I usually let theBoy hand-wave use of magic in storyverse but today I nailed him down. 'Okay, Chooky, you say magic. What exactly did you use that was magic? A ring? A wand? Yourself?' It was after a couple of seconds thought he decided it was a magic jar with the magic being triggered upon opening the lid. I imagine golden magic dust then spraying out over the paper car, turning it real, then into the Transformer.
(6) He was excited about the name so demanded I write it up for him to see what it looked like. So I booted up Word, wrote it in 72-size and selected stencil as the font. I even put a (tm) next to it, like all good superhero names have when seen in print. He was chuffed at my efforts. Then in a dizzying leap of faith demanded I make him a flash-animated movie of Fatarf in action. Never a greater skill leap assumption has been made by a child of their parent's demonstrated ability. When he's older, and if it ever matters, I wouldn't be surprised if he views daddy's actual job of a public servant as boring and decides to, Ben from Outnumbered style, augment my career when telling others and make it out that I am a globe-trotting assassin or some-such. It would totally fit the pattern. In every picture I ever drew of my dad I had my dad packing heat, usually a rifle, no matter what he was doing or even if he wasn't actually at the event I was recording for posterity. That is why for example my dad appears in drawings of adventures I had in day care (slash) pre-school where we'd go to the butchers to see sausages made (my dad, in the corner, with a gun) or that time we went on the tug-boat and saw some whales (my dad, in the prow, with his gun ... shooting a whale...) 
(7) Don't forget the closing credits dialogue

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And so this is gastro

Yesterday gastro landed on theWife and I, though thus far it's fortunately missed theBoy. Both ends fired off for me, though oddly just dry heaves from the top hole; great powerful fetid air would blast from the deepest recesses of my stomach tract but barely a slurry was produced.

The magical thinker in me fired up at this stacking on of another piece of literally shitty health. I have to confess I do suspect at times that my ill-luck is greater than it should be due to malign forces as opposed to simply my statistically being on the left side of the luck bell curve.

In story verse, the shared story environment between theBoy and I, then the trickster figure is represented by 'The Leprechaun'. Normally evidence of his presence is in the form of an object, inanimate or not, wearing a hat ... with a belt buckle on it! (1). Then, when discovered, he reverts back to his two-feet-tall green outfit plus hat (with belt buckle), emits a spritely giggle, then attempts to leg it.

So in my delirium I wouldn't be surprised if I do at some point hallucinate something along those lines and then try and feebly blow it away. 

The Summer of George thus far has been theWife and I lying on the bed, either together or separately, moaning piteously and just wishing this would all pass. 

My go to curse when things go fucked is 'Oh for fuck's sake.'

So 'Oh for fuck's sake' indeed. 

The worst thing is that I felt so cruddy that often I didn't even want to use my beloved. Mainly because if I was using it just before I tried to sleep then whatever subject I was reading about entered my delirium. Last night, courtesy of having read a piece on pirate treasures then several wikis about pirates of the era, I had fever dreams about Queen Anne's privateer policy. 

True story. 'Cos that's how I roll. Even in my dreams I am a vast nerd.

UPDATE: It's the next day. theWife and I ... still afflicted. I had the tremendous joy of doing another wind-only power-vom into the kitchen sink where it sounded like I was Pandora's Box and all the world's evil were rising out of me. Except for hope or some such (2).

theBoy is in day care this week. We figured in the first week home while I am recovering that this was best in case his over enthusiasm for charging into me, melon-head tilted towards my thigh like it's the body of your fellow jouster, or scattering his tiny toys across the land and I would go A + T = Ouch.

So today we're going to watch some TV and movies we're banked up. Only theWife just offered a sensible precaution.

'We probably should save anything funny for when we have viable sphincters and shit...'


(1) That's how I say it. With the pause between hat and belt buckle. It allows theBoy to gasp 'Leprechaun', reach for his shot gun, and blow the offending waist-wear meets the head bedecked item from the face of the planet.
(2) So I checked the wiki for Pandora's Box. First up ... it's a jar. According to the wiki it contained all the evils of the world. When Pandora opened the jar, all its contents except for one item were released into the world. The one remaining item was Hope. Today, opening Pandora's box means to create evil that cannot be undone. So ... it contains all the evils of the world; all the contents are released, save one; that one not released is hope. Therefore hope is evil? That's dark, Greek mythos. Very dark. Go paint your room black and listen to The Smiths already.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Poor theBoy

theBoy woke up crying. He'd had a reflux attack. He staggered into the lounge room as we tried to entice him to eat some rennies. He then threw up in four spots on the carpet and wooden floor.

