Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How I Scared The Shit Out Of My Love - A Lesson In Hospital Adventures

Well, at last and final count I have no fewer than 6 new holes in my body. Now before you go wandering down the garden path to the land of filth and smut, allow me to clarify. These tiny little punctures are the result of various needles. Two are from getting an IV in my hands, another is from blood work (left arm), another from a Lumbar Puncture procedure, another from drawing blood in my right arm, and the final one from a procedure similiar to getting an epidural to cure something that's called a spinal headache - which are the result from having LPs.

Dev and I are both probably sporting a few more grey hairs after what I (accidently) put us both through yesterday.

So, here's what happened.

At about 4.45 - 5.00 am yesterday, Dev took me to the Emeregency Room here in Timmins. And it is here, that I have to say that the staff at the hospital were wonderful. I overheard that the nursing staff was understaffed (thanks to budget cuts to the hospital) but everyone was smiling and laughing and I never had to wait whatsoever. This marks the first time in my life that I've seen an empty emergency room. But I digress.

I had the worst headache of my life yesterday. It came on suddenly around 1130pm Sunday night. I did probably the worst thing you can possibly do and Google'd symptoms of what a terrible pain in the back of your head can indicate. For future reference, dear readers, I do not advise this. There is no surer way to scare the shit out of yourself then Googling medical stuff and wondering if it applies to you. I was given answers that ranged from a migraine to meningitis to tumors. Try getting some sleep when you're secretly harboring the thought that you're brain might explode. No no... go on. I'll wait here.

Right then. Onwards. The best answer that I seemed to find was that it could possibly be a rebound headache from taking Tylenol. Since I had taken some the day before for a headache, I wrapped this new thought around myself, put some Vick's Vapour Rub on my forehead and drifted off to sleep. Knock the home remedy if you wish, but I'm telling you - vapour rub is probably the best cure for a headache I have ever come across. It makes your skin feel all warm and tingly, plus it clears out your sinuses and you drift off to sleep and your headache is gone and when you wake up you aren't left with the feeling that your head is stuffed full of cottonballs.

Rebound headache my ass.

I woke up again around 2am - the bedside lamp was on - and despite a nagging pressure in my head I made myself go back to sleep. However, come 4.15am the point had come when there was so much pressure in my head I felt like my left eyeball was going to pop out of my head. So, I woke Dev up and said that we had to go to the hospital.

So, I was rushed in to the emergency, given a bed, had the lights turned off and the first IV hooked up to my right hand and given some fluids. The doctor came several minutes later, asked a few questions about my headache - how he heard my muffled answers I have no idea. I was curled in to the gurney like my life depended on it, with the hood of my sweatshirt pulled up and over my eyes. Apparently, the thought of meningitis and./or bleeding in the brain must have occurred to him as well. He ordered blood work, a CT Scan and a Lumbar Puncture. The words were no sooner out of his mouth when I said "Oh, that sounds like it hurts." To say that a rueful smile crossed the doc's face is an understatement.

Blood work is really no big deal. And maybe on a different day I would say that a CT scan is kinda fun. And just a little FYI ... it's nothing like what they show you on HOUSE with the fancy sets and big rooms and shiny new equipment. From what I can tell, there was barely enough room in there for the machine let alone anything else. So, I shimmy from my gurney to the little tray-like bed attached to the CT machine.

Ever loaded a shot gun? Well, that's what a CT Scan is sort've like. There you are, lying on this hard little bed in a hospital dressing gown, flashing your arse to the entire world - I was so paranoid about this, that I made sure Dev had tied me up properly in the gown and had my assets covered. They tell you to close your eyes for a bit because they use lasers for positioning to make sure you're all lined up properly. Then, there's some flashing red lights, a big whirrrrrrring sound, a switch is flicked and your little tray-like bed slides up in to the machine. I've never felt more like a bullet in my life. Invisible pictures are taken, the little red lights flash, more whirrrring ensures and then I'm wheeled back to my little compartment of the ER.

Toridol is wonderful. Have I mentioned that yet? They gave me that to take away the headache. And it worked wonderful. For a little while there I felt a little giddy and silly. I think there was a point when I looked at Dev and just giggled like a little girl for about five minutes. And then ... there was The Consent Form.

