Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Calling All Parents

Father and Mother Osmond

I'm now blogging without the assistance or hindrance of my recent secretarial aide, my father. For future reference in this column, unless I'm quoting myself  addressing him, my father shall henceforth be known as "John." This is for the sake of brevity and clarity. If I say 'dad" or 'father," I have to add a modifier of  "my,"  because I otherwise may be referring either to someone else's parent or be using the term in a general sense. if I refer to my own father as 'John," we all know about whom I'm talking. On the rare occasion on which I refer to another john besides my father, i will identify said John in such a way that it is clear I'm not talking about my John.. If John happens to read this later, he should console himself with the promise that I shall continue to afford him the respect of calling him "Dad" or "Daddy" when I address him. but is that sufficiently respectful?

On an only slightly related note,  I shall share with readers a rather odd anecdote. In the original Osmond family, as in with  Donny, Marie, Jay, Wayne, Alan, Jimmy, Merrill, and a pair of deaf brothers as the kids, and George and Olive as the parents, referring to their parents as "Mom and Dad," "Mommy and Daddy," or anything along those lines was forbidden. According to the opinion of George Osmond, patriarch of the pack [I wonder of "Patriarch" and "Patriarchess'' would have been acceptable alternatives to George Osmond] because we do not refer to our "Father in Heaven" as "Daddy" on the supposed grounds that such would be disrespectful, it likewise would be disrespectful for the Osmond spawn to refer to George as anything less formal than "Father," or to their mother, "Olive," as anything other than "Mother." For the record, George and Olive have passed on, so the point has become largely academic in the case of the Osmonds.

Incidentally,  members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that God has a wife ["In the heavens, are parents single? No! The thought makes reason stare!" That's a direct quote from a hymn. I'll probably be sued for copyright infringement..] , or maybe two or three or more, but one can be tossed out of formal church membership, AKA excommunicated, for speaking too freely about this supposed (or one of these supposed)"Mother(s) in Heaven." 

If you do not believe me, go into an LDS Church (a recent memo has dictated that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not to be referred to either as "The Mormon Church" or "The LDS Church," but there's not a whole heaping lot that the Mormon Church can do to me for referring to them any damn way I please) and somehow get yourself invited to give one of the many group prayers that will be offered throughout the three-hour mind- and butt-numbing marathon.  You'll notice that prayers characteristically begin with  "Our Father in Heaven," "Our Heavenly Father, "Our Father Who Art in Heaven," "O God, the Eternal Father,"   "Our Father Who Sits on his Butt on His Throne in in Heaven Spitting Sunflower Seeds Down on Those of us Here on Earth,"  "Our Father Which art in Heaven," (I've never understood the  LDS use of the pronoun which in  this sense in terms of when we typically use who and when we typically use which; are we referring to God as an object,  as opposed to an actual being, in which case would that not be a form of making unto ourselves graves images?) or any other of the various and sundry salutations.

 Start your prayer, instead, with "Our Father and Mother in Heaven," "Our Father and Mother Who (or Which) Art in Heaven, " or "Our Dear Heavenly Father and Mother."  If you want to see the fur fly even faster, reverse the order: try "O God, the Eternal Mother and Father" in order to cut the monotony. watch what happens. Two to one, you won't even be allowed to finish your prayer. Either someone will start it all over and finish it for you, or the meeting will go prayerless  just this once.

How important is the form of  reference to a parent? Should an offspring address a parent by his or her first name?  Is Mom, Dad or some other essentially affectionate form of parental address acceptable? Or should a parent only be referred to as "Mother" or "Father" because that's how we typically refer to God?

I'm curious as to the opinions of others.

Monday, July 28, 2014

a few more contractions and a doctor with sub-zero social skills

Sometimes you can just see the crazy in a doctor. (This is just a sample picture, BTW)

Jillian had a few more contractions yesterday morning, but they gave her more progesterone, which stopped them. her cervix is still as it should be. There is no leakage and no membranes have ruptured. they're shooting for a 36-week pregnancy, but they'll be happy for anything from 26 weeks on. Today she's 21 weeks officially. the plan is just to keep the progesterone levels higher. The first dose they gave her was minimal.

She had a very rude OBGYN was covering yesterday and happened to be on the floor when the contractions started. She was having trouble breathing, so the RN was reaching for the oxygen tubes, but the doctor stopped her. he got right in my aunt's face - actually put one hand on the aide of each of her face -- and practically yelled at her, "Just STOP it! Breathe normally. I've had it to HERE with girls who think they have asthma and go into attack mode the moment the first thing goes wrong. Just STOP it and breathe normally NOW!"

Pseudouncle asked the doctor if he had seen Jillian's chart. The doctor answered that there hadn't been time for looking at any charts. Pseudouncle argued with him that unless a patient is bleeding out seizing, stroking, or in acute cardiac distress, there's ALWAYS time to look at a chart.  He plucked her chart from the clamp that held it next to the door. on the outside cover of the file, in  red letters so bold and large that it could have been read clearly from  ten or more feet away , was printed "CYSTIC FIBROSIS."  "You didn't even need to take the file off the wall to see this!" pseudouncle exclaimed.  "And even if it had been asthma, there was no reason to speak in such a manner to her, and it certainly wasn't going to make anything better. Don't you ever speak that way to my wife again. In fact, don't ever speak to my wife again. I have access to a truckload of doctors. If  XXXXXX isn't available, I'll find someone else to take care of her. I'll deliver the kid myself before I'll let you touch her. And work on your bedside manner while you're at it!"

The jerk walked away, muttering "Doctors' families are always the hardest to deal with."

"That's because we know we don't put up with your bullshit!" Scott yelled at him.

A group of nurses and employees had formed an audience. They applauded in unison as the jerk walked away.

"Don't you people have work to do?" he shouted at them.

The charge nurse of the shift  answered, "You take care of your business and I'll manage my staff."

