A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life


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I Have a Few Questions…

Life is full of decisions. Important decisions. Some of my recent conundrums have included:

  • should I extend my therapeutic massages to 1.5 hours from 1 hour  do I have to tell my husband I extended my therapeutic massages to 1.5 hours from 1 hour?
  • how many hateful things can I tweet at Metro before they are able to identify me and sabotage my SmarTrip card?
  • do we pay for the new catalytic converter or just buy a new car?
  • is it appropriate to fire off a list to Honda with car parts that should not disintegrate/stop working/need replacing before I think they should?
  • how many times can I use the words ‘money-grubbing SOBs’ in my list?
  • why the fuck didn’t I purchase the three year “any incident, including your own stupidity clumsiness” extended warranty for my laptop? (since I dropped it and ruined it right after two year extended warranty expired)
  • did the Geek Squad dude just snicker at my newly unwarranteed predicament?
  • how large of a metal dumbbell that your kid hits with the lawn mower — because the grass was too high for him to see it — will it take to render said lawn mower completely useless and in need of replacing?  (in case you’re wondering, it’s 3 pounds…3 measly pounds)Dumbbell
  • is an improvement on a report card for the third quarter really something to get excited about if it’s moving from a D to a C, with the following notation from the teacher?:Report Card
  • does this grade mean my 14 year old will be living with us forever, since the class is Life Skills?

Another challenge I’ll soon be facing involves my Achilles, which has gone all rogue and developed a partial rupture. A rupture my doctor and I conservatively approached with a walking boot, physical therapy, custom shoe inserts, and one incredibly painful — and not very helpful — steroid shot directly into my Achilles. Which begs another question…

  • is it ok to unleash an unrestricted stream of cuss words at the lunatic holding the syringe just how many cuss words is it ok to unleash in front of the nice doctor about how painful a shot directly into my Achilles is?

Next week, I meet with my doctor to schedule a time for the surgery. Recovery includes 6 weeks completely off my foot and the first two I am not able to drive a car at all. I’m fortunate it’s the left foot. If it was the right foot, I wouldn’t be driving for the entire 6 weeks.

So, I actually have one more question…

  • How many bottles of this is too many if you can’t walk/step/stand/put any pressure on your foot for 6 weeks?

Elixer

 


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Crap…I’m Old Enough for AARP

In the Summer of 2016, I turned the big 5-0. It started in a rather auspicious way – with dragging my sorry ass around in a walking boot.  I had been diagnosed with a severely inflamed Achilles in addition to these sexy bone spurs:

Under Heel

As if the hot mess of new bone growth on the bottom of my heel — described by my doctor as “one of the largest spurs I have seen in a very long time” — wasn’t enough…

Heel only

…there’s this not-very-little-either crescent moon-shaped delight on the back of my heel.

I plodded along in the walking boot for over two months. I had special inserts created for my new multi-tasking work/casual/fancy shoes. Also known as tennis shoes.  Plus, I started Physical Therapy two times a week.

Given all the focus on limping, gimping, rehab, and not being able to drink due to medication (probably the worst side effect of all), I immediately forgot that AARP was doing its best to woo me into membership with direct mail solicitations every week.

In August, I was also reminded by my primary care physician that it was time for my first ever colonoscopy. Which, in an interesting turn of events, includes lots of drinking. But not the kind of drinking that gives you a fantastic buzz. More like the kind of drinking that gives you an intense appreciation for proximity to your own bathroom.

So as I prepped with purchase of enemas, Gatorade and laxatives, the purchase of an AARP membership moved further from my scope of attention. After the procedure, I didn’t give that AARP membership another thought. That’s because I was too busy celebrating the “excellent prep work by patient” notation on my colonoscopy discharge papers. Take that,  haters. I was no longer full of shit.

A few months later – and just about the time I was done with Physical Therapy for my Achilles — I started having some back pain. The pain was similar to what I experienced in 2007, when I had to have back surgery for a degenerative disc. After a visit to urgent care and a week of pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers, I went to the ER because I wasn’t feeling better. In fact, the pain was worse.

So, the meds got stronger, I was sent for an x-ray, and I wished I had saved some of those colonoscopy prep materials. Because those anti-inflammatories and pain killers should be in a pharmaceutical category called clog-you-uppers.

AARP kept sending me reminder mailings about membership, but I was too busy trying to function while being looped out on meds that I didn’t do anything about it. Plus, I was focusing on the letter I had received from my doctor letting me know the x-ray revealed arthritis in my spine and we could chat about that at my next check up.

