Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sam's recent obsession with Mariology


We have a problem. Sam doesn't like Jesus. I mean, he really doesn't like Jesus.

Someone gave us a plush nativity set which is currently one of Sam's favorite toys. Whenever I hand him the baby Jesus, however, he holds it for a split second and then throws it across the room. This action is quickly followed by him scooping up Mary and Joseph--one in each hand--and nuzzling them. He kisses Mary and Joseph. He waves them around. He loves Mary and Joseph. But Jesus? No thank you.

This wasn't just a one time, "Oh look, Sam threw the baby Jesus." It's every single time he plays with this toy. Today Jesus was thrown across our living room four times. Four times.

I don't know about this kid. I just don't know.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Milk kills me every time

I've been off of dairy products since April due to Sam's allergies. As I've tried to find dairy-free options at restaurants I've had some interesting conversations with waiters.

Me: I don't suppose you have any dairy-free desserts, do you?
Waiter: Let me check with the chef. I do know for sure that you can have the ice cream.
Me: Um, okay.

For the most part, I've found people are so eager for me to eat their food that they often say the food is fine whether or not they truly know the ingredients. Seven months into this diet I've finally found a way to ensure my food at restaurants is dairy-free--my friend Katie gave me this idea. It works 100% of the time.

Me: Do you know if this bread has dairy in it?
Waiter: Let me see.
(Waiter picks it up and stares at it as if trying to see specks of milk.)
Waiter: Nope. There's not any dairy in it.
Me: Are you sure? I have a dairy allergy.
Waiter: Definitely. It's fine
Me: Good, because dairy is like poison to me.

And then I start to take a big bite which is ALWAYS interrupted by the waiter saying, "WAIT! Let me run to the kitchen just to double check."

And then they come back with iceberg lettuce and Worcestershire sauce since those are the only truly dairy-free items in the kitchen.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

When you wish upon a star

My father-in-law thinks that God answers all my prayers. And while that's a complete exaggeration, score one for team Keith.

Last summer we had a number of empty apartments near our building. I kept telling John that I wanted a teenage, homeschooler to move in so that we could take advantage of her babysitting abilities night and day.

Soon after a homeschooling family with eight kids moved in. Eight. And I haven't been in want of a babysitter since.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I fought the 5%....and I won

A FEW DAYS AGO:

Me: I think I'm a five percent kind of person.
John: What do you mean?
Me: Only 5% of women give birth on their due date. Only 5% of people who have an ERCP get pancreatitis....(I listed off a number of other areas in which I fall in the fifth percentile. Areas that I am much to humble to talk about here)....I guess I'm just a part of the five percent club.
John: I guess so.

THE NEXT DAY:
Me: John, I don't want to be a part of the 5% club.
John: Why not?
Me: Because pancreatitis has a 5% mortality rate.
John: Really?
Me: Yup.
John: Well, it's not 5% of people who contracted it the way you did--post-surgical?
Me: I don't know, but--
John: Wouldn't that 5% be more likely to happen to people with alcohol problems or something like that? YOU probably didn't have a 5% mortality rate.

At this point I allowed for a long pause to interrupt the conversation, thereby alerting John that he was in need of a mulligan.

John: Uh, wow. Five percent, huh?
Me: Yeah, five percent of people who get this DIE! Aren't you glad I didn't die?
John: Yup.

I kind of wish I had known this statistic earlier. I think I could have milked this situation a bit more. I mean, yeah, I had a week off of school and got to watch movies all doped up and everything, BUT I COULD HAVE DIED!!!! Which makes me think I deserve more than flowers and balloons (and yes, perhaps even more than an Irish whistle). I don't know, maybe I should make a t-shirt ("I Survived Pancreatitis"). Or petition Stephen Colbert to wear a bracelet in my honor.

It has given me a bit of leverage, I suppose. Like when John asks if I'd be willing to get him a drink of water or take over some extra Sam duties I say, "John, remember when I almost died?"

