Epi: "I was at Bowling Green in 1994, about the time the internet really took off."
Sam: "Oh I remember, I was five --"
Epi: "YOU WERE FIVE? OH Jesus..."
Sam: "You're not that much older than me! I remember that my Dad brought home this computer and--"
Epi: "YOU. Were. FIVE? When I was in college you were five. I think I'm having chest pains."
Sam: *giggling* "I could date someone your age and it would only be a little bit creepy."
Epi: "Only a little bit?"
Yes, folks, I am old. Apparently I'm VERY old.
BTW, I still adore you, Sam... Next time you plan on shattering my self confidence by reminding me of how old I am, bring the Nitro and Morphine, 'kay?
Epi: "I was at Bowling Green in 1994, about the time the internet really took off."
Posted by Epijunky at 8/31/2008 10:53:00 PM
I'm participating in a photography project that I'm VERY excited about.
It's called Pictures and Pie.
The premise is simple... Women from all over the country (the world, really) document their lives for the next 365 days by taking a photo a day. They post the photo to this blog, with a short blurb about it.
If there are any of my girls out there who would like to participate feel free to email me or leave me a comment here and I'll get back to you.
A very good friend of Mr. Epi and I just lost his 24-year-old son to an aneurysm.
Two weeks ago he was fine. Several days ago he started to feel sick... Today he went to the ER for the second time (with flu-like symptoms X 9 days now), they flew him to Cleveland... Now he's gone. He's dead. And Mike has to bury his son.
No one should have to bury their child. No one.
I've asked you before, and you've come through. Now I'm asking you again. If you're the praying type... Or even if you're not... Prayers and good thoughts are needed.
Mike's Son was a Jr. with two little ones (both under three or so)... Please please send them his way.
Posted by Epijunky at 8/30/2008 12:40:00 AM
I've always been fascinated by weather phenomena... I live in the midwest, we can get some wicked storms with the threat of a tornado a few times a year... Nothing like a hurricane.
This is the very first time I've known some folks that were in the path of a hurricane. Two of them work EMS in La, one of them works in an ED in New Orleans.
I'm nervous, but I know they'll be safe.
Kelly, Jason and Steph... My prayers and thoughts are with ya. Try to stay dry.
Posted by Epijunky at 8/29/2008 11:07:00 PM
A few more pics from last week.
The Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art houses one of the largest collections of glass art in the world. The building itself is primarily constructed of large curved panes of glass that "blur the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces."
It's extraordinary to see.
They have these fantastic studios where you can watch artists create beautiful works out of glass. The kids actually sat for almost half an hour watching a Glass Blower. It was impressive.
Here's a few of my favorites from the Pavilion.
I wish that I had taken down information on this piece, I was fascinated by it.
The Libbey Punchbowl. created for the 1904 World Fair. At the time it was said to be the largest single piece of cut glass in the world. It weighs a whopping 143 lbs. My picture of this piece doesn't begin to give it justice... It truly sparkles like diamonds and has been one of my favorite pieces at the museum.
The finishing work on the punchbowl (a definite understatement) was done by two of Libbey's greatest glass workers.
The end result earned the work the World Fair Grand Prize Medal for cut glass. It truly is spectacular to see.
Last but not least, something completely different. As the mother of two little ones, I use a lot of Windex. Given the fact that we were at the GLASS Pavilion, I got a giggle out of this:
Yep. That's a bottle of Windex, covered in glass seed beads. Priceless. Yet oddly appropriate ;)
Posted by Epijunky at 8/28/2008 06:05:00 PM
A blogger known as Putz left a comment on a post of mine tonight, I felt like I needed to address it here.
“i make up stuff too..i go on trips i really don't go on and then blog about them and people think i did, and comment back to me on the trip i didn't take...that is called a lie sweetheart...so you lie also....”
I'm not at all sure what you're talking about here, Putz. My life, while not the most exciting one, has never been boring enough where I'd have to fabricate stories about trips I've taken.
“i once told a person i was ooogled by jessica simpson...no i never was but if you go to my bloogg back in 2006 when i first started to blog i said that and my make believe daughterinlaw blogged back that she thought that was neat..all a lie...so you lie also...”
Wow. So you've not only made up stories about being oogled by celebrities, but you've created fictitious commenters to comment on the same? Wow. That's amazing.
“i called it creative expression because i am a writer and i have the RIGHT to do that....what is your excuse for fibbing about hospitals, things you are, towns lived in etc etc etc?????creative license...are you an auther also??????”
Ohhh, so it's creative expression? You're a writer? You're a writer who can't spell “author”, abuses question marks and in general ignores the basic rules of grammar and capitalization? (Well, I do the same thing, I can't fault you on that last one.)
Let me address this one point by point.
Have I “fibbed” about hospitals? Yes. Absolutely I have. I've never hidden from anyone who has read my blog that facts about my patients, names, locations, the sex and minor details have been changed to keep the HIPAA police from knocking down my door.
Have I ever lied about a town I've lived in? What would the point of that be? Point out a case where you believe I've lied about a town I've lived in, and I'll gladly provide the proof that I've lived there.
Have I ever lied about the things I am? I'm not sure where you're going with that. I don't believe that I've ever misrepresented the way that I've felt during a call, be it terrified or an ocean of calm. I'm pretty damn honest about who I am on here.
“please let this comment go through...all your lukers, commentors have a right to see my comment about you...also your friends are my friends...i blog to the same people you do and they like me, lies and all...i once said that i was a hunk....do you believe me visit my blog and see how much you believe”
The only reason I have my comments moderated is to prevent spam from making it to my comments. That's the only reason. My Mom always said that if you're going to put something into print you should be ready to accept the repercussions for it. That being said, if you think I'm a dirty liar, don't read my blog. Pretty simple, yeah?
So to you, my medblog readers... Let me put this up for discussion.
When you post about a patient interaction, be it an EMS run, a Dialysis patient, and ER story... How much do you change? How much is too much?
