Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
For the last few years I have really noticed that I have trouble breathing after being around pets. Last week I went to visit Debbie and Colleen and they have a dog, so I took a couple squirts of Flonase and a couple hits of Chlor-Triplon before I left. It didn't help. Their dog was outside all night, but I still started feeling a bit of tightness shortly after I arrived. Part of me hoped it was just because I drank a few glasses of red wine (red wine is poisonous to my delicate ecosystem of a body. It always makes my heart race and makes me feel out of breath). By the time I left it still hadn't faded at all, (like it does with red wine), and in fact it was much worse. As of Tuesday night (five days later) I still hadn't felt any better. It felt like I had inhaled more than just dog hair. Chlorine gas maybe. Or needles. My lungs actually hurt when I breathed, and it felt like I had half a lung worth of fluid in each one. The worst part was when I would lay down to sleep the fluid would gurgle and whistle with my breathing and the sound was loud enough to wake me up!
On Tuesday I decided to go see a doctor. I mentioned I have a team of doctors... but they are the wait-3-months-for-an-appointment kind of doctors so I went to a mediclinic. I waited for an hour or so before they called my name. There were actually only three people in line ahead of me, and I saw them all come and go before I was even called in. As far as I could tell the place was completely empty of patients, but they still made me wait. After I waited in the large waiting room they moved me to a little waiting room and I waited some more. Oddly, after a doctor finally came in to see me, my entire examination was only about 2 minutes long. He listened to my breathing in about six different places and then took me to the lab for a breathing test. He told me to have a seat and someone would be with me shortly.
So I took a look around my third waiting room of the night. At least I got to see where all the patients were. I saw about ten people already waiting. I had noticed that the doctor put my sheet at the top of the lab tech's in-box so I assumed that she worked from the bottom. I looked for a place to sit and saw that there were five people standing, yet there was an unoccupied chair. I guess nobody wanted to sit next to the biker. I decided that since I was a male-to-female transsexual, I was therefore brave enough to handle anything - so biker or not, I sat down. I was sitting there about a minute when the lab tech came out and called my name. When I got up to follow her I looked back and everyone still waiting looked kind of pissed off, disguised as disinterest. I wonder if I was prioritized to the top of the line, or if the lab tech just didn't know my sheet was just recently added. Either way though, I didn't really care - my ass was already sore from all that sitting.
The lab tech said the test was difficult. I wondered if there was a written portion or something because I thought I just had to breathe into a tube. How hard can that possibly be? It turns out that it was hard. You take a couple normal breaths and then you inhale as much as you can, then you blow it out as hard and as fast as you can. When your lungs are all fluidy though, this test makes you end up coughing, hacking and choking followed by raspy gasping, then more coughing. I had to do it three times too, so I had three bouts of really sick sounding coughing. I was embarassed to think of the sounds my old waiting room buddies were hearing, but I was hoping they at least realized I was sick and that I didn't bud in line on purpose. When I walked back to the waiting room they didn't look disinterested in me anymore, but they all looked kind of disgusted. I could tell that this time, the biker did not want me to sit next to him!
A little while later the doctor came to get me. He said that according to my results I was breathing at about 64% of normal. He explained that I have asthma, and I was feeling the effects of constricted airways and congested lungs. He told me all about the prescription he just scribbled on a little piece of paper and with that he shooed me back to the original waiting room. Altogether I had about 1 and a half hours of waiting, and 15 minutes of doctorin'. I noticed that there was a pharmacy attached to the clinic, but it had it's own waiting room that was half-full of people. I guess if I was more of an optimist I could have said the waiting room was half-empty, but I'm not - so I decided to go elsewhere.
I drove down the street to a different pharmacy. The pharmacist looked at my little piece of paper then said, "That'll be ten minutes", as she pointed with her eyes at a row of chairs next to the counter. It wasn't so much a waiting room as a waiting section, but this time I didn't mind sitting. I was not feeling very good. My breathing was pretty bad and I was actually a little out of breath just from the walk from the parking lot, so I took a seat. I watched that little pharmacist go for nearly the entire ten minutes. She wrote some stuff down, she wandered here and there, she chit-chatted on the phone to someone else who works in the store somewhere, and I think I heard her put 34 yellow pills into a pill bottle. When my little internal timer estimated I had been sitting there 9 minutes and 48 seconds she went to a cupboard and grabbed an inhaler. Then she put a sticker on it and bagged it and met me at the prescription pick-up counter. I was a little sick of waiting tonight, but I never really questioned that the doctors at the clinic were all very busy. This pharmacist though... it took her TWELVE SECONDS, NOT TEN MINUTES! If it only takes 12 seconds why make me wait ten minutes? Why not just give it to me?? Pharmacists.
