Thursday, August 08, 2013

Eff You Muddah, Eff You Fadduh...

I feel so horrible. What have we done? We just dropped Miss O off at a two-week music camp and I feel like the worst parent in the world.

She wanted to go. She begged us during the school year -- "Pleeeeeease? It sounds so fun! Emma's parents are letting her go!" She even got a partial scholarship. It seemed too good to be true -- one of the Crabbykids, voluntarily leaving home for two weeks?! Un-fucking-precedented!

Of course, as the zero hour approached, her doubts started creeping in. Would she make any friends? Could she handle being away from home for so long? Would the food suck? Why the shit were we making her go?!?!?!

So we attempted to talk her down. Yes, she would make friends -- she's always able to do that very easily, wherever she goes. Staying away for two weeks will be no problem -- she went for seven days to that shitty camp near Grand Haven a couple of years ago and she just got back from a different music camp for five days in June. Piece of fucking cake. Yes, the food would suck. And we were making her go because, 1, she begged us to send her there and, B, we already shelled out the dough and there are no refunds, so suck it up.

We drove her out there yesterday and the camp looked pretty great. It's in the woods, near a lake, lots of girls who look just like her walking around with their way-too-long hair and hipster glasses. True, the camp is forcing her to wear a uniform every day (light blue polo, dark shorts) but I kinda get that -- take the pressures of fashion one-upsmanship (one-upsgirlship?) out of the equation. The counselors had that classic combination of spunky pluck and musician-y nerdiness. 'Twas a perfect stew of campy good-timiness.

We walked around, visited the camp store, got some ice cream, met the cabin-mates -- it all seemed to be going swimmingly. Of course, we realized once we got there that we forgot Miss O's pillow, which sucked ass. Nothing that a mini ass-ripper of a round trip excursion to Target couldn't remedy.

And then it was time to say our goodbyes. Cue the waterworks. Miss O just melted and started sobbing. She didn't want to be there, she wasn't going to make any friends, by the time camp ends the summer is going to be over, 11 days was way too long, WHY THE SHIT WERE WE MAKING HER STAY THERE?!?!?!

What can you say to your whimpering kid right before you abandon them for two weeks? I mean, as I stood there trying to explain to her that everything was going to be fine and that camp would be over before she knew it, I flashed back to my camp days. My parents shipped me off to northern Minne-fucking-sota for FOUR WEEKS every summer, starting at age 10. TEN!!! What the shit?! Remember the saddest letter ever written? I was fucking miserable and it pretty much scarred me for life. Scars that have been explored by no less than two different therapists, mind you. And now, apparently, I'm paying it forward.

But there's nothing I can do now. All I can do is wait for 11 days to pass and see if she survives. That and write letters. Letters that I'm making sure don't paint home life as remotely interesting, fun or comfy. Letters that don't use the words "miss you" at all. Letters that don't allude to me, the Old Lady and Mr. Z doing anything together, as a group, in an enjoyable way. Letters that don't mention the dog.

Man, I hope she's having a good time.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Eyes Not Shut

What kind of sick fuck invented the Sleep Study? “Hey, how ‘bout I cement a buncha shit to your face and then watch you not sleep for nine hours?” Sign me the fuck up, assbag!

I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I should explain why I ever agreed to participate in such a pointless pigfuck. I think the answer is that, once again, I listened to a doctor. I’ve gotta remember to stop doing that.

So, I’ve been having this issue with asthma that just kinda came out of nowhere about a year and a half ago, and I’ve been to a succession of doctors who get more and more specialized and less and less able to explain what the shit is going on. 

I started my quest by visiting an allergist. Allergists are really good at telling you that you’re allergic to everything, giving you weekly injections and handing out an assload of nose sprays and inhalers. That’s basically all they know how to do. They couldn’t really explain what was going on with me (surprise), so they sent me to a pulmonologist.

I visited the pulmonologist. Pulmonologists are really good at explaining how allergists don’t know what the fuck they’re doing, ordering a bunch of breathing tests and handing out a different assload of inhalers. They couldn’t explain what was going on with me (shocking) but they thought I should maybe go to a gastroenterologist to talk about reflux.

I visited the gastroenterologist. Now, gastroenterologists, much like their area of focus, are assholes. They’re really good at bad-mouthing allergists and pulmonologists and handing out Prilosec. That’s literally all they do. The “doctor” actually said, “Well, there’s really nothing I can do, other than tell you to take two pills a day instead of the one you’re already taking.” How many years of med school did it take for you to learn that brilliant, nuanced treatment, ya worthless turdcake? 

Finally, I was sent to a different pulmonologist in that mecca of diagnostic medicine… Ann Arbor. Now, that’s akin to venturing from Mayberry to Raleigh. Actually, more like going from Hooterville to Pixley. Needless to say, my expectations were in the shitter. The crooked, outdoor shitter built by Ralph and Alf Monroe.