Posted by Epijunky at 8/27/2008 09:35:00 PM
You're sure you know me. You have me pegged, right? You're so confident that you don't doubt for a second you know exactly who and what I am. You've watched me intently, picking me apart. Studying me.
You might think that:
I'm a Mom.
I'm a stress case.
I'm an EMT.
I'm a hypochondriac.
I'm the keeper of the Cheerios and soother of owwie's.
I'm a photographer.
I'm a bitch.
I'm a sweetheart.
I'm a nail biter, literally and figuratively.
I'm a horrible driver.
I'm a nervous wreck.
I'm the killer of all things green.
I'm very laid back.
I'm too cautious.
I'm entirely too impulsive.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Some of us spend so much time focusing on one aspect of a person that we forget to take a step back. People are more than just the sum of their parts. I'm no different. I hope you see that.
When you analyze someone so closely it's easy to miss the big picture.
I'm job hunting again.
To my family at the Evil Green Empire.... I'll miss you terribly.
In the last several weeks Sleepy Partner, McHottie, Quixtar Partner (recently transplanted from the Little Service That Could), and Rebel Partner have all blown the proverbial pop stand. Some of the most amazing people I've ever had the privilege to work with. And the Empire just let them go without as much as a civil conversation from management.
Today I followed suit.
I don't want to go into specifics, but when you find that a bit of your soul dies every day that you call into dispatch to let them know you're there.... It's probably time to go.
It was time to go.
So I'm job hunting. To those who remain there... Sue (who is so incredible I can't come up with a pseudo name for her), The Partner who hopes I die, Coast Guard Guy, Backwoods, Scotty Hottie, Joe Medic, Dana in dispatch, Mama dispatcher, Jodi (thanks for talking me off the cliff this morning, girl!), and everyone else who is hanging in there despite the treatment and low pay... I give you all the credit in the world. You're stronger than I am. Seriously.
To everyone I've gotten to know, either from working with them as a partner for a day, a week, or months... Or just from rubbing elbows in the ambulance bay at one of several hospitals, nursing homes, or dialysis centers... Thank you. You are a phenomenal bunch of people who have taught me volumes about what the EMS family is. We'll go to war for each other. You've proven that time and time again.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I love you guys. I hope things improve for you. I hope they realize what an amazing group of people they have.
Wish me luck.
Posted by Epijunky at 8/26/2008 10:39:00 PM
The radio alarm clock springs to life, "Lights" by Journey rousing me from a fitful sleep. I guess it's a little kinder than AC/DC. Six am comes awful early when you've been able to sleep in for the last ten days or so. I shouldn't complain, and I don't, not out loud anyway. My body, on the other hand, creeks like the wooden floorboards in my house.
I scan the kitchen and take inventory of what still needs to be done.
Coffee brewing. Check.
Future Cardiologist's clothes laid out. Check.
Bookbag, school supplies accounted for. Check.
All that's left is to wake up my sleepy little man.
"Wakey wakey, hon... Time to get up." FC is completely hidden by his green comforter. He doesn't move. I reach under the blanket where his head should be and grab a foot.
"FC... come on, babe. Time to get up. Aren't you excited to go back to school?" I peel back the comforter and rub his back gently.
"mmmmmFFFFFlllllllmmmm FFFFFFwwwweeeeep." FC rolls over, employing that age old belief that if he doesn't see me, I'm not really there.
"FC, don't make me turn the lights on. Come on little guy."
"Ohhhhhkaaaay. I'm coming." He sits up a second later, rubbing the crusties out of his eyes.
The smell of fresh coffee lingers in the air. It's one of my favorites. I blame EMS for my coffee addiction. I pour my first cup and sit at the table across from FC.
"Are you excited?" I'm checking my email on the laptop.
FC slurps his cereal happily. He nods, "Mmhmm. Do you think I can play soccer this fall?"
"Baby, you can do whatever you want to. Do we have to go over the rules like we did last year?" FC is a very excitable child... He doesn't have many kids around our house to play with, and as a result he tends to bounce off the walls at school. Last year we would recite the rules every morning on the way to school in an effort to keep his head on straight.
FC rolls his eyes. "Moooom. We don't have to -- I know them."
"When your teacher speaks... You---" I know he knows them. We're going over them anyway.
FC rolls his eyes again and exhales hard. "I know, Mom, I shut my mouth."
"Don't roll your eyes, FC. Okay, what's next?" I close the laptop and make eye contact with him. I put on my "Mommy Means Business" face.
"Keep my hands to myself. Be respectful and honest to everyone. No talking when the teacher says its quiet time." He smiles his precious smile and melts my heart.
"Please, FC... You are a good kid. Don't get into trouble on the first day. At least wait until tomorrow."
"Mom, you're funny."
There's a lot of truth said in jest.
The ride to the school is silent. FC's thinking, I can tell. He's his Mother's Son, that's for sure. He's anxious. The little terror from last year will be in his class again this year. I let him know in no uncertain terms that we will not have a repeat of last year.
We've spent a lot of time working on reinforcing his self confidence. We've worked on things he can say when this little terror starts teasing him. FC will be okay, he just doesn't realize it yet.
The new entrance to the school is not marked at all. We drive past it twice before giving up and using the old entrance. (To my credit it's a quarter mile away from the school on a completely different street) Everyone else has the same idea, resulting in a massive traffic jam.
I love the first day of school. LOVE it.
"FC, do you want me to walk you in?" Finally... The question. It was his answer that I was dreading.
One more year, FC... Just give me this one last year to walk you in.
So I walked him in... Probably for the very last time. I didn't cry, although I might have gotten a little misty watching him walk into class. I'm proud to say held his head high. He walked tall.
I'm so proud.
I *heart* Laura's blog... Go read it!
A conversation between Laura and myself:
Laura: Quit trying to give your kids away!
Laura: OK, fine.. I'll take them, but only if they have a return policy.
Epi: But they're cute, they clean up well...
Laura: The first sign of the stomach flu, I'm returning them.
