Sausage fun

Sophie and I were doing our suburban consumer duty, waiting in the checkout line at Costco to spend the package we haven't been stimulated by yet, talking about the meds I'm taking and getting my blood tested all the time, and the meds She Who Must has to take, and how much they cost, blah, blah, blah. We're not obsessed or anything...we'd just hit the Costco pharmacy, so it was topical. OK, maybe we're obsessed. I'd just pointed out that the Coumadin that I'm on isn't *like* rat poison, it actually *is* rat poison, as in, it was invented to kill rats.

Sophie: That totally SUCKS, Dad. How can you take that every day? It would freak me out.

Me: Yeah, as you get older, there's more and more stuff that you have to just deal with and try not to think about...

Sophie: Like what?

Me: Like sausage.

Sophie: What do you mean? It's made of pork.

Me: Right, but which *part* of the pork?

Sophie, eyes wide in a horrified whisper: YOU MEAN THE WIENER?????

Getting Medical

Read Part One of this craziness here.

The EMT guy wants to know where we're going. Hell, I don't know. I figure Winchester Hospital is probably the closest, so I suggest that. "I'm not taking you there," says the EMT. OK then, where would YOU like to go? I tell him that my primary care doc is at Mt. Auburn Hospital and he likes that idea better. Turns out Winchester isn't a cardiac center. My only choices were Mt. Auburn and Lahey. Coulda told me that...I do better on multiple choice tests. As we're rocketing down Route 2 towards Cambridge, I notice several things. First, the soundproofing in ambulances must be really good, because the siren is going but I can barely hear it. Second, you have no idea how fast you're going. It turns out that Jennifer was drafting the ambulance the whole way and she reported we were doing 80. Didn't feel like that to me, at least until we whipped around Fresh Pond Circle. Ambulances are cool.

In an effort to avoid freaking out too much I'm trying to make chitty-chat with the EMT dude. "Yeah, we picked up a lady with a clot last week at the Dunkies on Marrett Road," he says. Oh, yeah? "Yeah, she was blue. We took her to Lahey." So what happened? "Do you really want to know?" Obviously my deep love of narrative is obscured by my freaking out, but if this is the last jasminelive story I ever hear, I want to know how it ends. "She died in the truck." Super.

They roll me into the emergency room at Mt. Auburn and the place is jammed. People and gurneys all over the place. All I can think is that I'm going to have to wait three hours, because that's always been my experience in emergency rooms with the various trivial sprains, cuts, etc. that I've come in with. Not this time. Helpful tip: if you ever need to get immediate attention in the emergency room, be a big fat guy and tell them you can't breathe. They never even paused...straight into an exam room. Jennifer arrives 2 minutes after me. They put in an IV and ask lots of questions. I think I answered the same questions about four times, between the various doctors and nurses who come through. I come clean about being off my hypertension meds and get the Death Stare from Jennifer. "WHY didn't you TELL me you were OFF YOUR MEDS (you dumbass)???" That's rhetorical, right? This is probably the first of seventeen times that someone asks me about what medicines I'm on (or supposed to be on). At one point a doctor asks and I tell him that, yeah, I'm an idiot and am off my BP pills, and he says "Oh, we're not here to judge," and Jennifer announces, "I am."

Anyway, they roll me into the CT scan lab and I lie down on the super comfortable bed/tray so they can move me through the center of the All Seeing Donut. Right before he shoots the contrast agent into my IV, the tech says that it's not anything to worry about, but that I'll get really hot for about 20 seconds, and then feel like I have to pee. This is accurate in that I did, in fact, get very warm for about 20 seconds, but I only felt like I needed to pee if by "feel like you need to pee" you really mean "feel like your balls are on fire." Good times.

They roll me back to my exam room and I'm still cracking wise and I notice that nobody else is, so something must be up. The CT tech says to Jennifer in a grave tone "It's good you brought him in," or something to that effect, and everything starts moving pretty quickly. An earnest young ER doc comes in and says, "Mr. Crunchy, you have a very large clot in your chest that was potentially life threatening." He just walks in and says that, without any "Hey, guess what?" or anything. Ker-boing. April Fools? No? And as much as I'm blown away by the use of the adjective "life-threatening" in ridiculous proximity to my name, I'm also just flabbergasted that I was actually right. So I say something to Jennifer like "Holy shit, I was right," and she responds in kind with the traditional "Holy shit, you were right."