All day nurses kept coming up to pseudouncle and high-fiving him. He apparently lacks interpersonal skills when it comes to the nursing staff as well. In terms of physician skill, he's supposedly competent -- not anything that would earn him awards or world acclaim, but in possession of the basic technical skills an OBGYN should possess. He's such a jerk, though, that the nurses say they can't figure out why any woman would CHOOSE him as her doctor. the nurses curse under their breath (or over their breath0 when they know he's coming for a delivery. he's also a doctor who complains vociferously if he's called two minutes earlier than he needs to be called. He wants to walk in the second the baby is ready to make its exit. Consequently, he either spends a lot of time standing around cursing in front of laboring patients and expectant fathers (when pseudouncle used a few four letter words to the jerk, it was 5:00 a.m.. and no patients or family were present) because he has to wait two to five minutes after he's scrubbed up before his services are a technical necessity, not that there isn't help  he couldn't  contribute if he were not lazy and uncaring.

He's had several lawsuits because patients didn't wish to pay his full fee because he didn't make it to the hospital on time and wasn't physically present for babies' births, leaving the delivery to nurses and interns. (He missed a delivery yesterday morning just before his encounter with Jillian, which may have contributed to his foul mood. Jillian's brother Timmy, who has hospital privileges only as a physician's assistant because he's completing an internship with another hospital, but worked in the local E.R. for two summers, delivered the healthy baby without incident.) 

In most cases everything came out fine; In one case, a baby's shoulder and collarbone were damaged because it was a particularly difficult delivery;  the injury might have happened even had he been present, but presumably his expertise should have been a benefit in easing the baby out. He's lucky it was just a  clavicle, shoulder, and arm, which should heal, and not something that would have caused cerebral palsy or other brain damage. He's trying to claim that it's just Mother Nature at work, and that babies come when they come, but the nurses have documentation that he demands to be called later than any other OBGYN on staff. He'll fight it, but he'll  end up losing the delivery portion of his customary fees, and his insurance company will have to pay a  settlement on the baby with the injured arm. shoulder and collarbone.  The insurance carrier has to be getting somewhat irked with him. Hospital policy will probably change so that the charge nurse of the shift makes the call as to when the doctor is to be summoned regardless of the doctors' instructions, which is probably a good thing.

Jillian's pulmonary medical specialist was also called, as is customary with comorbid (those with multiple diagnoses requiring different medical specialists) patients. He came in, assessed the situation, determined that things were under control with Jillian, then called the personal phone number of Jillian's OBGYN because calling the office number would have only gotten him to the answering service and to the jerk. Jillian's OBGYN may have been irritated at being awakened at 5:40 on his day off, but the pulmonary specialist didn't care. He apparently totally ranted about the jerk. Jillian's OBGYN, once he woke up enough to be coherent, said that he, too, was sick of the guy. He would offer to buy him out of the practice. If the guy refused the offer, he'd up the offer a bit, and if that didn't work, he'd either threaten to take him to court to have him removed from the practice with or without compensation or would disband the practice and reincorporate it under a new name with the other three doctors.  In the meantime, he would meet with the other doctors and reach an agreement that they would refuse to have him cover their patients. If he only had his own patients to care for, his finances would suffer to the extent that  he  could not survive financially without taking the buy-out and relocating to an area of greater need of OBGYN services.

The pulmonary specialist  also mentioned referring him to the hospital physicians' review board. If the man were to lose privileges at the hospital, he would be automatically out of the practice, because maintaining privileges at the local hospital is a prerequisite for being a partner in the practice, and losing privileges at the hospital removes him from the partnership with his only compensation being the buy-in fees he paid (less if the practice has diminished in value, though it hasn't).  That was pseudoaunt's idea, as she's read up on medical and hospital law in her free time since Scott got his license to practice medicine.

Anyway, there haven't been contractions for over thirty hours. Jillian's still on bed rest. The hope is that she will still go home Wednesday with  medical support.  She was a bit unsettled after the second set of contractions, but she's positive again. She knows she absolutely needs to get to week 26 to not have a really precarious situation, and that week 36 will give her a baby who goes home from the hospital on the same day she does.  her doctor has told her the best thing she can do is to follow all orders, eat everything she can, and be happy. She's giving it her best shot. She's not eating regular hospital food because the director of nurses, who is a close friend of the family, says a picky eater can't gain weight on normal hospita fod. sometimes food is brought in, but the director of nurses has examined the schedule and has picked out someone she knows who can cook on each shift to leave their other duties and to go in and prepar4e food for Jillian. it ticks off the director of food services, but when I was in the hospital they served me scrambled eggs that were overcooked (and I like mine sort of well-cooked anyway, but not THAT rubbery) to the extent that when the director of nurses took them into the kitchen and dropped them on the floor, they actually  bounced.  Pseudoaunt is picky as I am, so she has special cooks preparing her food. The director of nurses cooks if she's physically present, The other cooks are mostly black people, but there's also a sort of  Okie cleaning woman (she cooked for me, and she is good; the director of nursing wants to set her up in a part-time catering business in addition to her custodial duties), a Greek lady from the finance office, and an Italian man who's an X-ray tech,  on the cooking rotation. Olive, the director of nursing, says the other cooks enjoy the break from the monotony of their regular jobs.

Tonight a lot of musicians are going to Jillian's room to throw together a concert. I'm not allowed to mentioned names, but a broadway star, related to Scott by marriage, will supposedly be there. My dad said I can go if I'm feeling OK. I'm resting most of the day. I won't even complain if they make me travel in a wheelchair. 

I really need to travel north to look at the condo. My aunt is furnishing it, so I'm sure it will be fine, but it would be good if I could at least see it. I'm hoping I'll be able to go by next week.  My Godfather is paying for weekly housecleaning services, which is a huge break for us. All we'll really have to do is pick up after ourselves and do the dishes and personal laundry. Housekeeping will even wash our bedding and towels. It has a nice dishwasher, but it still has to be loaded and unloaded, and Matthew's not fond of either of those tasks. Maybe I'll do that if he'll be really  good about taking out the trash.

I'll let you know how tonight's impromptu concert goes. 


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Is having a baby ever routine?

This is the first outfit I ordered for Baby Andrew, The cat's out of the bag in terms of the name because pseudounc  unthinkingly mentioned it in a /FB post.

My pseudoaunt went into labor early this morning. The doctors were able to stop the contractions with hormones. It's good that the hormones did the job, because tocolytic medications only buy time - maybe two or three weeks at most -- and two or three weeks wouldn't do this baby any good. they did find  out in an ultrasound that she may be further along than was originally thought. They're now thinking 20 weeks, which, if mother nature or lunatics in doctors offices do not interfere, will have the baby being born close to her birthday of November 30 or just a bit before. Mothers with cF usually deliver a couple of weeks early. the official date their giving her now is December 13. that is, of course, with all of our fingers crossed that the baby makes it anywhere near there.

