Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Joys of the Late Fall Season

Yes, as I embarked on all sorts of pre-holiday household projects like picking up ice cream wrappers in my front yard and dog crap in the back yard, inspecting the large balls of dust accumulating on my coffee tables and ignoring the laundry piling up, I began to realize that all of this work was beginning to drag me down. I was just tired, that's all. Was I working too hard? Yeah, but what else is new. Was it the stress of making my newly-modified mortgage payment that happened to be TEN WHOLE DOLLARS less except oh yeah my taxes went up so ten dollars MORE every month? Could it be the worry I felt when I envisioned what Thanksgiving is going to look like, seeing as how my mother is in the throes of some sort of new phase of her prescription drug addiction and she is now imaging that there is a feral cat under her bed half the day?

Frankly it was probably all of those things but also so much more. You see, I had the FLU. I would venture to guess that the last time I was this sick, it was Halloween of 1992. I was dressed as a bobby soxer and, being the HUGE rebel that I was, I accidentally drank what I later found out were called screwdrivers. Suffice it to say that I promised Sweet Baby Jesus that I would never, ever, EVER drink a vodka-orange-juice again if He would just please get me out of this just this one time! I have never had another screwdriver. Yeah, I've had the odd Long Island Iced Tea, Long Beach, Sex on the Beach, whatev. But never have I drank those dangerous concoctions with such naive abandon again. Because I don't like to be sick goddamnit.

And now I do everything right. I drink wine and when I have to drink it in excess I make sure it's over several hours and of course I have my aspirin and econo-sized glass of water before hitting the sack. I am a vegetarian, and if it were not for my butter cravings I'd just go ahead and call myself vegan. That's a fairly healthy diet. I do get some exercise because I have a strenuous job, not because I LIKE exercising. So I shouldn't get sick! It doesn't make any sense.

But last week, as I said, I was tired. I was cranky. I told Heracles that my ears were popping and I wanted to go to sleep. "Well, go to sleep then," was his brilliant reply. I slept. I didn't wake up until 10 minutes before I was supposed to email my micromanaging supervisor that I had made it to my desk. The next few days I slept more and more and felt guilty on the same scale. Minchie was crying out for attention like a child from a broken home. Kitty didn't give a fuck which is one of the reasons I love Kitty so much. Ah, finally the weekend! I could catch up at last! I had a brief half day of fun, shopping with a friend for baby shower gifts for another friend. Then home to wrap my prizes in the most beautiful way possible. All of a sudden, I felt a bad attitude coming on. I wondered if it were some sort of subconscious jealousy? Why was I so pissed OFF that the RIBBON wouldn't CURL and it LOOKED like SHIT? Ok, I thought. Just put this stuff away and finish it in the morning before you leave, MH. Ok. Sleep again, beautiful sleep. It was 7pm.

12am. My eyes popped open with the realization which is years old, but one which I can never forget. I was going to throw up? I was! I ran to the toilet and let 'er go. No, I thought. This can't be! I didn't have anything at all to drink! wtf is going on here? I sat around for a few after that first heave-ho, wondering what had happened. I probably felt just like Minchie felt when she was yanked from her comfy little house/yard and plunked down on a stainless steel table, operated on and put in a little holding cage, aching and confused. She would have wondered what had just happened. Whatev, life is weird, I thought. Go back to bed!

12:30am. Oh no. Not afuckinggain. Ran to the toilet.

All night I cried. I begged SweetBabyJesus. I asked "Whyyyyy am I hungover? What did I doooo?" And the answer:

Nothing, bitch, you have the flu!

Every half hour I threw up. By 6am I was throwing up saliva pretty much every time I made the mistake of swallowing it. I was a pathetic sight. What's more, this misery continued unabated for two days! Yesterday I started getting congested, which seems like it was a good sign because now I know that it's OKAY to SPIT! I have my own spittoon now. I spit all the time.

I didn't get Tamiflu.
I didn't go to the doctor.
I went to work today even though I had a fever because of some bullshit policy that if we call in sick three days straight we need a "doctor's note." How fucking outdated is that shit? But no way was I going to sit around at some crappy urgent care place with a bunch of scared teenagers who "might" have staph or some weird STD and some dumbass tweens who stapled their little brother's finger to the microwave cart door. Or, what's worse screaming toddlers! No thanks. No way was I going to shell out $35 for that hell.

I went to work.

Yeah I sneezed all over my micromanaging boss, and guess what. Too bad.
I said, "Oops! Did that get all over you?
I have a fever and I have the flu!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do I Look Like a Nurse to You?

I am dealing with a REAL mess in Heracles, despite how entertaining his little quirks have been in the past.

Heracles is emotionally incapable of allowing himself to recover from the deadly assault on his throat aka tonsillectomy. Since my return a week ago, his pain/breathing/sleep/hunger status has dominated every single communication. I should have known it would devolve to something like this. I am not the most sympathetic of persons, granted. As far as I am concerned, if you obsess about little throat itches or snot clogs, you are wasting your time unless it prevents you from doing what you need to do. A little bit of pain and discomfort does not call for an hourly email to your SURGEON, which is the type of patient we are dealing with currently.