I was sent for more Physical Therapy to assess and then deal with my back issue. Lucky me – it’s only a bulging disc, pinched sciatic nerve, and severe sciatica. I have no feeling on the left side of my left foot because of the pinched nerve. But I get to keep wearing my tennis shoes with inserts, and at least no one has prescribed orthopedic oxfords.

The cherry on this sundae of “damn, girl, you’re old!”? During my PT treatments for my bulging disc, they put me on a rack, strap me in, and chain it to my body. Then the table separates, which elongates my spine to relieve the pressure of the bulging disc. It’s like 50 Shades of PT. Only, no sex. And no drinking.

the-rack

So I finally gave in. I signed up online for an AARP membership:

welcome

With 50 comes wisdom…and membership benefits. Because if you’re gonna be medicated, poked, prodded — and constipated — you might as well at least get a discount at The Outback for your trouble. Am I right?

 


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My Mom Interest Survey

At the beginning of each school  year, my kids have to fill out forms with answers to a bunch of questions so that the teachers will know who the potential trouble-makers are have a sense of the personalities in their classroom.

My youngest started 8th grade this year and filled out the form. He showed it to me and you can certainly understand why I was looking for an eraser after reading it:

nick-form

In case you can’t read it, the second of the two common activities he does when he gets home is watch YouTube. Just another check mark in the #ParentingWin column, folks.

I did have to admit, though…it is Nick. 100%.

It also got me thinking. How would I fill out a form like this today? So I typed up a copy of the same questions, printed it out, and started writing in my answers.

becky-form-final

Hard to read? Here, let me make it easier for you to get a peek into my psychosis psyche.

top-half-final-version

bottom-half-final-version

What this really tells you about me is:

  • I keep telling myself every day “50 is the new 40”
  • I think this election has been a shit show, and out of 350 million people, I can’t believe these two yahoos are the best candidates we have to put forward
  • I’m a snob about the tequila I drink
  • I must have skipped the chapter on parent/teacher conferences in What to Expect When You’re Expecting
  • I read too much People magazine
  • At best, my taste in movies is questionable and relatively non-Oscar worthy
  • I shouldn’t be in charge of the music playlist at a kids’ dance
  • I am deluded into thinking “perfect” wives cook, clean, and do laundry
  • I fully acknowledge my husband didn’t get the perfect wife (but you shouldn’t feel too bad for him — because I’m so awesome in spite of not cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. And humble. I’m very humble.)
  • And finally, I think karma needs to step up its game against people with no/a very questionable moral compass

I’m looking at you Trump, Hillary, and  fuzz-out .

 


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Why I’m a Total Heel

About a year and a half ago, I noticed a tweak in my heel/ankle area. I thought it was because I wasn’t watching where I was going as I tripped over a divot on the sidelines while taking photos as my son’s football game. Own your klutziness, I say.

Turns out something more sinister was going on. Something I would ignore for the next 19 months. Because as you get older, tweaks, twists, twinges (and, apparently, alliteration) take on greater meaning in terms of what we should pay attention to.

At the beginning of this year, the pain started to be a little somewhat downright regular and more noticeable. The pain was centered in my heel and achilles. I found myself gimping around like an old woman and at times I would stop walking entirely to “restart” my gait in an attempt to reduce the pain and limping.

And you thought only Justin Timberlake knew how to bring the sexy back.

It was clear that my tweak/twist/twinge was a bit more than I had bargained for. I reluctantly admitted that I was going to have to put out the co-pay to find out what the hell was going on.

On my visit to the podiatrist, I explained my symptoms, and the length of time I had been experiencing them. The podiatrist took an x-ray and while he consulted with another patient in a different exam room, his office manager brought my x-ray into the room and put it on the board.

To give you a baseline, this is what a normal x-ray of a heel should look like (ignore the toes — they look sorta jacked up, don’t they?):

NormalHeel

Photo (c) 2016 Beginner Triathlete. All Rights Reserved

So smooth. So rounded. So NOT ANYTHING LIKE MINE. Because this is my hot mess of an x-ray that went up on the board:

X-ray

Do you see it? That crescent moon jutting off the back of my heel with a sharp point? Yeah, that’s not supposed to be there:

Heel only

The doctor came back into the office and looked up at my x-ray. He said “so…yeah. Well, at least we know what’s been causing the pain and difficulty walking. The technical term is bone spurs. In terms of size…well I haven’t seen anything like this…in a very long time. And because you let it go on so long, your achilles is now chronically and severely inflamed. You must have a very high tolerance for pain.”

