Sunday, 06 March 2011
Yeah, I've said it before but this time it is real, fo' shizzle. I'm leaving Xanga. Honestly, I've wanted to do this for awhile, but I didn't want to abandon it when I was still paying for Premium. But now my Premium has expired and all is well in the world. There's no real set reason for leaving, but rather just a mixture of stupid drama (Anybody else get sick of the whole Malaysians VS Theologians Cafe crap?), as well as Xanga brick-walling any kind of real customization in terms of layout or functions. BLARGH.
But that's not to say I'm closing this account down. I'll still comment on my friend's blogs via here and whenever I post an update to my new blog, I will give a link here so the old audience can read the new blog. I figured I'd migrate back to WordPress, which is where I went during my whole debacle with my old church.
For those interested, the new blog shall be located at www.mrzissman.wordpress.com. Please pardon the mess as it's currently in a state of re-construction. Till then!
See you, space cowboy.
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
Ever since I was a wee lad, I've always had a deep interest in comic books. My collection isn't what it used to be over the years, but I am strongly in support of the industry, be it Marvel, DC or a random third party label. Naturally, I am prone to like (most) comic book movies, especially those by Marvel. (Because, let's face it, outside of the recent Batman franchise, has there been any really good DC movies since the Christopher Reeve Superman series?)
Due to the success of the Spider-Man, X-Men and Iron Man movies, Marvel is making a big push for more movies, all of which will take place in the same continuity. Should be interesting, really. Due up this year is Captain America and Thor. First up, though, is Thor which comes out in May of this year and stars Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding deity. It looks to be a good film and I shall (hopefully) see it opening night. Now whereas one might think a movie like this would mostly draw the attention of us comic book nerds, it seemed some people got their little Aryan panties in a bunch over the fact that a black man would be playing a member of Thor's mythical race of Asgardians.
This group of slack-jawed, inbred doofuses calls themselves "The Council of Conservative Citizens", which is actually their second title. Their first one, "Our Parents Met at the Family Reunion" was quickly changed. Anyway, the CoCC does not like the fact that actor Idris Elba has been cast to play the Marvel-ized Norse god known as Heimdall. The CoCC (which, phonetically, sounds like 'the cock') took a break from having intimate relations with their cousins and small farm animals to spew this venomous garbage...
'Norse mythology gets a multi-cultural remake in the upcoming movie titled 'Thor' by Marvel studios. It’s not enough that Marvel attacks conservative values and promotes the left-wing, now mythological Gods must be re-invented with black skin.
It seems that Marvel Studios believes that white people should have nothing that is unique to themselves. An upcoming movie, based on the comic book Thor, will give Norse mythology an insulting multi-cultural make-over. One of the Gods will be played by Hip Hop DJ Idris Elba.'
First off, Idris Elba is not a hip-hop DJ, but ya know, those black folk sure love their hippin' and their hoppin'! Second off, who the blue hell cares? Marvel's version of the Thor universe is only loosely based off of Norse mythology, the rest has been filled in for decades with various writers across the spectrum. It's not like this is a historical documentary based on ACTUAL Norse mythology, but it's a comic book film! If you're that upset over this casting, then here is a whole list of things you can complain about...
- Original Thor never fought a green, gamma-radiated rage-filled monster
- Original Thor was never cloned by an eccentric, womanizing recovering alcoholic billionaire who pilots a high-tech suit of cybernetic armor.
- Original Thor's half-brother Loki never turned into a woman. (Don't ask, would take too long to explain.)
- Original Thor was not blonde, but rather a red-head.
- Original Thor never teamed up with a genetically engineered super-soilder who fought in WWII, frozen in a block of ice and thawed out in modern times.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. The best/worst part is that The CoCC plans to boycott the film in protest of this casting. Honestly, I doubt it will have that much of an effect, mostly because you can't park tractors in a movie theater parking lot, nor can you pay for your movie ticket with chewing tobacco labels. It just boggles my mind why anyone would allign themselves with The CoCC? Do they love The CoCC? Do they crave The CoCC? Maybe they sit awake all night thinking about how they can't wait to embrace The CoCC and all the wonderful things The CoCC brings? Who knows? I passed 4th grade, so I wouldn't be able to relate to them.
Bottom line is that racists need to stay the hell away from my comic books. If they want to huddle themselves in their basement surrounded by mountains of ammo and first-edition copies of The Turner Diaries, then be my guest. Just for the sake of all that's intelligent, decent and humane, please keep your CoCC-hungry mouths shut, lest the rest of be forced to endure your ignorant dribble.
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Taking a break from whining about my rapidly breaking down body, I figured I'd take this chance to discuss something a bit more positive and up-lifting. Not too long ago, I did a blog entry about a book that was changing my life forever. This book, The Zen of Zombie by Scott Kenemore, was obviously meant to be taken in a light-hearted manner, but I have actually found some diamonds of truth piled deep within it's pages. Wisdom that I wish to expand upon some more.
The book is basically divided into two sections: the first section is "The 24 Habits of Highly Effective Zombies" and the second is a week-by-week guide for a ninety day "zombification" process that allows one to tap into their inner ghoul. After reading the first two weeks of the ninety day process, I wish to offer you some truth in hopes you too can rot away your insecurities and rise from your Grave of Self-Doubt as a confident zombie.