Epi: I can understand that. When one gets it the other has it within 24 hours.
Clearly we understand each other VERY well. She has an enormous talent... Go check her out.
And Laura? They really do clean up well... But no deposit no return, hon. :)
Posted by Epijunky at 8/24/2008 12:34:00 AM
Visit the Toledo Museum of Art with She Who Rules and Future Cardiologist.
Get some pictures of them outside by the columns and on the mammoth tire swing.
Stare longingly at random Van Gogh paintings and ponder if he really was dig toxic.
Party down with friends and family at the German American Festival.
24 different kinds of beer (none of which I plan on buying for myself!) .
Bonus: I don't have to drive.
Matty: Have you grown an inch?
Epi: Are you f'n kidding me? Seriously? I'm 32-years-old.
Matty: Well, you're walking a little taller I think.
Epi: I haven't put on any height in over 19 years. Jesus, NINETEEN YEARS? Christ I'm getting old.
Matty: Old and decrepit. But taller. And skinnier.
Epi: Old and decrepit. I see how you are. You go out there and lift morbidly obese patients run after run for months on end and see how YOU feel.
Matty: You were warned that this was the job you were undertaking...
Epi: Shut the hell up.
Matty: Okay, shutting it.
Epi: Do you have any rolaids?
Matty: *biting his tongue* In the cabinet there may be some tums.
Yes folks... My body is breaking down on me. I found out today that my tiny lil gastric bypass pouch has developed an ulcer. I'm beginning treatment with Pepcid and PCN. I hope it works because the alternative sucks royally.
Posted by Epijunky at 8/23/2008 12:19:00 AM
That's my Son's legs. Eaten alive by fleas we didn't know we had. Apparently he's allergic.
They told us he was allergic to some type of food.
Then they told us he was "Hypersensitive to Mosquito bites."
Then they told us he had scabies.
It was an old school ER doc who took one look at my poor little man and told us that we had "A Flea problem."
That was understating it a bit. We were infested and had no idea. No one else had as much as a pimple on them. Poor Future Cardiologist was being eaten alive.
I'm proud to say that today we are Flea free... And we only had to napalm the house five or six times.
Still, I have a lump in my throat. "You... don't need Mommy to walk you in?" I try not to sound too crushed. I want him to be more independent, but I wasn't prepared to be dismissed at the front door of his school quite yet.
"Well, maybe just to the door, you don't need to come into the classroom, I'll walk in with Jeremy."
I smiled... One more year.
The drive the the school was without tears. The walk into the school was without tears. When he didn't come back out to the car with us... Well, one of his girls lost it.
We're preparing to repeat this for the fourth time in a few days here... While I feel better about the whole process (No guarantees that I won't shed a few tears), I still worry. I worry that he'll get picked on. I worry that he won't stand up for himself when the bigger kids bully him. I worry he's too eager to please everyone and that it will get him in trouble.
We share so many traits. We're both so emotional. We both cry at the drop of a hat. Luckily we both have a deep desire to constantly learn more about things. And that's something I hope never changes in him.
First day of Third Grade is coming up on Monday. I'll let you know how it goes.
Otherwise known as Adventures in Pottytraining.
"Sweetheart, let's go have a Potty Party... Come on, honey, let's go!!!!"
Okay, so I'm not nearly as excited as I'm pretending to be, but She Who Rules is pushing 3 1/2. Homegirl needs to get potty trained before the cost of her diapers bankrupts me.
Jesus, did I just use the phrase Potty Party?
"Uhhhmmmm No." My daughter, the headstrong one... is less than interested. She's busy playing with her new Barbie doll. Dora the Explorer is barking out orders on the TV set.
Dora: "Amarillo! Can you say Amarillo? SAY AMARILLO!!!!! SAY IT!!!!!"
Jesus that Dora chick is awful demanding. I turn my attention back to the Little One.
"I think there might be a popsicle waiting for you in there... Do you want a popsicle???"
She Who Rules is now absentmindedly swinging the aforementioned Barbie around by her hair. Ninja Style. "Uhmmm... No. Juice! I want Juice!!!"
JACKPOT!!! Juice it is. Juice I can work with! I run to the kitchen and fetch a Capri Sun. When I return to the living room, my precious angelic baby girl is running her Barbie over with a Tonka truck.
"What? What are you doing? You're torturing Barbie... She's going to need an ambulance!" I rescue the bedraggled blonde from the clutches of my precious snowflake. "Come on, Peanut... Let's go have that party." I dangle the Capri Sun in front of her, just out of her reach.
Yes, I'm resorting to bribery. I'm a weak weak Mom.
She Who Rules manages to sit on the potty for thirty seconds, happily sucking down her Tropical Punch before jumping to her feet and declaring that she's done.
"But you haven't gone potty yet... Why don't we sit here for a--"
"I'm DONE!!!! I'm DONE I'M DONE I'M DONE!!!!!!!!" Her face contorts into something resembling Satan. If Satan were female. And three.
"Ohhhhkay then. Let's go put on some big girl panties... Won't that be cool? Mommy got you some Dora panties!"
Clearly this is not going well.
"But they're DORA! Look at how pretty they are... They're pink and have sparkles on them..." I hold them up for her to examine.
She studies them for a minute, pondering. The Jeopardy theme plays in my head.
Please just put the damn panties on, let's get this show on the road...
"Uhm... Okay!!!!" She Who Rules has given her thumbs up approval to the Dora panties. Hey, it's a tiny step in the right direction, and it beats letting her run around naked. Which I'm sure she would have preferred.
Flash forward five minutes.
"Little girl, do you have to go potty?" I'm standing in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. Dora has since been replaced by SpongeBob. The tv show, not the panties. At least she's not torturing Barbie anymore.
"Uhm.... No!" She's focused all of her attention on guy who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
I creep slowly towards her, hoping, praying, that the element of surprise will work in my favor. I stop short when I realize...
She's sitting in a puddle.
Oh well, tomorrow is another day.
My first ever, in fact.