My CT scan came back clean, as did my blood work but my doctor, in the name of maintaining his "Gold Standard" (his words, not mine) wanted this lumbar puncture done. I knew from the get-go that this was gonna suck. I mean, I've watched enough episodes of HOUSE  - I know how this works! They stick a big dirty needle in you're back! What you don't see on HOUSE (those liars!) is people in a retarded amount of pain, or yanno ... crying and shouting, like I did. Admittedly ... I'm a wuss. So, not only am I petrified to begin with and despite being assured by the nurse that "Oh, you're watching the wrong stuff. It's not like that." (Oh yes ma'am .. it IS like that ... only worse.) and that if I don't sign this consent form then they could miss diagnosing something that could yanno ... kill me ... I signed.

Dev went out for a smoke. The doctor came in to set up. "I really don't want this." I said. "Well, if it makes you feel better, I don't really want to do it, either," replied the doctor. It kind of made me smile. "Well, what happens if I change my mind?" I asked. "Well, we could miss something that could kill you. And then I'd tell you're boyfriend."

Well played, Doctor. Well played.

As best as I can tell ... this is how a lumbar puncture works: They rub this freezing stuff over the skin of your back. You sit up and kind of arch your back, like a cat stretching - a feat easier said than done when they start driving a needle in there, but I'll get to that. So, the doc kind of pokes around with his fingers, trying to find where you're hips are and how you're lined up and crap like that. Now, I was jacked up at this point anyway on fear and adrenaline, so I kind of tensed and hissed at everything, which probably made the whole thing worse. So, here I am, hunched over and clutching a pillow in a death grip that would make any UFC Fighter jealous and in goes the needle.

Holy Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ. I cried. I screamed. I think I almost had a panic attack. I shook a lot and there's this needle in my back, draining a few vials of spinal fluid. This procedure should be used a torture device. Meanwhile, there's Dev standing behind the curtain listening to all this and wondering only God knows what is going on. The look on his face afterwards when he came around the curtain nearly broke my heart. He'll deny this till the day he dies, but he looked so scared - and I can't really blame him. I would have been scared too if I had been standing on the other side of the curtain.

Dev holds my hand, strokes my hair and tells me that's it all over. That I'm fine, it's all going to be okay. There's a shift change in hospital staff and I'm given a new doctor. She was really sweet. My spinal fluid came back good and clean except for 3 little blood cells in there. So, there was a call to the specialist, who assured the doctor who assured us, that everything was fine - the blood was probably just the result of getting poked with the needle.

9am rolls around. Headache aside, I'm in relative good health. Remember way back when I said that a side effect of a LP was this annoying little thing called a Spinal Headache? Yeah well, despite the chance (1 in 100, the doctor said) I should be fine. Yeah.

By the time I was discharged, I was so tired, hungry and generally cranky the nurses said the best thing was to get some sleep, eat and stay hydrated. The headache I left with was probably just the result of a very stressful morning. If anything got worse, then come back. So, I get changed but my body had either ideas.

"Sit the fuck back down!" It ordered. So, I did just that and fainted. This is how I scared the shit out of Dev the second time that day. The next thing I know, I wake up lying down on my little gurney with three or four concerned faces looking down at me and calling my name. So, I stayed put for another little while, and they kept monitoring my pulse, heart rate and took my blood sugar. Everything was fine, but after lying down pretty much all morning, fainting is a pretty typical response. Finally, it was time to go home.

We stopped at a Tim Horton's drive through for some breakfast on the way home. There was an iced tea in it for me. I took several sips and knew that it was immediately a bad idea. Twenty feet from our house, I opened the door of the Dodge and threw up outside, with Dev holding my shirt to make sure I didn't fall out.
I get home, rinse my face off, strip off my clothes, climb in to bed and go to sleep. Several hours later we both wake up and it's time to eat. My headache is still there, but not as bad. So, we decide that maybe I should sit up for a bit. Bad idea. My headache comes crashing back and it pulses and throbs and feels just really awful. So, I take a Tylenol and go back to sleep for a couple of hours. Then, I eat again.