WEEK 1: NO FEAR? KNOW FEAR! - In Max Brook's legendary The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead he clearly states that 'zombies feel no fear and neither should you.' In this regards, however, Mr. Brooks is talking about more of a self-defense mechanism. That if zombies are not scared of us, why should we be scared of them? Covering such a topic will have to be dealt with in a future blog entry, but for now, I want to take this statement at face value and say that I do agree with it. You see, whether or not you realize it, chances are that your life is dominated by fear. Don't believe me? Try doing the following experiment...
Take two pieces of paper (notebook, college ruled) and on top of one write "THINGS I FEAR" and the on other one write "THINGS THAT FEAR ME." Go ahead and do this. I'll wait.
Done? Groovy. In the spirit of honesty, I'm going to go ahead and show you my list. (Lead by example, after all.)
THINGS I FEAR
- Being broke and poor my whole life
- That creepy guy who shows up drunk trying to get into my landlord's apartment
- Being mugged
- People neglecting me
- Screwing up my own life
- Somebody hurting my niece and nephew
- Somebody hurting my fiancée
- My body slowly breaking down on me after years of neglect and poor eating habits
Okay, now on to the next list
THINGS THAT FEAR ME
- The guinea pigs (sometimes)
- People when I get really angry and lose my temper
See what I mean? My life is dominated by fear. Now the object here is to switch the list! How can you go from being afraid of something to having something fear you?
ZOMBIE PRO-TIP #1 - Nothing ventured, no brains gained. A zombie takes risks and so should you!
Now that know what our goal is, let's go back to revisit the list and see what I can do to eliminate fear from my life.
THINGS THAT I FEAR
Bring broke and poor my whole life. [SOLUTION: Work my ass off to save up and be able to not only provide for myself, but for the lady as well. I will not let debt drive me into a fear induced panic, but rather I will stare debt into it's cold dark eyes and bitch slap it into submission. RESULT - Debt will now fear me]
Spiders [SOLUTION: Really, what is there to be afraid of? Compared to a spider, I am like a blonde Paul Bunyan, a mighty tower of flesh and bone that rules over the land of Apartmentlandia and has full powers to smash and destroy any eight legged hellspawn that may cross my path. RESULT - Spiders now fear me]
That creepy guy who shows up drunk trying to get into my landlord's apartment. [SOLUTION: First off, this guy looks to be about as thick and strong as a soggy stick of Pocky. Considering he is always drinking, his liver must have the consistency of an abused, haggard luffa sponge. So the way I see it, if he decides to turn things physical, a rabbit punch to the liver should take him down. Assuming things don't turn violent, a firm, dedicated, backbone-infused tone should let him know his presence is not welcome. RESULT - The creepy guy will now fear me]
I'll save you the time of me going through every single item, but you get the picture. By turning the table, I have become a fear-less zombie.
ZOMBIE PRO-TIP #2 - To feel fear is unlike a zombie. To inspire fear is very like a zombie
Now that's not to say you should attempt to strike fear into the hearts of toddlers, old ladies and kindly priests. But rather, if something is causing you fear, then become a zombie and strike fear into it. Only then will you free yourself from the Grave of Self-Doubt!
WEEK 2: STICK TO YOUR (ZOMBIE) GUNS - So let's say when you were little that you wanted to be a chef more than ANYTHING. While other kids were playing Cowboys and Indians or space-aliens or baseball, you had your Play-Doh kitchen or Easy Bake Oven and was playing 'restaurant' or something similar. Years later, as you find yourself flipping burgers at McMeaty's, you dejectedly sigh to yourself and wistfully recall your earlier dreams. You feel as if though they have passed you by and your dreams of owning your own restaurant have long since vanished. This is what a zombie would do, right?
A zombie would go home, TiVo as much Rachel Ray, Gordon Ramsey, that grey haired Southern lady who cooks everything in 30 lbs of butter, Emeril, Jamie Oliver, etc. and study them! They go to cooking school, they practice meals till they're physically exhausted and feel like they can't slice another onion or filet another fish, but they do it anyway! That is what a zombie does!
Here's an example straight from the book: say a zombie is on one end of a football field, okay? And across the field, in the other endzone, is a delicious, meaty human with a nice brain who has been tied to a chair and is completely helpless. Naturally, the zombie is going to shuffle and moan towards it's meal, it's decrepit jaws open and wide to crack open the skull like a coconut shell.
But let's say that around the ten yard line, large sacks of money fall from the sky and block the zombie's path. Tons and tons of cash and the zombie would never have to worry about any financial difficulties again. Now what would the zombie do? Simple! Just walk around and continue on with it's quest for brains.
ZOMBIE PRO-TIP #3 - Its better to die on your feet than live on your knees.
So now our zombie is shuffling down the field, when a brand new, blood red, 2011 Dodge Viper zooms in front of the zombie and blocks it's way. This sweet ride has an awesome stereo system, leather seats, sun roof, high-grip tires, excellent gas mileage and has been personally pimped by Xzibit himself. Again, what would the zombie do?
Walk right around it.
The key here is that the zombie has it's eyes focused on one thing and only thing only, and that's brains. As stated in the previous blog entry, brains for a zombie is taken in a most literal sense, but 'brains' for you is to be taken slightly more metaphorically. Your 'brains' could be a boyfriend/girlfriend, a job promotion, telling off a nagging in-law, cleaning your house, buying that digital camera you've always wanted. Honestly, it's not my job to tell you what your 'brains' are, merely to show you the path to sinking your teeth into them.
