Monday, May 20, 2019

No more love on the runs...

Scatological post alert.

You've been warned.

So I had this colonoscopy and after they woke me up from the coziest sleep ever the nurse was all, "So, the prep only cleaned out half your colon."

Once I was dressed and in a room, the doctor came in and said the same thing to Nick (husband and verified ride home) and explained that she couldn't examine the top half. Which has to happen.


I had no idea I still had half a colon full of poo, because how do you know if this much diarrhea is enough diarrhea? Only half-enough diarrhea?

Yes. It was only half enough.

I seriously felt inadequate when the doctor, who I like, was all, "I was sure you'd be clean. You've been having diarrhea."

Did you know that the medical requirement for reporting your diarrhea is five times per day?

No. If they'd specified this I would have said that I was inadequate in the diarrhea requirement department.

So she was like, "Let's get this scheduled."

I dutifully, like the first born rule follower that I am, scheduled for the closest available date. Which was this afternoon.

This coincided with my children's dental appointments. But guess what luck? They happen to be in the same building! On a different floor!

So my kids can get their teeth cleaned while I get my colonoscopy!

I told my friend Meg about this awesomeness of this coincidence and she replied, "Said no one ever."

But Betty has to pick me up anyway. So she'll hang out with them, and then they'll all get me and we'll Uber home.

I think it's rather clever. Or disastrous. We'll see.

So for the second round, I had to stop eating Friday night, then Saturday and Sunday mornings drink magnesium citrate. I chose lemon and grape, both of which were, in the scheme, rather pleasant.

Since Saturday morning I've had nothing but this prep stuff, broth, popsicles, coffee, tea, and kombucha. And lollipops because I was feeling rather sorry for myself.

And then, then Sunday night and Monday morning I had to drink this terrible Suprep concoction, which tastes like cherry cough medicine mixed with death. 

I said before that I have a high tolerance for drinking weird shit. And I meant it. I was great at random frat party shots. I've drunk herbal concoctions that tasted like socks and dirt from my acupuncturist. I can take fish oil with a spoon. I've choked down a variety of medications. 

But this is where I draw the line. I mean, I did it. But it was incredibly tough this time.

I have this belief that I can do anything if I have to. I've dealt with terrible shit I never expected to deal with, and worse stuff I had some expectation of dealing with but had no idea how awful it would actually be.

I always think I can carry more weight than I sometimes actually can.

I'm not suggesting I want to be tested. I'm just saying, if I have to do it, I believe I can, no matter how wretched.

So back to my first colonoscopy.

Immediately upon leaving the doctor, feeling demoralized because I didn't get an A in colon prep, I left a WhatsApp for Kristin and Wendy wailing, "I didn't poop enough! I have to do this all over again!"

Kris and Wendy always, always react differently, with Kris defaulting to drama, sympathy, and if not worst-case, then terrible-case scenario. I fall more on this end of the spectrum in reactions.

Wendy, on the other hand, while always supportive, is more like, "Well, that sucks. Now let's move forward." Which is very helpful.

So I left this message for my friends about the state that I was in.

Kristin responded along the lines of, "YOU POOR THING! THIS IS TERRIBLE!" 

And then she said, 'I didn't want to mention this before your procedure, but my impression from a friend in France who had this done is that you have to basically get in yoga plow position, putting your feet on the floor over your head, with your ass in the air the whole time. It's just so awful! You must be so  naked and exposed!"

Once I stopped laughing, I said it is completely not like that, and you just curl up in fetal position under a blanket, no ass in the air, no maintaining a diffiuclt pose while they feed a tube into your butt. I told her that you're way more exposed when you're squeezing a baby out of your vagina.

At least, not in the US of A.

And Wendy?

Wendy said, "Who knew you were so full of shit?"

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ten years

Ten years ago today was a spectacularly beautiful day.

I walked to work, six months pregnant. I admired the azaleas along the way. There's a particular shape and shade of pink azalea that is my favorite, but in truth, I love them all.

The sky was an inviting blue, the sun was shining, and there was just enough humidity in the air to carry the scent of the flowers growing riotously and delightedly.

It was the kind of day DC doesn't get very often--actual spring, beautiful, sun-kissed spring, warm enough to walk without a sweater, warm enough to sit outside, cool enough not to sweat.

Sunny but not yet hot in the way that makes your glasses steam when you leave the house, makes you lose patience with tourists on the metro, makes you collapse on the couch when you get home, repeating, for the millionth time, "It's not the heat; it's the humidity."


It was glorious outside, ten years ago today.


