Back In the Game

I know I’m not alone when I say that the last couple of years have been a complete and utter cluster-cluck. The pandemic was hard enough with school going virtual, work shutting down for a couple of months, wondering if we were going to be unemployed and lose everything. We survived it, but 2020 decided to go down swinging.

A couple of days after Christmas, I took my husband to the emergency room for severe abdominal pain that had been building for weeks. His primary care doctor hadn’t come up with a correct diagnosis after multiple tests, and I was not going to wait anymore. I’d have taken him on Christmas except that it had snowed so much there was no way to get a car out or ambulance in due to the steep hills every direction, and it wasn’t possible for him to walk to the nearest cleared road to catch a ride from there. When I think about it at all, I can still feel the suffocating anxiety. How would I get him to the hospital? Would they be able to figure out what was wrong?

At the emergency room, the doctor said it sounded like classic gallbladder symptoms and sent him for a CT scan. Two hours later, he was in emergency surgery for a baseball-sized bowel obstruction. Six more hours passed alone in the surgical waiting room until I learned from a surgeon I’m fairly certain is still in middle school that the obstruction was a tumor, likely cancer. It amazes me the ease with which doctors can toss around words like “cancer” and “chemotherapy,” weightless as feathers instead of life-altering bricks raining from the sky. A biopsy later, and cancer was confirmed. We learned entirely new vocabulary. “Clean margins.” “5FU.” “Neuropathy.”

The following six months were lived in two-week increments. Chemo one week, recover the next, lather, rinse, repeat. The nice planner I bought for 2021 lay collecting dust on my dresser. Goals shifted from writing a couple thousand words a night to “get dinner on the table. Wash dishes. Did The Destroyer finish his homework?” Our lives were measured out in episodes of “The Office,” “Jeopardy,” “Wheel of Fortune.” Our social connections consisted of friends dropping off a meal the evening after treatment. We kept our heads down, and kept moving, one foot in front of the other.

Chemo ended a year ago. We began to make plans. Not big ones. We’re going to hike Gregory’s Bald, LeConte Trail, Charlie’s Bunyon. Next year. We’ll hike. We’ll get out and do it in 2022. Because we can. With this kind of cancer, if it doesn’t return in 2 years, it’s unlikely to ever come back again. We like those odds. 2023, we’re coming for you.

I don’t know when it happened, but one day I looked up and realized that we have moved on. One clear CT scan led to another, and then to another, and now we’re living our lives as though cancer never existed. It is a blip on a radar, a speck in the rear-view mirror. We adopted a dog-monster. Her name is Storm, and she has the energy of a caffeinated hurricane. I would never have considered adding chaos to the household if we were a cancer family, when we needed life to be as uncomplicated as possible.

We’ve hiked, too. Boy, have we hiked. We hit all three of our target trails within the span of a month, about 30 miles and God only knows how much elevation gain. On Gregory’s Bald, I kept thinking we would eventually run out of “up.” The Padawan even joined us for that one. We missed the peak of Flame Azalea season by about 10 days, but it was still worth it. We did it. We survived, and now we thrive.

Our next adventure is a trip to Peru to work on reforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. The Padawan is joining us for that one, too. Two weeks in the forest with no electricity or running water? Bring it. I did finally think to clear it with the oncologist a couple of weeks ago as an afterthought. She shrugged. “I don’t see why not.” Me, neither.

And here’s the best news. 2 years is considered cured. We learned at our last visit that the clock started the day they removed the tumor, not the day chemo ended. On December 27, we’ll be celebrating that two full years without cancer. We don’t have a year and some change to go; we have four months. In four months, this whole episode can be chalked up as a major pain-in-the-ass inconvenience and nothing more. We’re here. We’re back. We’re in this game to win it.

The One With All The Medical Drama

Let me preface this post by admitting that I am a terrible patient. I am stubborn, opinionated, and, well, impatient. So maybe my appointment was doomed before it started.

I’ve got this weird liver disorder. It’s rare, it’s frustrating, and very few doctors have heard of it. I have a flare-up every year or so, and my doctor decided it’s probably time to seek the input of a specialist. Except there’s that bit about it being a rare disorder that no one has ever heard of. But I trust my doctor, and if she no longer feels comfortable managing this thing by herself, I have to go with it. So she made an appointment with a hematologist. Actually, she sent out a request to a bunch of doctors in a variety of specialties because there’s not an organ system this thing doesn’t affect. But the hematologist was the only one who would agree to see me. I went.

