Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Table in the waaaay back for Two

Last weekend Hubby and I enjoyed our annual anniversary getaway to Santa Barbara . . and which goes without saying, has left me with gobs and gobs of foolishness to write about. It could be a ten part'er, but we'll start slow.

Hubby does not like to go to his restaurants uninformed. Any beach juvie or upper-crust wine aficionado
host is not going to push Hubby around to take a seat, place his order, or pay the bill, --until he's good and ready. This leaves in its wake many a humiliating scenario through the years - some of which have even sent Bliss to tears - but let's go over the lighthearted parts instead.

We eat at a lot of the same restaurants each year, but also enjoy trying a new one. This time we looked into a place called Lucky's.

Oprah has a house in Montecito (next to Santa Barbara), and Lucky's is a steakhouse there (just to give you an idea of the neighborhood).
'Steakhouses' in Montecito don't charge the same, or act the same as, say, Burger Kings in North Hollywood.

It was clear to Hubby he would have to place a phone call ahead of time, and even before the usual hour spent circling the joint repeatedly to avoid valet parking, or picking apart a menu at the entrance until I want to scream.

When I think about it, I guess I do prefer his harassment be performed over the phone than in person, --but at the same time, the phone calls usually leave us starving before any real headway is even made . . and still a half hour away from the place.

This interrogation, I tried to disappear into the hotel bed sheets, while the echos of Hubby's tenth-degree, micro-restaurant-managing, bounced around the room like on megaphone, and shamed me into even further isolation. (Well, not complete isolation. I was crowded in bed with the four crescents and six jelly packets Hubby contraband'd from the hotel's continental breakfast bar.)

I can only hear his side of the conversation, - but it can't be good what's being said on the other half of the line -

"Hi - What time is your Early Bird Special?"
"Oh. Then what about a
Senior Citizens discount - if we aren't quite seniors yet? I do look very old for my age---"
"But we're just visiting for the weekend, --so it shouldn't be that big of a deal--"
"I see -"
"Any coupons then?"
"I don't know why - the Montecito household income per-capita may be in the seven figures, but I'm sure they still like a good bargain . ."
"Alright, tell me this . . --About your children's menu--?"
"Yes, --just the two of us."

"No. Of course my wife's not sixteen years old---"
"But what if we cut it into baby pieces---"

Hubby mumbles under his breath and rolls his eyes at me ~~~
"Okay. But if we 'decide' to eat at your restaurant - I can tell you this about my wife . . she eats like a bird. ---You do offer those cracker packets at the buffet salad bar?"
"No buffet?--"
"I'll be darned. . . . I guess once we enjoy a couple of your complimentary bread baskets---"
". . . . What? You don't have bread baskets??---"

"Fine. --Then, if we could just bring in our own little bag of tortilla chips to snack on, --and use one of your bowls---"

"Oh. Well, it's not like we wouldn't order dinner . ."
"Now, --the steak salad. If she orders that, with extra steak on the side, --how much would, say, your baked potato be, a la carte, for me?"
"Uh? --"

" . . At your prices? Two dinners??"
"Yes, I understand. Okay. You gotta make a living too . . . "
"And so we're clear, while I hoof it in from the free parking at Shop'n'Go, --can my wife enjoy one dinner (since she will--theoretically--be dining alone until I get there) . . --and I'll just request a second plate for---"
"Hello? --Hello?"

"Can you believe that? --They hung up," Hubby calls out. He hasn't even broken a sweat.
" --You got any other picks, Hon?" He dares to ask . . while now I wouldn't want to touch a restaurant he's called with a ten-foot-pole----

Once, we studied a menu in front of a maitre'd' so long - the guy ripped it from Hubby's hands, and whacked him over the head with it. He told Hubby he'd had a fly on his head, but the maitre'd' and I exchanged a knowing look -- so I knew better.

Listen, loves a funny thing.
If this is only one of the thirty-two annoying bits
about my husband, that I have to put up with, -- I can
try and be a good sport.  Call me the the patron-saint-of-unromantic-dinners.

As long as I get my veggies steamed, and a chocolate
after dinner mint - I will try and be happy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Disc Go

It's been over a week and a half since my emergency, emergency-room trip. (Which of course alerted my primary care provider to the immediate and direct putting of me
, straight away, first on the list of people who need prompt attention.) (Yeah, right.)
(Hence the recent obligatory days and days and days of referral system and appointment making negotiations.)

