Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Photo of the week: 11 July 09

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Otto and street furniture

Two photo obsessions in one

People leave all sorts of stuff on city streets.
Sometimes you just can’t resist a sit.

You gotta love a health system…

Friday, July 10th, 2009

…that happily hands out bottles of nasty narcotics, including morphine, but denies coverage for celebrex, the only anti-inflammatory approved for transplant recipients, citing as the reason that said transplantee (me) is two years too young (!) to meet their formulary guidelines.

Go, HealthNet!

Go, America!

Dogs, cats, humans

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Ok, I’m getting sentimental here. But I’ve opened yet another door of the Medical Winchester Mystery House – an autoimmune condition this time – and I’m in need a bit of sentiment. I’ll write the gloomy stuff later, but right now…

I’ve posted (and posted and posted) about Otto, my dog. I’ve said less about my ex-cat (ex-mine that is, not ex-feline), Orion. Orion now lives with a dear friend, partially due to my medical adventures, but he’s still a frequent visitor.

More important, Orion and Otto are… well, it’s kind of hard to say what they are to each other: lets just call it a really really strong bond. Orion was here first, and when Otto arrived as a 7 week old puppy they fast became inseprable. Breaking them up was one of the sadder things I’ve ever had to do. It’s been sadder yet for the two critters.

During Orion’s last couple of stay-overs, I started taking notes on life with a cat and dog. Anyone who lives with both knows that the usual cat rules and dog rules – and your life – change erratically.

So here are the notes. And please: send along your own observations. No doubt we can come up with a book. (more…)

Pic of the week 16 February

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Otto performs a laparoscopic squeakectomy

Otto performs a laparoscopic squeakectomy
Otto is REALLY good at removing squeakers from toys. If he doesn’t do it the moment he gets his little paws on a new one, it will happen. It’s just a matter of when.

Last night a friend came by for dinner. As it was raining all day and he’d been stuck indoors with his dog, Jake, he brought Jake along for some R&R with Otto.

After much trading of toys, guarding of bones, and competing for chewies Otto normally ignores, my friend and Jake left. They left behind a small red squeaking ball. Otto of course found it.

This afternoon Otto ran about the house squeaking it constantly. This evening, when I went to throw it for him, the squeaker no longer squeaked. It just rattles around inside the ball, a dead piece of plastic. 

Somehow Otto managed to disable the squeaker without the usual shredding and body parts. A sort of laparoscopic squeakectomy. I’ve called him the surgeon before when he’s dismembered some stuffed critter; I guess he’s upgraded his skills.

Lefties (as in handedness, not politics)

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Few things get a rise out of me faster than someone dissing us left-handed folks. I am old enough to have had my hand whacked with the edge of a ruler by a manaical right-thinking nun in first grade penmanship class. (It was the only time my mom took on the nuns in my defense. They’d done the same to her years earlier and she never forgave them. In my case, mom won. Yeah, mom!) I’ve been fiercely pro-leftie ever since, criticizing rude righties and miscreant can openers as necessary.

ANYway, apropos of nothing…

I notice our new president is left handed. So was the one we just sent back to Texas with his tail between his legs. Now, based on personal observation – I observe lefties a lot – I’ve concluded that we lefties are either:
                       a) smarter than, or
                       b) stupider than
average. We lefties don’t tend to do in-between. I think there’s even research to prove the idea, but I’m not going to take time looking it up. Sure seems like Obama and Bush prove the point though.

Me? Where am I on the either-or scale? Wellllll… I figure I’m both smarter AND stupider than average. Depends on when and how you measure. (See title of blog above.)

Happy evening, people. Even you righties.


Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

A short time ago a friend came by and we went out for a quick bite. I’d had a hectic and minorly frustrating day today and was complaining about it, as we are wont to do – most of us, anyway. After I’d vented and the conversation relaxed, my friend laughed.

I was puzzled. Neither of us had said anything amusing.

