Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Now Cut That Out!

I've had plenty of experience being the patient's patient husband: Quietly sitting beside the star attraction as she is repeatedly asked her name and birth date (to confirm the information on her wristband) and credit card info (to confirm that everybody's going to get paid).

Beloved has had --- ummmm --- several surgeries: three C-section deliveries (BuckEye, ActorBoy, and KayJay), a double mastectomy with subsequent breast reconstruction and clean-up, hernia repairs, and the absolute removal of all personal privacy issues. [I'm reminded of a hospital visit I made several years ago to the grandmother of a youth group member. She looked me in the eye and solemnly declared, "In 57 years of marriage, I never got undressed in front of my husband; but around here, people come in and take a look at anything they want to see."]

As I was saying, Beloved has had more than her share of surgeries and I've spent several hours of my life sitting nearby while she was being prepped for those surgeries. But even with all this experience under my belt, there are still new things to learn. For example, in conjunction with Beloved's knee surgery today, during the requisite 87 attempts to start an I.V., we were told that Beloved has "valvey veins." In fact, her veins are positively valvelicious in a valvtastic array of valvosity.

Immediately after the surgery, Dr. Golfpro took me into a broom closet to show me some pictures of the inside of Beloved's knee --- suitable for framing --- and explained what all he did. He jotted down the names of the unrecognizable shapes in the pictures, but I'll have to take them to a pharmacist for translation. I'm pretty sure he didn't work on Beloved's bimaternal armistice.

Here we see the arthroscopic picture of Beloved's autumnal manacle prior to scandalosis.

All in all, and in all true truth, being a patient's patient partner is a piece of pound cake compared to being the actual ---you know --- patient. So I will dutifully and gratefully and lovingly provide transportation, change bandages, cook dinner, and sign insurance forms while I pray that this is the last time we will need to have front-row seats at a valv-o-rama.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Ain't Got Time to Feed

Saturday evening, I was the emcee at a silent auction and fundraising banquet for the benefit of Amnion Pregnancy Center. It's a great organization that focuses not on protesting abortion, but on providing help for the young men and women who find themselves in the unenviable situation of an unplanned pregnancy.

None of which is the point of this post.

What I am led to inform you about is the crackerjack staff at the Bloomington Sheraton banquet facility. There seems to have been a competition among the staff regarding who could be most influential in getting everybody home as soon as possible.

Let's begin with the Napkin Nazi. This blond-haired, blue-eyed wonder of efficiency waited all of 5.78 seconds after I sat down before taking the napkin that had been decoratively stuffed in my coffee cup and placing it in my lap. You heard me. Placing it. In. My lap.

Next was the Salad Dressing Drill Sargent. Forget that this was a banquet for a Christian organization that wanted to give a corporate prayer of thanks before eating. Forget that not everyone had been seated yet. As soon as my napkin had found its rightful lodging place, the SDDS decided I was the most pliable person of the ten folks populating my table and offered me the distinct privilege of being the first guest to use the salad dressing boat and then send it careening around our small circle of friends. This offer came in the form of said Drill Sargent grabbing the dressing boat and shoving it into my hands: "Here...use this!"

The Table-Clearing Track Star made several appearances throughout the meal, and made the phrase "Are you done with that?" second-in-popularity only to "Can you hear me now?" I made the mistake of dabbing my mouth with my napkin and could only whimper as I watched my half-eaten dinner roll speed away toward the kitchen.

I am still bruised from when my dessert was rammed into my mouth by a high-ranking officer of the Gitterdone Gestapo.

All in all, the fundraising efforts of the evening were fairly successful. As a bonus, I heard that a few people were even allowed to chew their food before swallowing.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"I, ActorBoy, take thee, SWAWOSH..."

The recent nuptials of our son (ActorBoy) and She Who Absconded With Our Son’s Heart (SWAWOSH), were so beautiful and fun and cold (they were in Canada, eh?) that I’ve been finding it hard to come up with a comic slant with which to report on it all. (I’ve also been finding it hard to come up with any spare time in which to report on it all, but that’s a function of being immersed in the current Giant Step Theatre production from the moment we arrived back in the U. S. of A.)

The funniest part of the whole soiree doesn’t have to be augmented by my almosting of the truth. It was laugh-inducing all on its own:

Knowing that both members of the newly-married couple are actors by trade and clowns by genetics, we shouldn’t have been surprised when the traditional clinking-of-the-glasses-to-induce-the-touching-of-lips-as-an-expression-of-affection-greeting-or-amorousness led to increasingly interesting displays of creativity:
1. A run-of-the-mill kiss.
2. A longer-than-normal kiss.
3. The bride and groom kissed the best man and maid of honor.
4. The entire bridal party kissed each other.
5. The bride and groom started kissing with sincerity and gradually sank to the floor behind the head table. When they came up for air, they were both fixing their hair and adjusting clothing.
6. ActorBoy took a sip of water and kissed SWAWOSH, who promptly spit a mouthful of water into her glass.

I’ve never been more proud.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


To celebrate Beloved's 50th birthday in September and 10th anniversary of giving breast cancer a smack-down in December, several friends and I got together and gave her a gift certificate for a tandem skydive. So there's no misunderstanding, let me explain that a tandem skydive does not...and I repeat...does NOT involve a bicycle-built-for-two.

What it does involve is a second mortgage on your house and the signing away of all rights and privileges in case of accidental death or dismemberment. This total lack of legal recourse in the event of a disaster was explained to us in a video by the owner of the skydiving establishment, Chutes and Bladders: Fill One or Empty the Other, who looks like he has either been locked in someone's attic for 30 years, or has been playing bass with ZZ Top for that long. Seriously, the man wouldn't need a parachute...he could just hold his beard over his head and float gently to the ground.

After taking care of the legalities, Beloved was shoe-horned into a nylon jumpsuit formerly worn by a resident of the county jail and given a full five minutes of thorough training before she was whisked away to The Spirit of St. Louis. Okay...the plane wasn't quite that old, but let's just say that as I sat in the co-pilot's seat, looking at the grass landing strip through the hole in the floor and getting dizzy from inhaling fumes, I wasn't exactly overflowing with confidence. It also didn't help that there was a piece of duct tape holding the instrument panel in place and displaying the hand-written message, "THIS END UP."

Once airborne, Beloved sat in the lap of her jump master/partner, Byron, as he engaged the series of buckles, straps, snaps, and voodoo enchantments that would hold the two of them together as they plummeted toward Earth from 8,000 feet up. The next thing I knew, it was the pilot yelling, "Go! Go! Go!" and Beloved and Byron doing a strange ritualistic penguin waddle to the open side hatch of The Flying Deathtrap, and ... she was gone.

At exactly that moment, the pilot must have thought that holding the broken latch of my door closed was getting boring for me, because he put the plane into a dive that would make Greg Louganus die of jealousy. I, on the other hand, almost died of asphyxiation as my lower intestine suddenly blocked my air passage. We actually beat Beloved to the ground; sliding into our spot at the end of the landing strip like Pete Rose diving into home plate.

I crawled out of the plane, changed my pants, and walked back to the landing spot, being grateful that Beloved had lived through the jump and now could go back to behaving like a 50-year-old woman. Ha-ha, silly boy...the first words out of her mouth after catching her breath were, "Now I know what my kids felt like when they said, 'Again, Mommy! Again!'"