And right about noon, the phone rang, and I saw my parents' phone number on my work phone.

I knew. I knew, and I started to cry before I answered.

My mom said, "Dad's gone. I just woke up and he's gone."

I knew he was really gone this time.

And I thought, "But it's too beautiful a day to die."


We still called the police, and the hospitals, and hotels. We did everything we always did. And then we waited.


Dad had turned his cell phone off, so we couldn't find him. He hadn't put the hotel on the credit card, so we couldn't trace a charge.

We hadn't implanted a secret tracking device in him, which I don't know is even possible outside the Matrix and anyway would probably be illegal.

So we waited.


I don't know if you've ever waited, pretty completely totally sure someone was dead, but hoping to hell you were wrong.

I don't know if you've every desperately wanted to do something to fix a problem, but been entirely powerless to effect change.

If not, it feels as wretched as you might imagine.

But not as terrible as knowing you were right.


I learned when Pat died that the time of death is called when the official comes to collect the body.

Even if you know the exact moment the last breath left the body, that's not the official time of death.


And so I know that on my dad's death certificate, DC says he died at a particular time on Saturday, May 16, 2009.

They did an autopsy to figure out what killed him first, but they weren't looking for precise time of death. It wasn't murder.

So maybe it was May 15. And maybe it was May 16.

Which, incidentally, was another incredibly beautiful spring day.

Another day that was too beautiful a day to die.


It was ten years ago today.

I miss you every day, Dad.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

TMI tra la la

You know that I don't actually believe in TMI and really mainly get frustrated by Too Little Information.

The other day I ran into one my mom friends at school. We don't know each other well, but I really like her. And when we see each other there is no hi how are you how about this weather we're having?


It is more like hi, how are you, let's bare the contents of our souls in the three minutes we have chatting on this playground. OK, bye, hope to run into you again soon!

Believe it or not, I don't always start these conversations, either. They're just the ones I like.


What I really want to talk about is how my husband considers himself the more reasonable and practical of the two of us.

I get annoyed, because yes, OK, I love to talk about clothing and shoes and I can waste some serious time on all kinds of frivolity. But at the end of the day, I can be pretty damn practical.

I don't consider myself UNreasonable except sometimes. But we all are sometimes.

But practicality?

Nick, a lot of the time, is Fun Dad, while I am Dread Mom. I'm the bedtime enforcer. I'm the teeth brushing enforcer. I'm the let's not feed our kids so much sugar super-not-fun mom.

But we have, I believe, kind of public roles. And if I asked most people who would be the more practical between us, people would say Nick.

Which sticks in my craw, because there are many ways in which I consider myself more practical than my husband.

But then, every once in a while, I get a stark reminder that I am the one with the tendency to just charge ahead without thinking anything through.

While Nick looks at just about every aspect and considers liability.

So, last night we were talking about the fact that on Friday, I have a surprise! colonoscopy scheduled.

I don't actually need to go into my details with you, and there is no emergency, but I saw the gastroenterologist and she was like, "Well, this is the year we recommend you get a colonoscopy, and honestly, sooner would be better than later."

So then she showed me a poster and described what they do in a colonoscopy, and told me how they look at five feet of your intestines.

Five feet! That's almost as long as I am tall!

So I put my hand at my belly button and was like, "Where does it go?"

What I meant was, how far up do they poke that thing?

But she very patiently said, "Well, we start with your anus..."

I 100% already knew about the anus part.

In any case, they give you these prep drinks that cost $50 COPAY and you have to drink like 32 ounces of water afterward. They seemed concerned at the terribleness of the drinks and I assured multiple people at the doctor's office that I have a high tolerance for drinking gross stuff. I don't know why this is true, but it has been tested multiple times and it just is.

So I drink a purportedly gross drink plus 32 ounces of liquid at 6:00 pm the night before, and then at 3:45 am on Friday.

They said this really cleans you out. They stressed that I would spend a lot of time on the toilet.

Frankly, I've had a lot of diarrhea in my life. As long as I'm not throwing up, I can deal.

But still, they said. It's a lot.


Then they sent me links to a series of videos I had to watch. There were questions to answer.

Now I'm kind of excited, because it sounds like this terrible prep totally cleans out your bowel. It's like your own personal bowel New Year!

I'm up for that.

Because they give you anesthesia, they don't let you leave alone (and they caution you not to sign any important papers afterwards).

I had to verify that Nick would be able to pick me up at 11:00 am on Friday.

So last night as we were about to fall asleep we were talking schedules for the rest of the week.

