Thursday, August 18, 2016

I Forgot to Mention How Duck Dynasty’s Christmas CD Saved Me

I can’t believe I forgot to mention a pretty significant part of the “A Little Procedure” story.

It wasn’t until I opened the console in my car yesterday and saw this that I was reminded.


Yes, that’s the Duck Dynasty family’s Christmas CD.

Let me back up to the point where Monte is finished with the stitches after his nose procedure to remove skin cancer.

The 7 hour day.

Monte was still a bit “freaked out” from being shown the gaping hole the removed cancer left in his nose, so I decided to drive home.


We had just pulled out of the office onto a very busy street when Monte started frantically swatting at the leg of his pants.

He said there was a bee in the car.

I lowered the windows.

You know,  
I didn’t really believe it was a bee.
Sure, it was most likely a winged-creature of some sort, 
but not a bee.

I drove on.

A few minutes later, I thought I felt something on my leg but didn’t dare say a word because I really felt the need to CALM THE MOOD DOWN in the car.

We were at a stop light when I felt something on my leg again.

I looked down to see a bee fly into 
and then bounce off 
my crotch.

Seriously?!

I lost it.

In every way imaginable.

Monte pointed to where I could safely pull over.

We both jumped out and started frantically looking for the bee.

I found him on the floor limping around by the brake pedal.

I must’ve wounded him during my “losing it.”

I needed something to smash him with.

I opened the console and found the Duck Dynasty Christmas CD.


It did a heck of a job.

Monte and I laughed on the way home that if I had been stung in the crotch by a bee and needed medical attention, 

and believe me, I would have, 

no one would've noticed his bandaged nose.



Or we’d become the beginning of a story those ER people would tell the rest of their life.

“So this guy walks in with his nose all bandaged up saying 
his wife had just gotten stung by a bee in the crotch! 

No, I’m not making this up!

I’m dead serious!

The crotch."

Thank you, Lord!

 For Monte’s healing 

and for Duck Dynasty’s Christmas CD.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A “Little" Procedure

What I’ve learned after 20 years of marriage is that Monte’s body does not like to be cut.

He swells up like a hot air balloon and makes his way into medical journals with all manner of side effects and “what is that?!” responses from his doctor in follow-up appointments.

We have decided that “elective” surgery is no longer an option for Monte.

Not worth the unknown horror that even the most experienced doctors can’t explain.

Which is why Monte sits firmly in the 1% chance 
of all the fine print happening that is listed on every form that you have to sign 
before having a procedure or surgery.
You know those annoying prescription commercials where a voiceover lists 
all the horrid and seemingly “not worth it” side effects to the medicine?

Monte would have them all.

And then a few more
they never anticipated.

Because of this knowledge, we decided against Monte having corrective eye surgery even though he really wanted to.

But like rookies, we had him go ahead with a vasectomy.

It’s still too soon to talk about that.

When Monte went in to have some moles checked out early this summer,

he was shocked when a place on his nose ended up being skin cancer.

Seriously, there were a couple of moles on his back 
that I thought looked WAY more suspicious.

He did his homework and got a second opinion and felt good about the planned procedure.

It’s a process called Mohs, where a tiny bit of the cancer is taken out at a time, in thin layers, tested on the spot to see if it’s all been removed, then the process repeats if it hasn’t.

We were told it could take anywhere from 1-5 hours.

I joked that it would be 7 hours for Monte.

I hate being right.

Sometimes.


I had to convince Monte to let me go with him to this procedure. 

It was right by his office, early in the morning and he thought FOR SURE he’d be able to go to work afterwards with a bandaged nose.

It’s like the last 20 years didn’t happen.

So I reminded him.

And he let me go with him.


First of all, we were the youngest people in the waiting room.

By about 20 years.

Second of all, everyone seemed to come prepared to be in the waiting room all day.

Everyone had laptops or iPads with them.

One guy came in with a thermos that had a handy strap attached to it 
so he could carry it on his shoulder.

I wondered what was in that thermos.

I brought a few issues of Guideposts magazine 
and two protein bars in my purse.

