Saturday, January 31, 2009

Daytime TV

I think I have learned a lot about America by watching daytime TV. First of all, we are officially obsessed with weight loss. There is no end to commercials for weight loss programs, supplements, exercise gadgets, and before and after pictures of miracle success stories. You'd think that with all these things on the market, and with all the money being spent to promote them, and, presumably, all the stuff that people are buying, we would have the fittest nation on the globe, but not so. I am astounded by the fact that eating right and exercise plays almost no part in any of these commercials, except for the exercise balls and crunchers and videos, where people have tortoise shell stomachs and talk about how much they "love their abdominals." There is even a woman, who it appears from the neck up, at least, has never used this abdominal contraption, saying "My husband can't keep his hands off me!" Its a little gross. She's probably the wife or secretary of the person selling the thing.
Then there are the lawyers. I remember these commercials from when I was a kid, home sick from school. I now know that if I ever figure out what a structured annuity is, and if I ever have one, there are many many lawyers ready to help me get my money right now. Same with some very exotic sounding diseases and of course, if I've been injured in an accident. I remember asbestos being the big lawyer thing on TV, but I think that ship may have sailed.
Talk shows. Everyone has one, and they're on all day. You can watch a talk show every hour of every day. There are, of course, the heavy weights, Oprah and Ellen (no disrespect intended to Oprah, we love her, but are a little bored with her string of menopause shows,) and Regis and Kelly, and The View (I really don't know how people watch that show; I can't understand a word they're saying.) Then there are the welter weights, Tyra and Bonnie, and the local shows that interview fascinating people from right here in the bay area (who no one's ever heard of, but who are very serious about their important topics.) Then the feather weights: Maury, and that other guy. So, you can watch talk shows all day long if you want, and, if you're lucky, see the same celebrity pimp their new movie on three of them. Late night is a whole other thing, and I don't stay up for that. If I did, I could probably see Renee Zelwegger again.
I don't stop for court TV shows, but you can watch those all day, too.
Tennis is on 24 hours a day.
MTV. What is up with MTV? There are actually videos on VH1 in the morning, but the shows that MTV plays repeatedly all day long are like science experiments. After the music videos in the morning, VH1 isn't much better, but I have to admit to liking Sober House. Seriously, who watches this stuff? How on earth do they make money? I don't care if it makes me sound like a an old biddy, MTV is what is wrong with today's youth. There. I'm officially middle aged.
Thank goodness for reruns. I could watch Roseanne reruns all day long. I don't, but I could. And, HGTV: Even though the shows are mind numbingly repetitious, they are great for killing a few hours if that's your goal.
You know that saying, If the gods want to punish you, they answer your prayers? Do you think I was afflicted by this bacteria and forced into a long recovery in order for the universe to glue me to the couch and make me kill time? I talk a lot about how I like to sit on my butt and do nothing and take naps and get take-out, and now that's pretty much all I can do. I wonder if I'll be less inclined toward sloth when this is all over. I'd like to come away from this with more energy and zest for life. I don't have a lot of zest. I doubt I'll be transformed into a mover or a shaker, I don't think it will make me love exercise or taking long hikes, or crafting at my kitchen table. I am trying to think of why I had this experience, what it is meant to teach me, and all I can come up with is that the universe wants me to get sick of the sofa.
Its Saturday, and the whole daytime line up is on hold until Monday. I have magazines, books, and knee exercises to do. The day will just fly by!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Two things

This is so depressing. There's a program on TV called Sit and Be Fit. It was recommended to me as a way to build up my strength and stamina, and seemed like a great idea. So, I Tivoed an episode, and just checked it out. For starters, it is sponsored by a company that sends bladder control products in the mail in discrete packaging. I am not making this up. A female physical therapist runs the program from a chair, and she has three other participants in the studio, also sitting on chairs. She has a gentle voice, and asks you to sit with your back up against the back of the chair, and have a towel handy. She starts the exercise portion, and while she is instructing me to make small circles with my arms, and lift my leg off the floor, and turn my head from side to side, really bad elevator music is playing in the background, and she is saying "Good job!" "Super!" Then she took a break to talk to one of the other participants, Rob, who is also a physical therapist and who is an expert on posture and the spine, and I just had to turn it off. The most depressing part was that when I turned it on, I was feeling kind of bored and lazy and ready to do something, and by the time I turned it off, after doing ten minutes of "shimmying in place" I was hot and winded and felt like a nap. It is the perfect program for me right now, and that makes me feel discouraged and sad.
But here's something else. I've been watching a lot of TV during the day, enough so that I am starting to know by heart when the Bernie Mac reruns are on, and when is a good time during the day for a nap, and I've been re-watching shows I've seen a hundred times; Friends, Sex and the City, and Gilmore Girls. Gilmore Girls is on the Disney channel, twice a day, and yesterday I saw a commercial on there that I couldn't believe.
Two bears, red bears, presumably a daddy bear and son bear, are playing football. The son bear is the guy who sticks his butt in the air to hike the ball to the guy standing behind him (my husband tells me this is called the Center.) He bends over, and there are little white flakes all over his bright red bear butt. Turns out, these are the Charmin bears, like the toilet paper, and this commercial is to advise people that if you buy Charmin toilet paper rather than another brand, you will have fewer pieces of toilet paper stick to your butt after you wipe. They then show a scientific looking experiment involving two brands of toilet paper wiping up some moisture side by side, and, wouldn't you know, the other brand leaves a bunch of toilet paper dingleberries behind. Is this really a problem for anyone? I have never had this kind of complaint about toilet paper. I've had other complaints, like its too scratchy, or too thin, but never about toilet paper disintegrating on contact. At the end of the commercial, after the son bear has wiped his big red butt with the right toilet paper, he sticks his butt in the air for the football game, and no longer has little flecks of TP on his tush.
What the hell is this? Seriously? And they're cartoon bears on the Disney channel!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Some Stories

