Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Dear Clotters,

I am determined to blog the events of the past week before I get out of this anesthetic Oz altogether, and the details become blurred, and my memory returns to the vast uninhabitable landscape I fondly refer to as my comfort zone.

Here’s the story.
Last week, Dennis was scheduled for a colonoscopy, and we were busily preparing for that awesomely unlovely procedure. That is to say, we each had our assigned tasks. I washed, ironed, cleaned, vacuumed, mowed the lawn, ran errands…well you get the idea. Dennis, on the other hand, popped Dulcolax pills like theater popcorn. He popped and pooped! With each little white pill he popped, his tether to home base became shorter and shorter, until he was caught like a fly in a web. Then, just as an additional precautionary measure that all “went smoothly,” so to speak, he was instructed to imbibe a tanker of “liquid enema” mixed in Gatorade, to make it more palatable.

The prep protocol did, however, allow him to consume any clear liquid of his choice, as long as it was repulsive and non bio-hazardous. This he did with great patience and charm. In an effort to avoid TMI, let’s just say that “liquidating” someone is not necessarily a term originating with the Mafia. The cocktail had a kick, and would seem to be far more effective than waterboarding as an interrogation technique. Personally, I’d confess to anything.

On the designated morning of said colonoscopy, as we were leaving for our appointment with the plumber, I was stricken with pain, nausea, and general ickiness that prevented me from being able to unwrap myself from around the porcelain bowl that had been my constant companion the night before.

Not many options here. It was our “enema dilemma.”

However, Brodi came to the rescue, and got her Dad safely into harbor, and then returned to take me to the hospital for some serious gut-checking. The plan began with a CT scan of my lower right quadrant. Now, the pre-CT scan protocol involves drinking a libation called “contrast.”

“Contrast.” Sounds innocuous enough, right? In actuality, it is a diabolical concoction consisting of 9 parts powdered chalk mixed with one part swamp scum, raw egg whites to ensure viscosity, liquid fur ball from an angora feline (thus the term, “cat” scan), and yak urine. The demon drink is then flavored with the oozing body fluids of a really brown banana. Believe me, it could power rockets into outer space, or bring terrorist nations to their knees. An oil drum of the stuff is then placed before you, complete with hose, and you are told to siphon it in its entirety within ½ an hour …the scheduled time for the CT scan. The good news? The second oil drum was berry flavored!

By “contrast”, Dennis’ prep “martini” was nectar of the gods! Having accomplished the improbable, I have concluded that “contrast” is the love child of dish water and acid rain, the taking of which constituted an act of unfathomable villainy upon my person, transforming my entire bodily circumference into one contorted bloated goat bladder!

The nice technician then injected iodine into my system that was so warm, by the time it reached my nether regions, I was pleading for some Depends. I felt all radioactive, and was worried about leaking into the atmosphere. I was afraid I could blow any minute, and end up as little Joni floaties on the sea of life, like the shark in “Jaws.” But, thank goodness, I had not lost control of my bladder and moistened my tutu. At least I was spared that particular humiliation! Cold comfort.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Brodi managed to get Dennis home to sleep off the effects of anesthesia, stool softeners, and a whole lot of dehydration. Are you with me so far?

The results of the CT scan revealed “a hot appee.” At first I thought the radiologist was hitting on me, but apparently my appendix was severely inflamed…and leaking. Code Red surgery alert! I told Dr. Lunt I hoped they could get me on their surgical schedule at their earliest appointment. Dr. Lunt said, “Girlfriend, you’ll be in surgery in 15 minutes!”

How could this be happening?
I was sure I was being held hostage in a Stephen King novel. But in some ways, I was very relieved. Over the course of the past few weeks, I can understand how one could become seduced into joining the corps of the chronically anesthetized. I have experienced prolonged pain of such severity, that I feared an alien life form would suddenly burst forth from my rib cage, leaving me mere quivering gray matter on the dinner table. Forget the movies…there is no such thing as “sick-cute.”

Meanwhile, Dennis shook off the shackles of stupor, and managed to drive himself back down to the hospital, and we all clotted up. For the record, the results of the colonoscopy showed perfectly normal bowel tissue. No red flags. HOORAY! That was enough to float our fleet.

While conferring with the anesthetist, he assured me that narcolepsy greatly enhances the effects of the anesthesia. I was comforted. And my only request was that he not inject anything to put me under that might be found in Michael Jackson’s medicine cabinet. We bound the oath with our pinkies, and I was ready for action. I recall saying, “Cover me…I’m going in!” So they pulled up my blanket…there were some disembodied voices…and a merciful fade to black.

Apparently the operation went well, and, happily, the only thing Dr. Voorhees harvested was a very hot appendix. No need for Ripley this time. We christened the little bugger “Osama” nonetheless.

Regaining consciousness is such an adventure. My tongue was not just coated, it was wrapped in a body bag encased in cement...no doubt a mafia contract hit by a disgruntled carpo.