By the time I parked the car, I was already in a bad mood. It yanks my chain that they require a huge co-pay to see a specialist in the first place,  then they they bilk me out of my coffee money by charging for parking. And let’s just go ahead and throw out that the individual who designed the parking garage is an idiot who be cursed to spend all eternity in a HumV circling and finding only spots marked “Compact cars.” Why would there be two exits with no signs indicating they didn’t end up at the same place? I took the exit closest to me and learned too late that all roads do NOT lead to Rome, or even to the Cancer Center. This exit led only to the ER. The only way to get to the Cancer Center from my sidewalk was to crawl through the shrubs. So I did. I can’t say that doing so improved my mood a whole lot.

Pretty much sums it up.

Pretty much sums it up.

My paperwork had detailed directions, including the building number. Unfortunately, the dude or dudette who designed the garage may have had a hand in the rest of the architecture. None of the buildings in the entire compound were marked with letters. I had to ask the parking lot attendant for help. She gave me a look probably reserved for morons who crawl through the bushes and gestured to the orthopedic center. I should have guessed.

When I found the suite, I checked in. The nice lady behind the counter handed me a pager. “Now,” she said, proceeding to give me a list of instructions far too complicated for 8:30 in the morning. “When this goes off, go over there to the lab. They’ll call you back. When they’re done, go down that way, first door on the left- not the hall on the left, the door, the  shake your right foot three times, jump up and touch the ceiling, steal a silver hair from the head of a mage by the light of a virgin moon, fold your copay three times and chant ‘Burning money is fun,’  and then take a seat on the north-facing wall beside the of doom.'”

I blinked. “I do what?” I hadn’t had my coffee yet. She went through her instructions again. I smiled and nodded.

She sighed.  “When you’re done with labs, come back here. A nurse can show you what to do.”

The pager went off. I went to the lab. They pushed up my sleeve, and a vampire in purple scrubs took seven vials of blood. Then she cheerfully pointed me down the hall from whence I had come. I found the desk of the nice lady, but she saw me coming and was conveniently turned away from me. I managed to find where I was supposed to be by shuffling a pack of Tarot cards, spitting three times, and following a line of sick people.

When I was finally called back, I was taken to a room. And left there. I brought an e-reader and a back-up book, so at least I had something to read besides the battered copies of “Web M.D” (spoiler alert- all their articles are titled “You probably have cancer. See a doctor.”), so I didn’t suffer too much. Finally, a nurse practitioner came in and told me they weren’t quite sure what to do with me because I had been scheduled to see a doctor who…wait for it… wasn’t actually working that day. She did take my history and looked briefly over the paperwork I had brought.

“Do you drink?” she asked.

“Um, no. I can’t because of this thing I have that you just said you are familiar with.”

“Not at all?”

“No. Even when I take communion, I have to go for the non-alcoholic blood of Jesus.”

She gave me the stink eye. “Do you smoke?”

“No,” I answered.

Her eyes narrowed further. “You have never smoked ever?” she asked. Because I look like a smoker? Did she smell something on me? I swear, it was just bad gas.

“No, never,” I said, crossing my heart and hoping to die.

“It says here your energy level is down.”


“Are you active for more than fifty percent of the day?”

“Um, I get up at 6:00am, and I’m going to bed at 7:30pm, so…I guess so?”

She shrugged and moved on. “Street drugs?”

“No.” Though I was never closer than at that moment.

She paused significantly. Made a note. Left.

The doctor came in at last. We chatted. He was kind, he was funny, he likes reptiles. All things we look for in a good hematologist. But he wants to go back to diagnostics. On a disorder we’ve known about for 12 years. A disorder for which my mother has the genetic marker and which has a 50% rate of inheritance. One I have all the triggers for, one I have been treated for successfully in the past. But the level of toxin in my blood was not high enough 12 years ago for 100% proof. Forget that the toxins wouldn’t have been present at all if I didn’t have the disorder.

There was no mention of attempting to alleviate my current symptoms – the lack of energy, excessive sleeping, anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate or focus, neuropathy that leads to screaming pain in my hands, the leg that has gone numb. Because we’re not ready for that yet.