Grapes are delicious.

I even sit up (in stages) and go for a little walk around the house, with Dev close by holding my hand just in case I fainted again. Then, it was time to hit the bathroom. I got so far as sitting down and my body, once again, had other plans. I threw up all over the bathtub. This is how I scared the shit out of Dev the third time. So, I go back to bed, lie down and feel instantly better. I just want to stay there all curled up in a little ball under the fleece sheets with the fan blowing on my face for ever. The decision is made and we go back to the hospital.

We get there, and for the second time in my life I see an empty emergency room. Again, I'm taken in right away and this really lovely nurse gets me a wheelchair and gives me a little tour of the emergency department as she gets me private little space with a door and blinds across the window so it's relatively dark. I lie down, close and cover my eyes and feel like dying. I'm set up on another IV, in my left hand, and fluids started. After about 10 minutes of just lying down like this, under two hospital blankets I feel amazing. "Oh, we changed our mind. We're all feeling fine. Let's go home!" my body says. "Like hell we are." I tell it.

So, the general consensus is, is that I'm suffering from a spinal headache. Essentially, the small puncture hole from my LP that morning hadn't closed properly, and spinal fluid kept leaking out, which screwed up the pressure. So, while you're lying down you don't really notice anything, but when you sit up gravity takes over and starts to pull your brain down. Sounds fun, right?! The cure for this, is another needle in the back. To say that I had to be talked in to this a second time around is an understatement. Having been through the procedure once, I was not by any stretch of anyone's imagination, eager to go through it again. I practically begged to be knocked out first, and then do it. Sadly, that isn't an option because, while inserting the needle you get funny little feelings in your limbs, the doctor needs to know and move a "little to the left." So, much to my own chagrin, I signed another consent form. The anesthetist who did this patch procedure was really, very nice.

Tall, lanky and full of brains I hoped to hell I was in good hands. He took the fact that I was pretty much scared shitless all in stride and tried to make me feel better. So, I'm wheeled in to a slightly bigger room where he can have some working space, and Dev is right there with me holding on to him for dear life all the while he tells me that it's okay and I'll be fine. The doctor walks me through the process as he's going - everything from the pink numbing solution - which I'm still trying to wash off - to the small little needles of numbing solution - which burn like a right bitch, in your back - when to expect pressure in my back, the whole works. You might think that someone telling you everything step by step would make the entire situation worse, but the doc was so calm it made the experience better than I ever thought it would. We even joked - yes, joked, while there is a needle going in my back - that I'm getting a dry run for an epidural when the time comes for kids! The procedure for an epidural is apparently pretty similar to the patch procedure. So, a little blood is drawn from my arm and inserted in to my back, which clots and balances out the pressure for the spinal fluid, which should cure the headache almost immediately.

An hour later, I'm dressed and ready to go home. We grabbed Wendy's on the way home. My back is still really sore, as is to be expected, I'm assured. So I pretty much have to take it easy and don't do anything too strenuous that would blow the clot in my back.

So, here's to relaxing for the rest of the day.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

A (Late) Father's Day Tribute

I'm pretty lucky when it comes to the people in my life. It wasn't always this way, and I've had to deal with the fallout of making some pretty awful decisions about who to trust, who to call a friend and learning (usually the hard way) those people who only pretended to be friends, and those who really are.

But through it all, I have had some pretty stand-up guys guiding me down better paths. It has occasionally come with a hard dose of tough love, arguments and tears but in the end I have shared so much love with these men that without them I don't think I'd be half the person I am today because of them.

First of all, there is my father.

