Update From the Heart of Hess 9

7/1/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Now, I’ve never cut anyone open from throat to tummy with a sharp instrument before – so I’m not saying it’s easy – but I grew up watching my grandparents clean fish out at my granddaddy’s pond, and in his 70’s, Papa could gut bream like they came with factory perforations. His handwriting looked like a drunk practicing penmanship with his non-dominant hand during a ride in a rusty pick-up with worn-out shocks on a dirt road after heavy rains. But, goddamned if he didn’t slit a straight line in a fish that might even still be squirming to get away. So, you can see why I’m baffled by the veering wound down Hess’s chest after his heart surgery.

Hess's chest wound

As if I needed another reason to hate on Dr. Toothy, a.k.a. Doodie Chowser, M.D. But, come on. Even the Jehovah’s Witness who stopped in earlier this week commented that she’d “never seen a heart surgery wound so crooked,” which leads me to believe A) she might really be a home healthcare worker after all, and B) Doodie had pot brownies for breakfast the day he operated on my husband, or Katharine Hepburn did NOT, in fact, die in 2003 and has been immersed in researching her role as an asshole cardiac surgeon for the upcoming re-imagining of Adam’s Rib. And come to think of it, Doodie DOES have a horsey face. I’m liking this theory.

Anyway: the jiggly hypotenuse of a scar on my husband’s chest. Was Hess trying to dodge Doodie in the OR? Was he placed by mistake on one of those vibrating beds instead of a proper operating table? Was there perhaps a loud cover band playing “Wipeout” on the floor below? Who can say? All I know is that Hess looks like he might’ve had a drug deal go sour with a kindergartner.

If you want to get down to it, the meandering river of an arm wound where Doodie harvested Hess’s radial artery looks ever worse:

Hess's arm wound

And now, NOW, we’ve got a serious problem. As we wash and swab with Betadine the gradually drying, hardening protective wound cover his body has produced, I see the desire sparking in Hess’s eyes because, Reader: My darling is a picker. Loose skin, errant mustache hairs, nostril dwellers, scabs – These beauties are a plate of pastries and pie wedges in front of a woozy diabetic.

Because I’m deaf, God has gifted me with the heightening of other senses in compensation; I’m not sure how this makes up for my inability to hear music, conversation, laughter, and evidence of achievement during sex, but I’m blessed with the olfactory skills of a bloodhound. I can detect urine at 2 parts per million and the remnant of a cigarette smoked by a pizza delivery guy fourteen years ago at 200 yards. Thank you, Jesus!

Also, I have a “picking” radar with the accuracy of Mormon sperm. Bulls eye, every time! If I’m driving, and Hess’s pointing finger gets within one-inch of his nose hole, I’m on it like Bill Cosby on a roofied blonde.

Early in our relationship, I’d say something like, “Can I get you a shovel?” and we’d both die laughing. Now, if I notice and mention any of Hess’s picking, he looks at me all slitty-eyed with his lips in a constricted little O not unlike the rectum of a drug mule who’s just spotted a road block.

I admit that when I’m filled with anxiety, I gnaw at my fingernails, which drives Hess mad. And, at least once a day, I put the household through the agony of Elane’s Clearing of the Bronchial Tubes, and I’m SORRY I have to hack up small chunks of lung with such wet auditory detail. But, you have to understand, Reader, that Hess can take a teeny scar from a scraped knee and pick at it until it looks like we’re cultivating a good-sized cauliflower crop on his leg. I can’t tell you how many times he’s created Niagaras of blood down a limb where a scratch was almost healed.

So, now do you grasp our dilemma, Reader, do you? Tonight, when we saw for the first time that the arm scab has just started to lift off at one end, we shared twin looks of horror that said, “Trump is the Republican nominee for fucking president!” But, we were really just aghast because we recognized the allure of all that luscious scabbing to a man helpless to resist its siren call. God! There’s going to be blood everywhere, just everywhere, and he’s going to pick that arm wound until it’s the width of the Mississippi. Do you all think a straight-jacket would help? Not for Hess. For me, people. For me.

Update From the Heart of Hess 8

6/29/16 & 6/30/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

All righty. Let’s see. Covering two days here, so get comfy on that toilet, Reader.