Scott was starting to lose it ab bit earlier today. He thinks it's his fault for not pushing harder for that receptionist to have been fired the last time she was rude to pseudoaunt. Ever since the lady was reprimanded for locking pseudoaunt into the radiation wing and her co-worker and friend was fired for leaving Jillian in there unattended -- there's no cell reception, so she was stuck -- she has had it in for Jillian. She's even been rude to Scott. When he just worked in the office as a resident, that was bad enough, but as a fellow, he was sort of one of her bosses. Scott felt that it was his fault in part that Jillian ever had to deal with the woman again. His siblings who live in Utah are flying out to California to support him, so we hope that will help. Jillian doesn't need him having a nervous breakdown, although I understand where he's coming from and totally feel for him. 

his employer is being totally accommodating. /For one thing, he's not really fit to treat patients, so what's the point of having him come into the office? They have him double-checking radiology reports in the hospital. It's busy work that they invented just so they could say they have something for him to do, and he can do it at the hospital. They told him to do it when he can and not to worry about it if Jillian needs his attention or if he's feeling stressed.

My most recent significant other has gotten a furlough from his intern program so that he can help take care of Jillian. It's not as though there's no one else to care for her, but he is her closest brother, so maybe it's a good idea.

I thought having a baby was supposed to be routine in this day and age. Maybe nothing in life is truly routine, ever.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Worse Doctor's Office than the Ones I Visit

Crazy is as crazy does.

My pseudoaunt had an appointment with her pulmonary specialist this morning. I called at about 1:30 to find out how things had gone. She didn't answer her phone. I thought it was a bit odd, as she doesn't typically go anywhere after doctor appointments because the appointments themselves make her tired. I called again twenty minutes later, and there was still no answer.

I mentioned this to Stephanie, the mother in the house where I was staying. She's pseudoaunt's sister-in-law. She called Jared to come help his sister watch their younger siblings, then drove over to pseudoaunt's house. When she got to pseuduoaunt's house, she found pseudoaunt on her bed, sobbing hysterically to the point that she was having difficulty breathing. She had taken an oxygen tank from the closet and was using it to to aid her breathing .Stephanie  dialed 911. Pseudoaunt was trying to tell her not to call 911, but couldn't really talk. Stephanie then called pseudouncle's place of work, identified herself, and said that pseudouncle's wife was having a medical emergency. The receptionist said that he was busy with a patient and could not be disturbed, and offered to take a message. Stephanie then asked to speak with pseudoaunt's primary care physicial/pulmonary specialist, who works in the same practice. The receptionist said that he, too, was, busy. Stephannie reiterated that this was a major medical emergency.  The receptionist, according to Stephanie, was very flippant with her , and answered something to the effect of  "For all you know, the patient the doctor is with right now is having a major medical emergency. Give me a number, and I'll have one of them return you call as soon as it is convenient."

At the point the paramedics arrived.  Stephanie didn't realized Jilllian had already called 911. They loaded Jillian into the ambulance and started an IV.  While they were still at pseudoaunt's house, a paramedic called pseudouncle's office.  It seemed that the receptionist didn't really believe it was a paramedic and tried to give him a reason why he could not speak to either of the two doctors, but a certified nurse's assistant walked past, overheard the paramedic's voice, and picked up another phone and punched into that line.She interrupted the receptionist to find out what was the problem. She immediately yelled for both doctors, who left their patients, punched into the line, and got the information that pseudoaunt was being transported to the local hospital for some sort of respiratory distress. Two doctors remained at the office, while pseudouncle and pseudoaunt's doctor ran to the hospital, which is faster than driving in times when parking spaces aren't guaranteed. One of the paramedics was the pseudos' next-door-neightbor, so Stephanie felt comfortable letting him accompany pseudoaunt to the hospital. Stephanie drove there.

Once the ER staff got pseudoaunt's breathing stabilized, they were able to slowly sort out what went wrong. They had to do it slowly because just discussing it seemed to upset pseudoaunt.

Roughly two years ago, pseudoaunt was locked in the radioloogy wing of the pulmonary office. The wing deadbolts with a key, and there's not a way to open the doors from the inside. The employees had forgotten about her and had gone to lunch. The receptionist was the employee who had actually deadbolted the doors. The person who deadbolts the wing is not supposed to do so without thorughly checking to ensure that no one is still in the room. Additionally, a telephone land line is to be hooked up in the wing at all times because cell phone reception is not possible in the room, and someone had failed to bring in the land line phone. Another employee had been responsible for the care of pseudoaunt when she was undergoing whatever radiological procedure she has having. That employee lost her job, not so much because of closing psuedoaunt into the building for the ninety minutes or so that she was there, as accidents do happen, but because her response was casual and not appropriately apologetic.  The employee who was terminated was a close friend of the present receptionist.

The receptionist had to work with Scott to some degree when he was a resident, but he didn't have all that much authority as a resident, so as long as she didn't outrightly defy him, he let it go. He told Stephanie that he did  say to her in June after she rolled her eyes when he asked her to get a particular patient's file that things were going to change in July when he was no longer a resident. she commented, 'Resident -- fellow, there's really not much difference as far as I'm concerned."

Scott said he told her she was free to  her own perceptions, but there would be repercussions if she
continued to be disrespectful once he was promoted to his fellowship. She responded with, "Whatever." Scott told the senior member of the practice. The senior member offered to speak with her. Scott said that wouls be great, but he really didn't care as long as he was backed up if she opposed him and refused to take direction from him. The senior member said that Scott would have the same power to fire her that any other doctor employed there did.

This morning Jillian arrived about fifteen minutes early for her appointment. Her doctor -- the senior partner --  had pictures from a recent trip to Fiji that he wanted her to see. He had her sit in a chair behind the counter to look at them. He went to see his next patient, and the receptionist returned to the area.  When she saw Jillian seated behind the counter, she sort of went ballistic. "Just because your husband is a fellow now doesn't give you the run of the place."