And then he remembers how very lucky he is to still have me and gives me a back rub.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

At the height of my anesthesia buzz

(Post-surgery getting wheeled back to my room to my waiting husband)

Me: John, I had a great idea for Christmas.
John: What's that.
Me: Let's have a belt Christmas.
John: A what?
Me: A belt Christmas. Where we only give each other belts.
John: Okay (trying not to laugh).
Me: I want one with sequins.
John: Okay.
Me: And I had an idea of two different belts that I could get for you, but I don't remember what they are anymore.
John: That's okay.

This story may beat the time I had my wisdom teeth out and started crying because I couldn't find my pockets. And the time I had an endoscopy and afterwards began shouting,"Hey! Who put my shoes on my feet?"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Setting the record straight

Sometimes the line between fact and fiction gets a little blurry. I've been known to refer to a recently committed heinous crime only to have John respond with, "Um, actually, Mandy, that was on 'Law and Order' last night."

That happens when my brain is running on all cylinders. So it's only natural that if I'm hopped up on morphine for a week that pesky fact/fiction line might get even fuzzier.

That said, I feel the need to qualify last weeks posts.

At one point I referred to a nurse who in the middle of the night told me to call her "Loud Beth." I saw her the next morning and said, "Hi Beth." To which she responded, "It's Carol."

Other than that, I think everything else I wrote was true. I do know that Wilson really did exist. I didn't make her up--John can testify to that. And we really did become friends. When I left she smiled, bowed her head, and murmured something in Mandarin which I believe could be roughly translated as, "Goodbye, beautiful fairy princess. Thank you for being a beacon of light in this dreary place."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sam's new tricks

While I was away Sam learned three new tricks:

1. How to shrug
2. How to point
3. How to scoot

All useful tools in hunting down his missing mother (which I'm sure is what he was aiming for). I believe had I stayed away a day or two longer he would have learned how to stick out his thumb to hitch a ride.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Home again, home again

I'm back home! Thanks for all the prayers, books, DVD's, magazines, jello, soup, water colors, flowers, balloons, visits, and of course, Irish whistles.

I came home and our kitchen sink pipe was so excited to see me that it burst. Sigh.

Hospital: Day 4 More about Wilson

They decided not to release Wilson. I was a bit relieved. Mostly because Wilson looked really sick. Really, really sick. And the fact that they were willing to release Wilson before me made me think that maybe I was really, really, really sick.

But here she is. Nice, quiet Wilson. We became quite close yesterday. It all started when one of the nurses came to her bed:

Nurse: Are you hungry, Mrs. X?
Silence.
Nurse: ARE YOU HUNGRY, MRS.X?
Silence.
Nurse: YOU WANT FOOD?

Finally I filled in the silence from across the curtain. "She doesn't speak English." Thus began my friendship with Wilson. I took it upon myself to look after my helpless little roommate. I informed orderlies about her inability to speak English. I closed her curtain when she started gesturing towards it. I turned off the hall light at 10 pm so the light wouldn't shine in her eyes. I asked "Loud Beth" to be a little bit quieter when she was out in the hallway at 11:30 pm (seriously, that's what we're supposed to call her). I even convinced the nurse to turn off my IV in the middle of the night because it kept waking us up with its strange noises. I was beginning to think we were best friends.

At 3:30 am, however, I finally understood the term "frenemy." My new friend decided that she wanted to have the lights on...all of the lights on, which I didn't think was very neighborly.

So here I am on day four with Wilson. Hoping that I'll get to be released before her...not that I'm competitive or anything.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hospital: Day 3

My roommate is going home today. I feel like I'm losing my Wilson (Wilson as in what the volleyball was to Tom Hanks, not as in what Wilson was to Tim the Toolman Taylor). By comparing her to a volleyball, I realize I may be objectifying her a smidge. But she's been a lovely companion. I will miss her talking...and mostly not talking, as well as all of the conversations that have revolved around her bowel movements.

