I'm not convinced this is actually an award and not just a memey, pyramid schemey, chain-lettery thingy designed to allow bloggers to be totally narcissistic in their blog material with the escuse, "Hey, someone asked, so I'm just answerin'..."
[Editor's note: FWiG knows that he misspelled 'excuse' but he has this OCD thing where he will not fix spelling mistakes that make him sound like Rickey Ricardo]
But anyways... Thanks Chris K for thinking of me! Now let's see if we can get through this in one piece:
Oh yeah, almost forgot... the RULES
1. Thank and link back to the awarding blog (see above).
3. Provide ten random factoids about yourself.
2. Answer the following seven questions.
4. Last but not at all least, hand this on to seven deserving others.
B-TpeTbeM pa3Aene [section 3]: TEN RANDOM FACTOIDS
1. I have this OCD thing where I will not fix spelling mistakes if they make me sound like Rickey Ricardo.
2. I can not sleep properly and I have very weak eye muscles which makes me immediately tired every time I try to read, write or edit. This is Satan's way of making sure that I do not succeed in raising an army of angels and storming the gates of Hell.
3. I just fell asleep there but only for a moment. You think I'm kidding but I'm not.
4. I am only sexist in two ways: One, I instinctively trust male over female authors when it comes to fantasy/heroic adventure, and two, I do not feel that men should get pedicures.
5. I wore pink shirts during the eighties which I thought was normal but which on one occasion got me accused of being a militant homosexual by a man who turned out to be a closeted militant homosexual.
6. I don't always tie my shoelaces. It depends on the shoes and what I plan to do while wearing them.
7. I should probably go put the garbage out.
8. I have two really excellent housemates. I'm very fortunate that way, and I really should go put the garbage out before I forget.
9. I fell asleep again just now.
10. I am a card-carrying member of the Blue Hand Group Mega-Geek Lords-a-Leaping Settlers of Catan Club. We play in the back room of the Aldershot Frame Studio every Tuesday and we have to take a break every time a customer comes in which isn't very often.
BTOPOM pa3Aene [section 2]: ThE quEstIOnS:
1. What's your favorite song?
ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: Name one song you listened to over and over as a teenager.
FWiG's ALTERNATE ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: What is your favorite colour, so long as your answer is 'Red, No! Blue! AAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!' And then you must fall off a bridge.
Answer: Songs which have at times been my favorite include:
ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: What are you having for lunch today?
FWiG's ALTERNATE ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: What's your favorite desert?
Answer: My fave dessert is cherry cheesecake. Today's lunch will be a bacon cheeseburger and my fave desert is the Gobi. I like all the sandy bits.
3. What do you do when you're upset?
ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: Describe the last time you were bored.
FWiG's ALTERNATE ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: Has the ghost of Hitler ever wafted out from under your bed and politely asked if he could suck your finger? If not, would this upset you; or bore you?
Answer: When I'm upset I do different things according to the particular situation. For instance, if I'm upset because someone stuck a letter opener up my nose, What I would do is pull the letter opener out of my nose. Next I would use it to open the perpetrator's mail.
4. Which is your favorite pet?
ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: Which is your least favourite pet? He or she doesn't have to belong to you.
FWiG's ALTERNATE ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: Who is your favorite penguin?
Answer: My least favorite pet is Muddy the Mudcat, mascot of Ontario's oddest little town: Dunnville. The first time I saw this monstrosity was live, in person and I thought I was at ground zero of the Holy Mother Of God Apocalypse. That's my friend Neeners in the photo, looking like she's about to become Apocalypso's first snack. My fave penguin, by the way, is Pingu and my least fave is Jack Nicholson.
5. Which do you prefer? Black or White
ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: Which do you prefer? White or whole wheat?
FWiG's ALTERNATE ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: Which do you prefer? ambiguity, lack of context, or subtle shades of racism?
My answer to all of the above questions is: None of the above.
6. What is your biggest fear?
ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: Name one of your strong points or special skills.
FWiG's ALTERNATE ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: What is your favorite colour? You may answer however you wish this time. No pressure.