Another patient who had seen her doctor seat her behind the counter tried to explain, but the receptionist wanted to hear none of that lady's explanation. Jillian stood and said, 'I'll wait in my husband's office for my appointment."

The receptionist blocked the hallway and said, 'You're not going past this point." Jillian looked around, saw no one who could help, and left.  The receptionist put away Jillian's file. The morning was busy, and no one noticed that Jillian had not been seen by a doctor.

As soon as she got home, Jillian called Scott's cell number. Scott had apparently left his cell phone on a back counter. The receptionist answered with, "Dr. XXX's phone. He's not available right now. How may I help you?"

Jillian asked to speak to Scott.. The receptionist responded that he was busy with patients. Jillian hung up. She sat on her bed with her dog on the bed with her. She began to cry, and then started having trouble breathing. She dialed 911 for assistance, then went for her portable oxygen tank. At this point Stephanie arrived. Jillian couldn't talk well enough to tell Stephanie that she'd already called 911. The dispatcher eventually figured but it was the same emergency for which they had just received a call.

Pseudouncle and pseudoaunt's doctor arrived at the ER just  before the ambulance did. After less than an hour, her breathing and all vitals were stable. Her OBGYN came as well. He said that she was very quick-thinking to grab the portable oxygen tank so. She's breathing for the baby, too, so a consistent oxygen supply is critical.

Once the whole matter was sorted out, Scott asked the senior partner, "May  I fire Norma now?'

The senior partner, Jillian's doctor, said, "Of course we're going to fire her ass."

Scott said, 'No. I don't think you understand.  I  personally want to be the one to fire her."

"Go for it," Jillian's doctor told him. Jillian's dad was there by that time. He took Jillian home once her OBGYN released her. Pseudouncle said he'd be home as soon as he took care of a bit of business at the office. He walked briskly in the direction of the office, and through the door.

No patients remained in the office.. Scott asked another doctor to step into the empty reception area with him to act as a witness, although cameras with sound catch everything that's said or done were in that part of the office. "Mrs. Cervantes, I need to speak with you in the reception area,"  Scott called to Norma.

"I'm taking a break. I can talk to you in about ten minutes," she answered.

The other doctor called out, "Mrs. Cervantes, we need to see you now !"

At the sound of the other doctor's voice, she quickly got up. " I was just kidding. I was on my way in here," she attempted to ease her way through the situation once she realized another doctor was involved. She walked into the reception area. She started to sit down.

"Don't get comfortable," pseudouncle told her. "You're fired, effective immediately.  I'll ask the others to gather boxes so that you can collect your belongings. You'll need to be out of here in ten minutes starting right now.  " That would be 3:14 exactly."

"You can't fire me, you little prick. You're not even a real doctor here," Norma replied.

The other doctor took a few steps down the hall, then returned. He held up pseudouncle's medical doctorate diploma and license to practice medicine. "As far as you're concerned, lady, he's a real doctor, and you no longer work here."

Your final paycheck will be delivered by courier by 6:00 today," the other doctor told Norma.

Norma sniffled as she slowly put her belongings into boxes other employees had gathered from a supply room.  'I'll need your key," Scott told her.

"You'll get the key when I get around to giving it to you and not a moment sooner," she huffed at pseudouncle. A nurse picked up her keys off the counter, removed the office key, handed it to Scott, and put the other keys back on the counter.

"We're done to five minutes. Move it along. Let us know if you need help, because you're leaving with whatever you can carry at 3:14."

""You'll be  hearing from my lawyer," Norma huffed as she carried her first box out.

"What a coincidence," pseudouncle answered. "You'll be hearing from my wife's lawyer, too." That may or may not be the truth.

As Norma returned to collect her second box, the other doctor picked up the third and final box, carried it out the door, and set it down next to Norma's white Lexus.  "She'll have a tough time finding another job that will pay for these wheels," the other doctor commented as she sped away.

Pseudoaunt is home and fine.  She does have to put up with having her dad babysit her for a few days. Scott has been given tomorrow off to stay home with her.The OBGYN is confident the baby underwent no distress, mainly because Jillian grabbed the supplementary oxygen so quickly.

Jillian was really shaken up by the incident, but at least Norma is gone and cannot give her additional grief at the office.

Alexis in the Sky with Dilaudid

the girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Life is somewhat complicated at the moment. My personal issues are the least of the problems. My dad had a 2-day conference up the highway a couple of hundred miles. My recovery seemed to be coming along nicely enough that it should have been OK for my mom to accompany him. My brother and cousin would be here in any emergency. In an emergency, of course, they wouldn't be able to do a damn thing to help other than to call 911 or to frighten away an intruder with a baseball bat, but that's better than nothing.

About 6:00, roughly two hours after my parents left, my midsection started cramping somewhere between extremely uncomfortably and excruciatingly.  I told my brother and my cousin. My brother, pre-med student that he is, decided to check my vitals. He checked my temp, which was 97.2, which may or may not have been significant, but wasn't indicative of anything serious. He checked my blood pressure, which was 90 over 50. That's a bit low, but my pressure runs a bit low. Then again, it could have been an indication of internal bleeding. Then again, it also could have been an indication that my brother sucks at taking people's blood pressure. My cousin Josh asked if me it was that time of the month. It wasn't, and I told him. His question did at least cause color to return to my face, as Matthew, my brother, noted that my previously ashen face was pinker than my bright pink pillow case.

Matthew, my brother, brought in the list of numbers to call. He called my parents' cells first, but only got voice mail. Next he called Dr. Kent, Jared's dad, who had  assisted on my most recent surgery and had performed other surgeries on me. His went to voice mail as well. They left a text there. Next they called GastroMan from Purgatory, who actually picked up.

Matthew talked to him first. Gastroman asked Matthew all about vitals. Matthew delighted in telling about how pale I was until Cousin Josh asked if it was my time of the month. I could hear laughter on the other end of the phone. Sadistic bastards, every one of them.

Gastroman asked to talk to me. He inquired about the location of the pain, the intensity (that scale of 1 to 10 of which they're so fond; if I'm in enough pain to be asked that question, I'm in too much pain to give a lucid answer, and I always pluck a random number out of my head. I think I said eight this time, which actually was probably pretty close. He asked if it was constant, or if it was a cramping nature. He asked questions about gastric function and bleeding.