Medic 61 from On the Clock (One of the most creative and talented people I know by far) has awarded my lil blog with the Arte y Pico award for "Creativity, design, interesting material, and general contributions to the blogger community." By the way, Sam/Medic 61 has recently celebrated a pretty significant milestone.... Go give her some love :)
The rules are as follows:
1.You have to pick five blogs that you consider deserve this award in terms of creativity, design, interesting material, and general contributions to the blogger community, no matter what language.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3. Each winner has to show the award and give the name and link to the blog that has given him or her the award itself.
4. Each winner and each giver of the prize has to show the link of “Arte y pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5. To show these rules.
I humbly pass this award on to:
Ambulance Driver. Who has received no shortage of awards, but for good reason. A very talented writer and the reason I started blogging.
Hammer: A constant source of entertainment and thought provoking posts. Read his latest entry for further proof why I adore his blog and look forward to anything he posts.
EMS Haiku. What's not to love? Beautiful photography. Haiku. EMS stories. It's like my own personal heaven.
MedicMarch from Meat in the Seat. One of my favorite writers. I just wish he posted more.
Kim from As the Pump Turns. I don't know anyone else who has done so much good for something so near and dear to my heart. My dialysis regulars.
"Uhm... I'm okay... " What the hell... Nothing here is making sense.
When I last left you, I was confused and upset. Marie was confused and upset. Everyone was pretty much confused and upset.
Why wouldn't Marie just have the bastard thrown in jail? Why would she allow herself to be subjected to repeated abuse?
None of it made sense.
I sat down on the bed next to her. Brian sat to her left, insisting on staying.
"So how's your Mom?" I asked, grasping for anything to talk about other than the obvious.
"She's doing real well, Epi. She asked about your mom last time I saw her. She's at Kingwood, ya know. She had a stroke last year."
I had in fact transported her Mother the year before, she was one of my first runs at The Little Private Service That Could.
"I know, honey. And I'm sorry about your Dad." Pancreatic cancer had taken him a few years back. I genuinely LOVED her father. It broke my heart to find out he had passed on. I turned my attention to Brian, her loving husband of ten years. "Brian, you need to go talk to the PD."
"I'd rather stay." Brian appeared nervous. I didnt' give a flying fuck. I felt fearless at that moment. I felt like Marie's sole protector. All I wanted to do was get through to her. There was no way to do that with Brian in the room.
"I know you would. It'll only take a minute or two..." Joe was standing in the doorway to their bedroom. He looked angry. He was doing his best to swallow that anger, I know he was. But it clearly played out across his face.
"Come on out, Brian. I just need you to sign a few papers." Joe was lying. Brian probably knew it too. I was fully prepared to have his sorry ass dragged out of the room into the street and beaten to a pulp. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have to take several deep breaths to regain my calm.
Brian had his fists balled up again. "I SAID that I'd rather stay."
"Brian," Joe started... "Either you come out here and talk to me or I'm going to call a few of my friends and have you removed from this house. Now MAN up and get your ass out here or I'll do it for you."
I wasn't sure if it was the fear of Joe and a few of his off duty Cop buddies dragging him out of the house or if he was in fact "Manning up" but Brian left the room, peacefully with Joe.
I turned to Marie. "What the HELL is going on? And don't give me that crap about falling down the stairs. That's the oldest most tired story I've ever heard."
Marie was startled at my honestly. "I... I fell..." She stammered. "You know how clumsy I am."
"Marie, you took dance lessons for twelve years. What would your Daddy think? Your Dad would KILL him, and you know it. Sweetheart, you deserve better. NO ONE deserves to be treated like this. Look at yourself in the mirror."
"I fell, Epi."
A lump was quickly forming in my throat. "MARIE... He beat the shit out of you. Look in the fucking mirror! Look at what HE has done to you. What about your babies?" I couldnt' come up with their names, but I knew she two kids around the same age as mine. "Do you think they need to grow up watching this. Is this how you want your son thinking this is how he should treat his wife? Does your boy need to grow up thinking that treating a woman this way is okay?"
"Brian would never physically hurt Morgan and Aiden. Never. Now I told you I fell. Either you believe me or I'll have your ass thrown out. Like Joe."
Her room was trashed. Frames with pictures of Marie and the kids were laying on the floor, glass scattered everywhere. I couldn't come up with anything else to say. I was at a total and complete loss.
Joe's partner, thank God, picked a perfect time to appear. "Epi, the husband is going to stay with a friend tonight."
"Thank GOD." I responded. I managed to exhale for the first time in what would have been fifteen minutes. Marie did the same. I noticed. "You can stay with me and the kids if you want."
"I don't want to uproot them. They're used to being here..." Her voice trailed off, her hands wringing an imaginary piece of fabric.
"I know you don't. Know that I'm here. Joe and his wife are here for you. We want to get you back on your feet sweety. We're willing to do anything we can to to get you there. Anything."
"Epi... I told you... I fell."
I can only hope she heard me.
She assures me she has.. Almost on a daily basis. She assures me she has.
You just won the mega powerball jackpot to the tune of 150 million dollars (after taxes)
1. What would be the very first thing you would do? Pay off my debts.
2. Where would you choose to live? Seattle, Colorado Springs, and somewhere south of here. Anywhere south of here.
3. What kind of house would you live in? Two story five bedroom house with a yard as far as the eye can see. And a washer and dryer on the floor with the bedrooms. And a room just for my crafty stuff. There would be a gigantic tree in the backyard with the most impressive treehouse you've ever laid eyes on.
4. What kind of car would you buy? Eleanor. (See below)
5. Where would you vacation? I would do some serious traveling. Ireland, Scotland, Paris, Venice, Rome... Followed up by something completely different... I'd go primitive camping out west. Montana maybe. For a month.
6. Would you have anything on your body fixed? My nose.
7. What kind of hobbies would you engage in? I would do a lot more scrapbooking. I have a long way to go to get caught up.