Answer: My special skill is making Pepsi come out my nose but first I have to really be laughing hard. My biggest fear is that these questions will not come to an end. My second-biggest fear is black holes. Black holes will really really really irreversibly fuck you up. Even more than religion will or listening to Eminem.
[Editor's note: Way to go, Rich. Way to alienate five of your last six readers. You really want to go out of business here, don't you?]
7. What is your attitude mostly?
ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: Do you think it is better to help people or leave them alone?
FWiG's ALTERNATE ALTERNATIVE QUESTION: Do you think it's happier to be happy or sad? Also, who is the moron who came up with these questions?
Answer: My altitude is mostly twenty or thirty feet above sea level.
You know how a TV series will often have a ponderously creeping overall plot? Sometimes it doesn’t even budge an inch for episodes at a time. And then they find out they’re being cancelled by the network and so they suddenly rush to a conclusion in the space of an episode or few?
Well, this might be something like that.
My haemoglobin (pronounced homo-goblin according to dear brother) has steadied. A CT scan revealed no conclusions. I appear not to be bleeding at this time. I am home now. I shall soon be seeing a specialist in Hamilton. I am happy and comfortable. The swelling in my paws is almost completely gone.
My arms are happy not to be getting jabbed all the time. You can see why:
Here’s another needle injury which manifested a much prettier result. It is the leg of my favourite nurse; Nurse Val. Her brand new Beatles tattoo. She has another of a yellow submarine.
Upon the day of my release I immediately corrected nine of the ten things I missed most while being hospitalized for one week; all but number seven:
10. Fresh air
8. Class (as in - not involving poop in every conversation)
7. Rush DVD concert videos
4. Red Wine
2. My bed
And number one…
1. My guitar
Yes. My guitar. Say what you want about my musical capabilities or lack thereof. But the guitar has become as much a part of me as my blood.
I awake to Nurse Sinister-Impaler storming into my room, eyes blazing with malice. She gouges the living shit out of my arm and then knocks my furniture about as she storms out. I’m not sure why she behaves as though she wishes I were dead - unless of course, she actually wishes I were dead.
Smarten Up, FWiG. There is Far Worse Suffering in the World
Well. Bad news. Haemoglobin dropping quickly again. Blood loss accelerating. I’m not getting out of here any time soon. Doc Kalvorkliancubansandwich is avoiding the colonoscopy, I presume for its potential to acerbate the injury. He’s ordering some kind of scan for now, where they inject radioactive cells and then follow where they go, watching for the unauthorized detour.
I’m in the middle of a blood transfusion. Something wasn’t right with one of my I.V. ports and the process was painful at first; this as I pondered the problems with an extended hospital stay. Income loss. The fact that I can sleep less and less as the serious discomforts of a non-FWiG-tailored bed continue to multiply to the point of injury. I’ve slept about two hours of the last thirty. They couldn’t even get a blood pressure reading as I trembled through the initial transfusion process; I was so agitated. It was a very strange experience for one who is so largely at peace.
I feel stupid now. I apologized later for being such a soppy little bitch but Nurse Friendly laughed. “Well, of course you’re not going to be yourself when you’re so low on blood! You’ll feel way better when we get all the new blood in you. You’ll feel super!”
“Really? Is it superhero blood? Did Superman himself donate it?”
“As a matter of fact, he did.”
How cool is that? I hope I inherit his x-ray vision. That could be pretty profitable if I have to resort to a life of crime after all of this.
So Long, Watch Dog!
Doc Kalvorkliancornflakes and I are continuing our standard operating procedure. I asked him if I still need this wireless heart monitor that hangs, in essence, off my neck and takes average attempts at falling asleep from 10% likely to 5% likely.
“Oh yeah,” he says, “We don’t need that.”
Great. Thanks for almost being on the ball yet again.