He said he would come to my house himself except that he was taking his kids to a movie and had already canceled on them once, and would rather not again. He said he would call around and see if he could get someone else to check on me, but if he couldn't find anyone, his kids would have to go to the late showing of the movie, which would be fine with them but would seriously p!$$ off their mother He told me to hang in there for a few minutes, and someone would be in touch. He said if anything got worse or if there was any bleeding, to call him back immediately.

About three minutes later, I received a call from Dr. Kent, Jared's dad. He said that he had been in the shower when my brother left the text message and was in the process of calling me back when GastroMan called him. Dr. Kent told Jared to pack my toothbrush, slippers, extra pjs and undies, and anything else I thought I needed, and to drive me to his house.

I fell going down the stairs, but Matthew caught me, and Josh carried me to the car. I slept in Jared's bed, and Jared went to my house and spent the night there with the guys. It wasn't bad because Jared's mom changed his sheets, and she makes him keep his room clean.

After a [too] thorough exam, Dr. Kent said it was just cramping  that is a normal process of recovery once the colon starts working again. Because everything was working a little too well, Dr. Kent said there was no danger in giving me reasonably strong painkillers. Narcotics can slow the work of the intestines, but there was no danger, apparently, that would be caused by a bit of that happening in my case. Dr. Kent gave me good drugs. I was soon in my happy place, and the night was over as far as I was concerned.

I would never want to be a junkie, because if you become addicted to the good drugs, it takes more and more of them  --  eventually an unsafe level -- to stop the pain and achieve the desired effect. I want the good drugs to work when they're needed.

I'm occupying Jared's bed until my parents return home late tomorrow. I don't think Jared minds. My parents carefully inventory the liquor cabinet, but they won't complain about one or two Guinnesses per occupant being consumed as long as no one drives afterward. Jared's father has given in. He knows his son has discovered beer. His goal now is to come down heavily on the side of safe and moderate drinking versus the standards LDS line, which is, "All alcohol consumption is of the Devil. Don't even keep mouthwash in your mouth for more than a nanosecond."

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Gasteroenterologist from Purgatory

how a GastroMan spends his spare time

The gastroenterologist from Hell paid me a visit today.  I've upgraded his title to "The Gastroenterologist from Purgatory."  He said someone told him I feel really lousy anytime I have to leave the house, so he actually did a house call. Pretty much every word that came out of his mouth today was civil. If he maintains this sort of behavior, he may soon find himself permanently off my Demonic List.

The doctor said to give it until next Monday, then to force myself out of the house, even if it's only for short trips to the beach, and even if I have to sleep for three hours after I get home. He reminded me not to fall asleep on the beach. he didn't really need to tell me that, as a friend of mine from the dorm did that, and had the most severe sunburn I've even seen.  he told me not to go to the beach by myself unless I see a group of people there who appear to be students, and I'm comfortable sitting very near them. I already knew that as well, but I acted as though he was giving me particularly sage advice.

He complimented me on my  room decor.  He said he'd never seen a kid's bedroom with a grand piano in it. He also told me he'd never seen a home with three grand pianos. I told him my parents were considering purchasing a fourth piano -- this one  for the third story landing right outside the master  bedroom. He looked at me as though I was criminally insane. I told him it wasn't my idea and  thought it was just as ridiculous as he thought it was. He responded that he never said he thought it was nuts. I told him that he didn't have to say it; I could tell by the expression on his face that he thought the whole concept was bat-shit crazy. He just laughed and said that when the big earthquake hits, he hopes he's not in our house.  "You and me both, " I told him.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why John Is Over-Protective


Long, long ago -- when I was twelve and in the second semester of my eighth  grade year, to be precise --  I became acquainted online with what some people called a child predator.  It didn't start out that way. I didn't go to a child predator website and announce that I was up for grabs. I had been warned about perverts, but I thought a person had to go to special child pron sites to meet these people. I didn't understand that the deviates visited regular sites looking for little girls, or, in some places, little boys.

I first made acquaintanceship with my personal pervert on a violin website. Initially the two of us discussed violin technique. The discussions moved to violin makes, models, and sizes. The predator expressed concern that I was not using the correct size violin. He was right. I was using my mother's violin, which was a full size, and was actually  a bit big even for her. I probably should have been using a half-size instrument which, incidentally, doesn't literally mean that it's half the size of a full-size violin. It's just the system by which they're sized numerically, and the system doesn't necessarily make any sense. The man determined (correctly, as it turned out)  what my violin size should be by having me send him a photograph of myself with my mom's violin, in addition to various body measurements. Some of the measurements he requested were legitimate for the purpose of determine violin size. Others were useless for that purpose and served only to fuel his sick desires.
He had already learned from our early contacts  what was my general geographical location  from the music store at which I told him I made my purchases. This was just about violins, right? Why would there be anything sinister in asking about a person's violin specifications of any sort? Then he asked me who my violin teachers were. My mom was my only private teacher; I didn't mention her.  I told him my school violin teacher's name. I didn't name the school, but I didn't need to. The man had compiled a list of teachers and which schools they served. By naming my school strings teacher, I had narrowed my school down to one of two.  

It was about at this point that my creep factor kicked in, but it was basically too late. The man had everything he needed to locate me. It was just a matter of time. I knew there was a problem, but thought maybe I could manage it by staying in large groups. I had in my mind what I thought a predator should look like, and I kept my eyes open for such a person.  What I didn't quite understand was that predators, perverts, or their ilk are not necessarily easily spotted by physical appearance alone.  I was watching carefully for anyone following me on my way home from school, but he was better at following me without being watched than I was at watching for him.

By eighth grade, my brother and I were latchkey kids. We had a safe neighborhood, and neighbors looked out for each other's children. No degree of looking out for each other's kids, however, could guarantee a child's safety in such a situation.