8. What charities would you donate to? Domestic Violence Awareness and Susan G. Komen.
9. Would you give money to your relatives? Absolutely yes. I would pay off everyone's home and set up college funds for my future nieces and nephews. I would require mandatory counseling for certain members of my family before they'd see a dime.
10.Would you run away from your current life? Some parts of it, yes. Absolutely.
11. Would you continue to work? I can guarantee you I wouldn't be working at my current employer. I'd love to open a photography studio.
12. Would the money change you in any way? I would like to say no, but I don't know how realistic that would be. I'd like to think that it would afford me more opportunities to do good. Volunteering and spending more time with my kids.
The following post involves a few close friends of mine, and revolves around Domestic Violence. Some of it may be difficult to read.
If you or someone you know is in a like situation, there is help out there. Get Help.
Break the silence, make the call.
"Where's dinner?" Brian had just walked through the door, cast aside his briefcase, kicked off his shoes and unceremoniously plopped down onto the recliner in one fluid motion. She knew he was in a bad mood instantly. After ten years of marriage you could just tell these things. Long gone were the days where he would greet her warmly, pull her into his arms and kiss her on the forehead.
Marie reached into the fridge to pull out a tray of marinating chicken breasts. She knew she should have had dinner on the table for him, he had what she was sure was a long day. All three of her phone calls to him over the course of the day had gone unanswered.
"Marie," Brian paused to calm his breathing. "Please tell me you're not just starting it now," He checked his watch for dramatic effect. "It's after five already!"
"I... I'm... I'm sorry... The kids were insane today. Morgan found vaseline and painted herself and the wall in her room with it. Aiden and that little brat next door got into another fight and he has a black eye. I spent the afternoon doing damage control."
Brian just rolled his eyes. He unfolded the newspaper and turned to the tech section while Marie finished up dinner.
"Daaaadddyyyyy!!!!!!" Three year old Morgan came bounding into the living room, her freshly washed strawberry blonde pig tails bouncing with each step. Brian set down the paper, his face lighting up at the sight of his daughter. "Hello Peanut, how are you?" He played a quick game of "Got yer nose" and reduced her to hysterical giggles.
Marie watched quietly from kitchen doorway.
"Dad, we're going to Grandma's tonight!" Aiden was picking at his dinner, too excited to eat.
"Oh really? Well that should be fun." He eyed Marie suspiciously. "When did you decide that," he asked her under his breath.
Marie chose her words carefully. "She called earlier. She wants to take them to the zoo tomorrow."
"THE ZOOOOO!!!!" Morgan squeeled, her hands flailing, knocking over her cup of milk.
"DAMMIT Morgan!!!" Brian stood up, milk dripping off of him. Morgan shuttered. Aiden stared at his plate.
"Brian it was an accident. Calm down." Marie reached for a towel and sopped up the puddles of milk. He stomped off to the bedroom to change his clothes, muttering under his breath the entire way.
Morgan sat at the table crying. Marie wrapped her arms around her. "Baby, it'll be okay. Daddy didn't mean to yell at you."
He meant to yell at me.
"Why is Dad so mad? Doesn't he like Grandma?" Aiden was her tenderhearted one. It had been easy over the last several months to pretend that he didn't see what was happening between his parents. Marie knew better.
"Aiden, Daddy had a long day. He loves you both very much. You know how you feel when things go wrong at school? Like when you and Jason fight, and then your teacher yells at you, and then you find out that the school lunch isn't something that you like? Like everything is going wrong, right?"
Aiden nodded slowly.
"You feel sad, and angry and upset, right?"
Aiden nodded again.
"Now imagine that you had the worst day EVER at school and then you came home and Mom and Dad yelled at you and grounded you for no reason."
"Ohhh, Okay." He was getting it.
"That's how Daddy feels today. When you come home tomorrow he'll feel better." She gave him a long tight hug.
"I hope so, Mom."
Me too, Sweetheart.
"I'm SORRY! I'm sorry that dinner was a little late! I'm sorry that I snapped at you in front of the kids! I'm sorry that I wrote a check and forgot to put it in the register!"
"Marie it's more than just that. You're fucking impossible, you know that? Can you do anything right? What the hell happened to you?" Brian stood in the doorway to their bedroom.
"You slept with my best friend, for one." Marie knew the impact that statement would have on Brian the second it escaped her lips. She inhaled deeply and put the shirt she was folding into the drawer of her dresser. Instant regret.
She had found out about the affair by accident three months before. Her entire world crashed down around her since. They had what appeared to be the perfect marriage. Even after almost ten years they still held hands, they still went out together and still managed to have fun. Up until three months before, that is. Now most nights consisted of the two of them yelling at eachother behind a closed bedroom door.
Brian alternated between being the most wonderful apologetic husband, bringing her roses and rubbing her feet, and being a raving psychotic lunatic, throwing things, screaming, and eventually hitting her. Marie was at her wits end. Trying to hold together ten years of marriage for her kids sake. Trying to figure out how she could have missed an affair that had lasted almost a year. Trying to figure out what she had done to push the love of her life into a relationship with her closest friend. Most days she felt like she was fighting a losing battle.
She wanted to believe she could fix things. She made sure no one knew what was going on. She hid the bruises well. The ones she couldn't hide she explained away easily. She did her best to keep him happy, believing that if Brian was happy, she would eventually be happy again.
"You're really going to go there? You're going to bring that up again? See, this is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. What the hell is wrong with you? Are you trying to pick a fight with me? Are you trying to piss me off?"
"No, I'm not trying to piss you off. I just want to go to bed." Marie was emotionally and physically exhausted. Her voice was shaking now. She was so grateful that the kids were with her Mother. The laundry was all put away. She struggled to find something to focus her attention on.