We’re going back to the drawing board. And I understand. The treatment for this thing is dextrose and iron, so they have to make sure I’m not drug-seeking. It’s their bounden duty to see expensive repeat irrefutable evidence before they shoot me up with sugar water. It’s also their duty to make sure I don’t have extra money lying around. Because then I might do street drugs. So they’re doing me a favor by running unnecessary tests.

I go back in six weeks, after they have run tests on all my bodily fluids and done a reading of my past lives. I can hardly wait. I’ll keep you posted.


What’s your worst medical story? I want to know!

Three Days To Freedom

Over the last couple of weeks, sugar has become the focus of my day. I scavenge any time of day or night for something sweet. It’s either my metabolic disorder begging me to eat more carbs so I don’t die, or I’ve been sneaking one too many handfuls of Sour Patch kids. It’s probably the Sour Patch kids thing, so it’s time to take control of my body. I did a very little bit of reading about sugar detoxing, and I thought I should try it. Three days without sugar, and I’m free. I can do that.

Day One

Morning – I pour myself a bowl of Cheerios. Instead of sugar, I use raisins. Look at how healthy I am! I feel powerful conquering my sugar addiction. I drink my black coffee in triumph. It’s not bad, really.

Mid-day – Turns out I’m subbing for the afternoon, so I can keep busy. It’s easy to distract myself. I grab a snack of sugar snap peas, which are surprisingly low in sugar. I am so proud of myself!

Afternoon – It’s time to go home and pick up kids. What a great day! I feel amazing! I can do this!

Evening – I drink another cup of black coffee. It’s not bad. Not good, either, but not bad. I can do this. Three days is nothing.

Day Two

Morning – I’m 1/3 of the way there. Cheerios with raisins. Again. Anyone ever notice that raisins look like rabbit turds? Just me, then? Whatever. I drink my black coffee. It tastes bitter. Like tears.

Mid-day – I’m subbing for the morning. I’m busy, but I’m not all that nice. I’m supposed to have a lunch meeting, so I didn’t pack any food. Turns out it was just meeting, no lunch. I hate everyone.

Afternoon – It’s time to pick up the kids. Wow. I never noticed how much that haircut makes the Padawan look like a Hostess cupcake.

Mmmmm. Chocolatey!

Mmmmm. Chocolatey!

I apologize for biting him and try to hide my disappointment that he does not, in fact, taste chocolatey.

Evening – I drop by the grocery store to pick up a couple of things. Namely bags of sugar. I briefly wonder if snorting the sugar spilled on the shelf is punishable by law. I briefly wonder if I care. The manager asks me to leave. Looks like it’s not technically illegal, folks! Yet. Just strongly discouraged. Store that in your trivia bank.

Day Three

Morning –  Husband gives me a vitamin. It’s a Flintstone, and the sweetest thing I’ve had in days. Half a cup of those things in a bowl of milk isn’t half bad. Sadly, I discover that they contain artificial sweeteners. My hair begins to fall out, and I grow gills. I hate my life.

I drink my coffee black, hot, and so fast I scald my tongue. There. Now I can’t taste it at all. Makes me happy.

Mid-day – Blah, blah, blah.  I don’t care. Leave me alone.

Afternoon – I have to get the kids from school. Which kids? I don’t know. Which school? Like I’m supposed to know. Shut up.

Evening –  Nothing will ever make me happy again. I don’t care if I never eat another snickers bar blizzard.

Mission accomplished. I’m going to bed.

Cue Organ Music

My recovery is going pretty well. I’ve had to get serious about my diagnosis and make some changes in my life. Some days I’ve got all the energy in the world to tackle this mess. Those days, I’m all “I am woman, hear me concentrate on a high carb diet, get serious about my exercise program, drink gallons of water and avoid alcohol and prescription meds.” Sorry, Helen. Other days, I’m bored with it and am ready to try out a new disease. Today is one of those days.

A few weeks ago, my doctor set out to try to find a specialist in my particular disorder, no easy feat when you consider that fewer than 1 in 20,000 have Acute Intermittent Porphyria. But she found one. Yay, right?! And it’s only about four hours from here rather than 8. Another yay! They had to send all my records to this guy to see if I qualify to see him without more expensive testing.. It’s like sorority Rush Week. Fingers crossed that I’m considered AIP material, girls! My mom has the genetic marker, so I should be, like, a legend, right? No pushing pennies down the hall with my nose. Or peeing in yet another cup.