What an awesome coda to the day...

He won't let me cuddle him, either. I've yet to break that barrier of being an acceptable cuddler when he's feeling poorly. 

And we're out...

To say the TFCWM was a harrowing experience is somewhat of an understatement. In the interests of recording this for posterity, and of course material, I shall start at the beginning.

Check in was great—save for when I slagged off some decorative cotton wall draping by saying looked like a hastily hoisted sheepskin … to the person who hung it up. And pre-admission seemed to go okay. Within an hour of arriving I was gowned up and ready for the op.

I like to happy-talk with staff, banter, shooting the shit, that sort of thing. Since I had a tablet PC I was talking tech. One of the staff said that eventually patients would all have RFIDs that would ping info to the staff in a new room as I went through a portal—a data-reading doorway essentially. Being in scared shitless but hiding it under obviously-panicked attempted comedy I said ‘Yes, that would be okay, unless of course something went wrong and it identified me as a 48-year-old Korean woman in need of a hysterectomy. Then I’d wake up mid-op and be all like ah, what you doin’?!‘ Yes, I went dodgy Hollywood vaguely-racist accent … in a place that was noticeably staffed by good people from all corners of the Asian Diaspora.  

The op itself seemed to go okay. I woke up in recovery, spoke with theWife, and was eventually back in my room. The catheter was in and I was acutely conscious of the weight of the thing rubber tubing extending out my pee-hole and to a transparent water-bottle strapped to the bed frame.

The first night was alright; not much pain given the lingering effects of the spinal block and local anaesthetic in my wound. The next day, however, was worse. At 1 am I woke in screaming pain, crying, and buzzed for attendance. Eventually one of the rainbow nation of people— for the staff at the hospital are seemingly Australia at its most vibrantly multicultural with representation from the Philippines, Nepal, India, China, Vietnam, and of course rosy-cheeked Anglos—came to see me. On the pain scale indicator of where I was at I went full Spinal Tap and said I was at 11.

Part of my discomfort was exacerbated by not being able to roll over. My natural sleeping-lie position is foetal, with my aged pillow “Horsey” resting under my head on one arm of the pillow and my arms cradling the other pillow arm. With a hip operation I couldn’t do that. I had to lie on my back, partially raised, the entire time. It was agony.

It was around 8 am that morning that things took a turn for the worse. My oxygen levels weren’t great, and my attending nurse kept asking me to do deep breathing exercises. Then breakfast turned up. Having been pretty constipated thanks to usual Mikey badness from IBS, and thus not feeling the hunger, I ate maybe one or two sliced peaches, having taken of my oxygen mask to do so.

Having slept fitfully for basically the entire time since the operation, due to a combo of discomfort, drugs, and forced on-back position, I was basically dozy when “awake”—I’d slip into an instant dream-wracked sleep then back out again and back in again and so forth. Even as I was eating.

Anyway, I had some peaches … but didn’t put my mask back on. I tried to read something on my tablet then dozed off again.

When I next woke up there were about six people around my bed screaming at me, throwing over various sensory-attaching cables like they were trying to take down Jack Black’s Gulliver, and shouting various questions and making various demands.

Yes, I’d had a genuine passing-out event and become unresponsive. Apparently I was unconscious for fifteen minutes. This meant a Code Blue, or whatever impressive terminology they use to indicate someone is about to kark it, and everyone has to come running. UPDATE: TheWife said it's called a "Met-Call".

Now vaguely awake they hustled me off to get scans, with W--- my attending nurse running alongside the bed and reminding me to take deep, long breaths. Finally we reached the scanning donut. They were yelling at me again, it was very exciting after-all, then jammed me into the donut and told me to listen to instructions. After a moment the recorded voice came on, in that calm semi-American way, telling me to take a breath … hold … hold … hold … then release. Then I was dragged out, more yelling, and I was sped off down the passages.