My nurses have been very kind. One nurse, however, has been getting under my skin. She's the one who brings me my food. My lovely, liquid food. Each meal she walks into my room waving the menu with items like "smoked turkey breast" and "whipped potatoes" and "julienne carrots" and says, "Don't you wanna eat, Honey? Don't you know you have to keep sipping liquids until you feel better? You need to get better so I can bring you real food. Don't you want real food, Baby Doll? Wouldn't you like a hamburger?" I'd like to have a snappy comeback, but I haven't been able to come up with one yet. Plus, she brings me orange jell-o and I don't want to do anything that might jeopardize that.

I've had some lovely visitors so far. My friend Katie just came with a huge bag of goodies: Mad Libs, The Velveteen Rabbit, Elf, watercolors and paper, cards, a Barbie pen, and many many other things that only Katie would bring. You would have to know Katie to get the full effect. She also brought me an Irish Whistle that she said I could use to summon a nurse or communicate with my roommate.


By far the best thing I brought with me to the hospital has been the noise-reducing headphones I bought for John when Sam was born. I actually sleep here! I put on my eye mask, plug the earphones into my computer, and listen to 18 minutes of falling rain put on "repeat" all through the night. Ah!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

From my hospital bed

So I've been in the hospital since Tuesday with a lovely bout of pancreatitis (and no, it was not brought on by the sit-ups). I'll probably be here until Friday. Sigh. If you think I meet strange people on the streets, you should see the gang I hang out with at the hospital. I've learned a few things since I began my stay here:

1. I finally realized that the nurses do not offer prizes for patients who politely decline pain medication all day long. I've already got the IV in, so I finally agreed to let them add some fun stuff to it.

2. By far,the most dangerous thing in this hospital that I've been exposed to is The Home Shopping Network. For those of you that haven't bought me my Christmas present yet, I need the Mighty Mendit. I NEED it. (And for those of you who are familiar with the Princeton Medical Center, yes, I finally did break down and pay those misers $4 a day for television access. I wouldn't have needed it had they allowed me to access Hulu).

3. My roommate is a sweet, little, elderly Asian woman who doesn't speak a lick of English. This poor woman has had to put up with some interesting nurses. Here's a conversation I was privy to earlier today:

Nurse: You can use this when you need the bathroom, Mrs. X.
Silence.
Nurse: YOU CAN USE THIS WHEN YOU NEED THE BATHROOM, MRS. X!
Silence.
Nurse: USE THIS FOR POTTY.

I wanted to tell her, "She does not understand English. She doesn't understand loud English, and she doesn't certainly doesn't understand loud, baby English.

HA! What perfect timing! As I'm writing this, the nurse just walked into the room and said, "SO YOU JUST POO-POOED?"

Ah, life with a testy pancreas...

Monday, November 03, 2008

A surefire way to make Sam laugh

Apparently I don't exercise enough. This was made clear to me when I began doing sit-ups on the living room floor. Sam watched in utter fascination before breaking out into giggles as in, "What does this woman think she's doing?"

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Eating my words--they taste like plastic


Before Sam was born, I remember telling my mother-in-law how much I liked wooden toys. Perhaps it wasn't that I was overly in love with wooden toys, it was more that I didn't like plastic toys.

This began to change, however, when Sam turned three months and the beautiful wooden rattle which I adored became a Grade A weapon, administering bumps and bruises on Sam's forehead.

I reluctantly pulled out some plastic toys we had received from some experienced moms. Not only did they leave Sam bruise free, but the kid could actually pick them up by himself.

While I've come around to see the benefits of plastic toys, I still had my heart set on buying Sam a wooden barn for Christmas. That is until I saw how expensive they were. After spending days scouring ebay for cheap wooden barns, it suddenly occurred to me that while I wanted a wooden barn, Sam could probably care less

So I just bought Sam a barn for Christmas. A plastic barn. A plastic barn that requires batteries. A plastic barn that requires batteries and plays obnoxious songs. And while I know he's going to love it, I still feel a bit like a sell-out. So I'm eating my words. My bpa-free, plasticky words.