Oh, Daddy. I have always been and always will be you're "little girl." I don't think that's something a daughter will ever grow out of. Maybe in your heart you'll always see me as the small little girl who danced on your toes in the kitchen, who played "Barber" with you as you read the newspaper after supper, and who held your hand for no reason at all. And maybe it is this way because, as you're daughter, I never stop seeing you as the man who chased away the June bug who found it's way in to my bed at night, who read bedtime stories, and tucked me in bed so tight at night that we both ended up laughing and smiling before you kissed the top of my head and said "Good night, little girl. See you in the morning." You're the man who cut my toast in little squares for breakfast, who gave me shit about smoking when I was old enough to better but to stupid and headstrong to really care, and you're the man who has met every challenge of raising a teenage daughter with quiet grace and hoped that one day she'd learn how to stand on her own two feet and make choices that wouldn't end catastrophically. I'd like to say that this change happened earlier than it did, but it has happened. Through every of my life, you've brought a smile to my face and made me laugh somehow. And while seeing you once or twice isn't nearly enough, I carry you with me always.

I love you, Daddy.

Of course, next to father's any girl is always blessed when she has brothers. I'm doubly blessed (maybe even thrice blessed) because I have two of them. Being the youngest child and only daughter in the family does have it's perks. My oldest brother is more like me than I'd like to admit sometimes. But it's true. I remember being little and going in to his room when he wasn't around and looking at the books on his shelf looking for something to read and finding mostly Hardy Boys novels. I did this for years and watched his taste in books change and finally, there came a point when his books just didn't really do it for my little ten year old self. Given the choice between The Hardy Boys and The Babysitter's Club, TBC won every time. He also influenced my taste in music like no else did. When he was 17 or so every Sunday we would go for a drive in our old purple, two door Cavalier that for some reason my mother had decided to put decals on the side of. I don't know what possessed her to do this, but it was the 90s. I thought it looked cool as hell. Anyway, I can still remember cruising down through Crocker's Cove, Freshwater and Victoria with the likes of The Tea Party, R.E.M, The Smashing Pumpkins, Collective Soul, Counting Crows, Dishwalla, Dave Matthews Band and Tragically Hip. And I'm also certain that there was Tenacious D. To this day I still write Ernacious T (his middle name is Trevor) on every single one of his cards. Two years ago (or is it almost 3) we stood in his kitchen and argued over who was going to drive across the Island to get to the ferry. He and his partner (whom I affectionately call Sis) helped me move to Ontario and have helped me more than anyone I know - excluding my own partner. Anyway, we argued over who was driving. And then, at the end of the shouting match he looks at me, puts his hands on my shoulders, his eyes a little damp and says "You need to stop being so stubborn." All the fight went out of me as I looked at him. "I'm gonna miss you," he said. And then the bastard made me cry and we hugged it out. We ended up having the best trip, driving across the Island, taking a ferry and shopping around in Halifax before they went home and Dev and I drove for another three days in to the wilds of Northern Ontario.

He's Godfather to our youngest nephew Adam, which is a pretty sweet gig if you ask me - that kid has no idea how lucky he is.

And then there's my other brother. He's kind of like the big brother every sister wants. I know for a fact that I annoyed the hell out of him. I'd consider myself a failure as a little sister if it were otherwise. We went to the same high school for a few years and every time I passed him in the hall way I'd stick my hand right up in his face, wave and say "HI!!!!" much too loudly for him, I'm sure. I remember him being taller back then. And because he was older and all his classes were on the second floor of school, I just thought he was SO COOL (!!!) His demigod appeal was pretty much solidified when I was in junior high and I found out that this girl wanted to beat me up. I have no idea what I had done to her, or why she was hell bent on kicking the crap out of me, but I went to my big brother. He found her one day and said "Anything you got to say to my sister, you can say to me first." She never bothered me again after that. Matt also kinda really taught me how to play baseball. Well, at least I'm assuming it was him. We had the perfect backyard for playing baseball and football in, and our driveway doubled as hockey rink and basketball court. So, there was me, my two big brothers and a crowd of neighborhood kids who all congregated in our backyard to play. Now, my brother is passionate about his sports - baseball in particular - and if there was a call made that didn't sit right with him, it could get debated about, usually very heatedly, for a good ten minutes or so. My brother also has a penchant for arguing so perhaps it came as no surprise that he'd debate whenever possible. Anyway, I remember this one day our friend from just up the hill brought some guy with him to play a game of  baseball, or "ball" as well called it. Now, unbeknownst to me (it actually took me YEARS to figure it out) but when the boys played in the backyard, with HUGE water bottles in attendance the game was always a little rowdier and a little sillier, than it usually was. It was revealed to me later that really, they were either full of beer or vodka and orange juice. In my youth and innocence, I was shocked ... and in a little awe. Anyway, one day this new guy shows up, and was a few drinks in. Gameplay commences. A call is made and therefore debated. New guy gets all riled up and angry, and since my big brother has never really been one to back down from a fight, he got his feathers a little ruffled. Well, my indignation as a little sister was totally offended at this d-bag. There was no way in hell I was letting a fight break out in my yard, during our game of ball. So, what do I do but march right up between these two guys - bear in mind I was maybe only 13 or 14 at the time, at best - puffed up my chest, looked New Guy in the face and told him to get out. I don't know if I swore at him, but I will never forget firmly planting myself between my brother and this guy. I told my brother to chill out and back off and fixed D-Bag with the coldest, iciest stare I could muster and didn't back down until he left. Gameplay continued as if nothing happened. Now, this same brother is the father of 4 beautiful kids. He tells me the craziest things about them, and the things they say. And when times are tough he isn't afraid to call or text me and spill his guts. Sure, we give each other shit sometimes but show me siblings who don't.