I was total mole-man being sans glasses, I am Stephen King-esq short-sighted, so everything was a blur of motion; blurry wardsmen running me along the corridor; blurry zig-zag strung Xmas decs on the ceiling tiles and frames; blurry doors either side that may or may not open into actual rooms—it was like being in a first-person shooter, with view angle tilted fully upward, and your graphics card couldn’t quite support the intensity of the animation.

Then into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) I went.

That was where the next three days of sheer hell-on-earth for Mikey and co began. The in-charge-physician immediately chucked a Mugatu from Zoolander and effectively demanded I ‘lose 20 kilos immediately’ because it was obvious the reason I was there was because I was too fat. All this accruing just after waking out of unconsciousness and, in a somewhat rock and roll manner, having been revived back to life.  Noticing I was covered in a fine most-unsexy sheen of fine sweat she then  interrogated me as to its origins; 'Is this normal? Where do you work? Do you work in an air conditioned office?' etc. Personally I would have thought 'nearly died' and 'scared shitless' would be considered reasonable defences for the sweat but well she had other ideas. Also, as befitting the United Nations theme going on in this hospital—I now half-expected people to be wearing the blue helmets, she had a delightfully Greek-tinged accent. Made all the more delightful for her menacing line of inquiry.She sounded like an exotically European espionage mercenary ("We need him no longer; kill him").

And thus it was then that she jammed the Darth Vader-esq full-face mask onto my face. The mask covered my face scalp through to chin and had a giant pipe up into the moulded cup area out from my nose. It blasted 100 litres of oxygen per hour right into every breathing orifice. The noise and ripping wind was incredible, not to mention the acute dry-mouth that afflicted me within seconds of it being crammed on. It also blasted rubber taste through my taste-buds that are lingering now days later.

So there I lay in panicked agony, my anus and ears the only entry point into me not covered or inserted into, on the bed, no-glasses, with this face-mask of fury blowing screaming wind down my throat and airways. It was incredibly frustrating and scary.

I had a bunch of gunk in my lungs, another Mikey condition being that I honk up goobers when I awake each morning then golly them onto the wall of our shower and wash them to the sewers with a twist of the shower head. But in lying on my back it had all collected and was hard to bring up. But bring it up I had to in order to get out of there. I’d have to signal for assistance to get the mask off, retch painfully up this dreaded gunk, then they’d cram the mask back on. I also had the great joy of coughing up fresh red blood which, Mikey the TV watcher knew was a sign of impending death (1). Actually it was likely because my throat was scratched by tubing during the insertion and removal during the operation and blood thinners I was on meant the wounds weren’t closing. But along with the blood came the gunk so I had to keep coughing.

When eventually I was back to a mouth and nose only face mask, that delivered a paltry 30–50 litres per hour, I still couldn’t really read or do anything except lie there and be scared and upset. Even then I only got limited breaks with the smaller mask. My levels would drop and on back the full-face mask went. 

On top of this misery I had to start the physio process. This too was agonising. It involved exercises and getting out of bed and walking around on a wheeled zimmer frame-like device that had thumb studs on the handles like in a kewl futuristic alien-oppressing vehicle; even in my delirious panic I was still able to not only share this observation with everyone in ear shot, but I made pain-etched “pew, pew” noises whilst depressing the thumb studs on my geriatric blinged-up death cart.

The lowest moment came when I was seated out on a chair, the full-face mask on, and I started raging at the full unfettered crapness of it all. It was screaming ‘fucking, fucking, fuck’ and madly thumping the arm rest like Hitler on T-minus two days to go in Downfall. At that point an English nurse came over and told me off. With tears leaking out of me I explained I understood the logic of it all, and the need to have a giant death mask welded to my face in a painful scary manner, but unfortunately I was someone emotionally distraught and logic, for the moment, could just fuck right off. She was of the stern school but at least she meant well. Unlike the evil admitting Doctor who effectively chanted ‘fatty fatty fat fat’ and poked me in the suspiciously-sweat-slicked gut to accentuate my obvious shame in afflicting her glorious ICU with my fatted form.