"Maybe I wouldn't have to sleep with other women if you were more of a woman yourself. You're nothing but a lazy slob. You do nothing around here to contribute. You're a shitty mother, and an even worse wife. "
A switch flipped in Marie. "Excuse me? Are you serious? Everything, Brian, EVERYTHING I have done over the last ten years I've done for us and our kids. YOU are the one who decided to lose his fucking mind and go screw that WHORE! I take care of these kids, I clean this house and make your meals for you. I take these kids everywhere they need to go. I do everything for them, and for you. I can't even believe you're saying this -- You have lost...your...mind!" She found herself screaming at him, months of rage attempting to come out. She wanted to throw something, but quickly thought better of it.
The sting hit her before she even realized what happened. A wave of warmth ran through her face. Her nose was bleeding. He had hit her. Again.
Marie was pissed. She shoved him as hard as she could, but his 6'5" frame didn't budge. The two of them struggled for a brief few seconds before Brian pinned her down to the bed. "IF I've lost my mind, it's because you've forced me to it. If I've fucked that WHORE as you call her, it's because I needed to be with a REAL woman." Brian's face was inches away from hers, screaming. Spit flew from his lips as Marie struggled to free herself. She managed to knee him between the legs, he let out a yell and rolled off of her, onto his back on the bed. Seeing her opportunity she lept to her feet and bolted for the door.
"You... BITCH!" He cried out. Adrenaline coursing through his veins he got up and chased after her.
Marie could feel her heart pounding in her chest as she fumbled with the front door.
Why didn't I switch out that old lock like my Dad said I should? Dammit... Open up... open up...
She struggled with the lock with shaking hands until it turned. Brian reached over her head slamming the door closed. He dragged her back to the bedroom by her hair and shirt. "You're...going... to pay for that..." He panted. Marie grabbed on to anything she could.
Oh my God. He's going to kill me.
"Hey Joe, How's Lisa doing?" I pull on my purple gloves and jump out of the squad.
We had just rolled up on the scene, our red and white lights bouncing off the houses that are stacked so close together that they almost touch. Neighbors peer out of their windows trying in vain to figure out what's going on.
Joe is one of Toledo's Finest. He's also a good friend of mine from high school. We had remained in contact off an on throughout the years. "Uhm, hey Epi. I was kinda hoping this wouldn't be you responding."
I stop short of retrieving the stretcher from the back of the truck. "What the hell, Joe?"
OCD Partner laughs out loud. "Obviously your reputation precedes you, Epi!"
I look at OCD Partner with a look of disgust that startles her.
"Joe? What's going on?" I'm getting frustrated. Joe, for his part, is white as a sheet. "Dude, you're scaring me."
"It's Marie, Epi." Joe is nervously twisting his wedding ring around his left ring finger. "She's not going to want to see you... She kicked me out of the house already."
"Marie?!? Marie Jackson? What happened, is she okay?" Marie was a mutual friend of ours. Her son went to school with Future Cardiologist.
"Brian beat the shit out of her." Joe wiped the sweat from his brow. "She's refusing to press charges."
"Where is Brian now?" OCD partner and I pulled the stretcher out and made our way to the sidewalk, Joe walked beside us. From what I remember about Brian, he was a big guy.
"He's in there. She's saying she fell down the stairs. That's her story and she's sticking to it. Of course he's all sweetness and fricking light now." Joe led us into the house. "Epi, go talk to her, I'll get him out of the house for a little talk of our own."
Marie's house was just as I had remembered it. It was the house she had grown up in. It was the house that we had countless sleepovers in. It was in Marie's back yard that I learned my flag corp routine for the tryouts. It was in Marie's basement that I was first kissed by a boy.
"Marie? Baby where are you?" I heard a commotion coming from the back bedroom, the room that had been Marie's parents.
"Back here..." A female firefighter waved me and OCD partner back.
OCD looked completely lost. "Epi, what the fuck is going on?"
"I know her," was all I could get out. We rounded the corner into Marie and Brian's very crowded bedroom. Three Firefighter/Medics, a police officer and Marie and Brian.
"Marie?" I could barely recognize her. Her face was bloodied and starting to swell, her beautiful strawberry blonde hair matted with blood and sweat. Brian was holding her, rocking her, and running his hands up and down her arms. Marie cringed at his touch.
"Epi? Epi? How are you girl?"
"Uhm... I'm okay... " What the hell... Nothing here is making sense.
The conclusion later on tonight.
Step One: Hurt your back while lifting one of eight bariatric patients.
Step Two: The tooth I need to have a root canal done on is KILLING me.
Step Three: Flat tire.
Yes folks, THIS is what was stuck in my effing tire.
Happy Monday. Or Tuesday.
Posted by Epijunky at 8/12/2008 10:17:00 PM
A text conversation between myself and a coworker...
Favorite Fill In Partner: Do you still need Mon the 18th covered?
Favorite Fill In Partner: In the hopes that your car crashes on the interstate on the way there (or on the way back) I'll take it.
Epi: Hopefully that scorching case of weeping crotch rot doesn't turn gangrenous. Have a good night.
Favorite Fill In Partner: I'll take that as a thank you. F*** You. Die.
Epi: Thank you, FFIP.
Posted by Epijunky at 8/10/2008 11:15:00 PM
We were perfectly comfortable sunning ourselves on a beautiful July day. On of those days where the sky is a gorgeous blue, dotted with puffy white clouds. One of those days where you really wish you weren't working.
I'm at my "Happy Place" literally and figuratively. We're posted at the park, Marine Corp Partner and I. We're happily scarfing down our EMS lunch of Taco Bell and bottles of water.
Kids are busy playing on the playground equipment. A Father and Son fish nearby. There's a group of guys playing volleyball on a sandy court across the parking lot. Two of them have their shirts off. I'm reminded of a certain scene from Top Gun. Marine Corp Partner would fit right in. All he's missing is the Ray Bans which he tells me in no uncertain terms he "Would NEVER EVER wear".
"Base to 120, One-Two-Oh"
The portable is sitting five feet away, staring us down.
Marine Corp Partner is closer... He rolls his eyes and reaches for the portable. "Unit 120. Go ahead."
"Unit One Two Oh, we're going to need you to respond to House of MRSA, Code Three for Tachycardia with Mental Status Changes. That's Code Three for Mental Status Changes."
