my jaundiced eye

the absurdities of life

Month: May, 2015

hit me with your best shot

hit me with your best shot

You know when MJE said that after a few days with Albatross that I’d be looking forward to my chemo with a song in my heart. Well little did I know that it’d be a bit more Stravinsky’s “Rite Of Spring” than Sondheim’s “Bring in the Clowns.” Man oh man. The “infusion” (“lemonade with lavender anyone?”) was not too bad, it was the Neulasta shot to boost white blood cells the next day that through me for a loop. I went from up and at em, walking Bellarina in the am to dialing 911 to the CDC informing them that Ebola was back and to come medevac me out STAT.

Now MJE is made of pretty stern stuff, mainly rebar and rip rap, but even I was not prepared for this nasty piece of work. Poor sweet OB&C kept coming in and asking if there was anything he could do, rubbing his 3 day beard against my cheek. Why yes there is, love of my life, “SHUT UP AND GET OUT.” Yet despite what seemed a pretty clear directive, he felt compelled to sit beside me and brief me in excruciating detail not once but four times on every step of the recipe for baby back ribs that he was cooking up. Back off Bobby Flay. Way off.

But I seem to be past the worst of it, learning to juggle meds just below the overdose thresh hold and sleeping like a drooler in an assisted living facility.

Should be right as acid rain by tomorrow.


how a routine chemo port insertion devolved into a chemo port cluster ferk

chemo port

The OB&C, upon MJE’s insistence, consulted a neurologist regarding whether he might be headed for Halzeimer town. I swear one minute he’s reciting avogadro’s number and the next minute he can’t tell the difference between an egg beater and a 12 volt battery. Anywho, he was supposed to drive me to my chemo port surgery the same day as his appointment but minutes before I was to be there he called on some whisper-my-phone in the doc’s office telling me he can’t do it, they’re still plumbing the depths of his freakishly massive cranium. He was calling from their land line because he had forgotten his cellphone at home. Clue?

One of the beauties of living in an “active senior” community, Bandoliera-Saturnalia’s pithy description of our island paradise, is the fact that most of us (present company excluded) are pretty damned mobile and I was able to rustle up my pal Crissscrossali who hopped into her car pronto and got me to the surge on time. So MJE is in the waiting room leaving messages for the OB&C, but of course his phone is at home and his mailbox is full anyway. So I cool my heels an hour or so, finally get summoned in and prepped another hour or so. Still no word from MIAOB&C. Eventually called his doc and asked if he was still there, nah he’d left at noon. I foolishly assumed he’d gone home to grab a quick lunch and his phone and drive like a bat out of hell to be by my bedside.

But NOOOO, why do that when there’s a great BBQ joint right between your doctor’s office and the cancer center. So after a leisurely lunch he saunters over and plants himself in the waiting room for about an hour. Never occurred to him to ask the receptionist if I was there. But then his last functioning synapse finally kicked in and he realized that I was at the surgery center a mile away. He raced over, with a stop to pick up some farmer’s eggs, I mean who wouldn’t? Even then, it didn’t occur to him to ask the receptionist if I was there or where I might be: pre-op, surgery, recovery, morgue?

So after hours of pre-op waiting and prep, surgery and post op recovery with just me and Nurses Barb#1, Barb#2 the anaesthesiologist and his assistant Barb#3 and Dr. Boom Boom Burrus, the surgeon for intermittent company, the OB&C finally arrives all afluster about 5:30.

Well of course, as you have probably figured out by now, it turned out it was all the eggs fault. So I asked where the culprits were and he said in the truck, to which the entire surgical department greek chorus replied in concert “throw them out, she’ll be immune compromised and can’t eat them anyway!”

tatt’s all folks

 tat's off to you

Big doings this past weekend for MJE & Co. Bandeliera-Saturnalia graduated from college! The world is now her oyster, but she’ll need to get her own oyster knife because ours is still in use…

At B-S’s request, we flew her mother Albatross, and her younger brother Krylon in from the west coast for the momentous event. Krylon was born one day shy of B-S’s 17th birthday. Albatross realized that upon the occasion of her daughter’s 18th she faced an existential threat: financial self-reliance. That her parental enablers, having long been extorted to pay expenses for housing, education, orthodontia, travel, assorted camps, extracurricular activities, etc. up to and including raising B-S for a number of years, might pare down or downright eliminate future monetary pounds of flesh. Well, Albatross didn’t fall off the rotten tomato truck yesterday. She did what any shrewd deadbeat would do, brought forth into this world another golden ticket. In the high stakes poker game of a familial freeloader’s life, a grandchild is the ultimate trump card.