The home healthcare people did not come by on Wednesday as the rep said they would, so we were kind of in limbo, waiting to ask questions and whatnot. Then, a woman came this morning (Thursday) when I was fast asleep, so I have no idea what went down. She could’ve been a Jehovah’s Witness for all I know or someone selling magazine subscriptions to fund her “senior trip,” and I guess the upside is all the money I’ll save by not having to buy Christmas gifts anymore, or we might have some rockin’ new periodicals on the way.

(My sincere apologies to any Jehovah’s Witnesses I’ve offended, but what are you doing on FaceBook, anyway, since it’s the Devil! Run! Oh, my Gahhhhhddddd, Runnnnnnn!) But, the problem here is that I was asleep. Dead to the world. Visiting the Land of La-squared.

If I didn’t need to sleep, I could get almost everything accomplished especially Hess’s and my grades, which are so, so behind. It looks like we’ve worked out with our dean to have someone else cover Hess’s SNHU courses starting next week. And, let me tell you, that will be a BLESSinnnnnnnng. And a half.

It’s not JUST because there are two assignments per week times over 60 students (in three classes) times the two weeks I’m behind for a grand total of over 240 assignments glaring at me from the gradebook. 240. Assignments. To. Grade. PLUS the current week’s additional 42 assignments in my class to grade by Sunday. FML.

It’s mainly because there is also an endless supply of discussion board posts to answer every day and student emails that need responses and student problems that need to be corrected. AND, when there is ONE student who sucks up your time like a hooker named Hoover, well. You can imagine. (Not the hooker. Focus here.)

So, there is a student in one of poor Hess’s courses whose life philosophy is this: (super whiny and nasally voice) “It REALLY hurts when I stab myself in the guts with this Ginsu-sharp knife, and even though everyone’s told me that the pain will stop if I just quit stabbing myself, I just feel like if someone would DO something to make this not hurt anymore, everything would be all right.” The student sends a flurry of increasingly agitated emails and matching posts to the General Questions forum at the least hint of distress, so we’re met with a wall of whine every time we go to class or check the email.

I spent nearly two of my very precious hours trying to sort out her issues today. I finally, finally got her to contact Tech Support, and guess what??! Guesssssss! Tech Support lobbed it right back in my court probably because the IT guy couldn’t get her to stop stabbing herself either. I hate him and wish a painful pox on his loins.

But, the damned DAY before the heart cath, this crap started, and Hess was honestly beside himself with stress over the student’s bombardment. It felt almost good to send her a reply that might have possibly kind of suggested that I really appreciate how much STRESS she caused my husband, who was now being scheduled for an emergency quadruple bypass, which may or may not have been exacerbated by recent STRESS.

Yes, some of you may be thinking, “Well, Elane, you could be grading right now instead of writing long, long updates.” If you’re one of those folks, please kiss the fattest part of my ass on your way out. Not only is this the only way I maintain a shred of sanity, but I vomit these things out like whatever that was that Teddy puked allllll over the kitchen floor today.

In fact, it takes me less time to write an update than it took me to clean up allllllll that Teddy vomit, partly because I’ve run out of paper towels cleaning up various fluids over the last couple of days and can’t go to the store because “The patient must be attended 24/7 for the first 2 weeks.”

Speaking of fluids, besides the copious amounts of pee I’ve swabbed this week, today, as I mentioned on FB, the skies opened up and rained on us like a cow peeing on a flat rock, and I totally forgot that there is a leak in our bedroom ceiling, which I didn’t recall until I picked up from the dresser top some slipper socks to shove on my freezing feet, and water poured out of them and onto the floor the same way a showerhead does when it’s on full blast and someone neglects to close the shower curtain all the way. Hess.

But that’s okay because I had one clean towel left that absorbed an astonishing amount of water from the bathroom floor, and I had to wash linens anyway since Teddy woke me up this morning by dragging his freshly diarrhea-y butt across my arm and the bed sheets. Really. It’s okay. Racing stripes are cool.
And, see? We’re back to where I started: Teddy had to wake me up because I was asleep.