ZOMBIE PRO-TIP #4 - To compromise or become distracted is very unlike a zombie.
Why should you settle for less? If a zombie is chasing a survivor who has boarded themselves up in a house, do you think the zombie is going to suddenly say "Man, this is too hard. I'm just going to go find a slow moving dog and eat their brains instead. It's not as filling, but I guess it's the best I can do." NOPE. That zombie is going to shove it's rotting arm through the boards, splinters and all, and drag that tasty meat-sack of a human to it's demise. The zombie KNOWS what it wants and it will stop at nothing to get it.
If a zombie is chasing after a band of survivors and they blast away at the ghoul with high powered weaponry, do you think the zombie is going to run away because they have S-Mart double barrel Remington shotguns? I think you know the answer. Though the zombie is being attacked at all sides, it still trudges on to its goal, never wavering, never faltering. It does not compromise it's ideals or its goals because of attacks from non-believers.
Now take that example to the work environment. Suppose you're surrounded by childish, lazy jerk-wads who want to do the bare minimum at work and still expect to get by. As you bust your hide to get work done and pour in 110%, they whisper and giggle and spread rumors in an attempt to smear and discredit you. Should you run and hide? NO. Stand your ground, open your jaw, out stretch your arms and feast on their brains. Devour them by working hard and you'll stand as the lone survivor. Do not give into their wicked ways and attempt to compromise or settle for less. A zombie works hard for its brains and you should be working hard for yours.
In the next coming weeks, I hope to share with you a week-by-week basis on my own zombification. Already I can feel this motivational Solanum virus run through my veins, killing off the living me and giving birth to the new zombie me. Till next time, stay strong, stay true, stay firm, stay undead.
Monday, 10 January 2011
Last episode I mentioned that I had acquired my medical records from the hospital on my last visit. Well, since then the fiancée and I have had time to review them and the results were slightly weird, to say the least.
For starters, my blood tests came back weird. My white blood cell count is listed as being "Abnormally High" as well as stating that, apparently, I am carrying a non-symptom showing version of tuberculosis. I guess it's possible to have it without showing any signs of illness. Fun.
But it's the white blood cell thing that has me worried. See, not even within the last week or so, I lost a great uncle (father's side) to a blood disorder known as Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). You can Google it for a more detailed result, but basically what HIV is to AIDS, MDS is to leukemia. This wouldn't be such a big deal if not for the fact I've already lost two other great uncles (all brothers of the one I mentioned, who in turn all my grandfather's brothers) to this same illness and I have another great uncle (same brother chain) that is seriously ill with MDS too! So it's obvious this is genetic and it's obvious it's in the Harvey DNA. Now, for those of you who don't know me, I am 99.99% Harvey, with only a few traits from my Mom's side. If you were to study a current picture of my grandfather and me, I would basically look like a younger version of him. It's apparent that the Harvey genes are very dominant with me.
Some of the symptoms of MDS include...
- Shortness of breath.
- Weakness or feeling tired.
- Having skin that is paler than usual.
- Easy bruising or bleeding.
- Petechiae (flat, pinpoint spots under the skin caused by bleeding).
- Fever or frequent infections.
- Increased white blood cells
And you're considered "at risk" if...
- Being male or white.
- Being older than 60 years.
- Past treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
- Being exposed to certain chemicals, including tobacco smoke, pesticides, and solvents such as benzene.
- Being exposed to heavy metals, such as mercury or lead.
Now the first "at risk" I obviously qualify for and I was exposed to tobacco for years, back when my Dad was a heavy smoker. Not so sure if this qualifies now, though, as he hasn't smoked in at least 10-15 years. And I'm aware of the 60 or older qualifier, the thing that bothers me is, if I do have this, then I kinda have a Flux Capacitor time warp right into my own mortality. I would literally be staring into the abyss as it stares back at me.
Obviously I'm going to need a test to determine if I have this or not. I did a search on how one goes about this (assuming it was a simple blood test) but instead found this...
In case you're wondering, it means they stick a needle in your ass cheek all the way INTO YOUR BONE MARROW to test it for the disease. You're basically getting anally raped for science. UGH. Why can't we just have a Dr. McCoy tricorder scan me and tell me "He's clean, Jim." or give me a shot on the neck and tell me I'll be fine.
I won't lie and pretend I'm not spooked a bit, because I am. This could be something serious, or it could be nothing at all. Time will tell, I suppose. If it is this, and I have caught it early, then my outlook is bright. My great uncles caught it too late and by the time they knew, it had already done it's damage. That and who knows why kind of medical technology might exist by the time I'm 60, or hell, even 40. Medical breakthroughs are being made all the time.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is all under the assumption that I do have this ailment. For now, I'm focused on just surpassing this gall stone hurdle, then I'll worry about any potential blood issues. And hey, it could be worse. I could be diagnosed with Solanum.
Thursday, 06 January 2011
So Tuesday the 4th was to be my chance to meet with the surgeons at the hospital to go over my sonogram results (that never happened, as detailed in the last entry) and see where we would go from there. Naturally, with no real sonogram results to comb through, I was curious just what the hell we would be talking about. So the fiancée and I headed out back to the hospital that I have been getting so familar with.