After I make certain that the earnest young MD isn't yanking my chain, I want to know when surgery is. From my perspective, having anything "potentially life-threatening" in my chest is basically equivalent to being John Hurt on the Nostromo after the first visit to LV426 with the little two-jawed alien larva dealie just waiting to chew its way out and spoil the party. So let's go get the fucker.

Turns out that's not how it works. In days of yore, the practice of medicine revolved around bloodletting. Now, after many centuries of scientific inquiry and whatnot, we use both bloodletting AND the application of many stickers. They put 19 stickers on me, connected them to various machines, took my blood every 12 hours, and squirted something derived from pig intestines nonstop into my IV. After four days of that, they let me go. After having the living bejeezus scared out of me, I basically just sat there for a few days. It's good to be medically uninteresting.

Here's the Story, Morning Glory

Before I forget, I want to get as much as I can remember about the events of the last few weeks down in one place. No promises about the entertainment value of the following. I'll try to throw in some curse words or something to keep it spicy. Maybe other lummoxes will read this and call their doctors instead of farting around and being stupid.

On Tuesday, March 24, I woke up with sharp pain in my left calf. It was almost definitely a big ol' blood clot, but at the time, I didn't make the connection. I'd played tennis the night before, so I figured that I'd just torn something or pulled something, as fatassed middle-aged guys are prone to do when they insist on playing sports with their 14-year-old brains sending instructions to their 43-year-old bodies. In retrospect, the pain wasn't entirely consistent with a pull, so I might have deduced something was up: there was no swelling or bruising, and the skin itself was very sensitive to touch. And it hurt like a mother. At the time, I wondered if maybe it was a partial achilles tear or something, because it was significantly more uncomfortable than tears and pulls I've had in the past, and it didn't feel exactly muscular. Having played tennis the night before confused things, because although I didn't remember hurting myself, it seemed plausible and even likely that I had just pulled it and not noticed. When you hear hoof beats, you don't look for zebras. So I was limping around and generally being a grump and assuming that I was going to be out of sports action for a few weeks while my calf healed.

The first weird part came when the calf miraculously healed itself overnight. I don't remember exactly which night that was, but by maybe Friday or Saturday, it was as if it had never happened. Nurses and other smart people are now probably screaming "GO TO THE DOCTOR YOU DUMBASS!" but I was just happy that my calf didn't hurt anymore, life is busy, I'm a guy, etc. etc. Pain: bad. No pain: good.

Sunday morning, I woke up with the most evil gastrointestinal bug I can remember. Violent stereo food expulsion, no energy (none), unable and uninterested in food, water, or anything else. I stayed in bed all day. This most certainly did not help things in the leg circulation department.

On Monday the 31st I felt better. Leg pain gone, GI tract functional. Second weird part occurs. I get the Lifehacker RSS feed, and this WebMD post, "7 Pains You Shouldn't Ignore," finds its way into my feed reader. Pain Number Five? Calf pain. I actually read this post, even page two, with the part about the calf. Huh. Calf pain. Lucky I don't have that anymore.

On Thursday, April 3, I could barely get out of bed. Just completely beat. The they dragged me out and I helped them get ready for school and realized that my left hamstring hurt like hell. Similar to the calf pain. Things started clicking. There was no reason for my hammy to hurt. I took two aspirin because, oh, I don't know, maybe I threw a clot or something like that article was talking about. But I've got stuff to do. Around noon, when I picked up the they and their Metco Family Friends at school after the half day, I was extremely beat, and beginning to worry that something was up. Maybe it was just residual fatigue from the GI bug. It occurs to me that my hamstring doesn't hurt anymore, and that that's weird. We went to Friendly's for lunch, then I sacked out while the they played at home.