I stayed up into the wee hours trying to finish grades – hahaha! And, at around 5 AM, Hess jolted me awake because he was distraught over the CPAP machine doing something or not doing something, and because I was going on about 2 hours of sleep, I handled the situation much like a crack whore on a bender. I fell back asleep, and at 10 AM, Hess jolted me awake because he needed his blood pressure assessed before morning meds. And although nearly five plus nearly two seems like it would add up to nearly seven hours of quality sleep, no. When that shit ain’t consecutive, forget it. I feel like I’m in a secret sleep deprivation study.

Meanwhile, Hess took the wrong damned meds, sent a few email responses to students that were either gibberish or maybe Farsi, and then let some woman in who probably thought I was a total bitch for sleeping while my frail, recovering husband was toddling around unattended. Man, I can’t wait until the reinforcements get here. Those are coming, aren’t they?

Update from the Heart of Hess 5

6/24/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

And NOW, there is a fever. You know what? Just NO. Not having it. A doctor came this morning and said, “We might get you out of here this weekend!” He just didn’t say aloud that part about the extra-special parting gift of an infection. But that’s okay because Hess didn’t feel bad enough already, and sharing is so important.

***And them some crap happened when this person posted some negative shit and hurt my tender feelings, and then my brother launched an attack of rival-prison-gang-in-the-shower proportions, and a handful of my crew jumped in to assist. It took me a few days to recover.

Update from the Heart of Hess 4

6/23/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:
You all KNOW that I hate to admit failure or even a hint of defeat, right??? Hate it. Right up there with how much I despise Doodie Chowser, M.D., who will never, ever, ever get off my shit list for all of eternity. Ever. What a first-class (insert favorite euphemism for male baby maker)!

I stayed overnight on the cardiac unit, waiting up for the ungodly early hour of the surgeon’s rounds because – in a normal situation – I’m hard to wake up since I am deaf, and no amount of noise can rouse me from a slumber; but, going on a handful of hours of sleep over the past three days, I knew if I went home and dared the sleep gods, they’d be rolling around in the ether, laughing their asses off until I snapped out of bed around SEPTEMBER unless someone broke in the house and threw some coffee and light on me.

Sooo. I wrapped up in some 13-thread-count hospital sheets in the walk-in freezer of the cardiac waiting room all night long and worked on grading graduate-level creative writing assignments, some of which baffled me with passages like, “…the author’s syntax flowed freely because it was in the pattern of normal speech (iambic pentameter).” It COULD’VE been just the lack of sleep, the bone-numbing cold, the dearth of coffee, the anxiety over how best to inflict my ninja-like attack on Doodie Chowser, M.D. near sun-up. But you tell me. Does that passage say, “I’m a graduate-level writing student about to earn an ‘A’ for my astute grasp of the English language” to you? I don’t know.

Anyway, Doodie.

The shithead breezed in close to 6 AM and breezed out close to 6:01 AM.

He glanced at me with a contempt-sneer I haven’t seen since Leona Helmsley, and answered Hess’s question, “How much danger am I in that I didn’t have the other two bypasses?” with what can best be approximated by the image of a squatting dog and something steamy and pile-y. His RETREATING reply: “You’ll have to ask the other doctor who diagnosed all the blockages.” Next! Ca-ching!

Mother fuh…

Anyway, all that staying up and not even finishing the stupid grading (<–There’s that defeat I hate admitting. Sigh.) FOR NOTHING.

Poor Hess is groggy and listless and just plain wiped out. We were too dazzled by the reports from so many people that this surgery is such a positive thing (not that it won’t turn out to be as I’m sure it will, and, honestly, what alternative was there?? Duh.). But, the laparoscopic bladder-snatching last year really was an easy recovery, and we just thought this would go the same way. Not prepared at ALL. This procedure? NOT minimally invasive. His chest has been gutted like a fish; his ribs and shoulder-blades were separated; his left arm has been sliced open from wrist to elbow to harvest the radial artery; there is some other vein-harvest wound I haven’t even found; and he has really low oxygen, which (along with the chest wounds) makes it hard for him to get a good breath. Plus, the nurse yesterday mentioned that Hess would experience a kind of “male menopause” with this surgery: hot flashes, cold flashes, up-and-down mood swings. All of the things that make for a splendid day. That nurse wasn’t kidding either. You’d think I’d married a middle-aged woman who hasn’t seen estrogen since the first Clinton administration. There are moments when regular Hess pops up, so I know he’s going to be all better. I miss my curmudgeon.