Naturally, it took us a bit of time to find where I was supposed to go, once again due to the sheer insanity of the hospital layout. The hospital is such a confusing twist of dead ends, unmarked rooms and confusing signs that you would almost expect Olmec to guide you once you walked into the lobby.
We found it with about 5 minutes to spare, only to be told we needed to go back downstairs and get a "hospital card" and pay for it, then come back up with the card and receipt. Why doesn't anyone at this hospital tell me this stuff beforehand?!
Downstairs we go to the customer service terminal to register for a hospital card. We're given a number (27) and told to sit down outside the financial advice office and wait our turn. Waiting our turn turned out to be an hour or so before they finally paged my name and we were told to report to Office B. Inside Office B was a lovely lady who was damn near a saint to us. See, the biggest issue with this whole mess is how the blue hell are we going to pay for it? I have zero health insurance and my personal finances are pretty much tapped dry. We're making ends meet, but just on a shoe string budget. No real room for sudden, huge expenses.
But this lady, who's name escapes me, presented us with a wonderful option. Since I'm broke and my fiancée has been supporting me, I qualify for a special kind of health insurance. It's special in the sense that it only qualifies for this hospital, but has great benefits like $15 per visit and that includes any tests they want to run or procedures performed and $2 per prescription. (The hospital has it's own pharmacy!) So I'm covered with them for one whole year, so if the gall stones should flare up again (and I've been good lately, so I'm hoping they've all passed) is just another $15.
Finally, I have my hospital card and the receipt for it (only $15 to pay for the insurance. One time payment!) and we're back on the elevator for my appointment, now two hours over-due. The same receptionist greets me and I'm told to sit down and wait for my name to be called. More time passes and after about an hour and a half of watching The Rachel Ray Show and Oprah, my name is finally buzzed.
The surgeon's assistant to see me reminded me in looks and personality of Kal Penn (of Harold and Kumar and House fame) and seemed like a pretty chill dude. I was slightly concerned when he couldn't figure out how to use the hospital software to pull up my ultrasounds from my ER visit and even more concerned when he couldn't find the gall stone at first. Eventually he did, and said that it was either one large stone that had passed, or several smaller stones clumped together. But it turns out, he wasn't the actual doctor I was supposed to see, just the assistant. The actual doctor left me feeling even more uneasy about the concept of surgery.
This doctor was Asian with a loose grasp of English, elderly and seemed fragile by his slow shuffling walk, with his hands trembling like a severe case of Parkinson's. He slowly shuffled in to the room and sat down next to me, deciding now would be a good time to give me a neck rub.
"So," he says "how are you feeling?"
"Not bad," I said. "no real pain or discomfort."
"Ah, yes, yes, this is good, good. Now, tell me...do you have history of this with family?"
A reasonable question, honestly. I mean, it doesn't hurt to find out this kind of stuff.
"Well, my grandfather had his gall bladder removed several years ago and my aunt has problems with her's constantly. Other than that, I don't think so."
"No, no. Not that. I mean, what about the male species of your family?"
"The male species? I just did, my grandfather."
He shakes his head, now getting a bit frustrated at me.
"No, not that. The male species. I need to know about male species."
By this point I'm severely confused and glance to Hilary for help, but she's just as confused as I am. So I turn back to the doctor who's still rubbing my damn neck.
"You mean...my father?" I ask, still unsure of how I made the leap from male species to my Dad.
"Yes, yes, father. Very good. Male species."
MALE SPECIES = FATHER
"Um, no. My father doesn't have gall bladder issues."
"Good, very good."
He then shuffles over to the computer and gingerly sits down, bringing up the same program to review my ultrasounds. Again, just like the guy before him, he initially can't find the gall stone, till the surgeon's assistant points out where it is. He then turns to the surgeon's assistant and decides to drop some Far East wisdom on him.
"I teach you lesson. It is improper to make diagnosis with one picture. You need several for whole picture."
He then brings up more ultrasound images of me, all from different angles. Each one shows the same thing, a bright white ball right where my gall bladder is.
"Yes, so we see same result several times now. Gall stone is confirmed."
Gee, thanks doc. He then turns to me, smiling big.
"This very simple. You young, healthy, strong. Have whole life ahead of you, so you no need pain. Who does? You have lots of time to live. I go ahead and schedule you surgery in couple weeks, you be out same day."
Whoa, whoa, whoa! I was NOT cool with how quickly he tried to sneak that in there. I'm still on the fence about this whole surgery thing, though I'm leaning pretty close to 'not going to get it' and I did not like his matter-of-fact way of saying he was going to slice me open. I quickly objected.
"I still want time to think about this, you know? This is a major decision. I want to review all my options first before I agree to anything. In fact, I want to get a copy of my medical records so I can get a second opinion," I said. The doctor, having being called out now, quickly back pedals.
"Oh, I know. You no have to do anything you not wish to do. You have freedom. But I speak with logic and fact, not emotion. I am expert on this. You are young, healthy and we can remove this with just two minor incisions. You go home same day and even maybe go back to work next day. Little downtime."
Comforting to know, but still not exactly my cup of tea.
"I appreciate that information, but still, I want time to review my options. This isn't an easy decision, doctor."
He nodded, as if he understood my position, but I secretly think he was just ignoring me.
"Very well. I have leave now to go help other patients. Assistant will see you through," and with that he shuffled out of the door and into the maze of hospital corridors. The surgeon's assistant sat down back at the computer and typed a few things, before wheeling in his chair to face me.