"One Twenty is clear, put us enroute."
I'm already picking up my purse, Taco Bell bag and cell phone. Happy Place denied.
"Ohhhh I'm doing okay. Just a little flutter in my chest." She looks at me, "My goodness you're quite tall!" I get this a lot. When you're a 6'1" redheaded female folks tend to notice. And comment on it. Constantly.
"Yes Ma'am, I sure am. I blame it on well water. I'm going to have to ask you some questions, Mrs. Grossman... Do you know where you are?"
"At MRSA. Why does everyone keep asking me that?" She laughs, but is clearly getting annoyed.
"I'm sorry to have to ask you all of these questions that you've already been asked a thousand times... Bare with me." I hold her hand and squeeze... She smiles in spite of all of the drama taking place around her. "Would it be okay, Mrs. Grossman, if I hooked you up to this monitor to get a better look at your heart?"
"Of course dear." Mrs. Grossman is a little short of breath, but she looks okay. "I bet you played basketball."
"I played Volleyball and Softball, was never very good at Basketball unfortunately." I hook the last of the leads up and turn the LifePak on. I pull the blanket up over her bare legs and waist.
Gotta keep her modest ya know.
Marine Corp Partner and I watch the monitor.
Is that... HOLY Crap... It is....
This is roughly what marches across the display. (Forgot to make a copy of the strip. Instant fail on my part.)
Well Hello there, Mr. SVT. How are you today? I check the leads. No changes. She's taching along at a rate of about 180. I reach for her wrist to check her radial pulse, I just can't believe she doesn't look worse than she does. Her pulse is too fast for me to count.
"Ma'am, I'm going to put you on a little oxygen, would that be okay?" I'm reaching for a NRB in the O2 bag.
"Well, I guess..." Her voice is starting to get shaky. We're making her nervous. I kneel down next to the side of her bed and gently put the NRB on her.
"You just relax and let us take good care of you, okay?" I squeeze her hand again.
Marine Corp Partner steps in, "Well, Mrs. Grossman... Your heart is working overtime, it's close to three times faster than it should be. Now, I can fix this with some medicine. Okay? We'll get you all fixed up and you'll be able to put on that fancy red hat and go dancing before you know it!"
Mrs. Grossman is put at ease by MCP. "Well dear, I don't really dance much anymore. Have you seen some of the men in here?"
MCP laughs out loud. "Well, when this is all over with I'll come dance with you, how would that be?" MCP has a gorgeous smile and dimples deep enough to do shots out of. Mrs. Grossman is a fan.
He plunges the 18 ga. needle in her left AC, she doesn't even wince. She's too busy trying to not look sick. I hand him tape to secure it. He thanks me and asks for the adenosine and a flush. I have it already sitting on my lap.
Score one for me. I'm trying desperately to anticipate what MCP will need. For once I'm prepared.
MCP is studying the monitor one more time. On these emergency runs I've been finding myself so grateful that I've been through Medic school, had I been a brand new Basic I would be terrified.
Oddly (I'm embarrassed to admit this), I'm excited. I want to see this woman's rhythm corrected.
Okay, so MCP isn't lying. She IS going to feel a little discomfort. From what I understand it's like a sledgehammer to the chest. "A little discomfort" is kind of understating it a bit... But I guess telling someone you're aiming to stop and reset their heart is probably a little too much information.
Mrs Grossman nods.
I find myself holding my breath as MCP pushes the first syringe filled with the drug and then rapidly follows with the flush. He elevates the arm. We're both watching the monitor. I'm still holding her hand. Her nails are painted with a pretty pink color.
Mrs. Grossman's HR drops from 182 to asystole.
I get an instant cardiac woody.
"And that, Epi, would be asystole." MCP is smiling again. If I wasn't so intrigued by the whole process, I'm sure I would have fired back with a sarcastic comment.
"How long?" I ask him.
"How long for what?"
"How long until her pulse comes back?" This has all been fun to watch, but watching asystole without doing CPR is kind of unnerving.
"Any second now...."
I was scared, I'll admit it. We took a woman who had a beating heart, who was alive, who was TALKING to me just a minute ago. We gave her a drug, and now her heart is not beating.
Please live... Please live... Please live... I'm praying. I don't pray nearly as much as I should, but I find myself making promises in return for a rhythm. Any rhythm.
Just give us something we can fix... Please...
Nothing. A flat line continues to roll across the display on the LP.
"MCP... How long has it been?"
"Please.... Please Live."
Now I'm praying outloud. Fantastic.
It was just like a movie. For once things went as they were supposed to.
I held my breath. Is that a pulse? Seriously?
It was. I could feel her pulse.
I could feel her pulse.
Sometimes they do live.
Okay, so I don't have a gun. McHottie and I are working on that.
But I did go shooting.
No pics of myself (chalk it up to a bad hair day), but I do have one of McHottie's backside. I mean... his back. It's not the Garand, but it was still fun.
I might be getting addicted.
(Edited to add: This has NOT been an easy post for me... The pictures I've added are only there because YOU have written me and requested them. All of that being said... Thank you for your knid comments and emails.)
"Epi, it's Carol from Cigna. How are you doing today?"
Carol knew me by the sound of my voice. When you call your insurance company every day for almost a month to see if there was a ruling on your second appeal... You make an impact I suppose.
I was annoying the shit out of them. I couldn't understand why they were still denying me after I jumped through hoop after hoop.
I provided the documentation they required including over 95 pages of medical records.
I met with the Shrink. Errr... I mean the Psychiatrist.
I had the Sleep Study, got myself a CPAP and slept with it religiously. Even though Mr. Epi made constant jokes about Darth Vader.
What else could they want?
"I'm doing okay... Any word?" I was sitting at my desk drinking my morning bucket of coffee. The sun was coming up and it was guaranteed to be a hot day. A 90 degree day, in an upper duplex... With no air conditioning. THE recipe for a very cranky (and extremely sweaty) Mom and Wife. I remember being in general just annoyed and frustrated with the entire situation.