Around three, Sophie, Schuyler, and I took Faith and Alliyah back to school to meet their bus. We parked about 50 yards from the school. Walking from the car to the chaturbate playground completely gassed me. Gasping, like there is not enough air in the world. OK, something is clearly up. I briefly wonder if I'm having a heart attack, but I sit down and everything normalizes. The bus picks up the Metco they and we walk back to our car. (Yeah, I shifted tenses. Whatever.) I'm out of air again. Get in the car, sit for a minute, everything's fine. OK, here's where I clearly should have called 911, not driven my they while definitely not healthy, and basically not been a stupid ass. We get home and I try to nap for a couple hours until dinner, but my head is just spinning. I'm going through all the leg stuff, the Lifehacker article, the fatigue, the shortness of breath, and how much I love my wife and they, and I'm just freaking out. I'm not sure, but I don't think I was thinking completely straight. I should probably mention that I'm generally really (really) hesitant to do anything that will cause contact with doctors or hospitals, but the evidence seems overwhelming to me. At this point walking 10 steps causes me to lose my air.

About six (yeah, I know) I come to the conclusion that something serious is going on, that I probably didn't have a heart attack, but that I may very well have thrown a clot (Who throws a clot? How fricking random is that?), and I need to do something about it. I call Jennifer, who's on her way home, and blurt some version of all of that at her, and her initial reaction is something like, "Wait a minute. Are you serious? You're scaring me." And I say something like "Yeah, I'm serious. I'm thinking about going to the doctor when you get home or maybe tomorrow or maybe calling 911, but I can probably drive to the hospital, I mean, I drove the they home so..." and she says something like "CALL 911 RIGHT NOW YOU DUMBASS! HANG UP AND CALL 911 RIGHT NOW!" Something like that. God, I love her. I suspect that hearing me say the words "I'm thinking about going to the doctor," was quite a shock for her.

So I call the they into my room for a quick family conference ("Are we in trouble?"), and explain that I think I need to go to the hospital right now and I'm about to call 911 and an ambulance is going to come and things will get exciting, but that they will take good care of me and I'm going to be OK. Sophie, who's kind of intuitive like her grandmother was and who now knows that we completely bullshitted her about how serious it was when her mom had cancer, immediately starts crying and wants to know if I'm going to die. I'm not 100% sure that I'm not going to die, so I start lying my ass off about of course not, but pretty soon I'm getting weepy too, which does squat for my credibility. Schuyler's like "Yeah, OK, thanks for the update, Dad."

By the time the EMTs show up (and the cops, and the fire guys....), which probably isn't even five minutes (911 is clearly *not* a joke in Lex Vegas, at least), I'm basically relaxed again, breathing fine, and feeling like an idiot for calling 911. When the head EMT initially comes in and sees me sitting up, looking like my normal lummoxy self, he declares "You're not sick!", but I tell my tale and he concedes that it's not inconsistent with throwing a clot, so they strap me to a chair and prepare to carry me out of the house. I tell them they need more guys. They get more guys and it still seems like they're going to drop me, so I tell them that if they untie me, I'll walk down the stairs under my own power and I promise not to sue them if I die. They make one more attempt and then look at each other and untie me and let me walk out of the house. (It's possible that I might want to pay a smidge more attention to diet and exercise.) I tell them I can most certainly walk the whole way out to the ambulance, but the head EMT dude is not having it. They strap me onto a gurney and off we go.

(to be continued...)


If you think you don't like beatboxing, prepare to reevaluate.

He's got a four-song EP called 'Amplivate,' which is just great. (I don't think you need to bother with the remixes...the original versions are better.) He's also done a ton of voice-over work, and provided vocals for several tracks on Guitar Hero and the Karaoke Revolution games. Yeah, I want to be this guy.

Veritable Typhoon of Entertainment Grooviness

Has anyone else noticed the staggeringly flavorific wall of jasminlive entertainment options that's bearing down on us this spring? In movies, we've got Iron Man, Speed Racer by the Matrix brothers, Narnia 2: Electric Boogaloo, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of His Lost Youth, Harold and Kumar Get Waterboarded, The More Incredible Than Eric Bana Hulk, Hellboy 2 (yeah, I realize I may be alone in my anticipation there), The Dark Knight, and then that cool Tom Cruise Nazi movie later in the year. Iron Man was my fave as a him and Robert Downey Jr. has never given a bad performance in anything, so I'd be pretty bobdarned jazzed if that was all that was coming, but jesu-freaking-christe my Big Gulp runneth over.