So … what was it that caused me to pass out? Well it was likely something called a pulmonary embolism. In my case it was likely caused by marrow which got out of my bones during the cutting process and into my bloodstream. This cast-off crap then carried along on its merry way until it got into my lungs, interfered with the exchange of oxygen, and rendered me unconscious. The fact I had that other crud in there from just being me exacerbated it. The attending respiratory specialist also claimed that I was an obvious candidate for being afflicted with sleep apnoea given my wondrous squat near-troll build and thickened neck. UPDATE: I read the wiki for pulmonary embolism. Ouch, it's fatal 10–20 per cent of the time.

Eventually though, my oxygen levels improved to the point where I could go back to the regular ward. Fortunately my attending nurse, C---, was awesome and she made my last scary day in ICU not that scary. She told me kewl nursing stories then casually mentioned she not only had her nursing quals she had a masters and a doctorate as well. She was a marked contrast to the unpleasant judgemental bitchiness of BFF, theWife’s coined term for the inducting doctor at ICU as code for Bitchy-face, the extra f to make it sound innocuous. C--- was also the person responsible for removing the catheter. Yes, it hurt, and uncomfortable blossom of pee erupted from tubing and pee-hole both. But it was very quick and the joy of being free of the ponderous weight of rubber tubing from my pee-hole was a blessed relief indeed. When the catheter was in then each time the catheter tubing was moved it then swung my penis side-to-side in sympathetic pendulum action and made for some yucky down-there business. Also the sweat that clung to my testes was practically pond-like and if I tried to scratch my finger started slip-sliding down between leg and ball and started the dick swinging once more.

With the catheter out, and one of the awesome muscular wards-men scooting me to purgatory of the wards, we passed an old man curled in bed. His eyes were staring upward and his jaw slacked open. Above him was a monitor that had a dark screen save for the glowing word ‘Standby’. He looked like he’d just been carbonised ala Empire Strikes Back

The ward staff were excited to see me—I had been an awesome momentary distraction from their regular broadcast day when previously with them—and they gleefully told me off for giving W--- a big scare (since he was my man in Amsterdam, my attending nurse, when I went tits up).

I was terrified about being dragged back to the hell that was ICU and the dreadful full-face mask waiting me like some prop in a Alexandre Dumas' novel-derived movie. Mainly because being lying on my back and unable to sleep normally my oxygen levels were still hovering around 85–90 per cent and threatened re-incarceration if it didn’t improve. It was only until my leg healed enough I could crawl around with the geriatric death cart (“pew, pew!”), then being able to self-transfer to sit upright in a chair, along with the power of increased urination (it affects gaseous exchange, apparently), that the levels started to stabilise at 90 plus.

So all up the my “funny turn” cost me another three days in hospital and were easily the scariest most upsetting three days of my life. I can remember screaming at one point when in ICU, chanting it almost like a throat singer, ‘never-ever again, never-ever again’ and even now the pain and shock and utter misery of it all has me convinced that ole’ righty is going to have to hold me up until my age span dash has a number completing my knock-off point.

The last several days showed a lot of improvement. I can move around quite well. Only a few times did I end up in bed and unable to bring the bad leg up and I’d have to thumb the call button to get assistance and they’d find me sprawled across the bed in a clearly not normal position, like a half beached merman whose aquatic genesis was more whale than dolphin.

I also got to hang out in the shared lounge down the end with theWife and theBoy while we watched kids’ movies and they played Lego. Once I went for an experimental crutch-walk outside … but that quickly ended when I tried to bear weight on the bad leg and it started to give way and I actually windmilled my arms and screamed for theWife to catch me before I fell backwards. Fortunately she did. I was in no position to turn my body to take the impact and I could have easily dashed out my brains on the bricks or ruined my just-revised-hip and sent right back to the ICU. Fuck me, that was scary. 

Finally my recovery reached the point where I could shower and dress myself. Only that didn’t got so well as I tried dressing from a seating position in the spare shower chair in the bathroom and couldn’t get my bad leg’s foot into my pants. I had to tuck my shirt hem over my junk, stab the call button with my crutch-end, and wait for help. The help was a long time coming so finally, not trusting the alarm was connected, I opened the sliding door with my crutch and in full view of anyone in the corridor outside started yelling demands for help and was waving my crutch around to get attention—sounding and looking like the mad old neighbour that’s always yelling at those darn kids from his porch.