So then a whole lot of nothing happened. I assume that the various offices involved communicate via carrier pigeon because there was a lot of waiting. Until last week. My doctor’s nurse called me and said they wanted me to come back in for a follow up. I love my doctor, but her nurse is a bit off-putting. He takes himself too seriously. It’s rather like having a discussion with Dr. Drake Ramoray.

I asked him if he had heard from the specialist yet. There was a long pause. “Yes,” he said slowly, after a long pause. “That’s exactly what we need to talk to you about. We will see you on Tuesday.”

I would not have been at all surprised if he had told me the specialist was my half-brother and he is pregnant with my child. I rolled my eyes so hard I may have sprained them. But I’ll play along. Everybody needs their little dramas.

Will I be number one pledge this Rush Week? Will we find out if I need more pokes and prods to get the coveted appointment? Will the nurse discover his evil twin has stolen his identity and purchased a dozen toy poodles? Stay tuned!


The Worst of It

All in all, I’d have to say my recovery from my recent bout of illness is going pretty well, but it would be wrong to assume that I am completely unchanged. I’m not quite the person I once was. I’m a little weirder. I knew that it could happen. This disorder doesn’t discriminate between bodily systems. It’s an equal opportunity annoyer, but exactly how annoying came as a surprise.

The world is smaller, tiny, even. Someone has clearly been messing with the settings on my computer because I can no longer read my regular fonts. The same tricky little turd has also shrunk the labels on my medication bottles and every, single one of my books. I can’t read anything easily anymore.

I can’t keep my kids straight, either. I call the Padawan “Squish” and vice versa, and I call Girl-child by the cat’s name. I am unsure if this loss of cognitive function is entirely related to my illness, or if I’m just becoming my grandmother. Fortunately the kids are quick studies and have learned to respond to “Whatever your name is.” I’m thinking of having it embroidered on their Christmas stockings.

My spelling has gone to heck in a hand basket. I can’t quite orient myself on a keyboard, and often I look up and find that my brilliant treatise contains far more z‘s and x‘s than one might expect to find outside of Eastern Europe. The proper letters may even be there, but they are in a creative completely unrecognizable order. I’m trying to pass it off as Olde English. Are you buying?

I used to be modest. I wouldn’t even go barefoot in front of company. Now when we take a walk, it’s my husband’s responsibility to keep me from taking my pants off when the waistband of my shorts chafes my scarring and I forget that I’m standing in the school yard. When he says “For God’s sake, woman, put your clothes on! Think of the children!”  I understand he’s not rejecting me, he’s trying to keep me from getting arrested. It’s sweet, really.

But the worst of it is that for the first time in thirty years, I’m confusing my homophones. I don’t know if it’s a problem with visual perception, but I am no longer certain which word to use. They all look right write rite correct to me. A few times,  I have almost had to email sj to ask her if I had chosen the correct one when I was writing. Don’t ask me to take a high school English class right now because I would fail.

This too shall pass, right? But in the meantime, if you happen to be driving down the street and see some myopic old lady in her underwear, it’s probably me. Be sure to say “High!”

Three Things That Shocked Me Last Week

1) Paula Deen’s mac and cheese recipe.

I love mac and cheese. It’s comfort food that cures what ails. When I discovered that Paula Deen has a slow-cooker recipe, I did some investigating. I found it. I read it. I shook my head. Cheese soup, sour cream, eggs, whole milk. You have got to be kidding me. I could feel my arteries  clogging just reading the recipe. How much fat must it contain? Do you really want to know? Because I know.Dinner conversation for the last week has consisted of me asking my family “Do you know how much fat Paula Deen’s recipe contains?”

Are you sitting down? No, I’m talking to you, dear reader. I know my family is sitting. They’re at the dinner table. Okay.  24 g, or 122% of the recommended DAILY fat intake. Kids, let’s put that into perspective. If I eat a serving for breakfast and subsist on love and sunshine until breakfast the following day, I’ve still had too much fat! Even her “lite” version contains 18g of fat. The US RDA of saturated fat is 20g.  That’s light mac and cheese the way Shamu is a light whale.