That’s right, bitches. I don’t do anything half-assed.

We discussed my options. There is the much more appealing non-invasive therapy: tennis shoes all the time, special inserts in my tennis shoes, a sleeping boot at night, calf stretches four times a day, and a strong anti-inflammatory medication.

Unfortunately, that won’t make bone spurs go away. It really only helps with the pain and possible damage I’ve done to my achilles.

So, then there’s the invasive and highly unappealing option of surgery to shave the bone spur off. Shave armpits, bikini line, and legs? Sure. Shave bones? Yikes!

While any surgery that would keep me off my feet and render me unable to work the concession stand at my kids’ football game is so completely appealing I almost immediately demanded that course of action, I picked the less invasion option. For now.

When I posted the photo of my x-ray to Facebook, a friend made a comment that puzzled me:

Foot on Facebook.jpg

Both? Both what? Both ends of the crescent moon?

Uh, no genius. Both bone spurs. Because while I had focused on the crescent moon on the back of my heel, I had totally ignored the fact that the doctor said “spurs”. And the spur on the bottom of my heel was the size of something that would have sunk the Titanic:

Under Heel

I head back to the podiatrist next week to see if the medicine and therapies have helped with damage to my achilles. Dealing with the bone spurs is a totally different issue and I’ll need to make a decision about surgery soon.

I know it would make me a total asshat if I decide to schedule surgery at a time that prevents me from working the concession stand.  But honestly, it would be so fucking awesome a real shame to miss out on the character-building concession stand work like making sno-cones, squirting liquid cheese on pretzels and hotdogs, and taking crumpled dollar bills from teens who have just dug the money out of their sweaty, smelly sneakers.

Oh, who am I kidding? I wouldn’t miss working the concession stand one bit.

Which makes me a total heel.


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Getting Older Is a Pain in My Ass

This year, I will hit the big 5-0. It’s not until August, but my primary care doc wants me to get prepared for it and sent me to a GI doc to begin the process of prepping for a colonoscopy.

Now all those people who say I’m full of shit will have their proof. Or not.

The process includes some initial blood tests to get a baseline of my numbers and then scheduling an anesthesia-filled day at the clinic with a scope up my butt. I have to go through a cleansing ritual prior to the procedure. I quickly skimmed the informational brochure I was handed, with my eyes zeroing in on the words enema, Dulcolax, and Miralax.

Colonoscopy instructions

It was all starting to make me feel so:

Grumpy cat

Don’t we all look forward to celebrating big milestone birthdays in our life this way? Or maybe we should fete important milestones the ways celebrities do. Right Kanye?

Amber Tweet at Kanye

Hard to believe a celebrity twitter beef was happening (yeah, right) about assholes (because there are so few celebrity assholes, right?) on the day a doctor was talking to me about mine. Again:

Grumpy cat

But the biggest pain in my ass on the day that I was preparing to hear about an even bigger — and literal — pain in my ass? Actually getting to the GI doctors office.

You see, Storm Jonas had hit our area the week before and dumped 35″ on us. My husband, 2 boys, and I had spent 3 days after the storm digging out our driveway and sidewalk, bemoaning the fact we didn’t own a snow blower. And also bemoaning the fact that every neighbor we have does own a snow blower.

We had cleared all the snow and ice. But on the way out my door to the doctor’s office that morning, there was a surprise snow/sleet squall. My trek took me across what should have been the clear driveway, but turned out to be our slippery driveway. And I proceeded to:

  • lose my footing on the fucking sleet that now covered my once clear driveway,
  • start to fall down,
  • knock the underside of my chin on the bumper of my car as I went down,
  • hit my knee hard as I landed, cutting it in two places,
  • land on my right hip/lower back — the same side I had back surgery on in 2007, and
  • bump my right elbow as I landed

I laid there, having rolled into a pile of snow in front of the car, thinking:

Grumpy cat

I arrived at the doctor’s office and the wonderful nurse who did the initial workup was kind enough to clean and bandage my wounds. I was mortified that I hadn’t shaved my legs more recently, but who the hell expects to have your knee/leg looked at when you visit the GI doc? Certainly not this klutz girl.

