L.J. Holmes

L.J. Holmes
In her many Guises.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Leaning South...

...Or what happens when your boobs begin kissing your kneecaps...In other words OLD AGE ain't for the weak of heart...

Growing old means your gonna SAG...BIG TIME. Boobs kissing kneecaps is only one of the sag areas age forces upon us. There's the wattle...and I don't mean the one being swung around by Tom Turkey when he's trying to catch the eye of Henrietta Turkey...no I mean the one attached to YOUR sagging, wobbling, flaccid throat.

Oh, and we're not done with the bird comparisons that aging brings to us...how about those crow's feet that suddenly span out from your eyes. Now I gotta be honest here, I don't ever remember any crows landing on my face and doing a Walk-about on it...do you? Yet here I am with footprints my doctor attributes to crows that even my mirror reflects back at me. Makes me wonder if those crows aren't a lot like the elves that show up at the shoemaker's shop at night. Do you think those crow are only plowing their foot-roads onto my face at night?

Liver spots...what in the world are liver spots? My liver is somewhere inside my body...and no I'm not terribly sure without yanking out my Human Body Atlas just where that is. However, I'm pretty sure it isn't anywhere near my hands and yet liver spots are there, right where my satiny smooth, clear and silky flesh used to be. Now I really think I'd know if my liver hop, skipped, and jumped around inside me as it caroomed towards my hands so it could leave spots behind...yet for the life of me, I can't remember it ever doing so.

Let us not forget, especially for us women, that most delightful of changes...mental...oops, I mean MENOPAUSE. Menopause is a blessing and a curse...unfortunately the curse part is really HOT...as it hot flashes. Good Lord, you can get those suckers ANYWHERE.

It's not easy trying to find places to cool down when a flash hits. Society, and the police tend to frown on you diving into a fountain when they hit. (Personally I think meat lockers make more sense, but then I go for the cold...unlike Olympians who go for the gold.)

We've covered many things so far, but let's move on to the EYES...What old age does to eyes is nothing short of CRIMINAL!!!!!

There's reading glass at Stage One of old age eye-itis. Bifocals at Stage Two...Tri-Focals at Stage Three...and please God let me be dead before I find out how bad I see at Stage Four! Where's Ben the Inventor when you need him?

Some would say reaching old age is a good thing because you can now revert back to your second childhood...You're assuming that the first was so great I'd want to relive it...but assuming that it was, or that the second one...you know, this one that is softened by the encroaching numbness of Alzheimer's, will be better. Second childhood means adult diapers...can you say ewww? I certainly can.

Incontinence...which means your pee-er goes into overtime...you pee every time you hear the word water, see a raindrop, imagine a snowflake, roll over in bed...(I know that has nothing to do with water, but your pee-er doesn't care it still wants to drag you out of bed and make you pee.) Your pee-er isn't the only part that decides it has been working in slow motion all of your life. Your intestinal track decides that since you are old and it may have only a few years left to torment your mettle, it too increases its production levels. Just move into your bathroom...it'll save you a lot of time.

All joking aside, though, there are some thing that growing old does NOT give us...it does not give us the right to cut in lines before others. Rudeness is no more acceptable in the elderly than it is in any age bracket. I know there are those that believe because they have a multitude of years under their belt, that should give them carte blanche to step in front of younger people in lines at x-ray clinics, drug stores, grocery stores, and the like. Not true. Age does accord us many courtesies...not expectations. Rude, arrogant behavior has no excuse at ANY age.

The THIRD Weekly McQuack Award Goes Toooooo...

Lordy but it is SOOOOOOO hard choosing among the multitude of worthy candidates, but after carefully considering them and tallying up their scores on the old Incompetence-o-meter, this weeks award HAS to go to Dr. Bones McQuack.

Bones is your conscientious, caring, compassionate, there for you through every terrifying step Orthopaedic Surgeon.

Dr. Bones
is the one who schedules your appointment for 10:00 in the morning. You arrive to find the waiting room is SRO (STANDING ROOM ONLY...and YOU with your shattered left ankle, wobbling on the crutches that are causing your hands to blister, your armpits to screech and bleed, and your right foot to swell five times its normal size as it absorbs the full weight of your entire body), must try not to fall flat on your face while waiting for someone to get called back to the Secret Zones of Wisdom beyond the reception area...oh and when that happens, you also have to be agile enough (on those self-same crutches, with those self same blisters, achy armpits, and swelled right foot) to zip across the yawning breadth of the waiting room before some one's snotty five year old beats you to it.

If you are lucky enough to actually GET a seat, be prepared not be called back to that Secret Zone of Wisdom for at least another hour and a half...for such are the many, Many, MAny, MANy, MANY patients that the Medical God of Human Bones schedules to fill his office days.

At last, you stumble behind a rapidly moving nurse towards one of the SECRET Chambers of INNER Wisdom. There you are told to plunk yourself upon a high placed table almost covered by a strip of paper. How to get up there, since the nurse quickly turns tail and runs...the other way...like OUT...of your tiny chamber, is entirely up to you.

