|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Tracking Monkeys With Lasers
The absolute hardest part of this past week was suffering through each day without an Internet connection. In the early part of January I was sequestered to the even-numbered side of the floor, where I found a weak but consistent signal from my city's WiFi provider. I played poker, I got in chat, I blogged. It made things far more palatable and less boring by a mile. This time? I was on the odd-numbered side (207, HAMMER) of the floor, and couldn't find a spot for the signal to stay active. My longest session over two days online was somewhere in the two minute area, then the signal would drop and I'd try for fifteen minutes to find it again.
"We could have moved you, why didn't you say anything?"
"When they remodel later this spring they're going to offer free WiFi to all the rooms, too bad you had this so early."
Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good this morning. I had my first meal since last Saturday's dinner (Swanson's Monterey Chicken frozen dinner was my "last meal," and yes, I find that horrifically disappointing of me too) in the hospital on Friday, and opted for the hot open-faced turkey sandwich. I had it as my first meal on my previous stay, and it was as good as I remembered. All I needed to do was keep it down and push it out.
It stayed down easily and came out quickly. Quickly like as-soon-as-I-stopped-swallowing quickly. If anyone reading this ever has to go through the surgery and recovery, let me prepare you for the surprising shock your bowels provide when they move something through for the first time in almost a week. Didn't hurt exactly, but I stood up off the seat more quickly than I had moved in days with the shock of "Wow! That's an interesting sensation!"
So for my second meal my mom baked me a chicken breast and some plain white rice. I can eat whatever I want now, really, but I'm taking it easy at this point. I had about 6 oz of chicken and a small pile of rice and... nothing. I expected my stomach to boil the food fast and push everything through as furiously as it happened the first time, but it wasn't processing. One hour passed, then three. I was breathing deep and pacing around to try and help the digestion, but I wasn't really feeling bad. I actually felt normal. I just expected things to run through me like a hot open-faced turkey sandwich.
I went to bed not having taken a shit, and fell asleep a little worried. Feeling pretty good, but worried nonetheless.
5AM this morning I woke up and took a modest, yet comfortable shit. God bless America.
So I'm sitting at my mom's (who is currently waffling me up some breakfast), watching the biathalon on TV, and hoping I can sneak in a nap, some poker and maybe some horse betting today despite all the family hanging around today. I've had a couple of cups of coffee (god yes) and feel like very few of the horror stories and worst-case scenarios caught up with me this past week. There were a few moments though. Let's start with...
Monday: D-Day. I had puked up my Sunday afternoon laxative treatment (and, frankly, may never be able to stomach apple juice again), and as a result wasn't truly "empty." I was still "flecking" (a new vocabulary word I picked up this week) a bit, so I was marginally freaked out that when the surgeon cut me open shit would spew everywhere and they'd have to sew me up with the colostomy bag (my probable third-worst case scenario - One was death, two was severe infection with a long recovery...). Anyway, my mom picked me up and hung with me in the OR prep area as they, uh, prepped me for surgery. I was my usual jokey-ass self, deflecting all my nervousness into deprecating stabs at humor. I'm sure I irked a half dozen nurses or more over the course of my week, and it all started on Monday.
The Anaesthesiologist came in for a visit and I peppered her with all sorts of questions about what to expect. She mentioned that most people handle it okay, some people have allergies, and some people get "a little ill" during the wake up portion of the program. My mom piped up, "Oh, yeah... I always got nauseous after being knocked out."
Great. Just fucking great. One more little thing to look forward to.
So after prepping and shaving me (non-erotic shaving, trust me), they wheel me in to the OR. My surgeon is in there, and I'm obviously keyed up and continue to toss nervous questions and humor around. The doc says, "Gee, if I had known you were going to be so wound up about this, I'd have had them give you something before they wheeled you in." Fantastic. There were about six women in the room, and I wasn't in there three minutes before they knocked me out.
Next thing I know, something said by a female voice catches my attention. "Hoo boy, that's going to be messy... We'll have to get that cleaned up." Three or four more female voices start coming into my head, they're all around me. I hear the beeps of the heart monitor. I hear a few more phrases that are med-speak of some sort, and I immediately jump to the panicky conclusion that I've just woken up on the operating table. I can't open my eyes, but my heart rate jumps (I hear the beeps), and my mind is moving from conclusion to conclusion rapidly. My abdomen hurts... I must still be on the table... They've still got me open... Is this "mess" my blood?... I'm bleeding... I shouldn't be awake...
I manage to squeak out instructions to whoever's in earshot. "Knock me out again." A nurse in the recovery room, who's obviously seen this a million times, strokes me on the forehead and tells me where I am, that it's totally normal to be coming around, and that I shouldn't worry.