I've been using the inhaler for the past couple of days. My breathing is doing much better now so the inhaler must be working pretty good - good enough for me to have already forgotten it at work anyway. I think that by tomorrow I will be back to my normal self. Just in time to go to Jenn's house and start all over again - she has a cat.
* Lord of the Flies, Page 9
He hesitated for a moment, then spoke again. "What's your name?"
The fat boy waited to be asked his name in turn, but this proffer of acquaintance was not made; the fair boy called Ralph smiled vaguel, stood up, and began to make his way once more toward the lagoon. The fat boy hung stead at his shoulder.
"I expect there's a lot more of us scattered about. You haven't seen any others, have you?"
Ralph shook his head and increased his speed. Then he tripped over a branch and came down with a crash. The fat boy stood by him, breathing hard.
"My auntie told me not to run," he explained, "on account of my asthma."
"That's right. Can't catch my breath. I was the only boy in our school what had asthma." said the fat boy with a touch of pride. "And I've been wearing specs since I was three!"
The woman picked up the license and then looked at me and said, "Oh my goodness! I am SO sorry. I can certainly change that for you..." . She gathered up my $25 payment and my old license and went off to another computer for about a minute. When she came back she had me sign a couple pieces of paper, then handed me my new license - complete with an 'F'.
So I grabbed it and ran!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I am writing this blog entry a few days later, and I can tell you it rained pretty much non-stop from Thursday to Monday - exactly the days I had for holidays this fall.
* Read the article
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Well, my birthday is officially over for another year. I've always made a big deal out of my birthday so even though it should be just one day, I like to take a week off. I like to spend the time experiencing my favorite time of year, (although this year it was rainy and miserably cold), and enjoying the one time of year that is just about me. It's a good thing I had so much time off though because my friends and family made sure I had more than just one day worth of birthday festivities. Really, honestly, all you guys with the emails and phone calls and visits and get-togethers have made me feel great. It's been a perfect birthday.
My friend Elenna says things I like to pay attention to. Today she said "Enjoy being you!" I think that is good advice, and I did my best to carry out her wishes!
P.S. Last year on my birthday Joanne made me an appointment at Marca to get my hair cut. This year I had another appointment but this time it was Joanne who took care of my hair. She cut it, and decided to colour it. She picked a reddish brown colour, saying it would minimize the pink in my complexion - which worked out well after Debbie and Colleen kept feeding me red wine the other night. My face was so flushed I am sure it would have glowed like a brake light in the dark!
"I'm pissed!" mom said.
I've got no idea how old I was that night, but I'll remember that forever... especially right now, because I am also pissed.
Tonight At 1:32 AM I turned 35. 35 is the dividing age between young and old, so I rang in becoming "Offically Old" by going out with Megan and Jenn and Jen. I had a really great time. Thanks you guys!
I'd also like to say thanks to Debbie and Colleen who helped me celebrate last night as well. You guys and your kids are all great.
Best birthday gifts ever.
P.S. Special thanks to the DJ who wished me a happy bday over the loudspeaker. I don't often raise my arms and yell "wooohooo", so I am glad I had the chance tonight.
Oh! Tara! I just checked my messages! Tahnks to you too!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
If you are not Devin then you can quit reading now.
Hey, I said quit reading.
God you're nosy.
Hey Devin, I saw that you dropped by my blog the other day. I don't have your email address anymore, send me a message k? sarah[.]j[.]m[@]gmail[.]com
Sunday, September 03, 2006
I visited with my mom for a while and then we got in her car so she could drive me home. After that big long walk though I really wanted to stop on the way and get a slurpee. To my surprise my mom declined my request on the grounds that I have diabetes, and therefore I shouldn't drink slurpees. I begged and pleaded, and I thought I had won her over as she made a left turn towards the 7-11 instead of a right turn to my place... but as it turns out she just forgot where I lived. A few seconds later, as she was turning around in the 7-11 parking lot I looked out the window and saw slurpee machines just a few metres away, but she still wouldn't stop for me.
I arrived home and drank ice water. I guess it was just as satisfying in terms of a cold drink, but part of my brain kept nagging at me to get a slurpee. It kept nagging at me so bad that the next day after work I had to stop and get one. I got home and sat down to drink it on my balcony futon. I drank about ¾ of it before I set the cup down and forgot about it. For the last few days that cup has been out there on the balcony collecting dust (and other things).