A Little Consideration, Please

You know, it is evil to post photos of people on social websites without their permission. I have never, ever, ever liked having my picture taken because taken means stolen, and whatever tribe it is that believes cameras steal your soul is absofuckinglutely right. One should not have to suffer even in private the humiliation of the hard, cold pictorial evidence of one’s actual appearance, yet alone in a global forum teeming with former high school classmates’ malicious anticipation that you are more swollen than they are.

I prefer to live in a sort of delusion that I don’t really resemble what a Polaroid says I do. If you have seen a photo of me, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. My fat fricking chinnage looks like one of those inner tubes for river rafting, or like Trump when he’s sputtering. Coincidentally, my upper torso appears to have been inflated by a gigantic air mattress pump perhaps inserted into one of those little plastic valves that may be hidden beneath my back-fat folds. Who knows what’s all up under there? You can understand why I don’t willingly pose for posterity. It’s totally unfair to be the cause of mass pukery.

Now I realize that many folks enjoy flaunting the goods, especially when they are young and firm and dumbasses. I mean, who out there hasn’t allowed the occasional tasteful Hustler-crotch-shot or the harmless sex-with-multiple-kitchen-accessories tape? What? Yes, I meant besides Paris Hilton and anyone who assists Hef with his catheter and collection bag. What? No one? Huh.

Well, booby shots, then. Everyone does that. Even Pippa. And what happens to all embarrassing exposures the second the image develops? They pop up on Facebook. Or somebody’s ex sells them to a skin mag. Whatever. Why can’t we all just show a little more consideration? Here are some pointers that might help: Don’t let anyone ever shove a camera in your hoo-ha. Don’t generate a penis gallery with your own damned cell phone. Don’t smoke. It kills. (I just had to throw that in there.) And please don’t put my age- and jumbo-bags-of-Kit-Kats-tarnished image on display without checking with me first. My answer will always be “no,” but it is strictly in the best interest of public safety.

Another Shitty Day in Pooville

How does she know? I realize my miniature poodle is more intelligent than most high school students and all rappers, but I still can’t figure it out. Only when I am in the mother of all hurries does my sweet little pookums work up an industrial-sized episode of explosive stool expulsion. On the carpet. Used to be beige. The spot she selected this morning is less than three inches from the kitchen tile where bowel spills would be easy-breezy to clean. But nooo. Unless her fecal fury can cause floor-covering cataclysm, she will save her detonations for the yard.

I made the mistake of gating her in the laundry room once while I had to work. To show her obvious indignation, she first made a substantial doody deposit and then spent the remaining four hours behind bars heinously bouncing up and down in the excrement until her little crap-covered paws had fused the shit to the linoleum with the heat of the manic jumping. I had to scrub the scene of the crime with metal because of the astonishing adhesive properties of her creation. That dog totally discovered a new element. Shitonium. It’s true. She’s going to win the Nobel in science this year.

Now on the other end of the sphincter spectrum, there’s me. Several nights ago, someone apparently sneaked in while I was sleeping and poured a bag of Sakrete up my ass. “Plugged” does not even scratch the surface of my condition. I considered my options and decided that a nuclear warhead would be my safest bet. Let me just say that the results were not pretty. I am absolutely positive that a Mac truck drove out of my lower intestine later that evening. The only good that came of the situation is that I totally reaccepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Several times.

Damn That Sexist, Winnie-the-Frickin’-Pooh

Okay. So, Dr. Janice McCabe, a sociologist at Florida State University, announced a startling and universe-shattering discovery this week: Children’s books are sexist, by which she means against girls. (And, I must say that the bozo who wrote the article about the kiddie-lit sexism should have to hand over his job to me immediately because he wrote, “Dr. Janice McCabe… examined nearly 6,000 children’s books between 1900 and 2000…,” by which he didn’t mean to insinuate that the doctoral-degree-holder is old as fuck. He meant that she read 6,000 books that were written between 1900 and 2000. Dumbass! Our language is in the toilet, people.)