An hour into my time in the waiting room, I’d eaten a protein bar, finished an issue of Guideposts and used all my change in my purse for a bottle of water from the vending machine.

Monte was able to sit with me in the waiting room while they tested each layer they shaved off his nose.

This was after layer one.

He’s still smiling.

Which meant everyone else at the doctor’s office was doing the same thing.

I saw lots of bandages.

The MAJORITY of the old guys had bandaged noses.

I saw one wrapped arm and two with bandaged heads.

People watching became my entertainment.

The couple in the corner with his and hers laptops was telling each other what they’d read on Facebook and in emails.

It was their granddaughter’s first day of school 
and the woman really wanted to know 
what outfit she was wearing.

Her husband said nothing and just handed her his laptop 
so she could see for herself.

An older gentleman was filling out paperwork and asking his wife 3 million questions about each one. 

She was very patient with him.

When he walked the form up to the front desk, she asked her husband to get the WiFi password.

I had that information in my purse, so I handed it to her and we chatted a bit.

The front desk asked her husband for living will information and he loudly replied,

“Why? Are you planning on killing me?!

His wife gave me a long look and may or may not have mouthed
“I wish, “ to me.

She might not have been as patient
as she first seemed.


The door swung open and an old guy with a heavily bandaged nose, two very black and very swollen eyes, was helped into the office by two older ladies.

I couldn’t stop staring.

I had a million questions all at once.

I was SO GLAD Monte was back with the doctor 
and not in the waiting room to see this hot mess.

The nurse came out to the guy and said,

“Hi, Felix! How are you doing today?”

How is he doing today?! 
Look at him! 
He’s clearly had better days.


Then it all got really funny.

I know! 
So not cool. 
But I was hungry, 
tired of sitting 
and bored.

I had to summon every drop of serious in my body, 
not to snort with laughter.


Monte had three layers shaved off his nose when they told us we could leave to go eat lunch.

He was obviously a little embarrassed walking around with a bandaged nose.


Driving to lunch Monte looked a bit like Gonzo from the Muppets.


We waited a really long time after lunch for Monte to get called back to see the doctor.

We regretted not getting change at lunch because we discovered Gummy Bears in the vending machine!

Monte finally got called back to the doctor and I decided to stretch my legs out on the double chair/love seat I was sitting in.

I swear, if I’d had a pillow (my purse was too hard) 
and a little throw blanket or sweater, I could’ve fallen asleep.

A nurse and a very gray-skinned, wild-eyed Monte walked out.

She was smiling as she said that Monte was now cancer-free and would need to walk across the hall to a different office to get stitches.

Everything she said seemed positive and a good indicator that we would be heading home soon.

But Monte’s face was telling an entirely different story.


As we followed the nurse across the hall, Monte said,

“I am FREAKING out!
They showed me the hole in my nose.”

When I got Monte to back up and explain from the beginning, I learned that the cancer was very deep and would require lots of stitches and then he shoved a mirror in Monte’s face and he saw an enormous bloody hole in his nose that he feared would allow him to see into his brain.

Oh, and then they gave him like seven shots to prepare him for the stitches and his teeth were numb.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Monte assured me that he knew it was funny but it just wasn’t funny to him yet.

So I took a picture.

Not smiling anymore.
The stitches took a sweet forever.

This waiting room had a TV with HGTV on, a table set up with a jigsaw puzzle and a man who sniffed every 3 seconds.

Unfortunately, the sniffer decided to take a stab at the jigsaw puzzle so I decided to tackle my last Guidepost from my purse.

After what felt like 142 hours, I was called back to get the “wound care” instructions.

Monte would need to ice his nose 20 minutes out of every hour for the first 24 hours.

He’d need to sleep with his head elevated for the first few days.

A recliner would work best.

We don’t own a recliner. 

Unless you count Monte’s gravity chair…
which was NOT coming inside the house!


He could not BEND OVER or do anything that would raise his blood pressure like exercise.

I’m not sure why but I asked,

“So he can’t mow the lawn?”

It’s like I asked if he could run home.

And oh yeah, he’d get two black eyes.

Monte resigned to the fact that he would not be going to the office.

All said and done, the procedure took,


wait for it
(literally)

7 HOURS.

This was one of those times 
I hated being right.