MJE and the OB&C have long debated the potential depths of depravity of her lifestyle, but like any good parents have elected to table that discussion until we have more time in the hereafter. However just before Albatross and Krylon arrived, a friend emailed me some pix that Albatross had posted on her face book page. And what do you know! A Gangstress Extraordinaire! Sideways baseball capped, skank tank topped, short, short shorted, and literally inked to the hilt: both shoulders, foot, ankle, wrist and certainly untold areas blessedly, albeit scantily obscured. I’m not sure, but I bet it’s pretty goddam expensive to look that goddam cheap.

The one bright spot in the Albatross tattuation is that in the blistering heat of a South Carolina summer, at the extremely long graduation ceremony of her wonderful daughter from a conservative, tradition-bound college, she was compelled to wear the equivalent of widows’ weeds to cover them all up. I hope sweet jesus answered my prayer and made them polyester.

But Albatross and Krylon are back on the other side of the continent by now and truth be told, it did MJE a world of good. The last four days have made me look forward to my first three hours of chemo tomorrow with a song in my heart.

game of gowns


MJE is between doc gigs at the moment but wants to keep in touch so as not to lose your interest and have you defect to some other (inferior) blog on which to waste your time. So today’s topic is examination room “gowns.” First off whoever gave them that euphemistic moniker has obviously never seen any of the Disney princess movies. But by now, having spent a fair amount of time of late wearing said “gowns” I’ve developed a keen eye for quality. I can look at the gown laying on the examination table, and like Martha Stewart nailing a sheet’s thread count across a basketball court, gauge the quality before my six shooters get through the door.

The Cadillac of gowns are old school, 100% cotton, and washed to the softness of a baby blanket. They’re festooned with bunny rabbits, kittens or some other imagery completely at odds with its function as a patient’s fig leaf. From there it’s a brisk plunge into the Filene’s basement of gowns: paper ware (or paper wear). But even in this decidedly down market area there are distinct differences in type and quality. Obviously, the heavier the paper the better, but size and fit are also important. And the range of both, as I have found, is vast. I am sure there is some medical office bean counter somewhere telling doctors that if they just reduce the dimensions and heft of their exam gowns their profit margins will explode, perhaps even offsetting the bank breaking burdens of Obamacare.

The top tier of this genre are akin to paper towels, soft, pliable and provide the illusion of comfort. They are long enough to cover even the areas of the body that the doctor doesn’t need to examine. They afford the patient a certain false sense of modesty from the prying eyes and probing digits of whoever happens to be walking by at the moment. From there it is a downward spiral to ever lighter weight paper and shorter hemlines. The absolute bottom of the barrel is what I call the Bolero, thin as toilet paper and so small that it wouldn’t cover an anorexic. It has the added disadvantage of a certain self-cling factor which requires incredible dexterity on the part of the patient to pry it apart without tearing it to shreds.

To date, Dr. Cha Cha Chahin’s gown is the absolute worst. Not only did it offer the smallest square footage but was so thin it made Charmin look like cashmere. When I did manage to disentangle it (which is always a frantic race against the clock from the moment you are left to disrobe to when the door flies open again) and figured out top from bottom, front from back and where my arms were to go I was so frazzled that I yanked it on a bit too vigorously and it split in half right down the back. Dr. Cha Cha returned to find MJE slumped on the table covered by nothing but two disconnected pink paper sleeves.

the waiting game

the waiting game

Sorry, loyal readers for keeping you hanging so long since my last post. MJE is stuck up the River Styx without a paddle just waiting to see which way the current takes her. Obviously it’s a one way journey for us all but I’m wondering whether I should pack heavy or light. Obviously spring cruise casual is suggested.

The OB&C continues to be plagued by his hysterical hernia. Persuaded his doc here to take blood samples and prescribe a CAT scan, both of which showed that his hernia is probably situated in his prefrontal cortex. But never one to relinquish an ailment he is flying back to NO for appointments with a urologist and his surgeon. FYI, if medicare goes broke you know who to blame.

Two doc appointments this week for MJE, one Monday with Dr. Mackie “the knife” and one Friday with the oncologist Dr. Cha Cha Chahin. Friday is the kicker, it’ll tell whether I’ll get the drip and zap or just the zap. I’ve banked on the latter and scheduled a hair appointment in ATL for Saturday (and a rez at the Ritz Carlton to soothe my weary soul) with my hairdresser Monsieur Pascal le Rascal. If it’s the former I’ll cancel it, ain’t no use spending good money on something that’s going to clog my shower drain in a month. Instead I’ll head over to the Talk of the Town barber on Hwy 170 armed with champagne and my posse and leave it all on their floor to clean up.