"So how about this: let's go ahead and schedule you for a follow-up appointment about ten weeks from now? We'll go over your sonogram results you'll get in February and we can then discuss if you want to get surgery or not. Sound good?" I agreed and we were soon on our way home. Now I have an appointment in February for my sonogram and then I have a follow up appointment in March on whether I want to get surgery or not.
Honestly, I'm rather confused on their gung-ho nature of slicing me open. If people get kidney stones, they don't instantly offer to remove the kidney, so why the gall bladder? I completely understand this was a result of years of unhealthy eating and I plan on paying more attention to what I'm eating now. (Though I'll be honest, as soon as my grace period of a couple of weeks to ensure the gall bladder swelling has gone down is over, I am going straight to Wendy's for a Big Bacon Deluxe, fries and a Coke.) My diet plan isn't so much a complete abstinence of fatty foods, but rather stretch them out few and far in between, as opposed to whenever I feel like it.
Since The Horrible Incident on New Years, I have been feeling like my old self. I have no pain or discomfort and feel pretty much like my old self. I'm still playing it safe, however, and waiting a few weeks before I eat anything that's fatty or greasy, because I want to ensure that any potential gall bladder swelling is done and over with. After we left the hospital, we stopped at a grill to eat and I had a gyro platter which was rather greasy, along with deep fried french fries. (To be fair, I was unaware of their greasy status till the plate arrived.) The result? Nothing. Not even a twitch of pain. Now I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, so I'm not going to declare MISSION ACCOMPLISHED just yet, but I will say that, if I asked a magic eight ball if I am on the path to recovery, it would say "ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES"
And if you can't trust a Magic 8-Ball, who can you trust?
Monday, 03 January 2011
So today was supposed to be my re-visit to the hospital to have a sonogram. This way, the doctors can get a better look at my innards and see just how many stones I have, how severe they are, etc. I was picked up around 7:45 to make my 9 AM appointment and I was THIRSTY. The paperwork I was discharged with states that I am to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the day before the exam. So there goes my morning breakfast and there goes a glass of urgently needed water.
At around 8:30, I was dropped off at the entrance to the hospital and made my way in. I was honestly expecting this to be a quick in-out type of deal. Sadly, I was mistaken. The hospital's internal layout was such a confusing mess of disorganized signs, paint peeling walls and hallways that seem to go nowhere, it would make a Dungeons & Dragons DM absolutely nerd-gasm at the sheer complexity of it all! Seriously, all that was missing was a Beholder guarding the next level of passage.
Finally, after wandering around this labyrinth of medical insanity, I came across the Radiology section, which is where I was supposed to go in the first place. Turns out, I had passed this exact same department several times since my arrival. I had just minutes to spare before my test was to begin, so I rushed to the front Radiology desk, handed in my papers and was waiting to be told to sit down and wait my turn. Only it didn't happen. The Lady Behind the Desk skimmed over my papers with a furrowed brow, looked in her date book, tapped a few key strokes in her computer and then in horribly broken "Spanglish" said...
Lady Behind the Desk: This is no test for you. You have to come later.
Slightly confused, I pointed out the date of "JANUARY 3 - 2011" on the paper.
Me: No, no. It says right there that I have an appointment today at 9 AM for a sonogram. See?
Lady Behind the Desk: No, no, no good. Not right. This date not for test, this date to schedule test.
What? I have to have an appointment in order to schedule an appointment? Who runs this hospital? Xzibit?
Me: So what you're telling me is that I need an appointment to make an appointment?
The Lady Behind the Desk stares at me with a mask of blank confusion and bewilderment.
Lady Behind the Desk: ...que?
I sigh with exasperation and decide to get to the point.
Me: Look, just tell me when I am supposed to come back.
She then scribbles something on my papers and hands it back to me.
Lady Behind the Desk: This. You come back this, ok?
Now, instead of having my sonogram today, I have to wait till February 8th and 8:15 AM, which just plain sucks. In the mean time, I have decided to launch OPERATION S.T.O.N.E.S (Stephen's Task Of Negating Entrail Stones) in an attempt to dissolve these suckers. The fiancée/soul mate and I have done some research and it turns out there are plenty of alternatives to simply weakening the stones for easy passing, as opposing to slicing me open and removing a vital organ. These include...
- Low fat/low greasy diet
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D
- Flax Seed Oil
- Flax Seed Cereal
- Organic Green Apple Juice
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- and more.
So far today I have taken none of my pain pills and over-all I feel great. I'm sincerely hoping that by the time I do show up on 2/8, the doctors will look at my sonogram and be amazed at how empty of stones my poor gall bladder is. Let's hope so! Tomorrow, I am supposed to meet with the surgeon to discuss my options, so we'll see how that goes. Until then, stay tuned, true believers!
Saturday, 01 January 2011
Ah yes, New Year's Eve. Who doesn't love a good party on December 31st? Lots of laughter, games, spending time with your friends and family...all good stuff. Oh and who could forget hunched over the toilet with hideously grotesque pain shooting through your stomach and sternum as if the mighty Cthulhu was planning to rise from his slumber and burst through my intestinal wall.