So. Where was I? Oh. Yeah. Tomes for tots are heavy on the male characters and male/unspecified gender animals. For example, in A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, everyone’s male except for Kanga. Girls are representin’ in only a third of the selected yarns for youngsters. McCabe claims that children learn in their tender years about gender from the books, cartoons, and movies to which they’re exposed—and that even in coloring books, even in 2011—males are the featured creature.

What can this revelation mean?! What if Christopher Robin had had a stash of Barbies to go with his boy toys? What if MacDonald had been an OLD lady? What if Thomas the Train and Bob the Builder had female co-workers? You know what? Chris would be considered homosexual, Old MacDonald’s farm would’ve had its taxes raised by the nasty carpetbaggers until the rent on Tara was so high…sorry. Wrong story, but same point. And the women in Thomas the Train and Bob the Builder would get paid half of what Thomas and Bob make for the same damned job.

Why should children’s literature reflect anything other than the real world? Shit. Even Hilary-who-I-still-think-is-Satan-in-a-super-fugly-mask was erased this week from a current newspaper photo of the Situation Room during the bin-Laden-liquidation because a not-tiny part of the fricking world still believes a woman has no business in a government leadership position.

We currently teach our children that a certain fashion doll can be an ASTRONAUT, but she better have really big rockets. I read Woman’s World magazine each week because I need at least one good solid belly laugh every seven days. You’d think there would be a female CEO or at least some estrogen on the five-member board. You’d be wrong. The reality is that men rule the world, and anyone who doesn’t believe it has obviously never read any damned children’s books. But I’m not sure that adding some extra girl-goats and she-bears to bedtime stories will tip the scales in vay-jay-jay favor. And really, wouldn’t it be too freaking creepy if Pat the Bunny featured a female? Ewwww.

To read the whole McCabe article (although why would you?): http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/05/06/study-suggests-winnie-pooh-isnt-gender-equal-does-matter/#ixzz1LdDHDja9

I Can’t Heeeearrrrr You, Part 2. Otherwise Known As “Speak the Fuck Up”

When I started college, I realized that I couldn’t always understand conversations or what folks said to me in public. And then the first week of freshman year, this dummmmmmmmbassssss threw a couple of lit firecrackers over the transom into my dorm room, and they landed on my bed where I was reading. Right next to my left ear. Oh, yeah! HiLARious! What a totally FUNNY prank, you nutless wonder! (I know your name, too, anal plug.)

Wooo. I’m still laughing.

My ear did nothing but ring for days, so I had a hearing test. The really funny part of that story is that the How-in-the-World-Have-you-Gone-This-Long-Without-Hearing-Aids?!-verdict surprised me. I didn’t see it coming.

Too-bad, so-sad that since sixth grade I’d been a vocalist. Ran in the family. But so did progressive nerve-loss hearing impairment. Better think of a new career, I thought. It truly sucked big, nasty, geriatric balls that I had to stop performing. At my ten-year high school reunion, Lisa Jones, whom I’d known casually when we’d sung (See, J-Lo? You use “sung” when there’s a helping verb, dammit!) in shows together, asked me, with genuine excitement, if I planned to join the 80’s cover band on stage.

Sheeeeeeee-it, no. I’d have sooner stripped naked and turned clumsy cartwheels while peeing in front of everybody and God. No-ho-ho-ho. I’d given up the tangerine dreams of a permanent spotlight after embarrassing myself on a handful of occasions. It seems in my case, a career in music involves hearing oneself, Beethoven be damned. So I chose teaching. Those are close, aren’t they?

Fast-forward twenty vicious years, and spiteful reality has sucker-punched my ass, snatched out fistfuls of my thinning hair, deviated my septum, and left me unconscious on the hot sidewalk. There is almost NO career for an INTELLIGENT deaf girl. In fact, no activity that requires human interaction was designed for us posts.