So I don't - until I open my eyes. Shit starts spinning and the nausea sets in like a flop-sweat green cloud of sickness. I hoarsely bark out the words, "Pukey... pukey." Two nurses immediately lean roughly into my fresh wound in the center of my abdomen (why?) and press stiff weight into me. Another grabs a small spit bucket and pushes it under my chin. I heave and it feels like I'm John Hurt in Alien, and shit's going to erupt out of my belly (Oh, that's why.) and spew all over the recovery room. Abject pain, it's fierce, it sucks. I'm dripping from my forehead and neck in sweat and the nausea is overwhelming. That's usually enough, I'd normally rather be in a little pain than in a lot of nausea, but the dry heaves changed all that. The pain stings and slaps me around and wakes me the fuck up out of the anesthesia haze. It's easily the worst pain I've ever experienced. By a mile. They slip me some anti-nausea stuff and get me to calm down some - some - while they make plans to get me up to my hospital room.
It's two nurses and an EMT wheeling me up and the gurney is moving forward, then back, then spinning at my head to the left and my feet to the right and I'm twisting back again and FUCK. "Heave... heave." They stop and I've got a 220 lb. EMT leaning into my midsection to prevent the eruption this time. They move me again and it's in the doorway to my room that I have to stop them again for more. I'm certain I'm crying at this point, the pain is ludicrously awful. But they get me situated, slip me another anti-nausea cocktail, and four hours after wheeling me in to the OR, I'm in and out of consciousness in my hospital room.
My mom was there, I remember some very brief conversations, and I do know she was barely holding her shit together all day long. Hell, I was barely holding my shit together all day long. I didn't come around again fully until close to midnight, which wasn't unexpected considering nurses were coming in to check on me every 20 minutes all night long.
Tuesday: The morphine drip was nice, but they wanted me to get out of bed and walk around the halls some. Surprisingly, I didn't feel like that was an impossibility. I took a couple laps with my student nurse (certainly not as hot as that could have been), and spent the day sucking on ice chips. I couldn't find the focus to watch TV or read, but I absolutely made good use of the morphine for naps. By the time my mom came by after work, I had a surprising amount of energy and offered to take a few turns in the hall if she wanted to come along. As we were passing the elevators, THG stepped off and I think his jaw hit the floor to see poor ol' BG, who's supposed to be laid up in bed, with good color walking upright and at a good clip around the halls.
Yeah, I felt pretty decent.
Wednesday: I was still sucking ice chips, and wouldn't be moved to clear liquids until I passed a milestone for them first. That milestone? I had to fart. The gas was building up, but they assured me that once it came, it would just keep coming for awhile. The doc was disappointed when I didn't pass gas, and so was I. Ice chips suck.
Thursday: I not only passed gas, but I had a bowel movement at the same time. More of the "flecking," but that got me a cup of ginger ale, and I was grateful. I also found the bane of my pain Thursday - laughter. It fucking hurts to laugh. Not chuckling, per se, but actual unexpected laughter. I caught my first case during Beauty and the Geek when Geek Wes didn't lie when asked what he did for a living. His answer?
"I track monkeys with lasers."
Goddamn, I find that just hilarious. Can't laugh though, sucks to cough, sucks to clear my throat. I'm still hurting some, but I can probably go home Friday, so I've got something to look forward to.
Friday: Not much I haven't said about my bowels, but a couple of quick things. First, I had my first shower since Monday morning, and it felt fucking awesome. Problem was, they taped the shit out of my left arm to protect the IV mount, and that was going to have to be peeled off at some point. They also said the staples that held my wound together were going to come out, and I was absolutely going to be a little baby about that. It's not the big droning pain I can't stand, it's the little pinprick bullshit that turns me into a third grade Sally.
So I had the nurse give me a double-dose of Vicodin. Whee! And you know what? Getting the fourteen feet of tape ripped off my arm hurt far worse than getting twenty-some-odd staples pulled from my abdomen. Just a delightfully tacky experience. They also missed a good three inch section that I didn't find until last night, and that was a fun reminder of the worst ten minutes of my day.
Then, I go home, I have some chicken, I get all angsty about not pooping, and here we are. My dad and brothers are coming over today, my cousin is around, and there will be some Chinese poker and cribbage played.
And I'll let you know next time I take a dump too.
Friday, February 10, 2006
The Smell Of Sweet Freedom
I'm out. They yanked the staples out of my abdomen early this afternoon, put me in a wheelchair and sent me on my way. My first deep breath of 30 degree crisp February air in almost a week almost brought me to tears.
I needed the surgery, the (eight inch) section of colon removed almost certainly would have abcessed and poisoned my midsection had it not been caught and fixed. I needed the four nights on an IV and morphine drip to recover, and I'm going to need the week or so of daily naps and doing much of nothing to heal up fully.
And yeah, I really am worried about the medical bills and really needed to find a solution. But more than needing the money, it's seventy-some-odd expressions of love, respect, care, help, or whatever that I really found that I was craving. I know I've made some good friends through this blog of mine, and it's impossible in this community to feel like you're yelling into the void, but it's still astonishing to me to find Pauly's idea had caused such a response. I really don't know what to say besides, "Thanks." I mean, when I have a few minutes in the near future I'd like to try and thank everyone who sent donations individually, but for right now I want you to know how deeply touched I am by all your kindness.