It all started about a few days ago, which would be early Thursday morning, roughly 4 AM or so. I woke up suddenly with a strong pain in the same area, though nowhere near as bad as what drove me to the hospital on New Years. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I stumbled out of bed and wandered to the living room to open the laptop and ride this storm out. I had popped some Advil in thin hopes of medicinal salvation, but it didn't work. So I just killed time till about an hour later, when the pain seemed to have subside, before climbing back in bed. No harm, no foul, right?
Around noon-ish on Thursday, the pain comes back, though it's more of a dull ache and not the blasting ache it was early in the morning. I did a bit of light Googling and deduced that I must have acid reflux, or at least some sort of stomach acid ailment. A trip to the store produced some Extra Strength Calcium Enhanced Tums and I figured everything was behind me. But, just like before, I went to bed feeling fine, only to wake up in the late night/early morning in incredible pain. I popped three Tums and drank several tall glasses of water and again attempted to ride the storm out. Sure enough, the pain fizzled out and around 7 AM, I crawled back into bed.
Friday comes and I feel fine, which excites me because I had plans to attend a New Year's Party with my girl and two close friends of ours at their place. We get there and it's a blast. X-Box 360, Wii, not to mention tons of finger foods: cheese and crackers, baked ziti, pepperoni, chips and salsa, olives, etc. Naturally, I sampled a bit of everything as well as drinking about one and a half Mike's Hard Lemonades (I'm a lightweight), and some Pepsi Throwback. It was a grand ol' time and midnight hit, I earned my first New Year's Kiss (giggity) and everything was great in Stephen City. But then, right as the clocks struck 12:15 AM, I felt that familiar pain creep up. Still thinking it was acid reflux, I popped three Tums, hoping to nip this is in the bud. But it didn't work, it got worse. Now panicking, I expressed my concern to the group and was offered a spoonful of Milk of Malaysia, which again did nothing. The pain was escalating to massive proportions and The Puking had begun in all of it's monstrous intensity. At this time, the general theory was still acid reflux, so a run was made to the store to pick up some antacid pills. This proved to be as useful as a Lindsay Lohan rehab stint. I'll confess, as I was hunched over the toilet projectile expelling my dinner and lunch from that day, I felt a twinge of hopelessness cause I too felt it was acid reflux.
The events after this are a bit of a blur, as I was in too much pain to really focus on my surroundings. I do remember several frantic discussions about what to do with me, and I do remember the decision being made to go to the ER. I also remember the car ride, which was only 2 miles, but seemed like an endless march of infinity to me. I finally made it to the hospital, stumbled my way in (even walking just hurt), scribbled my signature on some papers and plopped down in the waiting room, surrounded by a sea of homeless who sit in the ER waiting room just for the warmth. I tried my best to focus on the twenty four hour Honeymoons marathon on TV, but I just couldn't. And even though my stomach was empty, I still felt the urge to puke, so I made a trip to the men's room.
Basically, the men's room at this ER waiting room resembled something out of a horror flick. Both sides of the toilets were just PILED high with poop smeared toilet paper. It was seriously revolting and now too disgusted to even puke, I shambled back to my seat and tried to focus on the marathon. Eventually, my friend Matt raised a bit of static at the front counter and I was called in to see a nurse.
Now this too is a bit of a blur. The nurse asked basic medical questions, issued me a bracelet and I was introduced to a hospital bed. But still, agonizing pain tortured me and I was then expected to answer MORE questions and even digitally sign my name a few times. Charming. I was then wheeled over to the main staging area, and after several minutes of me lurching up in the bed SCREAMING in sheer soul raping pain, I was finally introduced to some morphine. Sweet, sweet morphine that soothed the savage beast that had torn my body to shreds. I've never had morphine until this point and wow, was it something. Almost instantly did I begin to feel better, like waves of relaxation just washing over me.
Again, this next section is a blur as I was suffering from a combination of both morphine and sleep deprivation. It was at least 3 AM at this point, and I had been up since 9 AM. Sleep was impossible due to the constant bleeping and blooping of the various machines in the room, as well as the loud sheningans of a drunk Jersey Shore-esque party girl who was admitted to ER, for some reason. After several tests (blood, urine, ultra-sound, etc.) it was determined I did NOT have acid reflux, but instead had gall bladder stones due to a lifetime of high fat, greasy eating. The extreme horrible pain had come from my gall bladder attempting to pass the stone, but it had gotten stuck. This caused a whole host of problems, including backing up my liver and turning me yellow with jaundice.
When the initial dose of morphine wore off, I could feel the Unspeakable Agony creeping up again, so I asked for another dose and was immediately granted it. I soon fell asleep and woke up to the nurse switching out my IV bags. I was so dehydrated upon my arrival, it took three bags to get me to normal levels.
So now I'm faced with a difficult decision...on Monday I return to the hospital to get another ultrasound to determine the severity of the remaining stones. Then on Tuesday, I meet with the surgeon to discuss the ultrasound results. Right before I left, the doctor told me that my gall bladder had to "come out soon, within the next several weeks," but yet my own research has shown that if the gall bladder isn't infected or swollen (which mine isn't. Pee and blood tests came back clean) then there is really no need to remove it. Rather, with proper medication and a healthier diet, the stones can be dissolved and prevented. So conflicted.
Until then, I'm on a very strict diet to prevent another torture session. Low fat, no greasy snacks, no bad anything. More fruits, more non-deep fried veggies, less soda, more water. This should be a fun adventure...
