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 2

6/21/16, 8:55 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Okay, FB peeps: Hess is going to be wheeled into the OR area shortly. Cardiologist just popped in all preppy in his pink buttondown, saying he’s “hoping for a good result,” and I think that dude might want to bone up on his pre-surgery pep-talk skills.

6/21/16, 11:19 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Hmmm. The hospital in FL is VERY different than in Indy where there was a big screen on every wall with surgery patient updates like airport flight boards. Here, there is, like, a 100-year-old town crier who gave me this update on Hess after the first hour in surgery: “She’s doing great.” So. Yeah.

6/21/16, 11:20 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

I haven’t chewed off my finger nails in decades, and now. Now, I have ten little bloody stumps.

6/21/16, 11:22 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Ohhh. There is a super chatty woman here in the cardiac unit waiting room who just found out that I’m deaf, and she somehow got the idea that I communicate by finger spelling. Which she is now doing. Verrrrrrry slowly. Annnnnnnnd, that’s NOT a “g.” Dear God.

6/21/16, 11:29 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

So, since I can only imagine what’s happening in the OR, I’m pretty sure that the vein-harvesting part is over. Hess is going to be so MAULED. Poor baby.

6/21/16, 12:43 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Here in the Waiting Room. #lazyplacenames

6/21/16, 8:57 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Okay, so at about 1:00 this afternoon when the big-toothed doctor explained that Hess did really well in surgery and that I could go see him soon in recovery, I think, first, that the doctor doesn’t have a clear handle on what “soon” means (which is NOT two hours, Toothy), and that he might have been comparing how much agony Hess would be in if he were thrown into a wood chipper v. the reality that is “after one’s chest has been split open.” He is in the Cardiac ICU where they strongly encourage family/friends “not to feel obligated” to take advantage of the visiting hours (although screw that; I went twice anyway.) And I’m glad that I did because large amounts of morphine are not—not—helping my sweetie. He kept trying to tell me something, but A) he has a tube shoved down his throat; B) I’m deaf and really, really need to be able to read his lips; and C) he has a lisp anyway, so combine that with A & B, and you can see the problem, can’t you?? I couldn’t figure out what the heck word started with “th,” and I thought he might be thirsty.

Finally, FINALLY, I semi-hollered, “Gah, I think he’s saying he’s ‘sick!’ Is that right, Darling? Are you nauseated??” Vigorous-ish head nodding ensued, followed by immediate IV anti-nausea medicine, followed by a much-too smug pat on my own back for my wicked lip-reading skills. But, the baby is SICK, dadgummit, and what if I hadn’t gone back down there?? That nurse with her “Now, we don’t want you to talk with the tube in your throat, Mr….Mr. Yulritch.” would never in a million years have noticed that he was feeling vomity!!! Is he supposed to do charades or something? Pictionary? They don’t even HAVE markers. I’m not allowed back in until 11:00 AM, but you can bet your sweet ass that I’ll have mine jiggling at the door at 10. Maybe 9.

6/21/16, 9:31 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Lord, really? Really? It has been a DAY, and I do not think that now is the time for the puppy to hump his much, much larger stuffed animal with such…house-shaking passion. #myeyesmyeyes

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.