So that’s one good piece of news today. My heart rate shall remain private again with no threat of bells and whistles bringing unwanted authorities if I happen to get a bit exerted. There’s a lot of time on my hands here, if you know what I mean…
Dr. Kalvorkliancookiebuscuit peeks in on me this morning and I’m alert enough to remember my questions, thanks to the vampire who’d already shaken me awake at 0700 to suck blood from my swiss-cheezified arm. He confirms that ulcer is no longer in the running, diverticulosis is the frontrunner, colon cancer very unlikely and that he would book a colonoscopy for tomorrow morning. Then I might even be released as an outpatient.
I take a deep breath and ask the BIG question: “When will I get to eat and drink again?”
Dr. Kalvorklianpastry looks only slightly stunned. “You can eat and drink all you want.”
“Sorry. I forgot to tell them that.”
You forgot… to tell them… that…
“Thank you,” I say, summoning all possible grace. Being a humanitarian of the noblest order, I have allowed him to live.
All the Better to Enhance Your Flavour, My Dear
I’m actually stunned; motionless for the longest time. I can eat! I CAN EAT! Now what do I do?
No. It’s nine-thirty in the morning. I grab R2D2 and haul him to the outer door and stand at the threshold eying the nurses’ station right across the hall. Nurse Sunshiny catches my eye and asks how I’m doing.
“I CAN EAT!”
Angels trumpet from above.
“Oh, good for you!” She comes to me.
“Whatever I want!”
“Oh, good! Well, breakfast is done but I can see if there’s anything left over. Do you want some milk? Or juice?”
“I want to know what ALL of my options are. For instance, Are there restaurants that will deliver here?”
A shadow of unease passes over her formerly sunshiny eyes. “You might not want to get carried away just yet,” she says.
I decide to get straight to the point: “You need to understand something. I’m about to resort to cannibalism in about thirty minutes.”
“Oh!” She raises her chubby arm before my eyes. “Well, I’m nothing but fat. No meat on me!”
Socrates, I believe.
The hospital cafeteria has not opened yet but the lobby Country Style coffee shop has, so I go down in shoes, jeans, latex gloves and superhero gown. I carry back the jumbo organic coffee and R2D2 carries the chocolate milk, donut, cream cheese bagel and sausage breakfast sandwich all in a plastic bag.
I close both my doors and lose the shoes and jeans. Because you can’t properly enjoy food while wearing pants. And then…
I honestly thought I would savour every bite; every splendid little morsel.
Instead I gobble everything efficiently.
Hmm. So I am just a junky after all; just getting my joyless fix.
Fine then. So I know myself that much better.
All My Extremities are Swollen
Not only did I need to remind Dr. Kalvorkliansoupspoon that I was ready for food but I needed to remind him that I need to come off the damn intravenous after a day of too much liquid and salt. My hands and feet are all swollen now. Lovely.
Doctor Kalvorkliancookie dropped by this morning. He has not scheduled a colonoscopy. He says there is no hurry for that. For now they’re mainly interested in tracking my haemoglobin to see if I will stabilize. This involves jabbing me for blood every few hours which is a shitload of fun, obviously. It’s a different nurse every time. They started with the ones who are good at it and now I get the ones who poke me with a finger for ten minutes then sigh and then chew through my arm like a wolf.
When I get out of here I’m going straight to the freaking Keg. I will be facing financial ruin for missing my security shifts and having no benefits but I don’t care. I’m getting the New York Peppercorn - no, fuck that. I’m getting TWO New York peppercorn steaks with enough peppercorn shards to make my gums bleed. And garlic mash obviously, and asparagus and those stringy fried onions. And red wine. And more red wine. And no one’s going to stop me. Just try if you want. Just try to stop me and see if I don’t bite your delicious tender hand off.
Excerpt from Email to the Liberal Theologian
The news here: There is no diagnosis (diverticulosis suspected). G.I. tract looks good. Transfusion possible. I'm here until Monday at least. I haven't had food or drink in what seems like forever and there is none in my immediate future. Trying not to lose my marbles over that but some poor cow somewhere is at risk of being swallowed whole if I ever get out of here. Okay. I need to think about something else.
I think I could eat a human head. I think if I had a whole lot of barbecue sauce - I mean a real whole lot - I think I could eat a human head.