Personally, this is where I would give just about every dollar in my Monopoly Game to be like Samantha from Bewitched and have that cute nose twitching ability...but alas, I, like the rest of you, am but a mere nose-running mortal...and no amount of sneezing gets me up on that table. (I am going to spare you the kind of gyrations and contortions that eventually ARE required to get body and painfully mistreated ankle up on that demonically elevated, euphemistically entitled, examination table...I have NEVER had an Orthopod examine anything of mine while I was dangled from that table...have you?)

At last, the Gates from the Halls of Wisdom open and in walks the Bringer of Skeletal Wisdomology. Five minutes. That's all he gives his long suffering patient...(time is money...time is money.) We need to operate. He only operates, by the way, on Thursdays, and he's booked for every Thursday through the next five months...unless. it's an ABSOLUTE emergency. And for that we must first get a CT scan and come back with the film next week.

Next week...you now must navigate the same course as THIS week, but with the extra challenge of also having to carry those humongous x-ray envelopes while traversing the waiting room and the Inner Sanctum of Skeletal Wisdom...Lucky you!!

Again, the Gates from the Halls of Wisdom open (each time you see Dr. Bones, the pains in ankle, armpits, hands, and right foot increase exponentially.)...he flips the switch on the x-ray viewing machine. Yep, surgery. He CAN squeeze you in in three weeks. Come back next week when his surgery scheduler will be in THIS office...(he has four offices around the state, after all...so you cannot expect him to have her there for you TODAY!!!)...to get all the scheduling papers done.

You'd think that because you are NOT coming back to see Dr. Bones that you would be in-and-out quicker...wouldn't you? Oh yeah have too much faith! They are NOT there for you...or for your convenience...they are there for the doctor's bank account...only! Never...never...NEVER forget that.

Surgery...we don't need to do a blow by blow description, you know how disgusting it is right? Well,...except to say WHY DIDN'T DR. BONES MC QUACK DO AN MRI? If he had maybe he would not have made such a mess of the surgery. And unfortunately there are a LOT of Dr. Bones' out there.

The long and short of it is because he rushes through his time with you in office, he usually finds a bigger mess than expected...a mess he would have been prepared for had he done an MRI first. The outcome? Permanent damage. You may lose your ankle completely...or your hip...or cervical spine...or wrist...or elbow...rotator cuff...or lumbar spine...or knee.

Am I choosing Bones solely because of what my own personal experiences with slipshod orthopods? NO. I have talked with others who have had equally compelling horror stories from the surgeries they have received from overzealous, overbooked, money-hungry orthopaedic surgeons. This is an area that once botched by an alleged pro is nearly impossible to correct. I'm still trying to get mine corrected...seven years later...my daughter's is six years and in her case, I don't even know how many other Dr. Bones' later.

So to all the slip-shod Dr. Bones McQuack's I joyously award you this Third Weekly McQuack Award. You've earned it one splintered bone at a time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My daughter's question from the blue...what is Agnostic...

I wasn't sure how to answer that question. It came about during a discussion we had about Jesus' years traveling before he actually began his ministry. The years when he learned from the Gnostics. The years when he traveled to Egypt and Turkey, and perhaps, although their is debate, beyond. What is agnosticism...she asked.

I had not meant to blog about this query, and probably would not have had I not found the jif of Garfield...Garfield being my daughter's absolute favorite cartoon character sparked my decision to answer her question here.

My daughter began life Baptized into the Roman Catholic faith because my former Mother-in-law had this dog masticating at the bone for its marrow tenacity about having my baby baptized because "God forbid we should get into an accident and she should die before being baptized and have to spend all of eternity in Purgatory."

It didn't matter to my former mother-in-law that I already had issues with the Catholic Church. It was HER Church, and my daughter was HER granddaughter!

Fortunately, or not, depending on your point of view, we only spent two years living close enough to my ex-mother-in-law's apron string's strangle-hold, so that by the time my daughter was in her teens and I began to fight cancer twice, her influence over us was no longer an issue.

Anyone who has had a family member dealing with cancer knows that it challenges your beliefs in God. The Catholic Church was far too judgemental...through her friends, she tried other branches...offshoots, of Christianity. Sometimes it is nothing more providential than meeting the right person at the right time...but she was not fortunate enough during my battles against the Big C to meet with the right advocate of Christianity.

What she did find was Unitarian Universalist...and through them Wicca...a belief system that extends back long before Christianity and long before Judaism. Back when Nature was honored and the female power of creation was respected. For a woman who had been through as much as my daughter had finding a belief system that reveled in the feminine AND the masculine felt right. Unitarians, though, do NOT exile those who believe in Christianity, or those who believe in Buddha, Mohammad, or Moses. All are welcomed, accepted and encouraged to share in the celebration of being. A totally novel experience.