Friday, 24 December 2010
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Tim McGraw once sang that we should all "live like you are dying." and whereas I can see the wisdom behind that, I think we should take it a step further and live like we were already dead. Undead, that is.
Recently, my home girl Nilsa bestowed upon me a Christmas gift, and boy howdy, what a Christmas gift it was.
Now If you know me, you know I have a serious fan-boy crush on all things shambling, brain eating and undead. In the past, I have chronicled my love for all things that go SPLAT in the night and this book seemed right up my alley. I will admit to not taking it very seriously as I first glanced upon it. I figured it would be some cutsey cute book that an author slapped together in about 5 minutes to ride the zombie band-wagon to a big paycheck. Oh but I was wrong, my friends.
How very, very wrong.
First off, this book is simply brilliant in it's advice. Whether the author intended it to be taken seriously or not, I fully plan on adhering the prinicples contained within this fantastic tome. I had never realized it until now, but zombies are actually fantastic models of dedication and success. It's actually quite a (pardon the pun) no-brainer.
Still confused? Lemme break it down...
TOP 10 REASONS HOW YOU CAN BE SUCCESSFUL BY HARNESSING YOUR INNER-ZOMBIE
1) A zombie has no needs or wants - A zombie truly has a very zen like state of mind, free of materialism. Zombies never worry about having the latest cell phones or making the sure their fashion sense is ahead of the curve. They don't care about HD ratios on their televisions or how fast their internet connection is. They are free of whimsy. "It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways. " ~ Buddha
2) Zombies are focused and dedicated to their goals - I know, I've been there. I know how it goes. You're in the middle of a beautiful dream in which you're enjoying a romantic tryst with your favorite celebrity, then the ear screeching reality of your alarm goes off. Your crusty eyes shoot open as you stare into the inky blackness of your bedroom, slightly cursing your job and contemplating if you should call in sick or not. NO. Do not go down this path of self-destruction. Instead, harness your inner-zombie! A zombie wants one thing and one thing only and that's brains. In this quest, they will let nothing, and I mean NOTHING stop them. Bullets, fire, large bodies of water, attack dogs, barbed ware, S-Mart employees...nothing will scare or demoralize them. Now, as humans, we obviously don't eat brains, BUT we can replace brains with whatever our highest goal is. So ask yourself, what is my 'brains'? It could be a job promotion, it could wooing the girl/guy of your dreams, it could be saving up for a new car. Whatever it is, we need to apply the hardcore dedication to the pursuit of our goals, just like a zombie would. "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills." ~ Buddha
3) Zombies do not dwell on their mistakes - As you stand before the board room, your PowerPoint glowing on the projection screen, you feel your neck sweat as you stare down the steely eyed, granite chinned glare of the Board of Directors. You stammer a bit as you continue with the Quarterly Sales Breakdown and then it happens. You mention a 10% increase in gross sales with the Johnson account, when it was really the McMahon account. Failure. Humilated, you slink back to your cubicle, questioning whether or not you have the skills to make it in this world. As this happens, your mind opens like a flood gate, releasing mental sewage of negative thoughts into your brain and soon you're dwelling on every past blooper you've ever made. This is destructive.
Zombies do not worry if they make mistakes or not. Suppose instead of chasing after the slow moving fat kid, a zombie decides to try his luck with the school bus full of girl scouts for his next snack, only to discover these girls are actually black belts who pulverize him with swift Judo kicks and blows. Do you think the zombie is going to lay in a broken heap and sigh wistfully to himself as he wishes he were a better ghoul? NO. Instead, he's going to crawl on the ground and focus on the next tasty morsel of delicious human meat to devour. He does not dwell on his mistake, but rather he learns from it and adapts to it. He could sit around and feel sorry for himself that he can no longer move his legs, but instead he crawls onward to victory. "Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future." ~ Swami Sivannada
4) Zombies do not care what other people think of them - OH NO! Ted from accounting thinks you are a jerk and Michelle from customer service thinks you're rude! What ever shall you do? If you're like a zombie, you simply don't care. Now that's not to say we SHOULD be rude or jerk like, but rather if we know we are doing what we do best, why should we let the words of fools detour us from our success? If zombies cared what other people thought, they would hesitate to sink their jagged, rotting teeth into the tender jugular of a wife if the husband is watching horrified in the corner. Or they would feel suddenly very guilty of the "NO! NO! NOarrtggggghhhhh" screams of their latest meal. But no, they simply keep on keeping on, not letting the verbal slings and arrows break their stride. "Ain't nothing gonna break my stride, ain't nothing gonna slow me down! Oh no, I've got to keep on moving!" ~ Matthew Strider
5) Zombies never under estimate themselves - Ah there she is, Ellie McGuillicuty the hottest girl in school! An hour glass figure, luscious lips, golden hair spun from the finest silk...what's not to love? But alas, you are just Common Folk and there is no way she would ever go with a guy like you. Dejected, you take the Walk of Shame back to your fifth period Algebra class as you soul weeps the bitter tears of loneliness. But this doesn't have to be! Again, let us ask ourselves: W.W.Z.D? (What Would a Zombie Do?) If you said: 'eat her brains' then you are only partially correct. Yes, the zombie would eat her brains, but we need to dig a bit deeper and look at this in a metaphorical sense. In this case, 'eating her brains' translates to 'asking her to prom' and so, yes, we must strive to eat Ellie's brains.
