Archive | October, 2012

This might be when you decide to unsubscribe.

28 Oct

There is a time, I will admit, when I thought a touch of illness would be *just the thing* to launch my motivational speaking career. Nothing lasting, mind you. Just something that would allow me to grab the microphone and tell an inspirational story of triumph that would make folks’ eyes well up.

(Disclosure: I’m not exactly sure what disease I thought would fit that bill – I always kind of fuzzed over that part. I just remember looking at people and shaking my head, thinking, “Should’ve been me. I could *totally* turn that into a lecture circuit before I was healed.)

Well so, the lesson here is: Careful what you ask for. Apparently I sent out some sort of subconscious plea to the universe, and it was answered – by a universe that has an ironic sense of humor. Tuesday’s colonoscopy resulted in a diagnosis of Crohn’s.

If you’re not familiar with Crohn’s, let me start by telling you: It is probably the LEAST sexiest disease ever. If you want proof, try googling, “Celebrities with Crohn’s.” You’ll find exactly 11 people willing to admit they have it, and you won’t know who ten of them are.

The one you *might* recognize is Shannen Doherty of 90210 fame, and you’ll be like, “Wow. So this disease totally f*cks with your eyes so they’re on two different planes?”

But no: that’s just the result of her scowling so much because she had to dress like she was from Minnesota for an entire season. But that’s a different story. Ask Doherty about Crohn’s and she’ll only say, “I don’t think it’s sexy to talk about going to the bathroom.”

Oh Shannen, you are so coy.

She may be coy, but I’m not. So I’m going to talk about it briefly so you know what’s going on. And then I’m going to move on and get back to pithiness as usual. Consider this quick back story in case you notice more bathroom humor than usual. Or if an increasing number of my stories end with, “And then I shat myself. Literally.”

My understanding (cobbled together over the last few days) is that it’s an autoimmune disease, in which my immune system attacks my intestines. Sure, diarrhea is one of the outcomes, but (while inconvenient and potentially embarrassing) that’s not necessarily the worst part.

Granted, I’m new to the game, but thus far, it has felt like the flu (shivers, fever, aching bones, splitting headache) combined with some crazy-ass serial killer repeatedly stabbing my side. I tend to have a pretty high pain tolerance, but Thursday night it was so intense I found myself negotiating with Sweet Baby Jesus.

And we *ALL* know it’s silly to try to negotiate with a baby.

I’m currently on a course of nine pills/day (potentially forever, if they work – which would be the best case scenario) to help relieve the inflammation with the hope that it will prevent scar tissue from forming in my intestines. Scar tissue is bad because then I’d need to have surgery to remove part of my intestines/colon. Um, no thanks. Pretty sure that would put a damper on the inspirational speaking tour. 

In (barely) related news, I received a handwritten thank you note from the surgery clinic after my scope on Tuesday. Take a minute and think about that. 

Any other procedure and I’d appreciate it. But after you’ve been feet-deep up my ass, I’m thinking a thank you is, um, CREEPY.

One friend asked if the note included a keepsake action photo like they take on roller coasters. Kind of, I wanted to tell him. Except, instead of asking me to say cheese, apparently they told me to pucker up.

A different kind of log ride.

Finally, while I’m getting all of this out of my system (so to speak), I’ll leave you with the text I received from my friend Dan, the night before my colonoscopy:


My ass – it’s killing me.

20 Oct

Oh hey! I’ve been a bit quiet lately, haven’t I? Sorry about that. For the most part, I’ve been busy with work, and –

What? How am I doing? Really? Sure you want to ask?

OK. Fine. I’ll tell you: I’m starting to get excited. On Tuesday I’ll be getting my second colonoscopy in six months. 

Admit it: you’re jealous.

As if two in a year weren’t thrilling enough, the real joy of this one is that it’s exactly a week before my birthday. Some people regain that youthful feeling with a spa day. Me, I prefer a more hard-core route. From my experience, nothing transports you right back to infancy like needing a diaper.

To each her own, I suppose. Whatever keeps you young.

Actually, I’m just happy I will be able to do the “prep” at home, in the comfort of my own bathroom, rather than in the hospital with a roommate. If you’ve never had a colonoscopy, I’ll spare you the details but this should help you get the gist: the prep (ironically branded “GoLYTEly”) ensures you will go to the bathroom over three dozen times in 12 hours – or until your stool is clear.

Let me repeat that: CLEAR.

Also: apologies for using the word stool outside of a kitchen or bar. Wholly inappropriate and kind of makes you puke in your mouth. So sorry about that.

Right. So I’m skipping the details, but I think we can all agree that when the preparation for a procedure defies nature – much like reversing the flow of a river – it can’t come without some, um, effort.

I don’t care how close I am with my parents – I’m glad they didn’t heed this advice.

By the way: If I ever have the option of inviting a dead or living celebrity to dinner, I think my money is on Katie Couric. Mainly because I want to ask the following: Katie, when you claim you had a colonoscopy on television, did you actually mean you PRETENDED to have one? Because I didn’t see any evidence of a) broken blood vessels from your face cramping up, b) shaky legs from running on zero nutrients for 48 hours, and c) terror in your eyes from the noise in your stomach.

