health

Massage Freak

I am getting a massage today.

I’ve never had one before. I don’t think rubbing against the Criss Angel waxwork at Madame Tussaud counts. Although I did get my mind “freaked.”

crissangelMy last birthday my husband gave me a gift certificate to a swanky spa. It has heated foot pools, herbal-infused steam rooms, rich people and unicorn rides.

I made the appointment a couple of days ago because I have been feeling tense. We had a death in the family. I feel like I’m treading water in my professional life. My husband is running for political office. And like Demi Lovato, I am worried about Miley Cyrus’ twerking.

Of course, the spa phone call made me even more tense because I’m generally awkward when dealing in unfamiliar subjects. I ended up ordering the “Monet” massage, which I guess involves being kneaded with a rolled-up Water Lillies poster.

I was told to arrive early and bring my bathing suit so I can enjoy the other “amenities.” Jesus christ, I have to wear a bathing suit now? Maybe I can also rewatch that film strip about a girl’s changing body to feel the highest level of discomfort.

The whole spa idea makes me a bit anxious. I’m not much for pampering. I did get a manicure once before my wedding, and sweated through the whole process trying to make agonizing small talk with the manicurist.

Did you know that it looks like your nails grow after you die? That’s because your skin is receding and decaying. . . Oh, you just do one nail for a manicure? It looks good. Thanks.

My limited understanding of massages comes from playing the Justin Bieber Massage game.

justinbieber

I’m hoping my experience involves less hubris and trucker hats.

Maybe I would feel more comfortable if I took someone with me, someone who has gone through the experience and knows what to expect.

hugomassage

On second thought, maybe I’ll keep Hugo at home.

Gallbladder Secession From the Union

I’m losing another vestigial structure today.

gallbladder

Little known fact in the history of Speaker7, but a week before my tonsillectomy I had a HIDA scan. I was crammed into a tube, filled with helium and then twisted into a horse balloon for a child’s birthday party. The scan showed not only a propensity for breakdancing, but a nonfunctioning gallbladder.

For awhile, I had been experiencing what I’ve medically termed as “shitkickers”–meaning I felt the shit was being kicked out of me. I would sit up, and it was as if the skin under my ribcage was going to rip apart. I figured I’d either had hernia or was about to give birth to an alien baby à la John Hurt.

Nope. It was just my gallbladder yearning to be free. I began to grow suspicious of a romantic relationship between my tonsils and my gallbladder.

tonsilgoneI postponed the surgery because it’s really out of style to have a breathing tube inserted twice in a season (source: “Who Wore the Breathing Tube Better?” US Weekly).

But the shitkickery continued. I remember trying on shoes when the onset of an attack started, and hoped the shoppers would politely ignore me as I crouched and gasped on the floor for a few minutes. I explained I was a foot fetishist.

This past week, it became even more apparent that we could no longer live together and one of us had to move out. Every morsel of food became the equivalent of eating a Thanksgiving-style banquet of Big Macs encased in Doritos taco shells covered in KFC grease dribblings. My abdomen turned into its own flotation device, and I told my gallbladder to find new living quarters.

So yay! Another surgery. I can’t wait to see what will go next. I’m banking on the brain.

As to be expected, Hugo is thrilled.

hugopingpongOh–I’ll have a new post up at The Official How To Blog tomorrow about the Game of Thrones. I’m figuring I will be too hopped up on pain medication to promote it. 

Post-Tonsillectomy Adventures

Many of you have been asking about my tonsillectomy recovery.

This may be something I hallucinated. I’m on some pretty strong painkillers.

It turns out it wasn’t such a bad idea to read tonsillectomy horror stories online. It makes the throat and ear pain seem not so bad compared to those who complain of choking on phlegm, vomiting blood, transforming into werewolves, etc.

I’ve mainly been sucking down pureed cauliflower and watching DVDs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. All in all, not too shabby.

But it’s nothing compared to what my tonsils have been doing.

Apparently the infected duo had a bucket list, and in less than a week, have crossed 10 items of their list.

1. Meet other vestigial organs

appendix

2. Visit an art gallery

tonsilsatgallery

3. Go parasailing

parasailing

4. Go horseback riding

horse-running-beach

5. Play music on a street corner

streetcorner

6. Get interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today show

mattlauer

7. Climb Mt. Everest

everest1

8. Perform stand up

standup

9. Enter a hot dog eating contest

hotdogcontest

10. Meet E.L. James

eljames

What’s on your bucket list?

To Doc with Love

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are aware of my tonsil issue, which the media has dubbed Tonsilgate.