Yesterday I finally saw my spinal pain management doctor (a week after the MRI, in turn about four days after the notorious brush-in with Wretched Room Clearer-Outer at my emergency room dismissal).

First, --regarding the MRI, I absolutely have not perfected the art of Valium taking.

The last two times I've gone for a MRI with Valium pills a go-go, but I can't seem to time the taking of them correctly -- somehow only getting loopy, high, and sleepy when trying to eat in public, post-procedure, during what I like to call my 'Whoopee-My-MRI-Is-Done' celebration.
I try shoving restaurant burgers through the pores on my chin, sit next to strange men instead of Hubby, and pour salad dressing in my purse. Being high is not all it's cracked up to be if you can't even time the mental escape of one, thirty minute "slip-into-this-metal-sock-coffin" nightmare.

And you know, maybe I would give up dieting - if by some heavenly blessing it would mean being informed, 'I'm sorry, fatso . . I mean Ma'am! --we can't possibly stuff you into our MRI contraption without the snug fit of the machine ripping the skin from your body, like the scaling of a fish. We'll have to artist sketch what we think your discs are doing instead, by your imaginative description.'

As it is now, I have, oh, I'd say, --an entire 1/8 of an inch full-breathing room space around me during imaging. "Um yes, Ma'am? --Please try to hold still!"

'Oh, ya-think, Einstein?? Are the microscopic hair follicles on my forehead banging too heavily against the metal-hell surrounding me? 

Anyhoooo. Forget that horror.

Spinal pain management Dr. V., I like alright. He's never been able to help me too much, but seems to want to try.

He changed offices since last I saw him, and while I lingered in the waiting room yesterday, I searched for a magazine to keep my mind off the pain.
Apparently spinal injury at the new office is very manly business, because there was not a single sheet of fem-verse'd magazines to be found! Examples forthcoming:

Men and Beer
Men and Caves
Men and Couches
All Men, All the Time
Remote Control Weekly
Spine Pain Is For Wusses
Shopping is For Wusses
Everything But What Men Like is For Wusses
Tools, Machines, and Lakes
Ice Cream for Big Boys
What Happens in Best Buy, Stays in Best Buy
All Pictures, No Words
Rockets, Trucks, Boats, Cars, Lawn Mowers, Doorbells, and Can Openers

I don't know if Dr. V. just went through a bad divorce, --or if the guy's got mommie-issues picking up speed . . but I was called back to his office just in the nick-of-time, before my brain started spilling out of my body faster than my discs were.

Since all x-ray and MRI film looks the same to me--like I'm about to have another baby, or am the proud owner of super big cavities--it was good to have Doc point out the details on the film to me.

The first thing I learned--that I never knew before--was that I have small pedicles.

Those, you may be interested to learn, are a little part of the vertebra. Bone that extends from the vertebral body.
It'd be better if mine weren't so small, because they'd help to keep all that tender disc-mush from wanting to pop out of place so ~~ but there's nothing I can do about that. It's genetic.
(Yeah, thanks Mom and Dad. First hairy knuckles and saddlebags, --and now this?!)

"Small, huh?" I asked.

"Yes," answered Dr. V.

"Would you mind then, if we called them 'petite'? Petite pedicles?" I petitioned. "I've . . it's just. . . . There's never, really, been anything 'petite,' on my body before. So I'm just kind of pleased about that."

"Uh, okay," he agreed. "Petite, then." Which of course made me blush. (No ones ever said that to me before.)

The second thing I learned, is it looks like surgery for me.
Which, surprisingly, wasn't such a bad thing to hear, --the way Doc put it. I mean, I know surgery isn't great . . plus it means of course, I've got that whole upside-down, while unconscious, buck-naked, spread-eagle, and people looking and poking at me kind of thing to not look forward to . . . but whatever.   He does think I will be relieved of my pain.

Let's talk about something more pleasant.
One good thing I suppose, about this whole hoopla, is that I have for once and for all,
finally learned how to spell 'vertebra' correctly. I've always wanted to spell it v-e-r-t-e-b-r-a, but second guess myself because of the whole 'bra' bit.
Why bra?
And why is it pronounced 'bray' in verte-'bra' - when it clearly spells 'bra'? And than, why not vertebrassiere, if it's no matter, you know?

I tell you, those ancient Indo-European family languages, crack me up.  Probably, that's why priests during Mass don't like to read out loud the Latin stuff as much as they used to. It's hard for them to keep from giggling at the silly words.
Ah, forget it.
Forget I brought the priests into this.