Then there's the concert schedule. Let me start by saying that I'm not making this up. It's like I've died and gone to the 80s. In the next 4 months, we've got local shows by the B-52's, DEVO, The Cure, Joe Jackson, Blondie, and REM, concluding, on July 31st, with GET THIS, Elvis Costello opening for the Police. That accounts for like half the songs my band covered in college and a fraction larger than 3/22nds of my iTunes playlist. It's ridiculous. F vacations. I'm buying concert tickets. If Joe Strummer and Ben Orr weren't dead, and/or there was any chance of a T-Heads reunion it's conceivable that I might just suffer bliss implosion.


You've probably noticed that updates have gotten pretty sparse here, and I think it's about time I shed a little light on some of the changes in my life that have made the creation of high-value-add infotainment ingots difficult. First off, I've had a bit of a spiritual epiphany (is there really any other kind?) The whole "atheism" thing wasn't really working for me. It's not that I believe in God...I most assuredly don't...but disbelief wasn't serving me well. It provided no comfort in difficult times, no frame of reference for tough decisions, and frankly a very bleak outlook for my likely situation following my own death. So I've decided to behave *as-if* I'm a believer, with the hope that I'll either organically lose my atheism, or just forget about it altogether. The UU church we've been attending is a nice group of people, but I have no idea what they're really trying to accomplish. A few months ago I set out to find a new spiritual home for myself and my family, and while the jury's still out, I can tell you that we're likely to end up either LDS, reformed Jewish, or nondenominational evangelical. They're the only faiths in town that seem to have their acts together. I'll be sure to keep you updated as this area becomes clearer. In the meantime, we're attending all three churches and taking a lot of notes.

It should probably come as no surprise that my political views are undergoing the same sort of scrutiny that my spiritual life has undergone. It seems pretty obvious that this experiment we call liberalism has failed. Minority groups are still disadvantaged, our position in the world is lousy, our economy's in the crapper, and our they are the stupidest on the planet. Clearly, government intervention is not the answer to any of these things, or, frankly, anything else, as government isn't actually good at anything. To paraphrase They Might Be Giants, you should only do what you know how to do well, and in the case of the federal government, that's collect taxes and wage wars. Everything else should either be privatized or pushed down to the states and cities. Needless to say, there isn't really a place in the Democrat party for me anymore. I'm not even sure there's one among the Republicans, but I'm going to give it a try.

Finally, and this is The Big One (if you can believe that!): I must finally accept my true gender identity. I've long wondered if my love of scones, fastidious care for my hair and nails, and penchant for smart accessories was somehow linked to a deeper dissatisfaction with who I was, or at least was pretending to be. Luckily, months of past life regression therapy have uncovered the simple truth that I'm a woman. In fact, I'm the 25th reincarnation of a line of bold and powerful women beginning with Eve, continuing through the pharaoh Hatshepsut, and most recently concluding with biologist and environmentalist Rachel Carson who died just a few weeks before I was conceived. There are lots of blanks to fill in, and important historical women to identify, so this is a pretty exciting time for me. I'm still diggin' Jennifer, though, so I guess I must be a lesbian.

Obviously, in light of all this, "Mister Crunchy" probably isn't going to work as a website name anymore, considering my new devout conservative female orientation. I haven't got this totally nailed down, but I'm thinking about going with "Mrs. Goldwater" dot com. Let me know what you think.

Yours in Christ/Shalom,

Christine (or Kristin...haven't got that finalized either.)

Your New Religious Republican Girlfriend

Things That Are Fun to Yell

One is general-purpose, the other is probably more specific:

Any time you're starting, restarting, initiating, entering, exiting, or just need to get some momentum, try bellowing "GO, E-Z PASS!

Any time you see anything that looks even vaguely like a scientific or algebraic formula or lab equipment, scream "Science!" like Thomas Dolby. I invented this one on the Tower of Terror Ride at Disney's Not MGM Anymore Studios. There's this whole Twilight Zone film clippy thing and E=mc2 shows up. Everyone in our intentionally malfunctioning elevator cracked up, and I only need a little encouragement to pound something into the ground. Needless to say, I started using it for (ahem) other things, so Jennifer made me stop yelling it.

Science! Science! Science!