If you are not a regular reader, you can catch up by clicking here and here. The short and simple version is this: my tonsils were going to be removed by a tap-dancing koala bear on a Venezuelan children’s show.

Actually that would have been preferable.

The real thing is worse. My pre-operative surgery consultation was this: “Drink vanilla milkshakes. Here’s some drugs. Bye!” When I attempted to get an appointment with the surgeon, I was treated as if I asked to father Mitt Romney’s baby. “How dare you, sir! The utter gall to ask about your surgery with the surgeon! Pish-posh, you, crawl back to your hovel and leave our majesty be!”

I was finally able to turn my post-operative appointment into a pre-operative consultation with the doctor, but then I thought Do I really want to see a doctor who saw no trouble leaving my pre-surgery consultation in the hands of the first person he saw walking down the street?

The answer was: Fuck no.

So I’m now with a new ENT. My first appointment was with the nurse practitioner. She actually described the surgery to me.

In case you did not know, they do not use this:

The nurse knew how long it would take. She told me what to do to help recover. She didn’t try to sugarcoat anything. “It’s going to be miserable. It’s going to feel like the worst sore throat you ever had.”

She did not mention vanilla milkshakes.

She actually looked inside my mouth. The other nurse didn’t bother with that part although she did listen to my heart and lungs. In all fairness to her, she likely thought my tonsils were located in my chest cavity.

It turned out, I was sick again. She said I would not be able to have the surgery if I was sick because it increases the chances of bleeding during and post operation. She gave me super amoxicillin. She said my next appointment would be with the doctor because he did not like to feel like a ghost surgeon and actually wanted to meet the people he operated on.

I refrained from enveloping her in a giant bear hug and left.

But I feel like I owe something to that former ENT’s office to say “Hey, thanks for all the weirdness and incompetence because now I’m at a real doctor’s office and it’s really awesome.”

Maybe something like this:

This will be the note attached: “This is the only guy you should operate on.”

Or how about a giant vase of notes, one for each day of the year?

The notes will all say the same thing.

Or maybe since the nurse has such a hard time talking to such a difficult patient, this will make things easier next time:

Or maybe just this will suffice:

Dearest Reader: Speaker7 is attempting to write a post every day in November so she doesn’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This is the seventeenth post. She appreciates any and all suggestions unless you recommend she recrap Fifty Shades of Grey. She did that already. And she is stupider for it. 

STDs and the Olds

This post was a suggestion by the remarkable Jen from Sips of Jen and Tonic. And Jen never steers me wrong…except when I jumped on that post-a-day bandwagon because now I’m writing about the elderly and genital warts. And I never wanted that to happen.

And yet here we are.

So STD rates are thrusting and thrusting hard in an upward direction among the elderly.

And scientists are like “Ew…old genitals.”

They asked some questions in their labs with the beakers and bunsen burners flaring:

Can one get chlamydia from bingo? 

Does watching Matlock lead to herpes?

Do early bird specials at Denny’s lead to syphillis?

So they studied and studied and rented Cocoon and hit upon a reason:

The elderly still have sex! Because they’re still human beings! And human beings like to grind against one another especially when the specter of death looms!

But the elderly think they’re past all that protection crap because of menopause and shit, and so there you have it.

The scientists proposed a solution:

Abstinence-only education and less Matlock.

I kid. That’s about as effectual as dentures made of paper.

So instead when Grandpa picks up his viagra prescription, Grandpa will also get a little chat about safe-sex.

It will likely go a little something like this:

Pharmacist: Here’s your viagra. It might be a good idea to also buy some condoms.

Grandpa: What?

Pharmacist: Condoms. You need them

Grandpa: Car plugs? What did you say? Speak up!

Pharmacist: CONDOMS!

Grandpa: Groundhogs?!? Are you crazy?

Dearest Reader: Speaker7 is attempting to write a post every day in November so she doesn’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This is the sixteenth post. She will never look at senior centers the same way again. 

Hugo for Movember

Who better to raise awareness about prostate cancer and mental health issues than Hugo, the man of 1,000 faces?

This was from Hugo’s campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of eating lip balm.

True, he does not have a prostate. He does not have any lower body at all as a matter of fact. Or organs. Okay, so he’s a half-man puppet, but that half puppet can wear a mustache like nobody’s business.

November is the month for Movember, a campaign to raise money and awareness around men’s health issues. One way of doing this is to grow and/or spraypaint mustaches on one’s face. Another way is to join Bloggers for Movember, an online campaign created by Le Clown, the only man I have ever seen best Hugo in a hot dog eating contest.

