Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recovery of the Soul

It was a week ago last Wednesday that I had surgery. The actual surgery went fine and I didn’t feel a thing. I arrived at the hospital at 9:30 a.m. as directed. I imagined having ample time to read before the actual surgery, but since I was accompanied by my wife and two-year-old son, reading was out of the question. It was nice to have my family along though, right up until I ambled into the surgery room. It was smart to bring the mini-DVD player along for Justin, because when his attention wasn’t on the little screen he showed obvious concern for me. When I undressed to put on the Bair Paws® gown Justin stated “Daddy take a bath.” And then when I donned the blue bonnet he declared “princess hat!” Then it was a matter of lying on the recliner with an IV drip and being kept quite warm, while Justin watched My Neighbor Totoro and acted out the various parts. I was visited by two different nurses, two anesthesiologists and finally my doctor (AKA Dr. Personality.) The first anesthesiologist’s job was to ask me a few questions and to determine whether I had had any allergic reactions to anesthesia in the past. He also gave me the choice on having a local, or being out for the procedure. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be out. If I had my way they would have given me the gas coming in the door, but that wasn’t an option. Soon I walked into the surgery room, with the aid of a nurse, who carried my IV and I got up on the table. The anesthesiologist said that she was going to give me some oxygen to breath as a shot of courage. I replied that we all needed courage and that was the last thing I remembered until I awoke in post-op.

Soon I was joined by my wife and son. The only thing left was for me to pee before we could leave the hospital. Don’t ask me what the ability to pee has to do with “enhancing the soul” of a human being, but that was my task. It is never more difficult to pee than when the pressure is on. After two cranberry juices, four waters and a nurse telling me that she would have to stick me (catheterization) if I couldn’t go, I was finally able to go. The statement by the nurse was more than enough impetus to prompt my bladder to do its job. I was provided a wheelchair and Justin rode with me as Jen pushed us to the parking garage. By the time we were in the car on the way home it was 4 p.m..

I pretty much stayed in bed for the next couple of days. I was kind of looking forward to being in a “Vicodin haze,” but my prescribed pain medication ended up being Oxycodone. It dulled my pain and allowed me to sleep, but it didn’t give me the urge to listen to Dark Side of the Moon, while simultaneously watching The Wizard of Oz.

Tomorrow I head back to Dr. Personality to make sure that everything is healing well, and that my newly enhanced soul can take the possibility of John McCain pulling a win out of his ass this coming Tuesday. Next week I have jury duty, which I have been dreading more than my surgery. The day after election day I have another doctor’s appointment to recheck my high blood pressure, and I will be visiting the dentist to get a cavity filled. I am looking forward to a break from my myriad of maladies, and I will be getting that when we take a trip to our favorite spot on the coast in mid-November: Kalaloch. It’s still the best soul enhancing experience around.

And now a musical interlude with Gnarls Barkley's "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Soon to be in a Vicodin Haze

Tomorrow morning I head into my much anticipated "soul enhancement" surgery. Just my luck I chose to watch Daniel C. Dennett last night, and he called the whole idea of a soul just "foolish." Anyway, my wife and son will be accompanying me to the hospital, and I'm hoping that they will be able to occupy themselves at a nearby park while I'm under the knife. I should be home in the early afternoon and in a Vicodin haze for the rest of the day. I've already warned Jen (my wife) that I will not talk to my parents when their inevitable call comes tomorrow evening. My parents did call tonight to wish me the best, and my mom said she would pray for me. I pointedly told Jen later that if anything dire happened she was to call my mother immediately and tell her that her prayers didn't work.

Justin chose today as one of those days to go without the usual nap. I really needed those two hours to myself to read and rest, but it just didn't happen. Tomorrow he will need to be occupied for a time, while I'm being checked into day surgery, so we will bring the portable DVD player. Lately he has been quite obsessed with Pee Wee Herman, but if we brought that show along he would be dancing through the hallways. Instead we'll bring My Neighbor Totoro, which usually transfixes him for its entirety.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Short and Sweet

Since I spent the past hour or so writing for my other blog my entry here will have to be short and sweet. Well, at least short. I watched the Red Sox defeat Tampa Bay tonight 4 to 2 to force a seventh and final game in the ALCS. Varitek and Ortiz finally awoke and started to earn their salaries. Game 7 is tomorrow night, but we have guests for the evening that have absolutely no interest in baseball, so I may just have to set my DVR to record it for later viewing.

I’m about a hundred pages into Blindness by José Saramago. It is a compelling read, which is unfortunate for me since I don’t seem to have much reading time these days. Blindness is so good that I picked up two other works by Saramago at Half-Price Books in the last couple of days. I don’t know when I’ll ever get to them, but they’re on my never-ending list of books-to-read.