Dennis was able to be there every minute. We had a room with a view…of the on-going road construction. And at present, we are home recuperating from our excellent adventure, and doing well. We both walk funny, and we try not to get each other laughing…there are some serious repercussions, as you might imagine. We count our blessings each day and each night.

Our love to all,
The Clot

Friday, July 3, 2009

Laproscopy Revisited

It seems whenever I think things are going to slow down…things fast up. On a recent day that will live in infamy, the world mourned the loss of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon…and Dennis’ hernia. The entire population of the planet is entrenched in nostalgia, recalling the immortal words, “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” and the lyrics of “Thriller,” and THE poster of Farrah in a red bathing-suit, and Dennis’ proclamation, “Hernia alert! Call the doctor! We’re gonna’ need more chicken wire!”

I know. I know. It’s only been a few weeks since the first hernia surgery…the prequel. But in the interest of fair and equal invasive procedures, his left side found out what his right side had done…and demanded equal time.

His entire lower abdomen looks like a Rorschach inkblot, with perfectly matching incision scars. Dr. Frankengroin is a term of endearment, and I only use it when he’s still under the influence of anesthetic and unable to inflict bodily harm.

But he is sporting a certain symmetry now…a sort of abdominal feng shui, that he didn’t have when his left side looked like freshly fallen snow where no footprint left an impression.

I had considered tracing the trails blazed by previous surgeons with indelible ink to see if it was similar to the Appalachian Trail. But Dennis, in spite of anesthetic numb-tongue, managed to describe consequences of such graphic distinction, that I thought better of it, and surrendered custody of my magic marker. (Ooooh, someone woke up on the wrong side of the laprascope!)

Dr. Glasgow placed a great wall of chicken wire internally that extends to all his quadrants, so should he try to pop another hernia, it will have to emerge from his nostrils. This was reassuring…except Dennis is still very careful when he blows his nose.

He doesn’t exactly walk upright as yet, but he still has two opposing thumbs which identify him as one of Darwin’s more advanced evolutionary creatures.

While Thursday was a peculiar day when perhaps the universe seemed somewhat out of alignment – Jupiter and Mars were horoscopically at odds – the rest of June was a month of celebrations. And the girls pulled out all the stops for Father’s Day. Words fail me to describe the tribute, so the following is Brodi’s chronicle of the events of that occasion.


Totally Lame Father’s Day Presents:

What do you get the guy who gave you life, sacrificed so much to provide for you, threw you countless pop-ups in the backyard, gave you away at your wedding, provided medical care for your children, and battled Pancreatic Cancer in a war of epic proportions?

I’ll tell you. You get him the love child of a toilet scrubber and a feather duster. And you tell him it’s a backscratcher!

Now, before you all throw stones in my general direction, let me just explain one thing. Ummm…it’s my sister’s fault. (Just kidding, Erin.)

Really, though, we bought my Dad David Copperfield tickets about a month ago for Father’s Day. Even so, there’s nothing more embarrassing than the three Dads in our family showing off their presents on the actual day. Sam and Dave with their cordless power drills, my Dad with his…backscratcher.

My sister bought it from a traveling salesman, who, I’m sure, walked away from her house thinking to himself, “I can’t believe she bought it. I’ve had that in my truck for twenty years. I wonder if she’ll go for the dust bunnies in the back of my truck next time.”

After my Dad opened the gift, my sister leaned over to me and said, “You owe me three dollars!”


You can see why words failed me! So many memories can be made with such little activity in the old brainbox.

Life, like oceans, has a rhythm and order. It is June. June is a time for celebrations and reunions.

Our annual high school ladies’ luncheon was held at our house (talk about memories made with little activity in the old brainbox!) This year we included the men. I feared that “luncheon acumen” was not related to the Y chromosome. I was wrong, and it proved to be a very wise decision.

Before classmates began arriving, I wondered where everyone would be on the rigor mortes spectrum, assessed the size of burqa required to obscure my dreaded “dermatological crepe,” and pondered the appropriate amount of mortician’s putty necessary to make myself presentable.

But then, I decided to secure the zone with a no judge/no grudge policy, declare myself, “the people’s geezer,” provide proof of vaccination, and embrace the “no excuses” reunion.

When everyone came, the years, pounds and sag evaporated, and we all became born-again adolescents…you know, like when the term “senior” meant we were about to graduate high school…not life.

We partied into the wee hours…that’s about 7:00 p.m. OFST. (Old Fart Standard Time), and we actually remembered things from ancient history…ours! Some things, mercifully, dementia has allowed us to forget.

I so appreciated Dennis taking pictures of that auspicious afternoon. And I only made one request: that he try to get photos of me when I’m not eating, talking or blinking. He failed miserably. We’ll have a lot of cutting and pasting to do before we scrapbook those suckers.

Time tempers all things – and nostalgia is exactly what it used to be. This reunion is evidence of that. And in the spirit of rose-colored hindsight, I fully expect to be ID’d the next time I try to sneak into an R-rated movie!

Our love to all,

The Clot