Hugo is showing his support by modeling the eight types of mustaches available to the human and/or puppet race.

1. Sensitive Artist/Poet ‘Stache

This ‘stache shows the wearer is quite comfortable baring his sole and a little man cleavage. Roses are red/Violets are blue/Mustaches are brown/And Hugo loves you.

2. Gigolo ‘Stache

This takes the whole baring-oneself up a notch to full-on belly revealing. This mustache shrieks complete confidence in a man’s ability to love the ladies all night long. What’s you sign? Cuz my sign is Go.

3. Fireman ‘Stache

Somebody call 911 because my pants are on fire.

4. Douche ‘Stache

This ‘stache has the scent of success…no wait, that is the scent of Axe Body Wash. The wearer has no trouble telling you how much his peen can bench press or how many lady crotch shots he’s taken surreptitiously from the floor of the women’s bathroom.

5. Stunted Adult ‘Stache

This ‘stache screams “I have the top score in whatever videogame is the popular videogame.” It says to the world: “World, I refuse to grow up. Do you see I’m wearing a toddler hat with cat ears?” Respeck.

6. Hacky-Sack ‘Stache

I don’t know, do people even play hacky sack anymore? Or is it something you do on the Wii? I’m old. If I had a fedora this would have been the hipster ‘stache, but I don’t think they have fedoras for toddlers. Maybe in hipster toddler stores?

7. Pirate

Arrghhh! I’ll tell you what plank I’d like you to walk, me matey. It’s flesh-colored. Get it? Get it?

8. Grandpa/Ernest Hemingway/Old Yosemite Sam ‘Stache

This ‘stache says to the world “I like to curse and hunt rabbits, and get off my lawn!”

Dearest Reader: Speaker7 is attempting to write a post every day in November so she doesn’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This is the fifth post. She would have included a picture of her own prominent mustache, but seeks to remain anonymous. 

Mission Not Accomplished

Friday was supposed to be the day my tonsils were liberated from my body.

But alas it is not to be.

My pre-operative experience has been…troubling? Is that the right word?

No,  I think I meant to write “giant clusterfuck.”

If you had read this earlier post, you would know that I had a pre-op consultation last Friday that was about as helpful as a duck fart. The nurse practitioner could not tell me anything about the surgical procedure I was about to undergo and decided the whole-fasting-before-anethesia was not something I needed to know upfront.

This past Monday, I called the doctor’s office first thing to try to schedule an appointment with the doctor.

“But you had a consultation with the nurse practitioner.”

Yup. But I have questions about the actual surgery that she wasn’t able to answer.

“Did you review the paperwork she gave you?”

Didn’t give me any.

“Well let me put you on with the nurse.”

Oh joy.

When she got on the phone, I said straight off that I was really only calling to schedule an appointment with the doctor so I could get the answers to questions she didn’t know.

“Well I don’t know what you mean Speaker. I spent 45 minutes with you answering all your questions and concerns.”

Uh, what now? The appointment lasted 15 minutes. I should know because it was at 4, I was back in my car at 4:15 and had ample time to slam my head repeatedly into the dining room table, which prompted my husband to call the doctor’s office at 4:30 to try to schedule a new consultation. Office hours being until 5, they of course were already closed for the day so my husband ending up talking to the emergency phone service.

But I guess I was getting my lengthy consult and didn’t realize it.

“You know you were so anxious that I guess you weren’t listening to me.”

This is when I began to wonder if I was on some kind of hidden camera show, like at any moment my doctor and Ashton Kutcher would pop out and yell “We got you! Ha! Okay, here’s how the surgery’s going to go…”

But didn’t happen. I explained that I knew exactly what she said, which was why I was trying to get another consultation. I said: I had to ask you about fasting before anesthesia. I had to ask that! You didn’t even tell me that part. 

“Well I was just trying to help the doctor. And I felt I needed to spend the majority of the time getting you to calm down.”

Okay at this point I’m wondering if she was mixing me up another patient? It’s not like I was swatting at imaginary bees, defecating freely from my bowels and howling like a banshee at the appointment. I might have had a confused look on my face, but that’s because I realized I could be getting better information from a Snapple bottle cap.

I felt I needed to get this train, which was currently heading full-speed to Crazy Town, to make a stop at Saneville. I figured I would be showing my face at this office again and didn’t want her to “accidentally” stab me with her stethoscope. I asked her if she could answer my questions, which she did–poorly–and thanked her. She wished me luck and said she would have the doctor call me.

Still waiting.