With various milestones met, and an astounding array of specialists that had to sign me off for release, we were still expecting another day inside the medical chokey—mainly because that’s what we were told would happen. The physio is the last to sign off—you demonstrate you can go up and down a step on crutches—and the idea was that unless that happened the day before you were stuck another night. That turned out to be bollocks and we were allowed to escape a day earlier than we thought. We kept expecting something would come along to cock-block us but unlike most of my life good fortune was with me and we got out and into the storm-laced weak sunshine for a giddy ride home to freedom.

My hideous spell in ICU was good for one thing, however. It reminded me that I am blessed with a body that would be declared grade 5 and unfit for consumption by beast or man and I shouldn’t even fucking be here. Without modern medicine and antibiotics I would have died numerous times as a child, and again as an adult (2). So the mere fact I am sitting on my sore arse and typing is a miracle in itself against ill-fate. I am going to cop myself some slack as far as body image goes. I no longer have to feel wanting because I cannot run, skip, dance, or do all that other crap that tampon boxes say you can, because I was never in fact meant to.

And even though I needed a hip operation when I still get called, though on steadily-reducing rare occasions, “young man”, at least I got it when I was young. I am bouncing back far faster that the oldsters that ringed the semi-dark ICU with me. And their panic and pain was just as real and intense as mine, if not more. I can only imagine how much worse it would be to be age-enfeebled and dealing with something as brutal as a total left hip revision (3).

On our last day a new incoming patient—an elderly woman—was parked in the lounge with us, waiting admission to a room, when we’d just fired up our portable DVD player we take on trips—the lounge lacking its own player—of Cowboys Vs Aliens. She was a talker so in the end we stopped the movie, chucked on the discovery channel, then simply talked. V--- was 86—she looked 72—and was the living embodiment of a feisty oldster. She told us stories of her independent life and her proud living alone and determination to pop her clogs if she could no longer walk. She was in for her third hip revision—having had the hips “revised” some twenty years ago and those metal-on-metal efforts having worn out. She also had a pace maker.

It turned out we had the same surgeon and I joked he was easy on the eye—he is, he’s tall, handsome, and a doctor (4). V---‘s response was ‘I told my niece that he could put his boots under my bed anytime … but not actually get in my bed, of course.’ We laughed long and loud at her natural sense of warmth and steely determination to suck the full marrow out of life. Then again at her stories of walking within three days and just using a cane to do it from her previous revisions, and the fact her doctor had told her that her hips had worn out due to her excessive wartime jitterbugging.

V--- was dragged off to do admission paperwork. As she left she swore blind she’d escape rehab by Christmas no matter her circumstances. I fully believe she will.

In fact so much so that on the way out of the hospital our last act was to hand over a hastily scrawled note to the staff to pass onto V--- thanking her for taking time to talk to us, and royally entertain us with her cagey stories of fuck-you-world triumph. I concluded with a Mikey cartoon—I tend to draw crude comics on people’s cards and so forth when a card goes around—of V--- on Christmas Eve, half-escaped out the window of her wardroom in her desperate attempt to make it over the wire and before the dogs came.

So … the TFCWM … was it worth it?

I guess time will tell. At the height of the misery, crying in the machine-lit dark of a 2 am ICU as I screamed blue murder against the shitty luck of having a shitty body, then I would swear on a stack of theological material of your choosing that it was not.

If, however, in the end the TFCWM does actually result in the promised changes for the better and I can romp with my gorgeous giggling son as he charges around with V--- like energy then I can probably say it was.
But thank fuck the worst part is over. Now on comes the Christmas-themed therapy.

And for you Seinfeld fans, given my George Costanza body-shape and temperament, I couldn’t but help think that this whole recovery is in fact my ‘Summer of George’.

So here's to the end of the TFCWM and the rise of my Summer of George!

Oh, and by the way, thanks so much to everyone who helped myself and theWife. Not just in real life, but also e-life. It was deeply comforting to have people text or email or blog comment to track how I was going. Especially when so many people stepped up to help theWife deal with things when I went into ICU. Her pain and anguish was unfortunately exacerbated by the fact she turned up to see me right as the Code Blue team was in operation, crowding around my unconscious form and trying to bring me back to life. I have done panicked time in casualty awaiting potentially life threatening outcomes from treatment, but I have never, ever had to experience a moment like that. I would rather be the one going through the medical event than the SigOther dreading the outcome. She has been an absolute fucking champion.