So here we are, two Unitarians, and she is asking me, what is Agnosticism. During my last battle with cancer, to keep my mind busy while my gut dealt with the horrendous invasion of the chemo, doctors and devices you REALLY don't want me to describe, I began studying religious theologies...so I can answer...at least I can give an answer that I hope will shed some light on the subject.

The inverted pyramid above shows many things that are "myths", yet no matter how many times we say they cannot possibly exist, generation after generation tells their stories, or swear they have actually seen them first hand. (How many people have claimed with a brightness of spirit, to have seen aliens near Area 51? How many visitors and residents have sworn Nessie has shown himself when they've visited the bonnie shores of Loch Ness? And who has not heard tales of the Abdominal Snowman and/or Bigfoot? We cannot categorically prove they exist...yet...but many still believe.)

And so it is with Agnostics. They can not prove or DISprove the existence of God, but choose to believe in God(s) in spite of this. Are they hedging their bets?

Perhaps. But can die-hard Christians PROVE the very core of what they believe? No. If they could, it would not be called FAITH. So Agnosticism is just another form of FAITH that is just as viable and respectable as any established and recognized religion...for when you strip away the pomp and circumstances the only thing that really matters is God(s)...whether God is represented as the all-powerful Father, the all-powerful Creator of all that Is, the ALL Powerful Female/Male Joint Essence that is required by all things to flourish (a seed without pollination cannot live on)...God is still God.

Monday, September 22, 2008

And the Winner of the 2nd Weekly McQuack Award Goes is... a TIE!!!

There is no way one could win without the continual support and yearly advertisement of the other.

Let's start with the Cutie Pie of pseudo-medical expertise and media savvy, that twinkling billboard for all things bubbly, Dr. Katie Couric McQuack. Dr. Katie, admittedly has an honorable reason for her yearly foray into exposing the "wonders" of all things COLONOSCOPY. Who else would fairly glow while having a tube the size of a nuclear missile shoved up her anal orifice for all the world to see? Makes you wonder what anesthesia they give her,cause it sure ain't the same stuff they give the rest of us...and this I know because I been there, and yes done that...not once...but twice.

Let me explain...

Way back when Dino, Pebbles Flintstone's faithful family retainer was still chasing bones that she and Bamm Bamm tossed with delicious glee, I was sent to my first Bum Plugger. Twilight Sleep, he told me was where I would be sent...a comfortable place while he mined for nuggets that I felt sure I wanted no part of him actually mining for. However, he said it WAS important. Why do doctors...McQuacks especially ALWAYS tell us just how VERY, VERY, VERY important it is that they do these nasty things to us?

Lying there with my vulnerable cheeks quivering with trepidation, the exploration begins. It's not too bad...at first. O.K. it's getting a bit...tight...wait a minute...that's a twinge of pain...NOW JUST A FREAKING MINUTE! TWILIGHT MY ASS!!!! LITERALLY!!!! HELL NO!!!!

Five years later...at least it seems like five years later, after my tongue has finally been released from that damned probe and Dr. Rotor Rootering McQuack has retracted the probe and removed himself from the room as well...(I think he was afraid of what I might punch if he was still in the room when I finally got enough strength back to sit up.), I rise. My legs collapsed beneath me.

And THIS was under anesthesia! The same anesthesia that Dr. Katie Couric McQuack got on TV? I don't think so!!!!

My next one...I wasn't even supposed to get a colonoscopy...I was there because I've got a weak sphincter muscle. You guys when the doctor has his finger up your bum and tells you to squeeze, you could rip his arm from the socket. Me, when I squeeze, he tells me, "You can start squeezing any time now.", so you get the picture?

Anyway, they have this glove that has electrodes that shoot little bursts of current that tests the nerves to find out how much nerve impulses your have. It's kind of an EEG or an EMG for the Butt. That was ALL I was supposed to have...so I had NO anesthesia at all.

But I guess whenever a Rotor Rootering doctor has a patient in this vulnerable position, he cannot help but give into the temptation to forge ahead.

A colonoscopy under twilight anesthesia was horrendous enough...but without ANY...let's just say I have told my Primary physician that I will have another colonoscopy over my dead body. Thank you most profoundly Dr. Rotor Rootering McQuack for furthering the benevolence of your Speciality.

As for Dr. Katie...you praised VIRTUAL Colonoscopies...which are NOT available to those of us who cannot afford to pay for them on our own..(insurance companies won't pay for them at all)...and if they show up anything, we STILL have to then submit to the barbarism of the old fashioned "I am going to drill for black gold all the way up until your eyes pop out of their sockets" method anyway.

Therefore, until I can perform it on the doctor that means to perform it on me first, there's no way I am ever letting another Rotor Rootering McQuack anywhere near my bum, and Katie, if you must show your own on TV at least do the world the service of being TOTALLY honest about what the AVERAGE man and woman will have to endure...not just the rich and famous.

So to Dr.'s Katie Couric McQuack and all the Dr.'s Rotor Rootering McQuack's out there I bestow upon you the Second Weekly McQuack Award, and assure you that you truly live up to its prestige.