Monthly Archives: July 2008

Damned Bloody Hiccups

Okay, I know you’re probably thinking I’ve been ignoring this blog while I pick out paint colors, plan my garden for next year, and drylock the basement in the new house.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. While I helped pick out a refrigerator last weekend and arranged movers for this Monday, Porkchop has taken over the bulk of moving-related activities while I’m at my parents.

I came here Tuesday night straight from work to be with my mom and my sister (who flew in from Atlanta) while my dad had back surgery on Wednesday. As far as back surgeries go, his was pretty simple. An easy nerve decompression in the lumbar region. As expected, the surgery went without a hitch.

The recovery period, however, has been downright horrible.

First, you should know that my dad has a history of being hospitalized for hiccups. When my dad gets the hiccups, he gets the HICCUPS and they won’t stop for 3-4 DAYS sometimes. After the last big spell about 17 years ago (geez, I can’t believe I can now recount events that happened so long ago), doctors found that baclofen (er, not checking spelling tonight) works to relax his diaphragm muscles.

Second, you should know that my dad had a bleeding ulcer about 11 years ago. He collapsed one night, and I had to call 911 and my mom and I were so scared.

So, both of these things – the hiccups and the ulcer – were apparently aggravated by the back surgery. My dad started hiccuping Wednesday night and is still suffering. In the meantime, there was a trip to an urgent care clinic Thursday evening for a prescription of thorazine, and there was a follow-up trip to the ER Friday morning. There, they gave him a shot of thorazine and demerol, and a prescription for a different muscle relaxer (because valium can cause hiccups – he was told to take valium after the back surgery).

Therefore, during the day on Friday, we followed doctors’ orders and gave my dad baclofen, thorazine, hydrocodone (for back pain from the surgery), and skylexin (spelling? this was the ER-prescribed muscle relaxer). My dad was also taking some cough syrup and mucinex.

The good news is that he would stop hiccuping for an hour or so after having a muscle relaxer or the hydrocodone. The bad news is that he started coughing up quite a bit of black sludge, which we originally thought was stomach bile, but it of course turned out to be blood.

The other bad news is that we apparently over-sedated him (surprise, surprise, considering all of those freaking meds).

I had the early morning shift today, and an alarm started going off in my head around 3:15 that something was totally not right. Not only was my dad SO groggy, but he was incredibly disoriented. I becamed clued in to this when he started pulling down his pants and underwear, as though he needed to use the bathroom, but then he wouldn’t respond when I asked if he needed to go to the toilet. I finally had to call for my brother (who was released from being on tech support call this weekend, thankfully) because my dad kept sitting up in bed and pulling off his underwear. By this time, my dad wasn’t responding at all to us (and I later discovered that he had peed in the bed). So we called 911, and two wonderful EMTs came out.

We got out to the ER around 4 AM, and after my dad was stablized (his blood pressure and heart rate were LOW) and the old meds flushed out of his system (or, rather, the effects were “reversed” with whatever stuff they gave him), he was admitted to the ICU. And that’s where we took shifts today until we were booted out at 9 PM. Visiting hours don’t start again until 6 AM, so we will all thankfully get some rest. When we left, my dad was sleeping (although still hiccuping). Tomorrow he will have a CT scan and ultrasound to figure out if there’s a benign tumor or something irritating the diaphragm nerve that causes hiccups. If not, I sincerely hope they decide to cut the nerve.

The bleeding in his stomach seems to be decreasing, as his spit-up stuff has become clearer. But there is still a long road ahead. My dad is not an easy patient. This afternoon, when I was on a solo shift, he kept trying to remove his oxygen tube, take off his oxygen sensor, remove his catheter (!!), and I think he was contemplating ripping out his IV because, in his opinion, it wasn’t doing anything (but he started to respect the IV more when I told him it was also a protonix drip…I had to tell him this like 5 times, and he acted surprised each time…so much for being more coherent and aware).

So, that’s the news from Arkansas. I hope your weekend is going much better!

(Also, send good thoughts to my dad.)

Not a Real Post, Just an Anecdote

Hi!