Teaching is torment. Shopping is agony. Dinner at a restaurant is torture. And although my hearing loss is responsible for most of the distress, a large portion of the blame falls on the devolving diction of most people I encounter. Many store clerks, students, waiters, co-workers, and all of my daughter’s myriad doctors sound like they’re fighting to form words around a giant old chaw of fresh cow shit in their mouths. I can ask folks to repeat what they say a hundred-thousand-billion times, and it won’t make a bit of difference. Just fucking text me. Jesus. I know most of these folks can’t spell either, but damn. Let’s at least level the playing field!  And, honestly, if what you have to say isn’t important enough for you to speak the fuck up and enunciate, then just keep it to yourself.

I Can’t Heeeearrrrr You, Part 1

It’s my own fault. I didn’t learn to be careful what to wish for until too late.

I spent most of my youth pining to be deaf. I used to steal my father’s hearing aids when he was out cutting the lawn so that I could experience the feeling of the appliances in my ears. I still remember exactly how the world sounded while I listened with the aids—there was a delicate, metallic whooshing overlaying the sounds of my world: the television I could hear from the other end of the house, the lawn mower buzzing outside, the central air purring through ducts. I made my own secret hearing aid out of a non-working transistor radio for those times when my daddy’s “ears” weren’t available. I’d strap that sucker inside the front of my bra and pop in the ear phone, and voila! I was a deaf girl.

I had half a dozen deaf childhood friends—which I now find odd—and they all had the battery pack/amplifier that they wore on their chests and double wires that connected to their ear molds. I really, really didn’t like that they were special, and that I wasn’t. So. I wished. And play-acted. Until I really didn’t have to anymore. Too late to take back that shit.

I have been hearing impaired for so long that I can’t recall what it is like not to have to ask people to repeat everything, not to miss ninety-nine percent of any movie that isn’t closed-captioned, not to grin like a fucking moron most of the time because I’m pretending that I hear what’s going on around me.

My darling BFF, Lisa, posted on FB today the question, “How many times is it appropriate to say ‘what?’ before you just nod and smile because you didn’t hear or understand a word they said?” Shit. I don’t even say, “What?” most of the time anymore. I just watch people’s body language and project happy-face if a person looks like she’s telling me something exciting and positive, or shoot the old concerned-countenance if a person seems to be relating something negative. Every now and then I get it wrong. So. If I’ve rejoiced at the news of the gruesome decapitation of one of your loved-ones, I’M SORRY. It sucks, but I just didn’t hear you.

The Grammar Guru in Me Has Gone Gonzo.

I. Have. Fucking. Had. It.

Is it so very freaking difficult to use the proper rules of standard-freaking-English? I realize that English is no longer the national language of our dear country, but shouldn’t it take decades for English to go the way of Latin?

Or is English already dead?? I am beginning to believe so. Exhibit A: American Idol, this evening.

First, young Haley sang (loosely used) an unreleased Lady Gaga number. (The song should STAY unreleased for eternity if that performance is any indication.) The title of the song is “You and I,” which is gag-worthy in itself. To add hate-mongering insult to brain-murdering injury, OF COURSE I is used incorrectly. The pronoun I  is only used when it is a flipping subject. If it is the object OF something, then the object form, me, must be used. So, when Haley screeched ovah and ovah and ovah, “…about you and I,” my spleen burst into flames. Thank God I don’t need it.

Thennnn, after Haley warbled her second song—an interesting take on The Animals’
“House of the Rising Sun”—my dear, lovely Jennifer Lopez, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World according to People magazine, said, “That song has never been SANG that way before.” Immediately, Oxford English Grammar declared her “NOT the Most Intelligent Woman in the World.” And my charred spleen fell out of my ass. I am SO sending the medical and upholstery-cleaning bills to Ryan fucking Seacrest.

Exhibit B: Honda. The humongous car corporation has a new television ad, which contains this phrase scrolled in gargantuan letters across the screen: To Each Their Own! Raise your hand if you know what is wrong with that!! Anyone? Anyone? Goddamned BUELLER? If the execs at Honda tell the bazillions of viewers watching American Idol that it is okay to use the plural pronoun “they” with the singular antecedent “each,” then how can lowly English teachers like me undo the spleen-exploding damage? I mean, Jesus, I know the Japanese are famous for fucked-up English like “please follow hand ladder watering, in order to prevent slip and fall down to get hurt,” (from a swimming pool rules sign), but Mother of Godzilla! When will it stopppppppppp?