I call on Tuesday. When I identify myself, the secretary takes on a tone where I know I have been labeled that difficult, deranged, annoying, lunatic patient. I can almost hear her eyeballs rolling around in her head. I request an appointment with the doctor.

“He’s booked.”

Okay. Well my surgery is in three days and I need to talk to him before I have it.

“I know the nurse talked to the doctor and they said you could cancel.”

Well that’s nice of them to decide that for me. However, I want my tonsils out. I’ve already requested the time off from work, got a substitute in place, met with my sub to go over plans.

“…”  — This is to signify dead air.

I just want 10 minutes. I don’t even need to actually see his face. A phone call. A simple phone call that explains the procedure.

“He can’t give you 10 minutes.”

Alright. Can I ask you a question? Do you think I’m being unreasonable for wanting to talk to the doctor who is going to perform my surgery? It is my body, my health, I’m being put under. Is this so unreasonable?

I sense a whiff of understanding.

“I see you have a post-op scheduled for Oct. 26. Do you want me to schedule a consultation with the doctor?”

Yes. Yes!

“What time?”

Anytime. I will clear my schedule for this appointment.

An hour later, I checked my voicemail on the cell phone I never use and there was a message from the nurse practitioner.

“Hi Speaker, I talked at length with the doctor and told him how anxious you were and he said you didn’t have to go through with it. It’s not a necessary surgery to have and you can continue to live with the condition. Let me know.”

There’s about a .003% chance this doctor will be performing the surgery, but boy do I want to meet with him.

Con-sul-ta-tion

con·sul·ta·tion/ˌkänsəlˈtāSHən/

noun:

1.) The action or process of formally consulting or discussing

2.) A meeting with an expert or professional, such as a medical doctor, in order to seek advice

Did you know that a tonsillectomy entails removing one’s tonsils?

Shocking, yes?

This is what I learned yesterday from my pre-operative consultation.

The question I had asked after the nurse practitioner tried to speedily push me out the door in order to get to happy hour at a reasonable time was: So what is going to happen in the surgery?

“You’ll get your tonsils taken out,” she replied.

Um…knew that. Let me rephrase: How the fucking hell is it going to be done? Pliers? Hedge clippers? The Expelliarmus charm from Harry Potter?

“Oh…I don’t know. I’ve never witnessed a tonsillectomy before, but he’s a really good surgeon.”

Well then, I am filled with relief. He will be using the good-surgeon method as opposed to the shit-surgeon one. Phew! Big weight off my even bigger tonsils. Wait, I’m sorry, aren’t you leading my consultation about my tonsillectomy? Shouldn’t you have a basic understanding how such a surgery is performed? Can you at least tell me how long it will take?

“Oh…well, they’ll call you into a room. There’s paperwork to fill out. You’ll have anesthesia. I’m guessing…hmm…90 minutes?”

So is this guess being pulled directly out of your ass or thin air? The distinction is important to me for some reason because otherwise my brain will blow apart into little pieces. Maybe you would like to see that so you can tell future patients what that looks like.

“If that’s all…”

Hold up, hold up…um how long will it take to recover?

“A week.”

Okay, well I read on some blogs written by people who had this saying the first couple of days aren’t so bad, it’s really fifth–

“Tenth,” she interrupts. “Tenth day’s usually hard. You’ll be fine.”

You just said I would recover in a week. Although I feel completely insane, I’m pretty sure there are still only seven days in a week.

“Oh, you are right! Anyway, I don’t want to keep you. You’ll do great.”

Wait..wait…wait. I’m getting anesthesia so is there any time I should stop eating?

“Oh yeah. Yeah, that’s right. Don’t eat after midnight.”

Because I’ll turn into a Gremlin? This might have been something to have told me during our consultation not in this five-second frenzy of quick questioning as you stick one leg out the door.

Here was the consultation:

“You’ll need pain medication, but don’t worry, it’s liquid.”

“You can have milkshakes after the surgery. Vanilla not chocolate.”

“He’s a good surgeon.”

She did listen to my heart.

“Wow. It’s pitter-pattering like a little humming bird.”

No shit.

Things You Should Never Do

1. Research tonsillectomy on the Internet and read posts by people written five days post-surgery. The person who had an easy go of it is not busy posting his easy-peasy experience on the blog. He’s not going to make time to write “This was such a blast, I’m getting another set of tonsils put in so I can get them taken out again ;) ” He’s too busy enjoying his life.