I looked around a little more to see if I could find an even lower fat recipe, and I did. Bunches of them. Here’s your cooking tip of the day. Lower the fat content by replacing every single ingredient but the pasta. Some of the suggested substitutions aren’t even recognizable as food. Low fat margarine? Isn’t that something akin to plastic? I think this is a recipe I’ll be better off for skipping. Because it looks delicious.

2) Abercrombie and Fitch.

Hereafter referred to Armpit and Stench. I went shopping recently, and boy has this store changed. When my husband and I were first married, we used to browse the store from time to time. Even then it was too expensive to actually buy anything, but we liked looking. They had cool stuff, sort of a function meets style. Not anymore.

It’s now a total sensory experience.They no longer offer customers a whiff of their cologne. They insist on it. From the moment the store opens, fans blow that pit stench right out into the mall. Before I could actually enter the store, I had to cover my nose. And I may have coughed some. And gagged a time or two. Because I’m cool.

The merchandise has changed some, too. Now the logo appears to be a giant moose. And I do mean giant. I found a lovely grey cashmere sweater that was a treat to the touch, but the lapel sported a two inch Logo. In hot pink. Kids these days are so understated, you know.

The biggest thing (smallest thing) that shocked me was the cut of their shorts. Style meets function? Hardly. There are few functions anyone could perform in said attire without exposing significant portions of body parts that should never see the light of day. Abbreviated? Um, no. Cliff’s notes are abbreviated. These were Morse Code. I am old.

3) Hallmark Christmas ornaments.

I used to work in a Hallmark shop, back before college. Working there was what motivated me to get my tookus back in school. But I liked the ornaments, and I’ve gathered a little collection over the years. I found a Star Wars ornament that depicts Han Solo on a Taun-taun and thought it was the coolest thing ever. Until I pushed the little button to make it talk and it said “See you in hell!” Awww! What a beautiful Christmas-y sentiment! Doesn’t it put you in mind of every holiday reunion you’ve been to in your entire life! Awww! And don’t I want Squish to learn this handy little phrase? I think I’ll buy one! Or two! to give away as gifts. Who needs a brand new GPS for Christmas when a Christmas ornament alone can tell you where to go?

It Really Works!

I’m a little embarrassed to share some of this with you. It’s terrible. Seriously terrible. Why do I feel like the whole world is suddenly listening in? But at least I learned something along the way.

There’s a great debate the true secret to weight-loss. Some argue fewer calories. Others hate on carbs. Still others eschew the fat. And a few crazies are proponents of exercise to lose extra pounds. I had an opportunity recently to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Okay, here is the horrible part. I have a cat. Actually, I have three, but only one of them has this particular problem. My cat was fat. Like, seriously fat. Weighing nearly as much as Squish fat. Not just big-boned. She was a porker. See?

Yeah. For real. That’s an eight-year-old child. Still think I’m exaggerating? And this was two years and about two pounds ago.

I was looking at kitten pictures of that particular cat a couple of months ago, and I was horrified. I saw how small, and sleek and healthy she used to be. And I knew I had to do something. I saw specters of diabetes and other serious medical issues looming in her future. I needed to act, and I did.

I mentioned that we have three cats. We fed them all out of two large bowls in our family room, filling them only when they were empty. Two of the cats do just fine on this arrangement. The third cat ballooned to cartoonish proportions. She is a resource-guarder, and she would choke down as much food as she could hold just so the other cats couldn’t get it. Sounds like me. Um, forget I said that.

Anyway, we decided that enough was enough, and we took the cats off of self-feed. We have been tweaking how much she gets each day because we don’t want her to be too hungry, and we’re still working on it, but the weight is melting off of her. Here she is today, about three months into the program.

I'm meeeelting!

This photo is far less embarrassing than the first one. She looks less like she ate someone else’s cat.

So this is great. And I’ve been able to solve the mystery of weight loss. It’s not as complicated as you think. It’s all about planning.

Decide your menu for the day.  If you know ahead of time what you’re going to eat, you’re less likely to substitute something less healthy.

Divide your meals into containers. When it’s meal-time, all you have to do is grab the appropriate container.