The predator had determined my address, and he sent me a letter through the U.S. postal service. Because I usually got  home before my parents, I saw the letter first. Just seeing the typed letter with no return address gave me a sick feeling, but I opened it, hoping for the best. I was not so lucky. In the letter, the predator told me that  by now, I probably realized that I had done something extremely foolish in giving out the information I had given. If I told my parents, I would be in serious trouble. If he told my parents, I would be in serious trouble. He recommended that I meet with him just once after school in two days so that he could explain to me in detail just how dangerous my behavior had been  and also so that he could correctly measure me for violin size.  He told me where and when we were to meet

I knew at that point that I was in way over my head. It occurred to me that the bad guy, and I was pretty certain by this point that my "violin expert" was a bad guy, could be sitting outside my house at that moment. He could grab my brother as my brother walked through the yard, and could use my brother's key to gain entrance.  He could just break a window, as my brother wouldn't be home for another hour or so due to baseball practice.  I wasn't safe in the house by myself, and  I wasn't safe outside of the house traveling elsewhere. I knew I had to tell my parents, but I tried to delay the inevitable. I had a friend who lived around the corner. I picked up the phone and dialed my friend's number.

Megan, like I, was one of the few members of our little group of friends who did not yet have our own cell phones. She answered the land line. I told her I needed to talk to her mom. Her mom was in the bathroom but eventually made it to the phone. I  hid behind the blinds in the living room looking outside for anyone strange as I waited for my friend Megan's mom to come to the phone. Megan's mother eventually made it to the phone.

Her first impulse was to call the police immediately. I could not see either of my parents reacting calmly to hearing this news for the first time from law enforcement personnel, so I talked Megan's mother into bringing me to her house while we called one of my parents. Megan's mom told me to stay put until she arrived at my door to get me. Even when she got to the door, rang the doorbell, knocked, and hollered, "It's Megan's mom. Alexis," I was reluctant to answer the door, but I eventually did.

Megan's mom put her arm around me and walked me around the corner, across the street, and into to her house, after which she promptly locked the door. "Okay," she said, "Which parent do you want to call?"

 It was an easy choice for me. "My mom,' I told her. "I''ll dial. Do you want to talk?" She said yes. I dialed and let her speak to the various receptionists at the school district office where my mom worked, all of whom told her my mother was in a meeting that couldn't be disturbed. she explained that it was an emergency of the 9-1-1- variety that involved my mother's child, but still no one would interrupt the meeting. i had the feeling that she could have told the receptionists i had been hit by a car and was in the Intensive Care ward  at the local hospital, yet their responses would have been the same.

I cried because  knew it meant my dad had to be called. I knew my dad would not take this information well. Still, he had to be called. I dialed his cell number and handed the phone to Megan's mom. She explained to my dad that I had experienced a bit of a scare and that my parents might wish to involve law enforcement. He was working just ten minute way on that particular day and said he would leave immediately. He commented to Megan's mother, "I'm just curious. Usually Alexis would have asked for he mom to be called first in a situation like this one." Megan's mom explained that the school  district receptionists had refused to interrupt her in a meeting. Megan's mother said he sounded angry as he told her, "Erin will be there, too."

A few minutes later, my mom pulled up in front of Megan's house. She came to the door. Megan's mother encouraged her to wait inside until my dad arrived, which he did shortly. He had parked his car in our garage and walked over to Megan's house. My parents thanked Megan's mom, and the three of us walked to our house together.

As soon as we entered the house, I showed my parents the letter. My dad called 9-1-1. He suggested that the man could be watching, and it might be wise to arrive in an unmarked car to avoid tipping off the pervert. My dad told the dispatcher to have the officer park in our garage, which he did when he showed up a few minutes later.

The officer was concerned that my brother might be in danger, so Matthew was picked up in an unmarked car and delivered home. Matthew is  still mad at me seven years later because he had to leave practice early that day.

The officers took as much information as they could get. They told my parents someone from the D.A.'s office or the FBI or some task force would be in contact soon, probably  the next day. The men in suits showed up at school the next morning. The school, which wouldn't even let my mother out of a meeting yesterday to deal with the situation, now wanted to be right in the thick of everything. One of the suits assured the vice principal that this had nothing whatsoever to do with the school except that school personnel should be on alert for an unfamiliar vehicle lurking near the premises. We left and moved the meeting to our home.

The men in suits were very interested in which computer or computers i had used. I was only allowed access to the den computer at that time. The men in suits checked it out thoroughly there, but also took the computer with them for further analysis. it was something like three months before we gt the computer back.

Results of the investigation were that the guy had a lot of irons in the fire but that he had yet to pull off a successful operation.  He was found outside the school entrance/exit I would have taken, and was traveling the route back and forth between the school and my house. His prints matched prints on the letter that was sent to me. All the computer communications matched up as well.  The charges that he faced in relation to my case were minor compared to some of the others. He was identified as having called children over to his car in a neighboring town and as having exposed himself to the school children on their way to school, among other things. Authorities had reasons to believe that the predator had much larger plans in his grand schemes.

My parents were extremely angry with me, yet not entirely unsympathetic. when i had a nightmare that night, they  were quick to come in to my room  and offer comfort. They did take a rather martyred stance, informing me that they had every right to beat me but were, out of the goodness of their hearts, deferring that right in favor of not letting me near a computer for the foreseeable future.This may have seemed a small price to pay; however, I was, for all practical intents and purposes, isolated from the world. I was reduced to face-to-face contact with friends, as my parents' archaic style of parenting didn't even allow my brother and me to have cell phones at the time. To the other students at our school, I was viewed similarly to the way most of today's teens would view the adolescents at Warren Jeffs' Yearning for Zion or Colorado City/Hilldale compounds. (No one ever actually said this to me. They didn't need to, because I could see it in their eyes.) Furthermore, who in his or her right mind would attempt a worthwhile conversation on a land line with parents eagerly hanging on to each spoken word?I will say for myself that I used my time of virtual incarceration wisely. The most significant of my achievements was to expose the woeful inadequacies of the libraries of the middle and high schools I attended. As I was not granted access to computer-based research, I was relegated to relying upon encylopediae and other ancient primary sources. I once authored a paper on the topic of "The Lunar Expedition." My concluding sentence was something to the effect of, "Some day man may actually land and walk upon the moon." My teacher, of course, tried to give me a failing grade on the paper, but was forced to concede when he could not find a single piece of non-computer-based literature in the school library that contradicted my concluding sentence. The only actual encyclopedia the library offered was printed in 1968, and was kept as sort of a relic for the purpose of showing students how research was collected in prehistoric times. The only actual books the library held were works of fiction.