Today I went out for another walk and on the way home I picked up another slurpee. I went out to drink it on the balcony and I saw the old cup still sitting where I left it. It wasn't a see-through cup to begin with, but the bottom of it was getting there as the sugary water tried it's best to soak through. I picked it up, but there was no mess underneath. I imagined that was because by now, after several days of evaporating, the contents was more thick gooey syrup than liquid. I carried it into the kitchen and left it on the counter while I went back out to drink my new slurpee and read some Archie comics.
About 45 minutes later I went into the kitchen to throw out both slurpee cups. I took the lid off the old cup so I could dump out what was left over, but I didn't get that far. As soon as I took off the lid about 5 or 6 hornets* flew out of the cup! I think that was the first time in my life that I actually shrieked like a woman.
I've often smiled at my sister Jenn when I see her reaction to a nearby bee. She goes into a temporary panic as she does anything possible to avoid the non-threatening bee. I like it best when she can't see it, and she has no clue where it is, but she ducks, shucks and jives anyway. OK, I know, I sound like a bitch laughing at her fear, but most of the time it isn't even a bee! One time I saw her dive under cover when someone down the block started up their weed-whacker. That behaviour of mine is in the past though. I have re-evaluated how amusing it really is because when I released that cloud of hornets I started flailing my arms like a drowning swimmer. I ran highstepping around the apartment like I was running through tires training for a football game. All the while I was shaking my hair around like a true fan of 80's music. When I was sure no bugs were on me or in my hair I ran outside to my balcony and almost derailed the screen door as I slammed it closed. The irony was not lost on me that I was outside using a screendoor to protect myself from insects that were inside (inside drinking a slurpee no less). I honestly didn't know what I should do. I was out of breath, disheveled and quite distressed about my situation (but part of me snickered as I imagined what might happen if my roommate came home early from work).
I tend to calm down easy though, so I sat down on the futon and read a Betty & Veronica Double Digest for a half hour or so before I quietly snuck back inside. I tip-toed through the apartment like a wabbit-hunting Elmer Fudd and I peeked around the corner into the kitchen. I saw the cup on the counter - but no cloud of hornets was in sight. I reasoned they were either inside the slurpee cup again or they were all waiting, ambush-style, in my room. I took a few steps closer and this time I saw them. They were in the cup alright, and looking pretty smug about it too. I knew I had to do something before they attacked, so I picked up the dome shaped slurpee lid and readied myself to slam it back on the cup. I stopped because the lid has a really big straw hole. I realized an upright slurpee lid is about the same shape as an upside-down hornet's nest so I am sure they were all feeling quite at home in there. Even if they weren't all hopped up on sugar water they could easily fly out through that lid to kill me.
I grabbed a roll of aluminum foil and pulled off a 3 foot strip. I waited until none of the hornets were looking at me and then I slammed the lid down on the cup and covered the straw hole with foil. I flipped the cup over and after I wrapped more foil all around it I jammed it upside-down into the larger cup from today's slurpee. Somehow I did all this with one hand, as I frantically waved my other arm around in the air to shoo away any escapees. I finished by bunching up all the remaining foil into an impenetrable mass in the open end of the new cup. I didn't see any get free, and it looked like the foil prison was secure, but I didn't feel safe yet - I was afraid the hornets could chew their way out. I grabbed a couple plastic safeway bags as additional chew-buffers and tied them both around the package. Only then did I run my makeshift hornet coffin down to the dumpster.
Even now as I write this I still don't feel safe. I didn't actually do a head count at any point. For all I know not all the hornets were in the slurpee cup before I put the lid on it. If there are still some in the apartment I haven't seen them, but maybe that's how they want it. Maybe I am not supposed to see them. Maybe they want me to think they are all gone. That's why I am writing this blog article on my laptop in the living room - because I am worried a few of them escaped, and are maybe in my room...
Waiting for me...
* I called them hornets, but I guess they are called Yellowjackets. My grandparents always called them Yellowjackets, but I always assumed that was just a colloquialism.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
In line with keeping the kids safe, it is pretty common to see young boys and girls with their own cell phones as well. It makes sense. As the technology gets cheaper why wouldn't a parent want to be able to keep closer tabs on their children? I understand the virtue of it, but it still seems odd to me. I grew up in a time when nobody had cell phones and the closest thing to it was a car phone. Even then it took a big wig vice president to have one of those. I sometimes imagine one of these little kids getting a call on his or her phone, they pause for a moment and say, "Whose baby is that? What's your angle? I'll buy that!" *
It isn't just about safety these days though, it is also about keeping them entertained. I remember when I was young hearing the TV being referred to as the babysitter. These days with so many DVD's available for kids, all a parent has to do is slide the favorite 'babysitter' into the nearest player and relax. It works really well. I remember when Heather's little brother Mark was younger. For at least a year he preferred the company of the Lion King to that of actual people. When I was a kid if my sisters and I were making a ruckus in the back seat my parents'd just sternly request (yell at us) to shut up. The threat was typically shut up or they'll pull over, and I think our imaginations were too active to envision a pleasant outcome if they had to pull over, so we shut up. These days the parents just stick in a DVD that the kids can watch as they drive.