Monte didn’t look bad at first.

Home after surgery.


He slowly started swelling up.

Jimmy Durante, don’t you think?

Before bed we noticed the corner of Monte’s eye started puffing up.

Uh oh. 

Monte woke up super early the next morning to take some Tylenol.

He started taking selfies and sending them to me upstairs.

Not looking so swell.


He thought his swollen face resembled the sloth character in the animated movie Zootopia.





Monte couldn’t wear his glasses since the bridge of his nose had quadrupled in size.

He worried that he was entering into “what is that?!” territory, so he called the doctor to make sure his swelling was still in the normal zone.

We’ve learned from past experience to not wait until the weekend. 

We’ve had some issues with medical weekend call centers.

Monte explained his swelling to the nurse on the phone and she asked,

“So your eyes aren’t swollen shut yet?

Monte LOVES the Olympics as much as I do. He’d been excited all week to watch the opening ceremony Friday night.

We tried to keep icing to stave off the total blindness but sadly, Monte watched the Olympic opening ceremony like this:


And by watched I mean, Ellie and I described it to him while he tried to see through a visually impaired swollen slit in between icings.

The next morning Monte woke up looking like this.


Felix!

Monte had become the old guy from the waiting room.

That was my sad bandage job too.

When it was time to take off the old dressing, I decided to do it all at once in one quick motion, which proved to be just as horrible as it sounds.

I was nervous,
grossed out
and just wanted to be done.

I’m not a nurse!

I ended up ripping off an important stitching tape that needed to stay on for seven days.

Oops…

We had to read a new section of our Wound Care Instruction Sheet that involved tap water, gauze and petroleum jelly.


A few days in, Monte decided to “air out” his nose during dinner.

Not cool for Ellie and I.


Monte felt his scar was too much like a lightning bolt and therefore making him too much like Harry Potter.


I told him it looked more like a shark or alligator had taken a nibble out of his nose.

He seemed satisfied with that.

Against my every wish, Monte decided to drive McDaniel’s car down the street to get the brakes worked on.

He was looking only a wee bit better.

I wasn’t getting any better at bandaging his nose.
He said the mechanic WOULD NOT make eye contact with him.

And Monte was all prepared to tell him that beekeeping 
was NOT a hobby to take lightly.

By the time Monte went back to work, 

his eye swelling had become cheek swelling.

Monte took over bandaging himself.
The very next day the cheek swelling became jowl swelling.

That was weird.

Just a week after the “little” procedure,

Monte called the nurse and asked if he could go bandage free.

He sent me this picture from work.



He was so excited.

Today, the lightning bolt is healing so well that I doubt there will be a scar.

So, 
in conclusion, 

WEAR SUNSCREEN!

Monday, August 08, 2016

Random Summer Happenings and Thoughts

We’ve been back from the beach for a couple weeks and I’m still not quite acclimated to life not at the beach.

It’s amazing what a week with a view will do to your perspective.

Especially when this is your view.

I sat up in bed and snapped this picture one morning.
We had a big week.

My uncle visited for a few days and my brother for just one night.

We got McDaniel’s senior pictures taken by the same lady who took Ellie’s first and second year-old portraits at the beach.

This was 6:45 am to beat the heat and the wind off the ocean.
This is one-year-old Ellie at Fripp. I guess we hired the photographer the first year she started her business.
So cool!
The photographer is so sweet and claimed to remember us.

We saw more baby turtles make their way to the ocean for the first time along with egrets and storks!



My mom and I got pooped on by pelicans flying over the deck of our beach house!

That’s what didn’t get on us.
It was a carpet bombing!

My mom exclaimed,

“It smells like fish!

Better than a bad hot dog,
I guess.

I had the weirdest dream while I was on vacation.

I was in an interview and I was asked my age.

I said,

“27…??”

with as much confidence as a kid lying about not eating candy 
with said candy smeared all over their face.

Except I had “SO NOT 27” smeared all over my face.

In this dream I was scolding myself,

“Why did you say that?! 
You aren’t even CLOSE to 27! 
Tell them your real age!”