As I was required to write research papers without the use of technology, I had the unfortunate experience of using a typewriter. Most people have no idea just how difficult it is to use a typewriter. My style of keyboarding is to type at an extremely rapid rate but to make more errors than  be counted by a single person. This works perfectly well when using a computer if a person proofreads well, but when typing on a typewriter, corrections must be made using either a correction ribbon on the machine or with liquid paper, both of which add thickness and weight to the paper. When someone makes as many errors as I usually do, each sheet of paper weighs around ten ounces by the time the corrections have been made. 

I eventually made a deal with my brother to take all of his turns at doing the dishes for two weeks for each of my papers he typed. At the expense of belaboring the FLDS analogy, with the exception of Warren Jeffs' wives and other females at the compound, I was one of the youngest people in the nation with dishpan hands. My parents eventually allowed me extremely limited computer access. I was first allowed to use the computer to type school assignments, then to do limited Internet research when a parent was in the room with me. Less than a year ago I was allowed to have a Twitter page giving only the vaguest indication of my geographic location. (For the record, I used and continue to use my actual first name but a different surname.) My parents have put some sort of control (censorship) on all of our home computers so that every keystroke I make is recorded. They said that they really didn't care what awful things I say about them as long as Chris Matthews or whatever that "To Catch a Sexual Predator" guy's name is doesn't show up with his producers and say they want to film an encounter with me and the latest predator with whom I've been in contact.

I'm now a legal adult and am free to  do whatever I want with a computer as long as it's legal.  The strange thing about parents, though, is that they don't stop worrying just because their children are over eighteen. I keep peace in my home by letting my dad have my passwords. He's still concerned that the violin pervert or another one equally creepy will someday find me. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Water Saver Faucet Company Motto: Go at home or don't go at all.

A Chicago company is rationing bathroom breaks and issuing warnings of disciplinary actions, including suspensions and firings, for excessive use of the bathrooms.  Water Saver Faucet Company* has deemed excessive use to be an average of six minutes a day over a ten day period, or a totla of sixty minutes in ten days of work. The company keeps track of its' workers commode time by restricting commode access unless the worker slides his or her bar coded pass through the reader at the commode door.

i don't even know where to begin to address this one. it wuld seem that failure to deal with either bladder or bowel needs culd cause potential long-term health issues. Then, at the risk of indelicacy, some of Water Saver Faucet Company's employees are presumably female, and , as such, have certain periodicneeds related to bathroom visits. is this being taken into account.

If I worked there, -- which I don't, thank God --  the Americans with Disabilities Act would be invoked on my behalf immediately because I have ulcerative colitis. If  Water Saver Faucet Company  did not concede on my behalf immediately, they wuld be facing abig fat  lawsuit . i'd get one of those big-name lawyers, even if he was accustomed to crimnal  defense. Geoffrey Fieger. That's who I'd hire to take on the Water Saver Faucet Company.

On a more serious note, this sets back the work of the late Cesar Chavez by at least fifty years. I've not heard of such draconian bathroom policies since my daya in mrs. Moore's fifth grade classroom.

Can something be done to stop this company before an entire work force is dealing with urinary calculi and chronic constipation?

*This is disgusting, but their company name is probably very fitting, as no one who works there wants to waste any of their allotted bathroom time so they don't wash their hands after bathroom visits, thereby saving water. Makes sense, huh?

Grading, Professors' Pet Peeves, Dell Hell, Kindness

I've been having network problems, which is one reason for my lack of productivity. Jaci, I agree that I need a mac, but I will get it on September 1, and all the whining, pleading, or extorting  I could possibly do between now and then will not make it appear one minute sooner. Yes, it bothers the hell out of me to see my parents typing away on their own macs, but, as my mom is so fond of telling me, some things are worth waiting for. Furthermore, network issues are no respecters of computers and of their snooty brand names. Mac users suffer equally with the lowly Dell owners when reception problems strike.  My parents' home is in a tiny canyon that is something of a fog pit. It makes breathing easier for my mom and for me -- it's almost like having a a built-in humidifier. What is great for the lungs, however, is not necessarily equally great for cell phone and  Internet reception.  We do at least have reception, but if anyone in the region is going to have trouble getting a connection, it is the people living in our little fog pit of the world.

Speaking of things that are or are not worth waiting for, how do you feel bout sentences that end in prepositions? My mom says the concept is largely an affectation and that it came about as a result of the anal tendencies of sixteenth-to-seventeenth century English poet John Donne. Donne wrote his poetry so that it could be directly translated to Latin with ease. Something related to the structure of the Latin language  makes sentences ending in prepositions awkward, so Donne wrote his works, mostly poetry, with his sentences not ending in prepositions.  It's highly dubious that Donne had any idea he was creating a school of thought that would torment students for the next several centuries.

My mom says that in authoring formal works, it's a good idea to structure sentences so that they don't end in prepositions primarily because one does not know just how nit-picky or anal the professor grading the paper might be. One could argue all year about the rightness or wrongness of ending sentences with prepositions, but in the end, little matters other than the opinion of the person holding the red pen or its digital equivalent. What's more important: being technically correct or getting the grade? Again, this goes back to a philosophy held but certainly not invented by me, which is that the secret of success in  college/university is to discover what each professor wants to hear or read  and to tell it to him or her as many times, in as many different ways as is humanly possible for any given student.  In the course of telling the professor what it is he or she wants to hear, it is probably wise to assume until one is told otherwise by said professor that the professor is of the "do not end sentences with prepositions" school of thought.

A good practice is to read papers of one's classmates after they have been submitted, graded, and handed back, particularly if one has reason to believe that the professor himself/herself has actually looked at the papers. (Some professors are lazier than others and hand over all grading to grad assistants, while others will at least personally look at term's major writing assignment.)   Some actually do the entire process of themselves grading the major writing assignment for the course. God knows they have enough time. Most of them teach only three classes per term, and they need to be published something like once per job in order to receive tenure.  