It’s the Thought That Counts
My excellent friend Tom visited again today. I think one visitor per day is perfect. I’m glad this happened to me in Welland and not Hamilton. In Hamilton there would have been a parade of visitors and I honestly can’t think of anything more dreary than explaining your icky medical details to people over and over and over again until you‘re hoarse. I am grateful for the near solitude.
Tom took my car from the medical clinic to his place where it will be safe (and put my windows up for me!) and then brought me the books and DVD’s from the back seat. He didn’t notice that the books were all the same title (I had just received them back from members of the young readers club) but that’s okay!
Dr. Kalvorkliancracker is my real doctor or so I’m of the impression. He’s a surgeon. He whisks back the curtain, dons a latex glove and instructs me to roll on my side.
Great. I make it 43 years without this ordeal and now it’s three times in the space of two weeks. Three and counting. I sense him approaching from behind.
“Would you be more comfortable with the curtain closed?” I ask. There is plenty of foot-traffic about after all, who would probably all feel more comfortable.
“Oh, I always close the curtain,” says Dr. Kalvorklianbiscuit who then makes a sudden detour.
Yeah. Except when you forget.
There is no “I” in Esophagogastroduodenoscopy. But pretty much everything else.
All I can think of is food.
Food. Glorious food. I’ve had nothing to eat or drink but ice chips the last 24 hours. They did a scope of my G.I. tract to see if the bleeding is coming from my belly or not. What was it called? A gastrointestinoscopy? Probably not. But something like that. The belly looked good. Score one for the belly. They don’t even need to tell me where the next scope will be going. I presume that if it’s not one end, it’s the other.
Food is the Spice of Life. Especially Spicy Food
I’m still not allowed to eat or drink. Not even ice chips now. My last meal was popcorn. The young book club finished The Road so we watched the movie and covered our eyes during the gross parts. You can’t watch a movie without popcorn. It was shortly after that when the toilet bowl did it’s Red Sea impersonation and I took off for the nearest clinic.
Movin’ On Up
I have my own room now! Hurray! And I have it all to myself because the C-diff scare regulates that anyone suffering loose poopies be isolated just in case. My new day shift nurse is very gregarious. “Anything else I can get you!” she sings.
“Yes. Steak! And potatoes and wine!”
“Red or white?” she says. “I’m going for a beer after work. And chicken wings! Do you want some chicken wings!”
This effectively shuts me up. Score one for the nurse.
Shut it down! Shut them ALL down!
Why the hell is my arm so numb? Oh. R2D2 is taking my blood pressure. I didn’t even notice the cuff was still on. “Well go ahead R2. Take my blood pressure then. But don’t go getting a head full of ideas. Your kind will never take over the world. Those movies are metaphors. It’s that people are turning into robots. Or zombies. It’s the same with the zombie movies. Metaphors.” R2D2 does not respond to this. “Well? What’s my blood pressure?” He still doesn’t respond. I’ve hurt his little feelings I guess. Silly droid.
Did anyone get the Star Wars reference in the title?
This Experience Definitely Wasn’t on the Bucket List
This is new. It’s a good thing I am almost lying down because I know with perfect clarity that I am about to lose consciousness. My head is swimming and worsening at a fantastic rate. I will be out cold in several seconds. I know it. I also know that I will vomit at the same time and crap myself too. It’s all coming at once. A nurse is walking my way.
“I’m about to pass out, puke and crap myself,” I say at the watery swirling image of the nurse and the choppy sea of counters and gadgets that had so recently been a solid emergency department. “Sorry in advance for the mess.”
Four people, some from the white tribe and some from the green tribe suddenly fill the room. They must have all jumped out of her pockets. They bring poles and bags of liquid and lots of jabby things. They jab me with their stay-with-us-now medicine.
It seems miraculous that I manage to cling to semi-consciousness while they go about their jabbing party. It’s a race to see who can find the first artery this fat bag of shit is hiding beneath his skin.