At the end of the day, he's my brother and I love him.

There are a couple of other noteworthy men I could talk about, but I have to dash. The contractor is back - again - to inspect the toilet in our bathroom. The adventure continues.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Reno's, Reno's, Reno's

Our apartment is in a state of minor chaos this week. We're getting our bathroom renovated.

I hate it.

The renos, I mean. Although, I hate the bathroom in equal measure as well so I guess the distinction is really unnecessary.

Our bathroom is FULL of mold. I'm not even kidding you. It's gross. The contractor ripped out all the walls, our tub, sink, vanity mirror (we're getting a new one, apparently) and we have a new toilet! You know you've made the journey in to adulthood when you're excited over new fixtures for you're bathroom. Technically, the bathroom isn't even mine. We're renting. But still. It will be fresh and clean and mold-free when it's all done, for which I cannot wait!

The contractors have been here since Monday. We've been without a bathroom all week. It's been interesting. Thankfully, the apartment next door to ours is empty. The landlord gave us the keys, so we can dart across in the mornings and have a shower and all that. We have our toilet re-installed every day though thank God because otherwise this entire thing might be just a wee bit unbearable.

Everything is covered in sheetrock dust. When I say everything, I mean everything. I have to mop and sweep my kitchen floor every day, but I've given up on the dusting of the furniture until they're gone. It's just an exercise in futility really at this point. Between the dust and tiny little floaty bits of insulation that keep floating around seeming to appear out of nowhere, I'm convinced that this place will never be clean again. Except for the bloody bathroom. THAT bitch will be clean for freakin' ever!

Our landlord absconded with the bathtub on Monday. We got it back yesterday. It took him two hours (and one puke) to clean it. I take that as a sign that it was truly disgusting. Our landlord is by no means a wuss, and as two kids, so I'd imagine it takes a good bit of disgusting to make him puke. But he did. The wall where the tub was, was soft. So, something was leaking in behind the wall.


The ceiling was also dropped, to cover up the bit of corner pipe that was running down from the bathroom in the Crazy French Guy Who Lives Upstairs's apartment. That pipe was also leaking, but has subsequently been fixed. New sheetrock has been put up, a new light and fan combo went in, plus an outlet - I can do my hair in the bathroom now - and new stuff for the tub is going in today!

Our place stinks like caulking, and I have been sneezing uncontrollably all morning ... but I shall overcome!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

With the writing of the fiction ...

Today has been inspiring for me in so many ways. But I think the brunt of it came from reading another blog that I had come across on Twitter (Twitter is slowly changing my life, by the way) and the new album from 30 Seconds to Mars. Now, granted it's all very melancholy and maybe even a little morbid but I thought I would share it. I hope you enjoy. To those who have inspired me today ... thank you.

She stood there, a figure wrapped in the shadows on the rooftop of a big city skyscraper. Cigarette smoke rose in a cloud around her dark hair as she exhaled, flicked the butt of her menthol cigarette with the tip of a battered fingernail.