I'll leave the scary stuff for another time. Or maybe I just wont write about the scary stuff at all. I don't really know how much danger I was in, or how close to the finish line I was, but there was a lot of scary language and scary faces whizzing around the emergency room. So instead, some funny stuff, or stuff that I found funny:
At some point during my stay at Chateau Marin General Hospital, my organs were doing kooky things. My liver enzymes were up, whatever that means, and my gall bladder did not seem to be functioning. Doctors kept poking around my stomach asking me, "doesn't this hurt?" and I would say, "no, I think the blood work is taking you for a ride." So the first funny thing, although it was alarming at the time, was when a doctor came in and introduced himself as my surgeon (!) and told me that, for now, I would be keeping my gall bladder and they would wait to cut me open to see what was going on. Its nice to have someone come in and tell you you can keep your organs. Then, the regular doctor came in and was speaking very carefully about my liver, and finally suggested that I might have liver damage due to the SIX COCKTAILS a day it said I have in my chart. I think there was some confusion about drinks per day, and drinks per week, but apparently someone had written in my chart that I have six drinks a day. My mom and I started cracking up, and informed the good doctor that, although I would love nothing more than to start swilling wine at ten in the morning, I do not have six drinks a day, unless I'm in hawaii with the rum and the mai tai mix, and then I get close. He seemed relieved that I was not a lush, but his liver theory was out the window. Then, an infectious disease doctor came in (and, by the way, if you want a private room when you go to the hospital, get an infectious disease; I had my own room for 6 or 7 days. I couldn't really enjoy it, but my visitors did.) and she was this beautiful blonde who poked around my gall bladder again wondering why I wasn't in any pain, and then pronounced that I "must have a very high threshold for pain" at which my mom and I cracked up again. I informed her that I start whining the minute I get tired or thirsty, and that I don't have a high threshold for anything but naps. She was sure that I had passed a gall stone without knowing it, and that that was the cause of by crazy blood work. I have to say, I think I know my body pretty well, and they did a CAT scan of my organs, and a gall bladder test and all this stuff, but I kept telling them that there was nothing wrong with my organs, I felt fine, and sure enough, the blood work got more and more normal as the days went on, and I got to keep my pancreas and all the rest of the stuff in there.
Then there are the humiliating, but funny-in-retrospect things. On day nine, a woman came in my room to survey me on my treatment in the hospital, and I told her that no one had offered to give me a shower. Nine days, one lame page bath, no shower. I felt skanky. A few minutes later, a woman comes in and gets me up and I inch along with my walker to the shower room, and she helps me onto to shower seat and scrubs me like a dog, washes my hair, and I just cried and cried. I was like a drunk person, telling her I loved her, that she was my favorite person in the whole world, that she was star of the day, etc. etc. I was just so happy to be clean, even if it meant a total stranger cleaning my butt. Then there was a poo incident, but I wont go into detail about that. You're welcome.
These are the lessons I learned that I feel the need to share: If you ever have a fever of 103 or more that is not really responding the medication after three days, go to the hospital. If you are feverish and have the shakes and chills, you have a bacteria in you, and you should go to the hospital or doctor's office. Kids like going up and down in the beds at the hospital. The salad at the hospital is not half bad, and they give you chips. Three showers in one month is not enough.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Poking my head up

Not sure where to start. I've been out of commission for a while, and will be for a while longer. Long story short, I got sick with some kind of massive strep infection that landed me in the hospital for ten days. I had pneumonia, I was septic, my vital signs were all over the place, and there were doctor's and nurses running all around me with very serious looks on their faces. Like on TV. I'm home now, but some part of this infection has made its home in my right knee which is swollen like a pumpkin, and I can't walk without a walker. That's right, a walker. I'm the youngest 85 year-old woman you've ever seen. I'm tired, I'm winded, and although I was trying to keep mental notes of all the funny things that happened in the hospital so I could share the lighter side of my near-death experience, they will have to wait. Thanks to all my friends for all their support, it means the world to me to know I have such dear friends and such a great community.
I'll be back soon, and I'll tell you all about my foley catheter.