Earlier we had mentioned how zombies are not scared or humilated and number 5 spins off of this fact. It doesn't matter what you stack in front of a zombie, it will still yearn for brains. Machine gun nests, spiked pits, swords, chainsaw, shotguns, etc. it matters not. A zombie will still go forward, regardless of the circumstances. And that is the same mind set you need to ask the Ellie McGuillicuty's of the world to prom. LET NOTHING DETER YOU.
She's a lesbian? Eat her brains.
She's not into guys like you? Eat her brains.
She has a wooden leg? Eat her brains.
"Do or do not. There is no try." ~ Yoda
6) Zombies do not care what they look like - I should explain this one before we go any further. Obviously, we should take the time for basic physical maintenance and grooming, so brush your teeth, wear deodorant, wear CLEAN clothing, etc. But, if you wake up one morning to discover a festering, angry, bulbous zit has sprung on the tip of your nose, do not cry or fret. At least you HAVE skin. A zombie is left with nothing more than rotting slabs of flesh that hang off their bones like decrepit curtains made of spoiled meat. Think Lady Gaga's infamous Meat Dress a few days after she wore it. But does the zombie care about this? Nope. It's the best the zombie can do and no more. So it's not going to be upset if people recoil in horror or projectile vomit at the sheer sight and stench of grotesque, bloated flesh and neither should you be upset if Jance from across the hall thinks you have a big butt or if you're a bit heavier than what your ideal weight should be. STAND FIRM. "Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace." ~ Buddha
7) Zombies do not gossip - Now this is a big one. I fully understand how tempting this can be. Water Cooler Talk can be dangerous and destructive, but it's OOHHHH so tempting. "Did you hear what Megan did last night?" or "I can't believe Veronica thinks she looks good in that dress!" or "I heard that Ted is getting ANOTHER divorce!" This is foolish. A zombie does not engage in such trivial pursuits when chasing it's goals. Ask yourself, have you ever seen a zombie push it's way through the moldy, spoiled soil of it's grave, stand in the eerie glow of the haunted moonlight, look around at it's newly risen cohorts and say "I knew Sally had a boob job! Look, her chest hasn't even rotted yet!"
Of course you haven't! That's because zombies are above this. They don't let gossip get in their way of cracking someone's skull open like an over ripe cantaloupe. Gossip distracts and the last thing a zombie needs is a distraction and it knows this. You should too. "The tongue like a sharp knife... Kills without drawing blood." ~ Buddha
8) Zombies play to their strengths and ignore their weaknesses - We've seen the movie before. The Lone Survivor, haggard and worn from the daily rituals of mere survival, hammers thick planks of wood on the windows to barricade themselves inside. Taking a sigh of relief, they let their guard down for just one moment, thinking that all is okay with the world. Then suddenly, like a rotting limb of cold, brutal reality, a zombie's arm breaks through the wood and drags it's filthy nails into the survivor, pulling them through the window into a buffet of gory delight. Now what just happened here? The zombie played to it's strengths. It knows it can feel no pain so smashing through wood is easy as when we poke a hole through Kleenex. We need to succeed and this is one of the best ways.
Now, assume a zombie has no legs. Say they were blown off by an M-60 machine gun. Now let's say this particular zombie has to climb a set of stairs to get to some tasty brains on the twelfth floor. Does the zombie give up and go home? HELL NO! The zombie crawls up the stairs, moaning the entire time as part of it's psychological warfare. What others may see as a crippling weakness, a zombie merely sees another day at the office. "All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." ~ Sun Tzu
9) Zombies know when to take advantage of a good thing - As the victim runs screaming into the darkness of the cemetery, they inevitably trip over some mysterious invisible object, thereby sealing their doom. If they are armed, they may squeeze off a few rounds and take out a few zombies and think the war is over. But the ugly truth soon becomes apparent when other zombies, seeing the downed victim, dog pile on the survivor, ripping out the guts like a child gleefully playing in the candy of a smitten piñata. Not once did the zombie think "This is too easy...I really should fight something a bit more sporting." or "This isn't really fair to the other zombies who knocked this schmuck down." Again, the zombie is above this. It sees the downed, terrified victim, it knows what it wants and it's not afraid to get it. This doesn't make us scavengers, like the lonesome buzzard, but merely cunning and wily, like the successful zombie we hope to emulate. "Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other." ~ Abraham Lincoln
10) Zombies are resourceful - Just because you locked the door and boarded up the windows doesn't mean you are safe. The zombie can pop up through the floor boards, or maybe there is a zombie upstairs that you forgot to check for. Either way, the zombie WILL find a way into that house for it's tasty meal, it's just a matter of WHEN and HOW. How many times have we, the living, had doors literally and metaphorically shut in our face? Instead of crying openly into a glass of Scotch at the local watering hole, we should harness our inner zombie and find another way in. So the job you applied for rejected you? See if they are hiring for any other positions. You've applied for a job but haven't heard back? Be persistent! Call at least twice every day and keep the pressure on, just like a zombie would. If a shuffling ghoul can succeed in this world, then why can't you? "Failure is success if we learn from it." ~ Malcom Forbes
My friends, I hope I have inspired you in some way today. Believe me, I am far from perfect, but this is a journey I am willing to walk with you. Like a zombie, we must let our old selves "die" and rot in the Graveyard of Bad Things, only to be reborn as a highly successful, motivated and dedicated zombie.
We need to be less like this stiff
And more like this stiff