What’s funny? I asked.

You, he said. Listening to you rant about phone calls and classes and traffic jams instead of your medical  operations or test results or upcoming procedures. I haven’t heard you do that in years.


I was stung for a moment, even a bit ashamed. WHAT was I doing, fretting about such things? After where I’d been? Perspective, Ed, please! Perspective!

And then I rejoiced.

Did I ever expect to worry about such everyday problems again? Did I ever expect to have everyday problems again? How far I’ve come! And how damn amazing is that!

I deeply thank my dear friend for that lesson.

Scene 1: "Nooo! I don' neeed a kidneeee!"

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

For those who don’t know how most operations begin (may you long cherish that small bit of ignorance) here’s a primer.

You check in to a Pre-Op room hidden deep in a hospital. You are led to a little curtained-off cot, one of half a dozen in a row. Nurses come by with papers. You sign your life away, agreeing for the third or fourth time to the same procedures that landed you in the room in the first place. 

Your clothes, any dignity you might still have, and all other belongings are taken away to be returned “later”. Hearing the word “later” your mind substitutes “the other side” and tries to imagine what that might be like. You shiver uncontrollably. (more…)

Scene 2: "Do you know why you're still here, Mr. B?"

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

I am now apparently  allergic to all pain meds no matter how they’re delivered. IV or pill, even the patch so beloved by many, every last one of them makes me puke. Lovely!. Not. Some people regurgitate like cats: casually, out of boredom, with no consequences. Not me: even thinking about it is a misery. So you can see how happy I was to spend my first conscious post-surgery hours desperately trying not to throw up and failing. 

The weird thing was, I had no pain. Nada. Just the usual post-op stiffness that comes from being artificially dead for a few hours. It wasn’t a difficult op and all the nerves in the area had been killed off during previous ops, so my body didn’t take too much of a hit. And I’d been training for this. No, really, I trained for surgery: at the gym, hiking with the dog, yoga, even hypnotherapy. Anything to get my body and mind in as strong a state as I could so I’d make it through this. After my last time getting chopped, I left no option that might aid survuval unexplored. And it worked. Something did, anyway. (more…)

Is the ink on my diploma dry yet?

Monday, January 7th, 2008

I have this defining personality trait (we won’t call it a flaw): I’m curious about everything. In college, I took to research like a duck does to wet and never looked back. Living in ground zero of the AIDS epidemic in my younger adult years, I joined the treatment advocates and immersed myself in things medical and pharmacological. Later my pursuits of medical knowledge extended into other areas as family and friends succumbed to various life-threating illnesses and conditions.

Now faced with my own battles with liver cancer, liver transplant, and a maniac bout of hepatitis C, it is axiomatic for me to research my own issues. I know the docs can smell me and my questions coming. Depending on their schedules and temperaments, they either sharpen their pencils and prep their answers, or quicken their pace and exit the area.

So I’m sitting in “Club Moffitt” (aka UCSF’s Moffitt Hospital) for more than a few days (post-surgery fluid leakage, don’t ask) and as the staff doles out my various meds, one seems to be at a different dose than I’ve been taking at home. I’m not quite sure though (my protein/fluid problem doesn’t make for clear thinking) so I ask a friend to stop by my place, get the Rx bottle and bring it by. He kindly does so.

Sure enough, the dose they’ve been giving me is incorrect. I’d told the nurse earlier of my concern, and she asked me to bring her the bottle when it arrived. I do. She examines it.

“You’re right,” she says, handing me the bottle. “I’ll make the changes. Thank you, Dr. Brownson.”

After 20 seconds or so, it is clear she’s not being ironic. I laugh out loud, as does another nurse near by.

“Uh, I don’t have the degree quite yet,” I say. The nurse, flustered, goes on her way.

Maybe they’re planning an honorary degree as prophylaxis against bugging the docs with so many questions? Who knows. I can say that was the best chuckle I’ve had in three weeks.