Carol, doing her part, is furiously typing on her keyboard. "Well...Let me see what I can find out."
I take another sip of my coffee and scroll down Fark.com. This has turned into a ritual. Coffee, Fark, and the call to Cigna.
"Well, there is some news....Looks like you better be making some plans... You have a surgery coming up"
"That's great, well, I guess just try again tomor-- Wait. You said surgery date?"
"I did, Epi."
"Say it again." I set my cup of coffee down on my desk and rest my head in my hands.
"Honey, you got approved. Congratulations. You know, Epi.. Calls like this are why I still come in to work."
November 10, 2003 - Ypsilanti, MI
Surgery Day. I'm terrified. Two weeks earlier an online friend had died on the table just hours after I had a late night phone call with her calming her fears.
I had almost backed out. Twice.
The ride to BTC is close to an hour from Toledo. Mr. Epi and I didn't have much to talk about on the way. He was just as terrified as I was.
"You don't have to do this, Baby."
"I do. I've come too far."
"If you're that worried why don't you just postpone it?"
"It's going to be fine... It's going to be fine... It's going to be fine."
"I know it's going to be okay." He reached over to rub my neck. "I just mean that you are beautiful. You DON'T have to do this. You're gorgeous the way you are, Epi."
"It's not about being beautiful. It's about being able to chase after Future Cardiologist the next time he runs into the street. It's about not having to take pills for diabetes. It's about not having to sleep with that damn CPAP. I NEED to do this."
I don't remember most of the next three days. Being gorked out on Morphine will do that to you. If Mr. Epi had not kept a diary I wouldn't have even known that Future Cardiologist had come to visit me.
"Epi had a really hard time getting out of bed today, I don't think that she realized she would be in so much pain. Her Mother brought up Future Cardiologist to visit and they did laps around the floor. I've very proud of her." -- Mr. Epi's Diary entry
The first clear memory I had after surgery occurred two days later. The leak test. I was given a small cup with the most vile substance to ever pass over my lips. Yes, I realize I'm opening myself up to countless jokes with that line, but it TRULY was foul.
The leak test is done to confirm that there are no leaks in your new "pouch". A leak in your pouch is bad. A leak in your pouch is one more way this surgery can kill you.
"Epi, we need you to drink this." The tech hands me the cup.
I raise the cup up to my mouth, I take a sip.
Keep in mind that I've been NPO for almost three days now.
Translation: I gulped that bad boy down. My stomach turned instantly.
Imagine a 300+ girl doubled over gagging in an XRay suite. With a fresh 12 inch scar down her stomach. Yes, I was that hot.
"Jesus Christ on a pogo stick, what the FUCK was in that cup?" I managed to keep the majority of it down, but the remnants are dripping down my chin. The Xray tech is laughing his ass off. Looking back I can't blame him but let's say I was less than amused at the time.
There was no leak. All that drama and retching was for nothing.
Something that I wish the team at BTC had hammered home would be how ineffective birth control pills become after surgery.
I was eight months post op when I found out I was pregnant. I had already lost the majority of my excess weight (over 110 pounds). Things were going well. I stuck with the program, made sure to get plenty of protein in, I drank over a gallon of water a day, and religiously took my vitamins.
I was doing everything right.
Then I caught what I thought was the flu. I was running karaoke at a bar out in the boonies and I was positively green every night. When the craving for Gatorade started I just knew.
I bought a box of pregnancy tests. Two tests. One positive result could be a false positive, right?
I was pregnant.
My Surgeon yelled at me, my OB bought stock in Tums. I would be his first Gastric Bypass patient.
I could post for days on my experience with being pregnant post surgery. I wish I could say that it was easier than my first pregnancy (with the whole preeclampsia thing), but I'd be lying.
I didn't gain a single pound in 9 months. In fact, I lost 40 pounds during my second pregnancy. I LIVED on the couch. I slept more during that time than I had in the two years before it. Come to think of it, I slept more during that time than I did in the two years after as well.
My OBGYN started my pregnancy with a thick curly black head of hair. By the time I delivered he had more than a handful of silver hairs courtesy of my daughter and myself. He actually asked me to "Not get pregnant again for awhile."
The end result was practically perfect in every way.
I've become anemic.
Yes, the pasty white Irish girl has become even whiter. I positively GLOW i'm so pale. I'm working on keeping this under control through B-12 shots. Fun stuff for a girl with an aversion to needles, but I knew there was a chance I'd have to go that route.
I've become lactose intolerant. This one really bothers me because I was a HUGE milk drinker before the surgery.
Hehe. I said I was a HUGE milk drinker. Yeah my sense of humor sucks today.
My blood sugar drops out on me on occasion. I've yet to find out why, but I have made an appointment to see my Doc about it.
That's about it. I've had it very easy compared to others.
The only other thing I can think of that ya'll would be interested in would be the amount of weight that I lost and the timeline that goes with it.
Month 1: down 34 lbs
Month 2: down 67 lbs
Month 3: down 69 lbs (that was a rough month! Plateau's suck, folks!)
Month 4: down 86 lbs
Month 5: down 92 lbs
Month 6: down 101 lbs
It has not been easy. There's NOTHING about this that has been easy. I'm almost five years postop and I have some issues that I don't know will EVER be resolved.
I also have the guilt that goes with knowing that I couldn't lose the weight on my own, and at times that can be... substantial.
I'm not proud of the fact that I've gone through this... All of the testing, getting the approval from Cigna, etc. I'm not proud, but I'm grateful.
I'm grateful for the opportunity to regain my health and to be a better parent to my babies.
I did it for them.
One of the drawbacks to having a digital camera is that pictures tend to... linger.
I have over a hundred pics on my SD card that have yet to be converted from .raw format. I have close to 20 that I plan on having printed but haven't had the time to make the trip to the lab yet.
Back in the "old days" I would finish a roll of film and take it in to the lab within a few days. Now they can linger for months.
From last week: