Monday, November 14, 2005

Introducing the Amazing Sledge-o-Matic

It slices, it dices, it makes julienne fries (but you have to hit it juuussst right).

The great surgery experience:

4:00 am We rouse ourselves out of nice cosy warm beds to get ready, I shower with the provided anti-bacterial soap, noting that it doesn't smell nice, doesn't suds much, and leaves me feeling slippery after it is rinsed off.

5:30 am In the car driving to the hospital. I start coughing, begin to gag, and spend the entire trip trying not to barf.

6:00 am In the same-day care suite, disrobed and wearing the ever-popular hospital gown, complete with matching blue shoes covers, hair bonnet, and anti-embolism stockings. Where's the fashion photographers?

from 6:15 to seven it's a whirlwind of activites: blood sugar checked, IV line in place, blood pressure checked, anesthesiologist met, surgeon comes by to see how I'm doing, I'm first this morning.

7:00 am We've hit a snag. They want me to remove my wedding band and diamond ring, but NO WAY those suckers are coming off. You've seen trees with fencing stapled to them, where the tree just continues to grow around and over the fencing? That's my wedding band. They lubed it up, put teflon tape under it,pulled and pulled, and all it did was turn my finger more puffy and red. The anesth. dr. comes back, says, I don't like the looks of that, it has to come off, and sends one of the nurses to the ER to get their ring cutter. As she walks in with it, the surgeon pokes his head in, says, what's the holdup? Looks at the finger, says tape it and lets go, and wheeee, we're rolling down the hall. Oh yes, at that point they also gave me some happy juice. By the time we actually reach the OR, I am gone.

Around ten am -- who can see anything without glasses -- and I am trying to wake up really hard. It is very bright, and the nurses are arguing about one of the other nurses. Every once in a while they say "M? time to wake up", but I cannot pry my eyelids apart; I can't figure out where I am, or why I feel so awful. I am panicked that they have me in restraints, but I realize it's only that they've tucked my hands slightly under me, and I can move them. Finally they use a lift to change me onto a regular hospital bed, much better, and then they wheel me to the private room across the hall. N is there, he has spoken to the surgeon, and other than having a gallbladder "stuffed" with gall stones--they had to partially empty it to get it through the incision--I'm tip top. They give me a shot for pain and nausea, and I break out in hives. Luckily they go away on their own in just a few minutes.

1:00 pm By now I have walked, used the bathroom (bless the soul of whoever invented grab bars) eaten a cracker and drunk some ginger ale. I want very much to get home before the pain shot wears off.

2:30 pm Home! My, but the roads are bumpy. But my wonderful bed, so clean and cool, a cat curled up in my armpit, drugs coursing their way in my bloodstream, beaming little silver spotlights on the nasty ol' pain to make it go away, whoosh! All is well in redhead-land. For now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

All Hallow's Eve

We had 55 trick-or-treaters on Monday night, the most ever. Considering we live 5 miles from town, on a meandering narrow road, and for years and years had NO trick or treaters, I'm amazed. Most of the costumes were pretty cool too.

When my kids were little, I made their costumes. We'd go to the fabric store and check out the patterns, well in advance of Oct., and then I'd sew them up. I was always conscious of the fact that the costumes needed to be fairly warm--no flimsy ballerina tutus or diaphanous gowns. And no masks, just make-up, so they could actually see where they were going. One year R wanted to a princess, so the dress was made of satin, but a loose drop-over-the-head style, and underneath she wore a white sweat suit. It was either that, or a coat on top, and then you can't see the costume. Some of the costumes were pretty elaborate--the pumpkin, with all the boning to make it poof out and still be sit-able, and the dinosaur were two of them--but the one I remember vividly was the year C (then about 7) decided he wanted to be Count Dracula. I made this big black satin cape with a stand-up collar, and under it was a little triangular grey piece that tied around the neck and around the waist that was stitched to look like a vest, complete with red hanky. We got him plastic teeth, and black pants and a white shirt, and I thought we were set to go. He'd picked it all out, and watched me sew it. So imagine my shock when he tried it on and burst into tears! "No, NO!" he shouted and cried and ran out of the room. I looked at R, who knew him even better than I, and she was mystified. He eventually got over it, and never mentioned what was wrong with it, that he was so disappointed. I have lots of photos of him on the big day, swooping around in the cape and yelling "I vant to drink your BLOOOOD!" So I guess it was OK in the end. But what was he really expecting? Kids are such a puzzle.

I made myself a Raggedly Ann costume one year, complete with red yarn hair, and we took a picture of me and the kids dressed up. N kept it on his desk at work, and one day a sales rep was in and saw it and gushed, "what cute grandkids!" and N said "that's my wife and kids" and she swallowed her foot clear up to her knee. He was not amused.

About 8 or 9 years ago one of the neighborhood cats came to live with us on Hallowe'en. I was sitting on the porch handing out candy when two of the neighbors came up, dressed in costumes with all sorts of dangly bits--I think they were ghosts or mummys. Following them was this little grey kitten, batting at the dangly bits. When I gave them the candy and they left, the kitten didn't follow, and I called out, "boys, don't forget your cat" but they were off. It stayed on the porch with me, playing with the leaves, and I kept urging it to totter on home. Eventually it disappeared, and then I heard a cat crying. I said "kitty kitty?" and one little girl said "here's your cat!" and carried it up to me. I said, no no, not mine, she put it down and it scampered off into the night. When I went inside for the night, I told the family about the kitten, and to my dismay, they went out and searched for it! Luckily it had disappeared. The next morning I went out to my Miata to go shopping, and inside there was this teeny grey kitten sitting on the dashboard saying, "when's breakfast?" So of course inside he went. I convinced the kids there was some little girl in the neighborhood crying her eyes out because her kitten was gone, and on Hallowe'en! Thinking the worst! So they took the kitten and went all up and down the road (they said), asking if he belonged to anyone. No one claimed him, and he's been ours ever since. His name is Mac, short for Macbeth, and he is the most playful cat we've ever had. And obviously highly intelligent, to immediately recognize a soft touch when he saw it.