Let's just stick with the part that ~~'I have Petite Pedicles,' okay?

Man how I wish they made jeans for pedicles.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Back Words

Good things come to those that wait.
Sorry about the long pause between blogs. It would appear that when unable to talk about f**d -- I am at a total loss for words. Not true!
I am here. I am back.

. . . And speaking of backs ~~ mine is killing me. I'd rather be in a good old fashioned fetal position, right now, than at the computer. But it's no use because even the ever trusty fetal position has failed my aches and pains. About the only position I've found some relieve in, is standing, butt against the wall, and one foot off the ground. Don't ask me how that helps - but it somehow does, just a little. Could it be, being off-balance keeps me in-balance?

(um. yeah. that sounds about right.)

Anyhoows . . . about a week or so ago I woke in so much pain, I mimed "emergency room - please" to nobody, rolled over to the speaker phone, and called Hubby who was already gone to work. (Well first, I accidentally pressed my speed-dialed QVC, (who by the way are not open 24 hours, like they sooo brag about - or maybe it's just the Suzanne Summers items that are closed certain hours ~ 'cause it crossed my mind, otherwise, I could have ordered a Suzanne Summers Kegel Exerciser while I had them on the line.  Then, to go with my dieting, I'd be able to claim workout time, while still in bed recovering from my back pain?) (How many calories burned per Kegel, is it? Anybody know?) . . . ~~Anyways, I got Hubby on my second try.)

Apparently meetings at Anheuser-Busch, trump wife-in-pain emergency-room calls. Who knew? He assured me however, though, that had I had a baby in my canal - it would have been a different story, and he'd'a totally come home. (~and I guess I will choose to believe that. Because the alternative would have to mean he enjoys talking to men about beer, and what temperature makes a beermaking room perfect-o, --more than he does running home to lift me into a car because of a sore back, and pay co-pays at the hospital.)

Thankfully one son was still home. He was sick, and I had planned on bringing him to the doctors later in the morning. Instead I decided we'd do the early morning emergency room buddy-system route. They could call me Hop-a-long, and him Phlegm.

Yup. We know how to have a good time.

I happen to have a girlfriend that is a nurse in the emergency room, and it was nice to see her there. She hustled us through triage, and a different lady brought us back to our separate rooms.

Though my emergency room doctor's accent was so thick you could spread it on a bagel - I was pretty sure he told me
there was nothing they could do for me - basically because I could still lift my toes. (note to self - next time in an emergency room for any reason, do not lift toes.) Had I carried my spine in on a clothes hanger, or pulled it in a wagon, or been chewing my dislodged disc like a stick of bubble gum, it would not have mattered to anybody there, -as my toes could still move.
I couldn't feel my calf, my thigh was in a permanent charlie-horse, toes and foot were numb, couldn't stand up straight, yodel, or get mascara on, ~~but none of that slowed anyone down one wit. Or in the international language of 'emergency-room- talk' ~~ 'next, please'.

At least my nurse felt sorry for me. Already hopped-up on other pills from home, she went to find me an Advil. I was waiting for something from the Doc, and also paperwork and my debit card from another worker. So I practiced my least painful contortionist twist, and waited for further directions. (Probably something like, 'Before you go miss, would you like to sign this card? It's for the poor lass down the hall. She can't lift her toes.')

As I lay writhing in pain - an obvious Nurse Nightingale popped her head in (I couldn't see the rest of her body, but she likely had a tail, warts, and a horn) and (honest truth), --barked, "leave, I need this room."
I'm not sure if she learned that at compassion school, or bible study, --but it was pretty lacking. I would have given her a piece of my mind - if I wasn't out of my mind in pain - and she hadn't taken off so fast. Of course I hadn't planned 'lounging' (if that's what you want to call it) there all day. And I was going to go join my son (who could move his toes too, but apparently was still going to get more attention than I did--), as soon as I was officially cleared.  Nurse BarksALot made me so upset!  Like I was in trouble, -or a bother, or something. Maybe I'll never get my fifteen minutes of fame, but at least give me my fifteen minutes of emergency room gurney!!

While I am so going to tattle on the wretched room clearer-outer, as soon as I find the energy,
the moral of this story, or rather, what I'm really trying to say is, that for all that, basically, what did I get? . . . . the gift of paying 50 bucks to tell my girlfriend how much I weigh.

Good times.


I'll tell you about my MRI in the next blog. But you better hold on to your seats, --it's going to be a bumpy claustrophobic ride.