Friday, November 02, 2007

No biting, small story interruption

A few Sundays ago I packed up my car and strapped the cats into the backseat and started the verbal “Did you forget anything” check with my mother, just like I always do when I leave their house. The last time I was there I left several vital hair-fixing accoutrements on the bathroom counter, like, just in the middle of the counter. I even looked in the bathroom before I left. Twice. Did I see the giant dryer sitting there on the yellow tile? No.

So my mother is going through our traditional ritual and it suddenly hits me that I’ve left my cell phone and blackberry chargers in my old room and my mother, being helpful, dashes inside to get them. She’s gone longer than I expect and I almost get out of the car to see if she’s gotten distracted by one of the stray mini-lizards that Jack, their cat, likes to bring in for play pretties. Like the rest of the family, he gets bored easily and is too much of a pussy to go in for the bloody kill; therefore he leaves their maimed and sometimes legless bodies to hobble and dart around the house. Kind of disgusting when you think about it, so don’t.

Just as I’m about to unbuckle, she comes out of the house carrying my laptop case, the laptop, the laptop charger and, oh yeah, the two things I remembered forgetting. Those two things in comparison to the laptop are worthless. Imagine me, rolling into work on Monday, looking at my desk and going WHAT THE FUCK, SOMEONE STOLE MY LAPTOP. But I’ve got my cell phone charger, so no worries!

I’d like to say I never forget things but that would be lying and liars go to hell. Probably less of a hell than child molesters but it’s hell nonetheless. And sadly, I can’t say this is an abnormal reaction, the panicking and tearing up of the purse and then coming to the (ridiculous) conclusion that the item(s) in question have been yanked by the Thief Fairy. Just last week I was getting ready for a business trip and was packing up my two laptops when I realized that I couldn’t find my aircard. It had been in my laptop case the week before, where was it now? STOLEN, THAT’S WHERE. So I walk down to my boss’s office and give him my nervous smile, which indicates it’s possible I’ve done something bad. Like letting my aircard get snatched. He comes over to my desk and, while I’m rifling through laptop case number one, he sticks his hand in laptop case number two, coming up with, guess what? An aircard! Voila, its is magic!

I’m quite glad that the aircard wasn’t stolen because as it turns out, that trip was canceled twelve hours before my flight, which means I was already packed when my mother called on Tuesday night to tell me my grandmother had gone into renal failure. Now, I’m not going to spend much time on all that because it’s a bit of a downer (Grandmother is dying! Come quick!) and because as it turns out she didn’t die (Grandmother’s not dying! Come quick!) and she’s currently holed up in rehab where her roommate wears socks with ready-made blue holes in the bottom. This is ultimately perplexing to me and I just can’t move on from the scary blue hole socks. If her feet were Mormon, this would make sense. But I didn’t sense any Mormon-ness in her, so, yeah, I don’t really know what to tell you. Grandma’s fine so stop crying.

The aircard was obviously useful because it was how I beamed magic internet particles into my laptop and “worked from home”- if “home” is really 240 miles away. I was working because as it turns out, my vacation hours sit steadily below the USELESS line (less than 10 hours but greater than 3 hours). This was all due to the week-long hospital stay back in August and the ensuing hilarity that made me wish for a bottle of Jack and a straight razor. (note: I THOUGHT I was getting credit for working while my grandmother lay in ICU but as it turns out, I was not. Cruel joke. If you feel like campaigning on my behalf, you can email

It's a biter.

Spend more than a night in a hospital and you come to realize that it’s like existing in a suspended reality where time is marked by the arbitrary delivery of green Jell-o and beef broth. It’s a state of being where, thanks to heavy doses of painkillers, a trip to the bathroom becomes the highlight of your day. I mean, where else would you find a seemingly sane woman relieving her bowels on industrial strength linoleum? And upon witnessing said act, respond with neither alarm nor horror and instead calmly notify the nearest be-scrubbed hospital worker?

But enough of all that. Day Two of my hospital stay was just as eventful as the first twelve hours had been, starting with my trip to the nuclear lab. The test itself wasn’t that bad, just a lot of stillness on a cot mattress with a big black drum placed over my midsection for three hours. A screen to my right showed the little nuclear bits going to work on my innards while I tried not to think about alien babies with exoskeletons and dripping mucus. My reverie was interrupted two hours into the test by my lab technician, who informed me they hadn’t been able to view a certain organ. This calls for a morphine injection, stat!

Now, I’ve had this test twice before and each time I’ve been given a morphine injection. I knew what to expect: a swift tingling in my legs spreading upwards towards my heart and down to my fingernails. I would float for a minute and swing gently back to earth. I would want a cookie afterwards. But this time, sweet jesus. It was like flaming balls of acid rolling along my veins until it settled in my stomach, which immediately revolted. As they were pushing my bed out of the nuclear lab I had a stomach contraction so intense I would later swear that the alien baby was gobbling up my internal organs in preparation for its stunning exit through my navel. It was not pleasant.

Thankfully hospitals are prepared for people who spontaneously dry heave and my lab tech had a popcorn bucket in front of me faster than you can say ‘Shoe Sale.’ I heaved all the way down six or seven indistinguishable corridors, straight back into my now spotless semi-private room, a room I was still sharing with my shitastic cell mate.

After an injection of anti-nausea medicine, things calmed down in the stomach region, at least somewhat. I was able to call my mother and tell her I was STILL in the hospital a whopping twenty-four hours later. I know, I know- twenty-four hours. I should get a medal. But seriously, did they misplace their magical illness detector? What was the holdup on getting my alien baby delivered? Could I not just get a stomach transplant?

I ended the call with my mother ten minutes later because even if she didn’t verbally express her grossed-outedness at my dry heaving on the phone in between sentences, I was having a hard time not being grossed out. There’s nothing so miserable as feeling perpetually nauseated with a stomach that says Fuck You at every available opportunity.

Before I hung up I told my mother that I was fine, no need to come up, I was a big girl, no worries. Inside I was screaming Can’t you fuckers fix this? I want my mommy, godammit! But still, as we get farther and farther away from the era when a sniffle warranted a full day at home with mom and ceaseless delivery of Sprite and Saltines, we feel obliged to exert our independence. I can handle this, don’t worry. It’s just an alien baby. People have those ALL THE TIME.

So I closed my eyes and let two fat self-pity tears trail down my cheeks before I drifted off into Candyland. Three hours later I woke up just as my mother was walking into the room. Apparently there’s some supersonic brain wave detector that lets moms know when their children are lying about needing them. Even if said children are skilled secret-keepers with years as practice.