No, the person who is posting is the one who feels like she’s asphyxiating on her tonsil scabs whenever she’s not sipping Gatorade. “I haven’t slept in days. If I don’t drink, it feels like I swallowed 400 jalapenos doused in lava. My teeth have started falling out like I’m the fucking Fly in David Cronenberg’s film.” And this person is topped by the next poster who says she wishes it felt like 400 jalapenos doused in lava. “That would be picnic in the park compared to my agony. Try 7,000 ghost peppers coated in napalm.”  She claims lying down will bring about her immediate death.

You contemplate buying this:

But opt for a Lazy Boy recliner instead.

2. Purchase a Lazy Boy recliner at an actual Lazy Boy recliner store. You would think this would be a simple transaction. You point to the chair you want, you pay some form of compensation, you leave with the chair. You believe you will avoid asphyxiating on your tonsil scabs and you will not have to wear something that resembles the cone dogs wear after surgery.

But no.

There is the finding of serial numbers and entering of serial numbers into a device called a computer. There is the misspelling of the last name several times and repeating of spelling. There is paperwork. A stool sample. There is the ad infinitum mention of Guardsman, a furniture protection plan that “only costs 3 cents a day” because “you don’t want to ruin your new chair with an exploding pen.”

In the time that passes, you could have likely built a chair, destroyed it with an exploding pen and built a replacement chair. You realize you filled out less paperwork bringing home a small human from the hospital.

3. Use an exploding pen. Especially while sitting in your new Lazy Boy recliner that lacks a Guardsman furniture protection plan. You thought it would be a good idea to get your will in order since you are undergoing a surgery that causes everyone to bleed profusely from their gaping tonsil-less craters. You want to make sure your blog is taken care of in case of your inevitable demise from reading too many tonsil horror stories. Then your pen explodes and you think why me? But you don’t write this as your status update on Facebook because you fucking hate enigmatic status updates.

4. Write enigmatic status updates on Facebook. Seriously, who do you think you are? Erica Kane?

What the fuck does that even mean? And now you have a sudden interest in this person who you barely know and only accepted her friend request because you shared a math class 20 years ago. You are so riveted you check back on Facebook frequently to see if there’s any updates.

Oh my god, you wonder, what rilly did happneded between them? By this point, 12 people have commented “What’s wrong?” or “Stay strong, girl.” Hmm.

Then she hits you with this:

Wowza! Wowza is right because eight hours have passed. Eight hours you could have used to search the interwebs to find out how to clean tonsil-crater blood off your new non-Guardsman Lazy Boy recliner. Damn, the tonsillectomy blog recommends Guardsman.

5. Go on the Internet for anything.

My Dear John Letter

Break-ups are never easy.

In a few weeks, I will be saying goodbye to my tonsils.  They will move out of the space in the back of my throat that they have been living in rent-free all these years, and take their reoccurring infections with them.

“Just for the record, I hate you both.” – Speaker7

Frankly my tonsils have been acting like giant a-holes with the emphasis on the giant. If this country worshipped giant tonsils rather than giant breasts, I would be regularly featured as a Playboy Tonsilmate.

For the past three years, I have felt like I’ve had popcorn kernels lodged in the back of my throat, and I don’t even eat popcorn. The glands in my neck have swollen to a point that they could appear in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and people would say “There goes two of the largest balloons I have ever seen.” And I am responsible for the influx of peed-out antibiotics in the local water supply.

I know the recovery is going–to put it bluntly–suck a huge tonsil stone. But I am at the point where I’m ready to take them out myself with a spork.

I find that now people know of my impending surgery, they find it of great import to tell me their own personal tonsillectomy-horror story. I’ve been regaled with tales of throwing up blood and post-anthesia paralysis. I’ve been told that yes, the person had them out as a child, and yet the person remembers it as the most vividly horrifying experience of the person’s life.

I enjoy this.

I do because I’m going to have my tonsils out in less than three weeks.

So please, by all means tell me:

I had my tonsils out and I threw up so much blood, they had to give me all new blood and then my head fell off.

-or-

I was scheduled to get my tonsils removed and the doctors accidentally removed my larynx instead. They replaced it with the mechanical voice box of a talking Barbie. Math class is hard. Tee-hee.

-or-

I had my tonsils removed and now I can’t stop scatting. Zoop-de-flee, zoop-de-fly.

-or-

I had my tonsils out and they went on to win The Voice and refused to get me into the after party.

-or-

I had my tonsils out and now they’re seeing someone else and have even proposed. What does that person’s throat have that mine doesn’t?

That one especially hurts. Get it? Get it?

Because it’s the worst pain in the history of pain in the history of surgeries in the history of vomiting blood.

If you don’t believe, just tell someone you’re getting your tonsils removed.