All hail theWife!

UPDATE: theWife just reminded me of the utter lack of dignity and my caring for the lack there of. I was sitting splay-legged in the ICU chair, wearing nothing but a gown, the thick rubber tube of my catheter snaking out. Apparently the bottom end of my testicles and my nob-end were on full display—like Willy doing his Sharon Stone impression in The Simpsons. In the end theWife simply hung a flannel to drape over the offending picture like a textile-based censor's strip on a TV broadcast.

UPDATE2: theWife just finished my laptop table workstation for the loungeroom. I can put Mr Lappy on the main part and have my beloved on the secondary table. I can basically be my own call centre. Since no one is helping Indians with their computer woes I think I shall have the covering pseudonym of "Sanjeev". Further to that when I service calls, to make my Indian customers feel they are getting home-based tech assist, in my rich Australian accent I will make inane fake comments about things of an Indian nature; 'Cor blimey it's fuckin' hot in Mumbai, eh?' (5).

UPDATE3:  Ah, another fond remembrance—the neurologist. Because my condition was yet undetermined to be the likely PE they had to cover all the body's bases. He was Indian I think. He basically tapped my body with a toy car wheel strapped to a balloon stick like a really shit wand to test my reactions then pulled out a thumbtack and proceeded to stab me repeatedly with it. What joy!

(1) I don’t know what your experience of TV as a kid was but mine was mostly regional NSW. Which meant ABC … and a weird melange of channel seven and channel nine shows on a decidedly local commercial station—every second ad was for farm supplies. So we got a lot of repeats. Only the repeats they showed were the same  repeats. They would seemingly play just 1–3 episode runs from various purchased-in-bulk, ‘50s through ‘70s series tat. So if you saw a show come on … chances were you’d seen that ep before. For The Brady Bunch it always seemed to be the episode where the boys played the girls at a house of cards contest in order to choose what “prize” they got when they traded in trading stamps. For The Waltons it always seemed to be the episode where a Walton was taking a TB afflicted neighbour to see the ocean before he gave one last blood-spurting cough of joy at the beauty of God’s creation before karking it there and then.
(2) I was born with double hernias and screamed my fool lungs off as a baby for months until diagnosed. In more ancient times I likely would have been left on a hill side for the Gods (2a) to take.
(2a) Their avatars in this case being in the form of various meat-enjoying animalia.
(3) That’s the official name of what I had. It’s a revision, not an actual hip replacement. Seems semantics to me.
(4) Thus the sort of man that sends Jewish mothers' pulses racing if their daughter is dating such; if that is years of TV watching has informed me accurately as to stereotypical behaviour as inflicted by Jewish mothers.

(5) The Jim's franchise includes computer assistance now, though I believe the presumed terry towelling hat of the Jim's icon doesn't translate that well for their e-arm. I wouldn't trust a man in a fucking terry towelling hat dicking with the innards of my PC. Still I suppose for my Indian version I could wear a turban or something (5a).
(5a) Although the turban is more identified as Sikh-wear, of course, than for Indians more broadly since not cutting one's hair is a religious duty and the turban is the most effective garment to secure it in place. I love the fact in western military forces, where religious dress and iconography is catered for, that such servicemen and women have official turbans to do exactly that.    

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

And so it begins...

Well it's today; the TFCWM (1). Nervous? Sure. Scared? A little. Hungry? Yes, yes I am. I divorced breakfast from my daily must-have meal intake years ago—I generally don't eat before 12 pm—and as such don't really get hungry until midday. Except now, when I woke up I found I was an hour into the fast period and thus now nil-by-mouth, I am ravenous. Is it the fact I can't have it that's accentuating my hunger? Probably. I wish I had a Diet Coke.

theBoy came into bed with us last night about 3.30 am. As luck would have it I had just myself gone to bed, having stayed up working in order to try and clear an entire project off my deck before I went under the knife. So he slept between us. Well, initially. It turns out I slept through all his wriggling but theWife was kept awake and eventually she went to the couch in the end room and left me with theBoy.