Get support. When you start to reach for food not your own, it’s helpful if you have someone standing by to squirt you with a water bottle and stamp their foot on the floor. Also helpful? Shouting a firm “NO!” and a chasing you away with a broom.

Exercise. Three or four short sessions a day chasing a milk jug tab or fuzzy mouse does wonders. Catnip optional.

Snacking is okay. Divide one meal into smaller snacks by grazing a couple of times a day from one of your allotted meal containers. After a couple of minutes, have someone take it away. And hide it. In a cabinet you can smell but not reach.

Get plenty of rest. Four hour naps on the back of the couch or any patch of sun are encouraged.

Stay on top of personal grooming. It has nothing to do with weight-loss, but everything to do with how you feel about yourself. Bathe at least a few times a day. Clean is pretty, after all. Investing in hairball remedy is recommended.

Get a hobby. Some eating is more related to boredom than hunger, so keep yourself busy. Recommended activities include stare games, chasing laser lights, and staring condescendingly at the dog.

And there you have it. Follow my plan, and you have unlocked the key to weight-loss. Let me know how it goes for you. It’s working okay for me so far. And now, it’s time for my nap.

What’s For Dinner?

I’ve got just the thing. Black bean burgers. They take a little time, but they are super-cheap, really healthy, and even the kids like them.  Here’s what you need:

15 oz cooked black beans: You can buy them canned if you like. If you’re cheap particular like me and prefer to prepare your own, that’s 1 1/3 cup dried beans. I cook mine with salt, water, cilantro, cumin, garlic, and onion

1/2 onion, diced

2 slices of bread

1 raw egg

1/4C all purpose flour

Spices to taste (again, I like a little salt, garlic, cumin, and some chopped cilantro)

Cooking oil

See? Not much to it, right? Now here’s the fun part.

1) Caramelize your diced onion.

Okay, maybe that’s not caramelized. Maybe that’s scorched. Don’t cook yours as long. You don’t want them crunchy, you know.


2) Feed the cats. Because their yowling is driving you to drink distraction.

3) Onions are now crunchy as corn flakes. Swear a little and dump them into mixing bowl.

4) What the heck. You love onions. And mushrooms. Slice the remaining half onion and saute as burger topping.


But do try to remember that these are WHITE mushrooms. If you try to get them as dark as portabellas, you’re asking for crunchy onions again.

5) Fill cat’s water bowl. For the fourteenth time today.

6) Cube the bread slices and dump into mixing bowl with crunchy onion bits.

That’s right. I paid $1 for that cutting board. Only the best for me, baby.


7) Intervene in small child’s flight demonstration.  Twice.

8 ) Sample caramelized onions and mushrooms. Repeat until they are nearly gone.

9) Add beans and raw egg to mixing bowl and mash it all together. Mix spices into flour, and then blend into the bean mixture. The flour and egg are literally the glue that holds it all together. Great image, right?

I use a potato masher. Or a ricer. I think it’s a masher, as I don’t believe I have ever riced anything in my life. Ricing sounds like a tactic used by the Chinese mafia.

10) Check kid’s homework. Take a moment to be grateful that school is almost over for the year.

11) Make burgers into patties. I didn’t take a picture of this part because my hands were covered with bean mixture. And it looked a little gross.

12) Answer phone with your elbows, and listen to long and unnecessary automated call from the school. 

12) Cook in oil on high heat, flipping ever few minutes. They’re done with they’re dark and kind of crunchy on both sides. I set them in the oil in big lumps, let them cook a few minutes, then flip and flatten with a spatula. Story of my life, you know?


I really couldn’t tell you why it’s bubbling like that. It was the best oil Wal-mart had to offer, so I am sure there are no impurities. Cook it on high. HIGH. If you cook at a lower temperature, your burgers will be greasy.


13) Serve. Yes, this means you have to share. I am truly sorry.

If you’re sneaky, no one else has to know about the onions and mushrooms.


Now if you will excuse me, I am starving!

Slip Me Some Skin

I have heard it said that dermatologists have a good gig. Their patients never get better, but they never die. Forget being a dermatologist. I want to be one of their patients. I’m not sick, so no getting better is required. But it would be so cool to live forever! And that’s why I went. Not because of that annoying mole.