Thanks to all for sending congratulations on our new house! We were there for a couple of hours Tuesday night and killed 2 house centipedes!

So, to explain some details of our house-buying, my name is the only name on the loan, but Porkchop and I are both on the title. We had to do a “quit claim” at closing to add her name. I can’t remember how it’s specified on the title, but it’s the title that ensures rights of survivorship.

Originally, I thought Porkchop’s name was dropped from the loan because of her ginormous student loan, but at closing our mortgage officer and title guy mentioned something about how the state of Missouri makes situations like ours incredibly difficult. And then our mortgage officer was very mysterious and said he could explain later if we wanted him to. We haven’t followed up on that…but maybe we will later to clear up this mystery.

Anyway, this isn’t a real post because I have tons of pictures sitting in the camera at home that I want to share. No, I’m just relating an incident that happened on Saturday, as the shooting pain in my right arm reminds me of it.

After tending to the garden on Saturday, I went to Target to purchase floss. After picking out the floss, I headed to the checkout area. While walking there, I pulled out my wallet to see if I had $4.

I was aware that I was walking by a woman (with a cart) who was looking at the kids’ clothing (which is across from the checkout area in this particular Target). I was totally aware of my surroundings.

But, in the two seconds during which I looked down to scan my wallet, I felt something hit me full-on from my right side with a surprising amount of force.

It was a situation in which you’re surprised and react with some sort of primal nature. My primal reaction was to emit an “oooof” grunt and look around like the wounded animal that I was.

The woman with the cart was apologizing profusely to me, which I took to mean that she had smacked me with her cart while I was looking down at my wallet.

I couldn’t say anything to her. I just looked at her with a puzzled and hurt expression and scampered off to the express checkout lane.

Saturday night, my right hand hurt like hell – like someone had taken a sander to it and abraded it. Sunday morning, I had horribly intense pains in my right hand, and then it was all tingly and weird in the evening. It wasn’t until Monday morning that I made the connection between the Target hit-and-run and all of this pain. With how I was walking and the position of the woman’s cart, my poor right hand and arm took the brunt of the impact.

I just want to know why this woman had to swing her cart around with such force, like she was running away from a fire and her cart contained her most valuable possessions. Jesus.

Anyway, my right arm still gets shooting pains that hurt like a mother-youknowwhat.

Adding a Suffix

In the words of David Sedaris, I’ve gone from being a homo to being a homeowner.

I’ve wanted to use that quote for a long time.

Details on this and other events later! Stay tuned!

More Thoughts on Berries

Obviously, my mind is totally in the berry field instead of thinking about work.

Thinking about blackberry pies has me remembering berry picking in years past at farms that I can no longer recall how to reach.

One summer in Columbia, Porkchop and I followed a friend out to a berry field somewhere north of town. Way north. On the hilly, twisty little roads that I love in north central Missouri.

This berry field was on a hill in the middle of freaking nowhere. It was terrific – mainly blueberries, but a very good selection of blackberries, raspberries, yellow raspberries, and so forth. I just wish I could remember where it was.

And there was the pick-your-own blueberry patch that operated on the honor system! This was south of Columbia, and my roommate Jenni and I went their several times. You would fill up your bucket, weigh it, put the money in an envelope, slip the envelope into a locked box, and then put your berries in a bag.

I miss these berry places.

In Madison, Porkchop and I would pick strawberries at Carandale Farms. Carandale was great, but it was always crawling with other people. I wanted a berry farm where there were maybe a few other people…not massive crowds. Alas.

Pies on my Mind

I’m at work, and I can’t stop thinking about the hand pies that I want to make this weekend. The TG market is supposed to have blackberries this weekend, and I think blackberries would be wonderful subs for strawberries in this recipe.

The only that would be better (besides strawberries) is blackberries AND peaches.

Sigh.

This week has been a mixed food week.

Wednesday night, I had the most messed up dinner ever. It started off poorly during preparation when I popped a pat of butter in my mouth, thinking it was a piece of cheese. I like butter…but not like that. And then I discovered I only had one egg, which would not be enough for the chard-mushroom-cheese omelet that I wanted. So I filled it out with rice noodles and ate the cheese separately. It was okay, but not something I would recommend.