The new pulmonologist was a nice guy, mind you. I’ll give them that, all the doctors I’ve seen are… nice (except for the gastroenterologist. He’s just a douchespigot.). This new guy put me on a new inhaler… check. He had me do a breathing test… check. He prescribed me a different nose spray… check. And he told me to go get a sleep study. DING-DING-DING! (See second paragraph.) I guess I agreed to do it because… well, because it was something different. I had already submitted to every other moronic fucking diagnostic test invented. Why not toss a sleep study log onto the fire?

So, on a Thursday night, I drove out to the sleep study building that’s situated in the middle of some random farm on the outskirts of Ann Arbor. Why is it on a farm? I guess a bullshit science like “sleep studying” needs a steady stream of fresh bullshit to keep it running at maximum bullshit level. Anywhich, they buzzed me in and I filled out an assload of paperwork absolving them of any liability on the highly likely chance they accidentally killed me in my sleep. Then they took me to my room. Now, the brochure they sent me said I’d be spending the night in a “special hotel room.” In reality, it looked a lot like the room I’ll probably find myself in when I’m just about to die. Bed, tray, TV on the wall, nurse button, safety bars, monitors and a big ol’ box of latex gloves.

The minute I walked into that room, I knew I wasn’t going to sleep a fucking wink.

A man nurse and a lady nurse made me sit in a chair and then they proceeded to tape, stick and hot glue gun a shitload of wires to my head, face, chest and legs. I lost count but I’m guessing there were, say, 9712 wires adhered to my person. Oh, and the lady nurse was new, so the man nurse had to keep explaining to her that what she was doing was really wrong, all while unsticking and resticking the wires, adding an extra hour or so to the joyous proceedings.

When they were done, they asked if I had to go to the bathroom and, realizing that that might be my last chance to drain it before they plugged me into the wall, I said that, indeed, I did. So they wrapped all the wires around my neck like some sort of robot ascot and I shuffled into the bathroom like… well, like an ascot-wearing robot. I managed to whiz a bit but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get up at 3:00 in the AM like I am wont to do, so I winky-tinked some more. And then I sat there and thought about waterfalls, rain on a tin roof and garden hoses until I peed some more. I peed until air came out, basically. Then I shuffled back into my death closet.

By this time, the man nurse had left, so the newbie lady nurse plugged me in (not a euphemism, unfortunately). She told me that I could watch TV for a while and that it would shut off automatically in about a half an hour. Then the lights would go off and I would drift off to a robotic slumberland. Then she said, “Oh, and if you need anything, just talk because we’ll be listening all night and that camera on the ceiling will by videoing you. Sleep tight!”

That cinched it – I definitely would not be sleeping one wink’s worth of sleep that night.

And I didn’t. Okay, maybe I got a couple of hours of winks but that’s it. It was literally me just lying there, sighing heavily, trying to will myself to sleep, which is about as effective as trying to will myself to grow thicker eyebrows. And if you’ve seen my eyebrows lately… well, lemme know because I sure as shit haven’t seen them. Fuck you, Peter Gallagher.

And that’s pretty much the saga. There’s really no revelatory ending to this pathetic tale. I struggled through my two hours of sleep and then the lights came on at 6:00 AM and they told me to get the fuck out. I haven’t heard anything since. I can’t imagine what the pulmonologist is going to make of the results. He’ll probably say something like, “Well, I still don’t know where your asthma is coming from but we now know that you have trouble falling asleep when people glue shit to your face and force you to sleep in artificial death-rooms.” 

If he recommends that I go see a sleep doctor, I’m gonna cut the fucker.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Random Stool Collection (The Final Chapturd)


Day Two

The procedure for Day Two was identical to Day One, so it was slightly less harrowing. I guess the only difference was the actual stool itself. You know, you really feel like you get to know yourself when you spork your shit for a couple of days in a row. Sure, on a daily basis, I glance into the toilet bowl after a dump to see what’s coming out of me, but that’s nothing like sitting there on the bathroom floor, face-to-face with your leavings, using your little spork to carefully select the choicest cuts from your ass-burgers. I think everyone should have the opportunity to perform a Random Stool Collection. The world would be a better place… and the landfills would be overflowing with shit tubs.

Day Three

Now, Day Three… THAT’S when things got really interesting. It started out like Day One and Day Two: fill the Green-top SAF tube with sporked shit-balls. But then came the all-new “Step Eight”!

Step 8: On Day Three, use the wooden stick provided and one stool specimen, fill all three tubes first, and then fill the empty white-top cup. Open the empty white-top cup. Using the flat wooden stick provided, pick up several portions of stool from contrasting areas in the collection tub. Add sufficient stool sample to reach the 40-ml line. Using the wooden stick, mix stool in white-top container. Recap the container and check to ensure it is securely fastened. DO NOT OVERFILL. 