In order for my insurance to cover a visit to a specialist, I have to get a referral from my regular doctor, and I think a personal request from God, himself. On the day of the appointment, I gathered the paperwork I had been sent. All of the relevant information had been included except for an actual address. No worries there, though. Given her magical abilities to grant immortality, I was pretty sure her office was located in a cave or a castle, which narrows the search considerably.

I did find the office because I am just this side of magical myself. I signed in at the front desk and waited for the paperwork that required me to be there a full fifteen minutes early. The receptionist possessed some magical traits of her own, such as the ability to avoid making eye contact. But I was toddler-free and holding a good book. I sat down to wait.Forever, if it came down to it.

Only after those fifteen extra minutes had expired did “Bonnie” hand me the forms and ask for my insurance card. And my driver’s license. As everyone wants to be me, I totally understand why I should need to prove that I am, indeed, the real deal. I handed her the license. So she looked at it, looked at me, looked at it. When I asked if I could have it back, she narrowed her eyes and said “No.” I backed away slowly, unsure if her powers included breathing fire.

I dutifully filled out the volumes of forms, including one asking the reason for today’s visit. Interestingly, immortality was not one of the choices. Maybe that’s just a given. Not wanting to look like a total novice, I wrote “little mole.”

The nurse, whose powers of friendliness rivaled that of the receptionist, instructed me to put on the gown, a glorified paper-towel with arm holes. A cheap, generic Wal-mart paper towel with quality control issues. As I unfolded the thing, it ripped all the way down the front. Fantastic. But the doctor probably has x-ray vision anyway, so I decided not to worry about it.

The visit with the doctor herself was the shortest part of the whole deal. A little sawing, a couple of band-aids, some smelling salts, and I was all done. If results are good, I don’t have to come back for a year. Yippee.

I went to check out. With Bonnie. She shook all the money out of my wallet in return for my license, and I asked her if the office sends reminders at the one-year mark. “If you don’t make an appointment today, we have no way of contacting you,” she said flatly.

So if I skip out on the bill, they will never be able to find me? Even though they have my name, phone number, insurance information, mother’s dog’s name, and an actual street address? Immortality and invisibility. This pleases me.

Here's hoping that they are just garden variety moles.



Photo: Wikipedia. They have good pictures of moles.

The Journal of Fairly Predictable Results

I’m taking my resolutions seriously this year. My biggest desire is to take better care of myself, so when a fellow blogger started a blogging group dedicated to getting in shape in the New Year, I signed up with no hesitation. Or my husband signed me up. Or Phoebe gave me that look that clearly said “Your bum is closer to the ground than mine, and I’m a basset hound.” Or whatever. I was inspired.

See this face? Totally judging you for stuffing your pie hole with treats. Can I have some of that?


I don’t want to set myself up to fail, so I chose one goal to start with. Drink more water. It’s good for me in all kinds of ways. It’s good for my asthma, great for the porphyria, helps facilitate weight-loss, and it will keep my kidneys from getting bored. Win-win-win. Win.

Drinking more water sounds simple. And simple is my middle name. Well, my middle-middle name, right after Trouble, which is my actual middle name. Speaks trippingly, don’t you think? So I am drinking water. Lots of it. Like, 10-12 glasses of it. And now I have a problem.

When a human being consumes a large quantity of liquid, there’s a fairly obvious result, and I am not referring to  the clear skin and increased energy.  I’m referring to the fact that I am now trapped in my home because I cannot be more than three steps from a bathroom.

Keeping this one little resolution has taken a toll on my other goals for the year. One was to be more environmentally friendly. Which sounds great, but there are forests currently meeting their end in the name of my water intake. And forget exercise. I can’t do anything that involves jumping or sudden movements of any kind. I can’t even go for a walk unless it’s in a heavily wooded area with no other people around and lots of hiding places, just in case nature calls. Right now I don’t have call-waiting.

I am trying to adapt to this disruption in my life. To balance out the natural resources I am burning through, I now leave the bathroom light off. And I have taken to carrying a backpack loaded with an unabridged dictionary. The additional weight is building my quads with every pit stop.

I can do this thing. And to make it worth my while, I’ve decided to reward myself. Each day that I am successful with my goal, I get to eat a Big Mac and a chocolate milk shake. I can practically feel the pounds just melting away. I will power through. Who’s with me?