At about 8.30 am I was woken with a grinning demand from theBoy for story-verse. I thought theWife had slept with us and was now in the shower. I had no idea she was slumbering, exhausted, well away from the offending area.

So we did story-verse. After-all I am about to go though a major, albeit medically routine, operation. Plus things happen—I have about a 1 in 5000 chance of not making it as best I can tell;  and those odds are predicated on typical hip patients—and I am a good thirty years younger than the average medically impaired bear (2). And if they did happen I wanted him to have the last thing we did be awesome.

We story-versed away! At one point Barry "F-in" Gibb, as characterised by Jimmy Fallon, turned up and he was shrunk, thrown in the toilet and flushed away to the pocket dimension where the ponderous Moe the Turtle lives next to the playground. Moe promptly ate Barry Gibb and theBoy informed me that Barry had been absorbed into Moe the turtle and Moe was now stronger for it.

In a blatant rip-off of Kenny Everett's Do-it-yourself Bee Gees kit bit Moe the turtle gained wide lapels, thinning hair, chest hair, beard, big teeth and a fuck-off huge medallion.

The stories went on and on and eventually I realised theWife was in fact in her escaped slumber. So theBoy and I advanced the morning. He got raisin toast and milk and was parked in front of The Adventures of Bottletop Bill (and his best friend Corky). I stood around being hungry, rooted-tired (just five hours sleep), and wishing it would all go away.
Eventually theBoy was ready for day care and off he went. The last three times he's been dreadfully sad. We were worried it was bullying or not getting on. Then we realised it's probably the fact I am going away for five days and I will be in hop/spit/al. Poor little Chooky! But theWife was prepared today and made sure he had a lamby sleeping toy in his bag, and he had lots of cuddles. Mission accomplished. 
What now? Well I check in at 12 so we leave by 11.30 I guess. So I have a couple of hours of work left for the year and will get cracking on that. And I have to send the next move from my 10-year odyssey, my play by email D&D3.5 (Mikey Quest) campaign I've been doing with my high school bestie M--- (3).

So I guess this is it and I better clock in. Thanks so much to everyone that's pitched into help, or lend support. It's been a real comfort. 


UPDATE: Haven't left. But I just thought 'I'm thirsty—time for a diet coke!'. Then I remembered...

(1) Yes, I know. Technically I am saying The The Fucking Catalina Wine Mixer but the initialism is being used in the manner of a word so it gets the "the" 'cos otherwise it would read weirdly.
(2) That's actually a Yogi bear reference; smarter than the average bear! Except I have discussed my liking of being a hetro-bear of late, tickled as I am by the idea of people (even ones who want to put themselves inside me) appreciating how I look (2a)
(2a) Despite the fact that for the hetro component the bear is considered almost universally to 'not be tapping that'. Remember, I actually have experienced a pretty girl coming up to me after just changing schools and telling me to fuck off because I was bringing the tone of the place down. So I will forgive you if your mental image was walking into a ward of several beds where all the occupants were balding heavy-set bearded gents with big beaming smiles who yelled out in harmony 'Hello!'.
(3) How funny to think that our ad hoc on-the-spur session of D&D 3.0 of a first level elven fighter, first level human monk, and first level half-elven cleric heading into the wastes, would spawn a decade of the most enjoyable gaming experience I've had to date, with his characters joined by a host of allies (and three more regular player characters that he controlled [3a]), many of whom died by their side in battle. Indeed, I've lost count of the ancillary allies they've gained then lost over the years. It must be well into the thirties. 
(3a) Current order of battle is the original three (now around 16th equivalent in ability), a sand goblin named Ziggy (a 14th level equivalent rogue who specialises in crossbow sniping), and two re-tooled imports from his high school character stable (first edition AD&D, no less); his ranger and magic user (3b). The initial game had a loose plot aim of recovering a holy relic for the cleric's church that had been buried with a nomad chieftain in a great hill cairn in the wastes. Now ten years on they're independent of the church, having carved out a fief of sorts by capturing a island citadel from slavers deep within a Polynesian-style island chain.
(3b) The magic user was renamed Mage in second edition and Wizard in third edition. In fourth edition it's Wizard WOW!; now just the same as all the other classes in power and capability!