First, I’ll ignore the run-on sentence. Second, after filling a single tube two days running, packing up the three tubes was no big deal. The “white-top cup,” however, was another matter entirely. All the “collection tube” rules went right out the fucking window. Now, I was supposed to take a glorified popsicle stick, swirl it into my final turd like it was some kind of hazelnut gelato, and then wipe/stuff whatever I could pick up into a clear plastic cup. It’s not as simple as it sounds, mind you. It’s one thing to blindly stab a spork into your shit but it’s quite another to jam a stick into it over and over and then attempt to spread whatever you manage to balance on the stick into this fucking plastic shot glass. And it was some kind of magic bottomless shot glass, too, because no matter how much I spread in there, I could never reach the 40 milliliter fill line. I felt like I was working at a really disgusting soft-serve ice cream store. I even looked in the box to see if there was one of those paper busboy hats that I was supposed to wear.

At least I remembered to put the glove on, this time.

And then, just like that, it was over. My stool had been randomly collected.

To tell you the truth, going to the bathroom the regular way is now kind of a letdown. Before it was like The Hurt Locker, where everything could just blow up in my face at any second if I did something wrong. Now it’s so mundane… so… vanilla. Maybe they’ll screw up the analysis and I’ll have to fill out a whole new kit!

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Random Stool Collection (Part 2)


Step Two: Open the green-top SAF collection tube. Using the spoon in the cap of the tube, pick up several portions of stool from contrasting areas in the collection tub. Be sure to collect any blood or pus and samples from areas of different color or texture. Add sufficient stool sample for stool and tube liquid to reach the red “fill” line, as shown on the label. DO NOT OVERFILL!

Now, I’m not sure just what happens if the collection tube is overfilled, but I was not ready to find out, so I really tried not to rush things during this stage. So, in a nutshell, you unscrew the top of the collection tube and it has this little spork attached to it. The idea is to jam the spork into your freshly-laid logs, seeking out the bloodiest and pus-iest turdlets available. At this point, I was starting to feel pretty good about whatever was ailing me because there wasn’t any visible blood or pus anywhere! I mean, how bad could things be? In fact, my leavings had quite a uniform texture and color, with nary an irregularity to be seen.

So, without any obvious malignancies to target, I just sporked the thing willy-nilly. It was kind of like playing with Play-Doh, if the Play-Doh were made of shit. I’d spork out a dung-ball, dip the loaded spork into the collection tube, swish it around to disengage the bolus, and then repeat until I reached the red line. I DID NOT OVERFILL!

I wasn’t quite sure what to do at that point. I twisted the cap back onto the collection tube but I was still left staring at the poop-filled collection tub. I figured that, before moving on Step 3, I should empty that tub as soon as possible before the air in that bathroom turned to mud. So I picked up the tub and turned it upside-down over the toilet bowl. 

Nothing happened. It was stuck. I anxiously scanned the Random Stool Collection kit but there was absolutely no “unsticking” tool to be found. I thought about running to the kitchen for a spatula, but unsealing the crap-chamber I was in could potentially kill the entire crabbyfamily, so I was forced to dislodge the dung manually. I started tapping the bottom of the tub with my free hand like I would a ketchup bottle. Five minutes of well-placed thumps later, the giant log finally tumbled headlong out of the tub and splashed into the bowl like a baby beluga being rereleased into the sea after being studied and tagged by a boatful of marine biologists. Swim! Be free, little one! You’re just a little brown whale on the go!

Step 3: Mix and mash the specimen with the spoon until the sample is thoroughly mixed and is as smooth as possible.

Okay, now they’re just being fuckers. I mean, I get pissed off when I have to stir in all the oil in a fresh jar of all-natural almond butter. And at least I get to eat the peanut butter. Fuck you, Genova Diagnostics.

Step 4: Recap the tube and check to ensure it is securely capped. Then, shake well until mixed thoroughly.

Genova Diagnostics is definitely the James Bond of Random Stool Collection – they prefer their stool samples shaken, not stirred. 

Step 5: Write your name and the date the specimen was collected on the tube label.

I really wish I had written my name and the date on the tubes before stuffing them full of my shit. It just makes more sense. I mean, at this point I felt like I needed a day long shower and now they’re making me hunt around the house for a pen? And then I have to write in all this information on these tiny lines on the side of the tube? Assholes. So there I am, squinting and holding the tube up close to my face as I’m writing, watching the fecal stew slosh around on the inside of the tube. Oh, and that’s another thing – clear tubes? Really? You couldn’t make the fuckers opaque? We all know what’s in there – it’s not like it’s a fucking mystery.