Encourage this practice of passing around and reading each others' paper  under the  guise that what your classmates have to say is of any importance whatsoever.  Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth unless you have a highly gifted classmate, in which case you should already have determined such to be the case, have already arranged study sessions with said classmate, and have already picked the person's brain practically free of gray matter.  Instead, the purpose of reading classmates' papers is to read the comments written by the grader, who is, in a perfect world, the professor. Read every little seemingly insignificant snarky comment, not to gloat -- though  doing so can be entertaining -- but to learn from the mistakes of your classmates. Most of these mistakes are ones you would not make, but just the same, if  reading twenty papers can help you to avoid the use of a pet peeve of the professor, it is time well spent.  This is where you will discover whether or not the professor has a  "preposition at the end of a sentence" fetish.  Don't trust your memory. Write it down in your handbook of information about professors and their eccentricities.

Right now I'm midway through four different blogs. I hope to finish at least two tomorrow, although at the rate I'm going in terms of getting any sleep tonight, it may be at least noon before I make it out of bed.   Regardless of sleep issues, I'll commit to finishing at least one of the pending blogs. One of them pertains to the reason my father pays such close attention to the writings that I "publish" though the Internet. It will, perhaps,  make him seem slightly less maniacal than he would seem without the explanation.

On a thoroughly unrelated topic, Judge Alex tweeted an anecdote concerning his daughter who is, I think, roughly twenty-four years of age. The judge's daughter was walking down a street carrying a pizza when she noticed a person who appeared to be in need of sustenance, so she offered him a slice of her pizza, which he took.  It was a small gesture, but a very kind one. Most of us, when we consider the matter carefully, have more than we really need.  Sharing hurts us little, yet may benefit someone else a great deal.   

Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 
Matthew 25:40 KJV

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Judge Alex Gives People Head Lice and Other Silly Dreams


I just woke up from a really scary (at the time) yet equally ridiculous dream.  It scared me while I was asleep just as much as the dreams I've had that have been more pertinent to actual happenings in my life. I wasn't able to do any of the lucid dreaming sort of thing or control in any way the direction the dream. I just had to dream it out until something woke me up.

At first I was very scared, but then I was able to stop and tell myself, "That was perhaps the stupidest dream anyone has ever dreamed." My dad came in my room when I screamed. I told him about my dream. He said that most likely stupider dreams have been dreamt, but that this was quite possibly among the stupider ones of which he's personally heard.

Anyway, I woke up [in my dream; in real life I was still asleep] to the sound of our alarm going off. I ran into my parents room, which has monitors all around the outside of the house I was still asleep. All monitors were clear except for #6, which showed a man in protective gear, but his head wasn't covered. Eventually he got close enough that I could see that it was the Honorable Judge Alex Ferrer.

Judge Ferrer found a loose screen outside the main laundry room.  He ripped it off and kicked the window out. My house has a slightly odd floor plan. The door from the laundry room leads to the pantry, then to the kitchen.  My parents and I were watching  Judge Ferrer on the monitors. He wasn't in a big hurry to do anything. He checked out our refrigerator, but there was apparently not much inside it that caught his attention.

Next he opened the freezer. We're usually well-stocked with ice cream, and during my dream was no exception. The judge got out at least eight cartons. He found a single spoon and helped himself  randomly to all the cartons he had taken from the freezer. He looked at the open freezer door and said something to the effect of, "No point in closing the freezer; I'll just want more when I finish these."  I think he may have spoken in Spanish and my dad may have translated for the rest of us.

Alexis has been told that Dad's fingers are getting tired, so she's going to  going to cut to the chase with her narrative here.   I'm paraphrasing for her.

The network at Fox, at least in Alexis' dream, has the ability to watch people as they're watching Fox programming. Alexis laughed at something today when a litigant suggested that maybe - or maybe not - Judge Alex's show was considered nationally televised. Judge Alex took offense at this, so he put on a hazmat suit, armed himself with vials filled to the brim with nits, nymphs, and mature lice. He was after Alexis first, but he studies her social media interactions enough to get a few names, and he was also after Becca, Jaci[note that I got the spelling right] Notty, Ameilia, Mariannne, a doctor from Australia, Matt from England, and an exmormon, and a person named Melissa who is either very sweet or likes Barry Manilow. There were others, but Alexis nodded off mid-sentence.

Judge Alex made it to Alexis' room. I'm sure I was right behind him with a baseball bat, though she didn't mention that part. Alexis was thrashing around in her bed, trying to find something with which to hit the judge, She grabbed a glass of water and somehow broke it over her head. She screamed even louder because she thought the had been infested by the various metamorphisms of Pediculus humanus capititus.

I turned on the light to find Alexis holding two pieces of a broken glass in her hand. There were three more  pieces of glass on her pillow case. Her mom came into the room. We changed her pillow and sheets and went through her hair to ensure that no glass was left.  Alexis had a slight cut on her scalp, but it wasn't deep or large enough to worry about stitching.

Alexis is asleep again. From this experience she has learned that dreams - even scary one - can be very silly and my have no significance whatsoever. She has also learned that she may only have plastic water cups beside her bed at night.

To those I have mentioned and some I have not, beware! A man in a hazmat suit may be wandering your neighborhood this very night, armed with vials of head lice.

Note: I've read up on this Judge Alex guy. Since Alexis was fourteen or fifteen, for months at a time, the only conversation I could have about her that wasn't totally one-sided was about Judge Alex. She would talk for hours about him. If I asked her how school went on a given day, I'd be greeted more often than not with dead silence. At first I assumed it was a typical TV infatuation, though a bit odd in light of the age difference. Then I did a little research and learned that she was, in fact, communicating with the REAL Judge Alex. I needed to make sure that he wasn't leading cult or anything of that nature. Alexis had enough issues in her life without being hooked up with the likes of David Koresh.

Her mom was less concerned than I was. She reminded me of Alexis' earlier infatuation with Steve of Blue's Clues. Still, I checked out Alexis' communications, both in general and with Judge Alex, which a good parent should be doing, anyway. He never told her a single thing I wouldn't have told her myself. A few times he told her that some things are for parents to decide - period - and there's not much a kid can do about it.

Anyone who has raised a teen-aged girl can probably relate to this, but it's like one night you put your child to bed, and the next morning, instead of the sweet little girl you had the night before, in her place is a feral cat.

We're through the feral cat stage with Alexis. I'd like to think we would be there regardless by now. I wonder at times, however, if we would have made it without Judge Alex and a few others of you Alexis has met here and on other media, people who seem inexplicably to speak the language of feral cats.  My sincerest appreciation goes out to you.

P.S. Alexis may erase this when she finds it, so I hope you read soon.