I said that on Friday I'd drop Jordan off at school and then jump on the metro to my appointment.

And he was all, "That sounds...fraught."

I mean, first he laughed really, really hard. And then he said that. And then he said I should at least Uber, but probably better for him to drive me.

He was like, "I mean, think about it."

So I thought about it.

And his approach seems way more reasonable.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Practical footwear (it's always about the shoes)

Workers of America, Unite!
Oh, hey! It turns out I'm the proud owner of not one, but two neuromas (or neuromata--I looked it up) in my left foot. One is small and one is large.

Because I tend to take a "more is better" approach to life, though I do work regularly on moderation, then why have one when you can have two?

What is a neuroma, you might ask? It's a thickening of tissue around the nerves that lead to the toes. To these nerves get squozen and bugged and then the sensation can vary from mild electric shock in your toe to all out wanting to fall on the floor and scream. Which I do not do, I'll have you know.

My friend Jessica suggested that I have issue this because too many people get on my nerves.

I think this is kind of a perfect explanation.

I saw my podiatrist last week, and since three weeks in the boot had not fixed it, he suggested more boot time and an ultrasound. He said he thought it was a neuroma, which the scan confirmed.

Because I am not a doctor and do not play one on TV, I went immediately to Google to read as much as I could. I really enjoyed Googling myself into utter hysteria during pregnancy, so I figured, why not?

This is, however, an inconvenience and not a hysteria-provoking situation.

One of the things I learned about my friend the neuroma is that they happen to women more than to men. You're more likely to get one if you have high arches, a longer second toe, and wear heels and restrictive shoes.

High impact sports can traumatize the area. While I do lift weights, my favorite ways to work out involve jumping around like a lunatic. True fact.

Basically I'm attributing my neuromas to the patriarchy, genetics, and some unfortunate personal choices.

And in fact, I am pretty sure I have one (or more!) in my right foot, because I have similar symptoms, just not as dire, which is to say a toe that tingles or gets sore, and a spot on my foot that gets sore when I press it or wear squeezy shoes.

Which I am no longer doing. Which leads me to comfort footwear.

So, most comfort shoes are not comfortable on me because they're built for wider feet than mine. So then my feet slosh around and rub and the shoes are the opposite of comfortable.

If there's a blister to be had for miles around, I will have it.

So last weekend I took myself to DSW in search of comfortable footwear. Because I've gotten rid of my old sneakers--too old, not supportive enough, mostly too old, yikes! And I am down to wearing Keens every day and while I do love them, they are heavy.

And sometimes, as above, I think I look very Workers of America, Unite!

Also, now that it is getting hot, I am not sure what to do, because they are not adorable with dresses or capris.

Anyway, I went to DSW, and I saw these knitted sneakers that I thought looked cute and were insanely comfortable.

But are they weird or cute or weird cute?

(You know if they'd been fuchsia or orange I wouldn't have even stopped to ask that question.)

When I am on the fence I often turn to Facebook, because friends have stopped me from doing things like wearing elephant leg boots.

But in this case, there was this adorable young couple shoe shopping in the same aisle. The boyfriend was helping the girlfriend find sizes and giving his opinion and such.

They had opinions, both of them. Plus they seemed nice. So I asked if I could get their opinions on whether these sneakers were weird or cute.

They both paused.

So then I was all, "I've been having foot problems. And so I'm trying to find comfortable shoes that don't bug my feet."

I had on a kind of unfortunate outfit, with workout leggings for no actual good reason as apparently I am now someone who wears active wear when I'm not even particular active.

And the guy said, "Well, those are knock-offs of $700 Balenciaga sneakers."

I was all, "I'm not remotely concerned about that. I'm not in a $700 sneaker-wearing crowd. I'll be wearing these to pick up my kids from school. I think they'd look better with jeans."

And the young woman looked mildly horrified and was like, "Ooh, not with jeans. Maybe you'd like to look at the Doctor Scholls? I saw some cute ones over here." And she very sweetly showed me some comfortable-looking shoes.

But you know how sometimes you can't decide, so you toss a coin, but when it's in the air you know what you want?

I definitely wanted the superhero boots. I skulked up to the register, hoping I wouldn't run into the couple.

Why would I even care? I don't know.

Actually, I love them. They're very lightweight. They give my toes room.

I can't wear them with dresses or capris, so I haven't solved the hot weather foot issue.

But I can wear them with jeans. Considering also wearing them with black leotard leggings and a cape kind of getup.

Maybe I'll write Super Mom on them.

In rhinestones!