Thursday, however, Thursday was terrific. Lunch was a birthday work lunch for me at Thai Pizza. And then my supervisor took me to Jilly’s Cupcake Bar for a cupcake! How awesome is that?! I had the Jilly’s on the Beach, which might be my favoritest cupcake ever. It’s vanilla with a mango custard filling and kiwi-lime icing. So much yum.

Then for dinner Thursday night, Suzi joined us for a roasted tandoori-ish chicken. I marinated the chicken from my previous CSA share in a mixture of total goodness. Yogurt, cream, ginger, garlic, cumin, chile powder, garam masala, lemon juice, and tomato paste. It was yummy, but next time I will make an appropriate side dish instead of just plain rice. Last night, unfortunately, was too hot to hang out in the kitchen making extraneous dishes.

On the non-food side of things, I have been the most boring person ever this week because my thoughts were focused on selecting homeowners insurance. Many of my conversations started with, so who’s your home insurance provider?

Scintillating, eh?

After being rejected by Amica, I went with Liberty Mutual. Everyone seems to love Amica. They’re able to be so great by having super-tight underwriting. I had to send in our inspection report, which meant the underwriters saw the masonry debris on the roof, the corroded breaker, and a few other ugly things. Ugly things that the seller is fixing, but heck, I don’t have time to go out and take new photos and resubmit my application to Amica. I needed insurance yesterday for our closing on Tuesday! So, LM it is because of decent rates and coverage, and the local agent was nice. See…BORING! I just put myself to sleep.

Anyway, have a great Friday!

Birthday Summary

Hi!

I’m off of work today and taking a break from packing for a quick birthday weekend post.

Activities actually started Thursday night when a co-worker treated me to ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s in the Loop. And then one of my supervisees picked up my hummus and pita bread at Al-Tarboush (she was giving me a lift and we stopped there for her to get hummus, and I was too tempted to pass it up, and she paid for it). I look forward to eating at Al-Tarboush sometime – the hummus is awesome and the owner gave me a pistachio baclava-type treat because he heard it was my birthday. Yum!

On Friday, Porkchop and I hung out in the morning, and then I took her to Six Flags. Afterwards, I stopped at the garden to check on the tomato progress. So many tomatoes! And an eggplant! For the 4th of July evening, I went back to Six Flags and spent a few hours in the park. Porkchop brought me in for free as a “buddy,” and while she went back to work, I had nearly an entire funnel cake and then rode the new Evel Knievel roller coaster (fun!), the Ninja (because there was no line), and Mr. Freeze. Mr. Freeze is super fast and crazy, and here’s a video from YouTube:

Saturday was such a perfect day. Porkchop was off of work, so we were able to go to the Tower Grove farmers market together! YAY! We picked up green beans, carrots, sausage from Salume Bedu (one of the market’s incubator businesses), tomatoes from Ivan the Fig Man, and mocha macaroons and a scone from 4 Seasons Baked Goods. After the market, we went to Local Harvest for milk and ice cream. I have decided to drink the Jesus Milk because soy milk is just too processed and shipped too far in refrigerated trucks for me to feel comfortable with it.

At home, we prepared the sausage and made a tomato-green bean-basil saute. All local except for the olive oil!


P.S. The sausage was tasty, but I find the shape SOOOOOOO disturbing.

In the afternoon, Porkchop and I went to the Sears appliance outlet near Fenton and found a refrigerator model that we like. Freezer on the bottom with two doors on top. The outlet has a few in stock, so hopefully it won’t be a problem to buy one when we need it. I definitely recommend the outlet – one little scratch or ding equals $1000 off.

Katie and Beth arrived from Minneapolis via Columbia in the evening. We enjoyed a tasty meal at Thai Basil Spice on Grand and later had drinks at the Royale. Yay for Katie and Beth!


Sunday morning – my real birthday day – we had brunch at the Shangri-La Diner and returned to the apartment for present opening and more friend time.