My sister recently chatted me to tell the story of her friend’s son, who was given GoLYTEly in the ER, without the benefit of a semi-private bathroom. The poor kid had to STAND IN LINE after essentially detonating a bomb in his stomach. Again, I’ll spare you the details, but it’s safe to assume: that did not end well. Also, (just a hunch!) there may be a lawsuit related to human dignity at play.

So. I haven’t written for a while, but I think we’re pretty much caught up now. You might want to file this one under “Careful What You Ask For.”

Yes, there are binders full of women. Most men don’t brag about them.

17 Oct

Hell yes, Mitt Romney supports women. If you doubt him, just ask to see his binder. It’s FULL of women. Women who not only are qualified to fill key jobs, but ALSO get to leave work a bit early so they can go home and cook dinner. If that doesn’t scream equality, I don’t know what does.

I mean, we want women integrated into the workforce, but it’s important that we don’t take them out of the kitchen – because that’s their first responsibility.  Kitchens without women would lead to a nutritional crisis more damaging than single parents and semi-automatic assault rifles combined.

Also – and here’s where Mitten’s corporate genius kicks in – if a woman needs to leave early to make dinner, then we can justify paying her a portion of men’s wages. Because she’s not working as much. Simply math, dummies.

So now that we know Mitt is totally pro-woman, I can’t wait for him to shatter the myth that he’s part of the Old White Boys’ Network. I mean, surely he has a black friend he can’t wait to tell us about.

Tourism is cheesy, so you’ll have to indulge me.

7 Oct

Want to know why I haven’t written recently? Because I’ve been busy entertaining. I know, hard to believe, but it happens.

For the record, I’ve had visitors the last two weekends – first my sister,  then two childhood friends – Steph and Kelly. And although my OCD-self was running the washing machine twice as much as usual to stay on top of the bedding situation (and my environmental-self was stressing about the excessive energy consumption), it was really great to have such a slice of my history under this roof for a few days.

Yeah, Ben Franklin cautioned that visitors and fish stink after three days. Apparently everyone who visited me must have known that rule, because no one was with me more than 72 hours, so they left before they stunk. My washing machine and I salute them. And wish the rest of you would make a note right now. [Seriously, write that down – I’ll wait.]

Here’s a quick run-down of the highlights of their visits:

Between the two sets of guests, I walked 37 miles. I love that DC is such a walkable city. Also? My sister and I turned in a 17 mile bike ride. She’s five years older than me, but she smoked me on the final uphill climb. [I’d like to point out that she weighs approximately fifty pounds, whereas I am shaped like Jessica Rabbit and need to rest my breasts on the handlebars so my back won’t give out. Or something like that. Let’s just agree: she was better equipped for the ride than I.]

Bummed we didn’t think of this.

Speaking of rides, Steph, Kelly and I rode the bus to Eastern Market to give our feet a rest. The bus, as always, was *quite* the experience. One man who got on smelled so strongly of urine that all the passengers started clawing for windows, trying to get some fresh air circulating. It was so bad that I saw Kelly discreetly breathing through her hair (like a mustache) to help filter the oxygen through the calming scent of hair products.

Eastern Market was fantastic, as always. Steph and Kelly bought jewelry, and we all had pretzel dogs for lunch. [Who doesn’t love an all-beef frank wrapped in a pretzel? I think even vegetarians would go for it, since we all know hot dogs are just, like, toenails and nipples and stuff.]

The weekend before, when my sister, Alan and I had walked up to Eastern Market, we managed to stumble upon a nearby street fair – the Barracks Row festival, hosted by the Navy Barracks, as well as the DC State Fair, which – as best I could tell – primarily involved a donkey walking down the street on a leash. But then again, DC really isn’t a state, so we can’t really be offended that they don’t take something like a state fair seriously.

My sister, Alan and I logged a few hours at the Library of Congress Book Festival. As always, I was inspired to hear authors such as John Green, Jeffrey Eugenides and Tayari Jones speak. The tents were packed, so we were spread out in different rows. I’d catch my sister’s eye periodically and she’d give me an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

“Did you like it?” I asked as we walked home.

She nodded emphatically. “The sign language interpreter for Jeffrey Eugenides was AWESOME,” she gushed. “I wish we could invite him to dinner!”

Leave it to my sister to attend a book festival and be impressed by the signers rather than the authors.

Although really, I’ve given up  trying to give up what will make a mark on people. During Steph and Kelly’s visit, we saw a cyclist almost slice a squirrel in half with his tires. I’m pretty sure that factored into Kell’s Top Ten List of the weekend.

And as for me – what was my over-arching impression from these visits? It wasn’t an animated ASL interpreter or an almost-disembodied squirrel – as memorable as those would be. It was a feeling of gratitude. Grateful to have a sister who has become a friend, and grateful to still be friends with people who knew me before I had breasts to heft onto the handlebars of my bike.

Because, as they say: you can’t make old friends.

Pretty sure *I* am that friend.