That’ll go on my “Helpful Hints for Genova Diagnostics” list: 

  1. suggest that stool collectors write in name and date BEFORE filling tubes with shit
  2. make tubes opaque

Step 6: Be certain cap is tight for shipping. Place the filled tube in the Biohazard bag corresponding to the day’s collection. Seal the bag securely. Do not freeze the sample. Discard glove and used tub.

Glove?! What glove?!?! I was supposed to be wearing a glove?!?!

I dumped the box out, looking for the mysterious missing glove and found nothing. Then I rechecked the bag that contained the “Day 1” collection tubes and, sure enough, there was a single latex glove jammed in the bottom of it. Great. That’s definitely one to move up on the list:

  1. find well-hidden latex glove and put it on BEFORE you start shitting into the plastic tub and then jamming said shit into your tiny, clear shit tubes

I love how the shit-stuffed vial is a “biohazard” only after it’s placed into the “Biohazard bag.” Not a biohazard while I’m sporking it and stuffing it into the vial, mind you. Only AFTER it’s securely capped and placed into the bag. Nice touch, Genova.

And why would I freeze the sample? Is that something people accidentally do? “Hmm… my shit’s all nicely packed into the vial and secured in its “Biohazard bag.” Wonder what I should do with it now? Uh… well… I suppose I could put it in the freezer. Yes. That is what I’ll do! I’ll just make room for it next to the ice cream sandwiches and the leftover chili. Into the freezer it goes!”

Now, as far as discarding the “glove and used tub,” that was a toughie. One can’t just toss that kind of thing into the garbage can. At least, I couldn’t. I put the collection tub, and the unused glove, inside an old Ziploc freezer bag. Then I put the freezer bag in a plastic grocery bag, tied it closed, put that bag into a second plastic grocery bag, tied it closed and placed the whole wad into the trash can in the garage. Then I moved said trash can outside, fearing that, within a matter of hours, entering the garage would be akin to entering my colon. Luckily, trash day came and went and the receptacle was emptied. It’s officially out of my hands now. Some day, centuries from now, an archaeologist will unearth this abomination and speculate that it was some sort of offering made to an ancient god. Or they’ll just figure it was some sick fuck’s shit tub.

Tomorrow: The next day...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Random Stool Collection (Part 1)

 “Random Stool Collection.” It sounds like something that’d be found wedged into a back bedroom on the show “Hoarders.” 

“Well, we knew Aunt Betsy had a problem when we pried open the door of the guest room and her random stool collection came tumbling out: step stools, barstools, toadstools – if it was a stool, it was in there.”

Of course, that’s not the kind of random stool collection we’re dealing with, now is it? No, I’m talking about the Genova Diagnostics Random Stool Collection prescribed to me by my new alterna-doctor at the “Center for Integrative Medicine.” Now before I get all technical and start discussing the various apparati and the complex procedures for said stool collection and storage, I’ll try to sum it all up for you: it’s three days of shitting into a glorified margarine tub. Things start out simple enough on day one. 

Step One: Pass urine into the toilet if necessary. Pass stool into one of the collection tubs provided in the kit. Do not let urine or water from toilet touch the stool specimen.

Well, that doesn’t sound too difficult. They even provide a special holder “to suspend the collection tub over toilet.” Unfortunately, my special holder didn’t fit on my special toilet, so I had to resort to the “crouch and hold collection tub under ass with left hand whilst shitting into it and trying to desperately divert pee from tub with right hand without spraying all over the toilet seat” method. I’ve never been much of a juggler, but I imagine the process is akin to juggling a bowling pin, an apple and a sousaphone while riding atop a unicycle… and shitting.

Once I finished “collecting,” I had to untangle myself, put the full collection tub on the floor and quickly snap the cover over it before vomiting. Next I had to wipe my fanny, flush the toilet, pull up my pants and then immediately crouch on the floor to frantically scan the informational pamphlet for my next stool collection directive. I was five minutes into the process and the bathroom already smelled like the inside of a Porta-Potty on the last day of the Bonnaroo Music Festival (minus the patchouli). Just the freshest shit smell you could possibly imagine. In fact, I’ll wager that you’d have to actually be riding the shit straight out of my asshole to experience a fresher shit smell.

And whoever suggested breathing through one’s mouth when smelling something repulsive has obviously never participated in a Random Stool Collection. If I breathed through my nose, well, it just smelled like I was somehow inside my own ass. If I breathed through my mouth, however, it was closer to what I’d imagine eating a turd was like. The smell was so fucking thick, it was coating my tongue like a turd comforter on a crisp, February morn. I imagine it was a lot like being in the room during the filming of “Two Girls, One Cup.” Yep, breathing through my mouth was just a bad, bad, bad idea.

Tomorrow: "Step Two"