This morning when I awoke I had a plan. Justin and I would head to Half-Price books, and then to lunch with a stop at the playground on the way home. It all worked perfectly except that Justin just wasn’t tired enough when we arrived home to take an afternoon nap. He was downright wired after all that activity. Like the other times he has gone without a nap during the day he has awoken with night terrors tonight. One an hour for the last three hours. The night terrors don’t bother me quite as much as they did when I didn’t know what was going on. It’s heartbreaking when your child is screaming in terror, and when you try to console him it just make it worse. Now I realize that he is actually still asleep even though his eyes are wide open. I just watch over him to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself until the episode is over.

I could continue to type into the night, but I’d still like to watch something on TV tonight beside baseball before I collapse. I’ll just do what every other blogger seems to do when they don’t have time to write: post a couple of videos.

Oh, the humanity!

Friday, October 10, 2008


I am now in Chicago for the FFRF convention. I arrived late yesterday afternoon, and -- after figuring out the shuttle/bus situation -- I arrived at the Hyatt Regency at about 7:30 p.m. very travel weary. The traffic was your typical big city mess at rush hour, with accidents and crazy drivers. I tried to pass the time by counting Obama stickers on passing cars. I figured that I would see oodles of them, since he is their senator, but I only counted four. After checking in and eating at one of the hotel's four restaurants (Mama something-or-other, typical Italian fare) I fell back into my room exhausted. I did manage to see both Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow's show, and catch up with my favorite political blogs before I fell asleep.

This morning I was determined to sleep in, since this is the only day out of the three when I would have that opportunity. I initially awoke at 8:30, but returned to dreamland only to re awake at 11:30 a.m.. I reminded myself that I was still on west coast time and to my body it was merely 9:30, so my guilt was assuaged. It was a gorgeous day outside and I left the hotel and headed toward the (obvious) Frank Gehry structure a few blocks away. I found out that the structure was part of what is called Millennium Park and I spend some time walking about and taking pictures. Whenever I saw someone frolicking with their young child I immediately missed my son Justin. He's been talking up a storm on the phone with me since I arrived, although I haven't a clue what he's saying. After enjoying myself at the park I went in search of a late lunch. It was difficult not to find someplace so crowded that the patrons were spilling onto the outdoor dining. I wanted something quiet and found a non chain Mexican restaurant called Cocina Barro that was just what I required.

The actual FFRF convention activities start at seven o'clock tonight, so I still have a few more hours to read (I'm nearly done with Choke) and get some more rest before tonight's events. After my late lunch I doubt that I'll be hungry enough to eat before the convention starts, but I'm fairly confident that there will be plenty of late dining to choose from on a Friday night in Chicago.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Morning Music

Many mornings I wake up with a song in my head. Most times the song comes to fruition while I'm standing in the shower with the hot water beating against my skull. This morning the tune is "My Wave" by Soundgarden. Last week I awoke with Weird Al Yankovic's "My Bologna" ringing through my brain. I'm happy that today my synapses are in rhythm Soundgarden.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Silly Quiz Time

I haven't had much spare time lately, but I did finally finish the second mega-serious book in a row in preparation for my trip this week to the FFRF convention in Chicago. After having my head swimming in philosophy, religion and politics for the last two months I'm looking forward to reading some fiction. I already have three titles lined up, because the films versions are already out or soon to be released. The first on my list -- which I've already started -- is Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. The second and third books in my to-read queue are Blindness by José Saramago and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. All three are books that I have wanted to read since their initial release and now with the movie versions "rearing their heads" I have an added incentive. Both Choke and Blindness were released to theaters in the past couple of weeks, and both have gotten mediocre reviews. That is probably the best reason to read the books first, because 9 times out of 10 the books are superior to the film versions. A notable exception was another book by Palahniuk called Fight Club, which even he admits was a better film than a book. I am almost a hundred pages into Choke and I'm enjoying it immensely. It is certainly not a book for everybody, especially readers with delicate sensibilities, who are easily offended.

I plan on bringing a laptop with me to Chicago when I travel this Thursday, so that I can blog about my experiences at the convention. Most of those blog entries will probably end up on my other blog, because, after all, it is a national gathering of heretics and infidels. I felt so comfortable among that crowd of reasonable freethinkers when I attended my first convention last year that I swore that I would make a yearly ritual of it. I'm hoping that FFRF follows through with their plans to hold the 2009 convention in Seattle, so that I can save on travel and hotel costs.

Politics and the state of the world has been weighing quite heavily on my mind lately, so I was happy to find a meaningless quiz today to take my mind of the heavy stuff for a bit. The purported purpose (say that three times fast) is to tell the quiz taker what Beatles album they are. My results are below:

"You Scored as Magical Mystery Tour
You are a free spirit who is somewhat a hippie but you clean yourself. You'd love to see a positive anti-war country that does not use up all of the natural resources."

Take the quiz yourself.

I may be aging myself by even being slightly interested in what Beatles album my personality may resemble, but hell, the blog where I discovered the quiz is written by someone ten years younger than me. I even had my favorite Beatle when I was a youth: John (of course) with George a close second. My two favorites from the fab four are both now dead and we're left with Paul, his dyed hair and his horrible choice of a third wife...er, ex-wife; and Ringo, who is seems like a fine bloke, but I never thought of him as an exceptional drummer.