It had been years since she had taken in the skyline. It was one she thought she’d never see again – and would have been happy about it. This place held no happiness for her.

Not then, anyway.

Now. Now it was different. Now, there was him. As long as she had him, there was hope that happiness could still be found. He’d promised to love her – even the bits of herself she thought the worst. It wasn't entirely her fault, those nasty bits. She was an anomaly of nature. What she was flew in the face in the natural order of the world. Or was it that the world at large wasn't entirely sure on what the natural order had been from the start, and therefore ignored the slightly more fantastical bits that didn't fit in with dominant religious teachings?

A final exhale of grey smoke. The crunch of gravel beneath the heel of her boot. A light extinguished. A sigh feel from her lips, and she turned, walking across the expanse of the rooftop. The brick holding open the door was kicked out of the way. Darkness swallowed her as she descended down the stairwell, her footfalls as heavy as her heart.

I've been dreaming of things yet to come. Living. Learning. Watching. Burning. Eyes on the sun. I’m leaving, gone yesterday.
Brutal. Laughing.Fighting. Fucking. The price I had to pay. Bright lights, big city. She dreams of love. Bright lights, big city. He lives to run.

There had been so much of … everything in her life. She had built walls around her, to keep the worst of it at bay, to make sure she wouldn't feel the heavy weight of it come crashing down on her. But here, in this city that had been home and hell all at once, she felt the cracks appear in the foundation. The floodgates would open soon, and there was nothing she could do about it.

Fear had taken her across the ocean. A scared young woman who had had no idea how to deal with who she was, or what she was going to becoming every full moon. But, across the sea she had found a place. A home. A family. She grew and thrived and even surprised herself once or twice.

But now ... here she was again, back across the sea in the same place, but not the same woman. She was older, wiser. Hardened by hard fought, and hard won lessons. She had been defeated over there, and felt the sting of that defeat etch the final few scars in to her soul.  She had paid a price, it was true. A terrible price that might turn out to be more than she could bear to pay. She’d lost them all, and in the loosing … gained him.

Demon, where did my angel go? 
Vacant, vapid, stupid, perfect -  you are the one.
A new day, a new age, a new face, a new lay. 
A new love, a new drug, a new me, a new you.

Bright lights, big city. She dreams of love.
Bright lights, big city. He lives to run.

An old key, a rusted lock. A twist and a rough push. The door opens to an old battered apartment that she once used to call home. He was here, naked from the waist up, arms folded across his chest, gazing out the window, shrouded by he darkness of the room. She couldn't help the smile that tugged at her mouth. He couldn't remake her, they both knew that. Instead he could only help her put the pieces of herself back together again. The darkness reigned in this old place. Silently, she slid out of her jacket, undid her boots. Slid them in to a corner, felt the tears well in her eyes.

Bare feet moved her forward. Hands upon his back, circling around his waist. Her face pressed to his back, the heat of him against her a salve to her battered spirit. Energies twined, and each knew the other without speaking. Fear that had nestled around her like a cloak began to slowly ebb away, though in her mind planted venomous seeds of being without him. Somehow the universe would conspire to take him from her – the one she needed most in this world. Fear made her feel unworthy of love. And in that feeling, came the forgetting.

I forgive, had enough. Time to live. Time to love.

He had always been a wiser, kinder soul than she. He believed in love. Fought for it. He would show her that she was, in fact, worthy of love. That she could be whole again, and that it was him and his love for her that would get her there.

Time to live. Time to love.

He turned to her, cupped her face in his hands. Lowered his mouth, pressed lips to hers. Breathed in her air, took in the myriad smells of her. For a time, they would have to run. That much was clear. But they would run together. They would love together. They would heal each other … together. He didn't have to say those three words. Instead he breathed them in to her, seared them in to her flesh with every touch of lips and tongue. Without words, he felt her slowly begin to crumble beneath him. Felt the hot salty tears on his face, swept away by the caress of his thumb. There was a time for tears, he knew that. But … not yet.

He lifted her in to his arms, with her head cradled against him. Turning, strode towards an old battered bed to lay her down.

Not yet.

Bright lights, big city. She dreams of love.