I tried to figure out how to sneak into the interview conversation my real age while also keeping my chances of actually getting the job intact.

So saying, 

“Just kidding! I’m really 46.”

Wasn’t going to cut it.

I woke up before I figured out what to say.

I didn’t realize until we were taking Ellie and her friends to a belated birthday dinner, that this is what you’d call a "lucid dream".

In fact, I’m not sure I’d ever heard the term “lucid dream” before.

But every 14-year-old girl in my car had.

Wikipedia describes it this way:

lucid dream is any dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment.

Except for the part that I couldn’t seem to get ME
 to say the correct age in an interview, 
that was the most lucid dream I can recall.

I don’t usually have a whole lot of control in my dreams.

If I did, would I really choose to be chased
by an angry hippopotamus?


We celebrated Ellie’s 14th birthday at the beach.

She unwrapped her presents on the deck of the beach house looking out over the ocean.

My mom got her a sewing machine.

I have a new goal now of unwrapping presents 
for my birthday on the deck of a beach house 
looking out over the ocean.

Except my birthday is in November so we will have to be 
further south than South Carolina for that dream to come true.

And quite frankly, 
if we are at the beach in November, 
my birthday will already be made 
so no need for any presents!

My daughter, McDaniel, has been nannying three kids over the summer. She drives them to various activities and plans fun things for them to do.

She had them set up a lemonade stand and the kids wanted to charge $2.00 a cup!

$2.00!

McDaniel had to explain the economics of 
what the market will support.


Then she took all three of the kids to the pool and one of the girls got stung three times by a hornet, one being IN THE EYE.

By the time she got to McDaniel, her eye was swollen shut.

McDaniel had to meet the mom in the driveway to explain why her daughter looked like she had been in a street fight.

McDaniel asked me later how I ever survived motherhood.

Quite honestly, I don’t know.

Moving on with my random summer happenings…

Ellie got tickets for her and a friend to the Demi Lavato/Nick Jonas concert for Christmas.

It was a few Wednesdays ago.

I originally thought I’d go as a chaperone for the concert then McDaniel convinced me she should go since she actually enjoys the music.

I’m so glad she did.

I’m too old for loud music 

and ALL THE STANDING during a concert for people that I could’ve given birth to

or at least babysat for 
while they got stung IN THE EYE 
by a hornet at the pool.

The girls had a blast at the concert and came home with the news that the opening act, Mike Posner, came out on stage, sat down and slowly ate a peach.

Then he started throwing peaches into the crowd.

That’s the only moment I regretted 
not being at the concert.

I was driving to bible study the other day and noticed the license plate passing me said IMSANTA.

My first thought:

“Santa drives a brown Honda CRV?"


My second thought:

“I HAVE to see who has the nerve to drive around 
with an IMSANTA license plate."


I sped up so I could take a look.

Long white hair.
Long white beard.
Small glasses.

Santa!

Mrs. Claus was in the passenger seat with gray, not white, hair and she was wearing sunglasses.

Sunglasses?!

My third thought:

“It’s July. Of course, she’s wearing sunglasses.”

Then I almost crashed into the car in front of me 
because I was going way too fast to try to get 
a good look at Santa and Mrs. Claus.

I was at the hair salon last week and a guy sat down in the chair beside me. His stylist asked him what was wrong with his foot.

I looked down and saw his heavily ace-bandaged and gauzed-wrapped foot wearing a flip flop.

Except there was no toe crack for his flip flop to rest in.

I’m not exactly sure how the sandal stayed on his foot.

He explained how he hurt it but I focused on reading UNTIL…he mentioned wanting a bionic foot.

Bionic?!

He said, 

“It’s not like I’m 40 or anything [ouch] but if I have pain now what will it be like when I’m 40?!” [ouch again]

He went on to say that a bionic foot wouldn’t stink, he wouldn’t have to cut its toenails and wouldn’t have to stare at a hairy, old, nasty foot.

He wasn’t joking.

His hair stylist wasn’t laughing at this absurdity.
She nodded and took it in like she hears requests 
for bionic feet every day.

I was left alone with my highlights setting and a large mirror in front of me to reflect my best Bea Arthur look.