The balding midget seems to wish to demonstrate that he is actually Teh Big Guy; the Presiding Doctor and not some gnome from Alice’s Wonderland. He does this by barking at everyone else for not playing the jabby race by the rules. “Who jabbed him here and then gave up!” he says. “Look, it’s bleeding now!”
People make mistakes, I try to offer but it comes out more like “Bebo maghfdter” so I give up on the whole talking thing for a while.
How Low Can You Go?
They take my blood pressure of course and it is 91 over something. Between the medical clinic, the ambulance people and the hospital they have now taken it about seven times and the numbers keep getting lower and lower. This was fun while I was approaching normalcy for the first time in years but less fun as I descended below it. Being a genius, I surmise that somewhere there is a bottom threshold below which lies the domain of the non-living.
There is now just Dr. Slickmidget and Nurse Sheila attending me. I ask Dr. Slickmidget about my falling blood pressure. “If it gets too low,” I say, “Is there some kind of short-term fix?”
“Yes!” he says. “You go to a hospital!” And then he marches away.
I deliberately take in the view then whisper to Sheila, “What is this place?” (She gives me an evil eye.) “I thought it was a hospital.” (She succumbs to an unwilling grin.) “Is he always so cranky to everyone?”
“I don’t know!” she says in a voice intended to scold.
“Sorry,” I say. “That wasn’t a fair question.”
It Goes WHERE?
“Fuck!” yells the guy in Resuscitation 2. I’m right on the other side of the curtain in Resuscitation 1. “Oh fuck!”
“Try to relax,” says a female; a nurse I‘m guessing. Not because she’s female but because doctors save the fun jobs for themselves and not ones that sound like this.
“Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck!” he retorts sagely.
“It’s just a catheter. Relax.”
“It’s just a catheter Daniel! You need to relax!”
“Fuck, Oh FUUUUUCK!”
I Know When I’m Not Invited
Dr. Mumbles mercifully withdraws and stands staring at the black tar that streaks his gloved finger. He looks around the room as if searching for someone to show it to. Finally he deposits the glove in a receptacle and moments later Dr. Beanstick arrives. Dr. Beanstick looks like Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas but ever so slightly less creepy, or slightly more so depending on your point of view. They consult quietly. It sounds like Dr. Mumbles is summarizing my history and getting a few things almost right. I don't interject though. They're hushed for a reason I presume.
Dr. Beanstick leaves and Dr. Mumbles mumbles to me that I will be spending the night in an observation ward and tomorrow I will be sedated and scoped.
“Um… There’s no… catheter… in my near future, is there?”
“No,” he mumbles. “Not likely at all.”
Good. I am comforted. Doctors never lie.
“Stuffs” is the Extra-Plural of “Stuff.” I’m Rebuilding the Language, People.
Dr. Slickmidget was tottering by when he hears my R2 unit beeping and wanders in to poke his buttons.
“Hey!” says Nurse Sandy, marching up behind him. “Get your fingers off of my machine!” She is smiling playfully though. Dr. Slickmidget throws up his hands and departs while Nurse Sandy attends the droid who handles my I.V. stuffs.
“I have a few places I want their fingers away from too, you know.”
Nurse Sandy laughs uproariously. “I bet you do!”
The droid finally stops beeping and Nurse Sandy leaves with a parting glance at me. She’s laughing again. “Yeah, I bet you do.”
And I have none -- for failing the A-Z Challenge, I mean.
I'm actually impressed with myself that I made it all the way from A to W in one month - which is probably a bad thing - that I'm impressed with a failed commitment, I mean.
As a matter of fact, though, twenty-three posts in a calendar month is probably a record for me and I've been blogging for over six years now. In fact I hit my 500th post in March without even noticing.
Hmm... A to W... You know, I was conceived by two A&W employees 44 years ago. They probably had a cigarette and a root beer after the deed. Okay, that was completely unnecessary. I do heartily apologize.
Mom, if you're reading this.. I'm really very sorry for that. But not quite sorry enough to delete it. Also, happy belated birthday! I tried to call you from work yesterday but apparently your area is blocked from long-distance calling here. I'll be in touch!