I love Porkchop’s head in this photo:


So…presents. I feel so lucky to receive such great gifts! Katie and Beth gave me The Splendid Table’s: How to Eat Supper, which I’m loving so much already. And my parents gave me another super great book, Great Garden Companions, as well as Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors. I also received a yoga block and the cable edition of Vogue’s Stitchionary line.

Porkchop gave me the best pop-up birthday card-book ever:


And she gave me a BPA-free Nalgene (so I’m no longer poisoning myself) and the new 70 Grand t-shirt from STL Style. Once the t-shirt arrives, it will be so awesome to have a shirt with my bus on it! Actually, I look forward to it being not my bus! Anyway, Porkchop also gave me the super-duper-best-present-ever:


I can’t wait to process things!

Later on Sunday, we had dinner at Onesto (YUM!) and then shaved ice with Suzi and Dale.

Today has been pack pack packing. Tomorrow, I should have my letter of commitment from the bank, so everything is still on schedule. I am excited and nervous, and I wish I didn’t have to go to work at all for the next month.

Why, Thank You and You

In the past week, I’ve had two people say that I don’t look any older than 25 and express amazement that I will be 30 in a few very short days.

While this is nice to hear, it makes me wonder…what exactly is 30 supposed to look like?

Down to the Wire

I just received the signed inspection notice!

The seller is fixing everything except a few little things. YAY!

Now to call my landlord and give my last month’s notice (and hopefully she won’t give me any grief about it being the 2nd of the month).

And…SERIOUS PACKING commences tonight!

It was Time We had Fun

Porkchop and I cut loose last night and had dinner, a movie, and gelato!

Dinner was yummy and from the Little Saigon Cafe in the CWE. Being from the South Grand area, I’m not used to Vietnamese costing more than $8, but the extra money was worth it. We actually had dinner while Porkchop finished closing at the UPS Store, and then it was off to the Chase Park to see Wanted.

The movie pick was Porkchop’s because she loves herself some Angelina Jolie. Next time, I will research the movie a bit more before agreeing to go because it was so violent. SO violent! It was violence a la Kill Bill, but it still made me squirm. And Porkchop looked over several times during the movie and whispered sorry. Ugh.

After so much bloodiness, we cleansed our senses with gelato from Gelato di Riso. It was pretty good.

Currently, I am listening to Camera Obscura’s Underachievers, working on some data cleaning, and feeling pretty good. Except I’m a bit nervous about house stuff because the seller has until TODAY to return a signed agreement about stuff that he will fix. Otherwise, the contract terminates (unless we send in an amendment and they agree to it). Our realtor doesn’t think they’re doing this on purpose to get out of the contract (for example, if they recently received a higher offer) because they’ve been sending us regular updates. We just haven’t received anything in writing. It makes me nervous. Because, you know, we spent nearly $500 on inspections! I hate this house buying stuff because it always seems a bit shady. Shouldn’t things be more regulated?

You might invest in inspections and get a house, or you might get screwed. What the hell?

Learning
This evening, I pick up my CSA share via bus for the first time. Getting there is no problem, but going home means 3 buses and perhaps 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Still not having a car is teaching me loads about santosha and aparigraha. Previously, I thought I was pretty good about being happy with what I have and not being into possessions, but I really had a lot to learn apparently.

Check out the page on aparigraha. It actually states, “If you notice yourself spending too much time working on or worrying about your car (or home or some other object) – take some time to consider the situation. Perhaps it is not as important as you think it is at first. Perhaps there is a way that you could simplify, with fewer possessions which require less maintenance.”

Totally.

Some people think taking the bus must be a drag or seriously hinder my day. Contrary to how I might sound sometimes, it really isn’t and it doesn’t. Also, hello environmental impact. Do we really need to go all the places we do and consume all of that nonrenewable energy?

Probably not.

If you have a car and never take public transporation, I encourage you to do so for at least a day. You’ll learn a lot.

A New Blog
Porkchop likes to start new blogs for new stages in her life. The new and current blog is Big Muddy Editions.