Today I was in my car waiting at a light and I saw the portable babysitter had gone one step further than the one in the back seat of a minivan. A couple walked by pushing their child in a stroller, and strapped to the food tray of the stroller was a portable DVD player.
* "Whose baby is that? What's your angle? I'll buy that!" is a line from the Flintstones of course. If you are like me and miss the Flintstones showing every noon, then watch this video and relive some good memories of time spent with my favorite babysitters, Fred & Barney:
A Flintstones Minute (0:59)
Friday, September 01, 2006
I mentioned in an previous blog that even 20 years ago I used to like to write some stuff down in a Doogie Howser journal, but that was more like a diary, recording the events of the day as only my gender confused brain could relate them. This blog is a little different in that I often try to write stories that turn my daily life into entertainment. Strangely I can actually pinpoint why I started doing that. Considering when I started writing these stories I was a 19 year old boy, the reason is obvious. It was for a girl.
Thanksgiving, 1990 in Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan I sat down at the table and I wrote a story. I was trying my best to make it funny in order to woo Deanne, the amazing blond girl who was in all of my classes that year. I didn't think I was making much progress, but she wasn't telling me to take a hike, so I kept at it. I didn't know it at the time but she kept all those stories I wrote her. Ten years later they paid off and we fell in love. Things didn't work out, but to this day whenever I am trying to write a funny story about my boring life I am always wondering if Deanne will like it.
I met Deanne almost 16 years ago to the day, in the left-handed desk area of lecture hall 103 in the physics building. Since then we've had our highs and lows. In fact probably my highest high and lowest low both involve Deanne, but through it all to this day we remain good friends. One of those private blogs I mentioned was actually a short email from Deanne about her and I that contained the most emotional words I've ever read. I always feel good when I think about Deanne and the relationship we have. It is hard to believe that it all started off with embarrassing letters like this one:
Do you remember when every morning you used to get up and eat breakfast while reading the back of the ceral box? Those were the days weren't they? Well, fortunately for me they aren't quite over yet. Whenever I have a bath I sit back and read the backs of shampoo bottles. It lacks the variety of cereal boxes though because it seems all shampoo bottles say the exact same thing.
Every bottle has the same set of instructions regarding the proper use of the shampoo: Wet hair. Apply shampoo. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Now, if a person is idiot enough to require instructions to use shampoo, don't you think the instructions provided are a little vague? I don't like how the producers of the shampoo include instructions for idiots, but then condemn the poor bastards to a life of perpetual cleaning as they apply shampoo, lather, rinse, and then as per the last step begin all over again. My mind reels at the thought of people trapped in the bathroom for the rest of their lives, all alone -- their families long since dead of bladder explosions.
Speaking of explosions, I just came out of the bathtub. After a long hard day of shirking responsibility, avoiding work and sleeping on the couch I thought I'd go have a nice hot bath to unwind. I watched as the steam rose from the tub, fogging the mirror, and then I added some bubble bath out of a bottle of pink stuff my mom bought yesterday. I could hardly contain my excitement as I thought of the new reading material I had in my hand. I had grown weary of shampoo bottles and I yearned for the back of the bubble bath bottle. I got undressed and slowly stepped into the tub. (I had to go slowly because certain parts don't like sudden heat.) I sat back and began to read. A fireplace magically appeared and snow fell outside. I read through the instructions and then I came to something shampoo bottles don't have - ingredients! Never in my life had I imagined such a wonderful thing could have happened to me. My excitement soon waned however, after I read: Water, C-14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, lauramide DEA,... and then the next ingredient sent a shiver down my spine. I gently placed the bottle on the side of the tub and even slower than when I entered I stepped out of the water. I couldn't believe it, but the next ingredient was nitroglycerin! I didn't want to dry off, the friction of the towel might set off the nitroglycerin in the soap residue still on my skin. Wearing clothes would certainly cause an explosion that would doom me to an even worse fate than if I was an idiot washing my hair. I didn't want to take any chances so I walked out of the bathroom completely naked. I kept my arms well away from my body and I walked like I had been riding a horse with no saddle just so nothing would accidentally rub and set me into flames. I needed water to wash off the soap, but from where? I rounded the corner to the front door and went outside. That is where I stand now, hoping for rain and greeting all passers by with a smile and a 'How do you do?'