It means everything to me to know that you all had me in your thoughts this week, and I'm thrilled to tell you that I feel tons better than I thought I would at this point, and even though I'm not one to buy into spiritual nonsense, I can't discount how much knowing I was in your thoughts have helped me heal.
You guys are the best. I missed the shit out of you and this place this last week, and am glad to be back. Thanks, and thanks again for everything.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
A Buck Seventy-Five
I've been flipping channels like some sort of ADD freak with a Super-Marfan thumb on the channel button today, as there's only so much pre-game bullshit a man can take (Easycure and Mean Gene get a pass, if the Lions were playing I'd have made today's post all about the lack of round-the-clock coverage on what must be a Jesus-induced miracle.) Just a few thoughts from my flippancy around the dial today:
· CNN breathlessly reports that you can, in fact, bet on all sorts of things related to today's game! Like if the Seahawks will score a TD via a reverse! Or which song the Stones will open with at halftime! They did report that you get "50/50 odds" on the opening coin toss, which has me wondering if vig is no longer important to Vegas casinos. They also threw the obligatory wet blanket on the report at the end, featuring some dude saying that there's a lot of "added excitement to be had when you can bet on nearly every moment of the game as it occurs." Oh wait, I forgot the last part of that quote where he said, "which could lead to gambling addiction." So could church-sponsored bingo, where's my expose on that scam?
· Two thoughts from E!'s 101 Hottest Celebrity Bodies list: One, are there really forty-six celebrities than Krista Allen with hotter bodies? Hell, if you're assuming half the list is men, I'm thinking twenty-three is still a stretch. Second, E! claims Shakira has a 140 IQ, and was born to parents of Lebanese and Colombian descent. She's already got the beautiful and sexy-as-fuck thing, and now I find out she's not only smart but knows where to find good coffee and bakalava?
· The Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet is the most highly underrated two-and-a-half minutes you can spend with your TV today. Again, though, no corgis. Kitty Bowl, on the other hand... get a life people.
· Due to a severe operation following mouth surgery which followed a bout with alcoholism, the kid who was on HR Pufnstuf looks now like an old timey prospector dude who's spent too much time up in them thar hills. Give him twenty years and a glass eye and he could become the latter-day Jack Elam (three people, maybe, are going to laugh at that).
· G-Rob and Bob both brought up infomercials and products today, and I have a couple of things to add. First, even though I appreciate the genius of Chef Tony (G-Rob's comment on The Ultimate Chopper was, I believe, some of his better early work), you can't mess with the Magic Bullet pseudo-blender show. The hosts have energy (although they have an unfortunate lack of sexual tension, did we learn nothing from the last season of Moonlighting?), they've got pre-scripted awe and amazement from their sycophantic counter-friends, and they managed to insult all frazzled housewives in the name of caricature with that housecoatted woman who's just so very full of doubt. I also get really amused at the absurdity of the claims that you "don't even have to chop" things before putting them in the Magic Bullet. Of course, onions are at least quartered in almost every instance, and you can't very well stuff a whole stalk of celery in there either. So, instead of just continuing to cut, you'll get another appliance out and get more shit dirty. Good move. The only one of those infomercials that makes any sense to me at all is the Little Giant Ladder system. Seems entirely plausible that it's a durable product, the feet look big and wide for balance, and I'd be thrilled not to
· Whoever made the casting decision to put Janeane Garofalo in the lead of The Truth About Cats And Dogs was really on to something there. Pretty girl, great attitude, a body that's not at all what you'd call "dumpy," and charisma like a young Anne Ramsey. Why she's not carrying more pictures on her back like she did that one is beyond me.
So, if you're interested in keeping count, I'm up to seventeen sit-down trips to the bathroom today. Whee! I'm pretty sure I'm empty right now though. About an hour ago I caught the flop sweats and puked into my laundry basket. Much fun. I currently feel like a buck seventy-five.
I'm going to stop just short of saying I'm "profoundly" hungry, but I nearly wept two hours ago when I flipped to the History of Pizza on one of those ignorable middle-dial cable channels. I'd suck one of those motherfuckers through a Krazy Straw right now if I had the chance. It doesn't help that they're promoting the new Pizza Hut pizza that I resisted purchasing all last week. I'm not even looking at the bimbo in the boots in the commercial. By the way, ask me on Tuesday how hungry I am. I dare you.
Hurry, bet on Joe Jurevicius as the game's MVP... he's about the only skill player on either team who didn't do that pre-game "I'm Going To Disney World" ad that's bound to jinx all who appeared.
And I barely recognized Harrison Ford doing the Dr. Seuss intro - he wasn't threatening me while pointing with a shaky finger.
By the way, cashed in this morning's $5 multi on the best online poker site. 15th out of 167, only bouncing when I challenged the table maniac (and chip leader) with QQ to run into his one legitimate hand all day - AA.
I'm out of cigarettes now, I've had no caffeine today, and I desperately want a pizza and some hot wings. What a way to spend Super Bowl Sunday...
Sunday's Bowel Prep Update
Ounces of industrial-strength laxative consumed: 13
Ounces still to drink (sometime this afternoon): 3
Bathroom trips induced so far: 6
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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