Leg and knee

Thank you Nurse Diana for ignoring my hairy knee and leg

After the appointment, I went home and started a regime of popping ibuprofen like they were Tic Tacs, and sat on a heating pad all afternoon and evening for my aching lower back. I sat on that damn pad so long you would think I was expecting to hatch something.

However, the only thing I appeared to hatch was a realization that getting older — and being a klutz — is a literal and figurative pain in the ass.

Getting older grumpy cat

 


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Mother Nature? I’d Like A Word with You, Please…

Mother Nature fights dirty. Wrinkles, sagging, drooping, gray hair, aches, pains and unwanted hair growth. We can fight back with liposuction, botox, tweezing, lifts, waxing, hair dye, implants and other under-the-knife/needle tactics that are not for the squeamish. Or the faint of bank account.

Since I’ve turned 40, Mother Nature has had a full court press going on my body. I was lulled into thinking 40 was the new 30. But not so much, unless you have access to a Beyonce-sized bank account. With that kind of money, 40 is the new 25 – complete with double D’s, whiter smile, higher eyebrows, less tummy fat and one smokin’ chin implant. Will you be paying with cash or credit?

I prefer to spend my hard-earned money on dining out, manicures/pedicures, and a ridiculous number of Christmas cards. So here’s what Mother Nature has served up for me:

Becky the SkunkGray Hairs/Unwanted Hair (age 40): I remember years ago, I was a skunk for Halloween. I colored my hair with a streak of white hair paint down the middle. Since my late 30’s, if I wanted to be a skunk, I could just let my roots grow in. That’s why I believe hair dressers are deities (love you Brenda!) and the inventor of Root Touch-Up has been mercilessly snubbed by the Nobel Prize awarding-committee for far too long.

At 40, I began finding stray grays in my eyebrows. And on my chin. What gives with the random wild hair growth? Will Costco be sending me a coupon for the bulk pack of tweezers?

Back Surgery (age 41): My dad has long had a bad back, but I chalked that up to too many hours on a bar stool at the local combo “convenient store” (their wording, not mine) and bar/pool hall. It turns out the bar stool was not to blame – it’s just bad DNA.

My dad, and two of my younger sisters all suffer from bad backs/degenerative discs. My one sister has had 2 back surgeries already. So I guess it was no surprise that what I thought was a trick muscle flairing up now and again in my lower back was actually a degenerative disc. So degenerative, in fact, that a small piece of bone broke off and wedged itself in my nerve at the base of my spinal column. For a month and half, I had constant pain shooting down my leg and my right foot was numb. After multiple physical exams, x-rays, MRIs, and 45 sleepless days/nights, it was determined I needed to go under the knife.

Upon coming to from surgery, the first thing I heard was “oh no, please lay back down. You have no pants on. You can’t get up and walk around just yet”. I was worried that in my drug-induced state, I was woozily sashaying down the hospital hallway in search of a stripper pole. I was relieved to learn that they were talking to the person in the post-op recovery bed next to me.

After my surgery, I slept a full 8 hours that night. I seriously contemplated having someone drive me to my Neurosurgeons office so I could kiss him – full on the lips. When you haven’t been able to sleep more than 2 hours straight for 45 days and you’re looped out on painkillers, you’ll pretty much french the hell out of whoever makes sleep possible.

The bonus? I can’t lift heavy laundry baskets. Downside? None that I can think of.

Bifocals (age 42): my first clue should have been when I was folding the laundry and couldn’t distinguish between a size 6 and size 8 on my kids’ underwear. Note to Fruit of the Loom – would it kill ya to use a font size larger than mouseprint?

Sleep Apnea (age 43): After a visit to my primary care physician to get checked on for a nasty cough, they did a “routine” echo and told me it was abnormal. I was referred to a Cardiologist for further testing. Upon surveying the waiting room, it was clear that I brought down the average age of patients to 72.

The test confirmed something was slightly abnormal, and I was scheduled for a stress test and nuclear echocardiology test two weeks later. After some intense freaking out (like waiting two weeks to take the tests was any good for my ticker!), both tests indicated I was totally normal. The Cardiologist referred me to a Neurologist and after an overnight test hooked up to a quadrillion monitors, it was determined I have severe sleep apnea. I was prescribed a breathing machine. So now at bed time, I look like a cross between Darth Vader and Horton of the “Hears a Who” fame.

And to think we wasted all that money on a vasectomy, when this is actually the most effective birth control device ever:
The Best Birth Control

Can’t wait to see what Mother Nature has in store for my 44th year.