My brother called me while I was out East, wondering where I was. I told him about my little patient. He said, "YOU? He wanted YOU to be there with him? Is he CRAZY?" I was hurt. I had been taking great care of him. "But MH, you aren't the most PATIENT of people. Have you told him to 'man up' yet?" I hadn't. Thereafter, I resisted the temptation because nobody is going to call MH impatient and get away with it.

But now I have just about had it. Heracles needs to get it together quit emailing his surgeon and quit texting me with 20 min updates on state of his dry throat. Drink some water and go about your day! These hundreds of self-pitying texts brought me over my texting limit to the tune of $200 this month! Dude give me a freaking break.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The English Speaking American Male Patient

We have established that I am a stupid biatch, so of course I don't need much more than in invitation to spend my hard-earned vacation time EAST of here, "nursing" a 36 year old tonsillectomy victim. I didn't need one but I was invited, thank you very much. Yes, my dear sweet Heracles needed some down home care because while it is an outpatient procedure, you do need someone around who will be LEGALLY responsible for you for 48 whole hours after the surgery, ok? ok! And yes, that individual was me. If Heracles had robbed a bank with that big old bottle of oxycodoneahydrophyllstuff it would have been all on MH! I could have gone up for 15 years because that's a federal offense! Well thank God he was way too full of oxycodone and otherwise hurt because I don't need a federal offense on my record that's for sure. Point is, it was a huge responsibility, get me? Like being a guardian. If you want to put it like that, it's like being a parent. A mother! sigh!

As it turned out, Heracles needed someone. His mom is in her seventies. Does she need that mess when she's trying to unload a house full of Heracles' childhood memories that nobody seems to care about? Hells no. Poor lady all she wants to do is shop and live like a single woman about town who has paid her debt. But she had too many kids over too many years, her husband had the bad manners to die and both of them didn't teach their youngest how to man up. Heracles actually considered letting her come over to that freezing, garbage-ridden city to take care of him. She can't see well enough to learn the fine art of texting, so how is she going to drive a Chrysler around on streets the size of sidewalks? When she is saddled with two expensive homes to maintain and an aging brother with a terminal illness? The woman raised a fine son, like she did with her older children. But somehow Heracles forgot that boys grow into men. He's still the baby of the family, I guess. I'm the baby too, I know how it is. But damn, even I had to grow up.

Well anyhow I couldn't see putting an older woman through that and besides I have cooked less than 6 meals in the last 4 years so nesting a little bit on the shady side of my thirties seemed to be a bittersweet departure from using the microwave for warming my nightly pore-opening steam towel. With that in mind, it was a pleasure to use a microwave to cook. And I don't even EAT Jello! See what a nester I was?

I nursed that little Heracles for days! It was heavenly. I thought about how much fun it would be to take care of him all the time. I started to use little pet names for him and talked baby to him. He liked it. Mom wasn't around, but he could pretend right?

It was glorious. I pounded cubes of ice into shards of ice that barely passed as "shaved." I made three kinds of wholesome soup and froze it all. I made gatorice cubes for times when someone might need his "electrolytes" replaced. I made Jello for the first time and second time and third time, then added some choco-protein powder to another and another batch for my little patient. I rinsed, wiped, cleaned, took out garbage and recycle, plucked bloody q tips out of the sink, slept with the bathroom light on so Heracles could make regular hourly visits there throughout the night, and rejoiced when he decided he might be able to stomach some cold Campbell's chicken noodle soup.

I giggled at all of my patient's little complaints about his throat, his nose, his head and the bruises from getting stuck and missed several times by a nurse in training. I told Heracles that he is so CRAZY since he wants more than anything to be crazy. Well, he also wants to be funny, so I laugh at him all the time. Makes us both smile. Plus we had one nice afternoon at an indoors botanical garden. It was a nice time, I have to say.

Then I started to miss my Minchie and Kitty. I wondered about my fountain grass. Had it grown in the last five days? How about Minchie's wading pool? Was it still safe next to the coiled up hose and serpentined soaker? And that slow leak in my front driver's side tire that I have been ignoring, did it finally cause a flat, rendering me immobile?

Boy, was I glad to get home. I collected my dog, collapsed on the love sac and snuggled under a for a few hours, thinking about the last week's worth of experience and what I have learned from it.

I don't care what Heracles says. He's missing out, and I don't miss taking care of a man for a living for nothing but a sniffed thanks and an offer of cash to offset the groceries. Yeah, I missed it before, but that was because I had forgotten that men aren't grateful for shit. We don't need to make them soup! They don't want or need us for anything aside from clean shaven, issue-free sex.

FYI, this MH didn't accept any money from the patient.