Testicular Action. Ahem.

No one seems interested in Testicle Man. Photo credit Annie Mole.

This is a post about testicles, as you may have surmised from the title.  The term “testicular action” arose during a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park about ten years ago.  Mr. Stuck coined the phrase when the boys noticed the stark difference between the momma bison and daddy bison.  It has been in use in this household as a palatable euphemism ever since, especially in mixed company.  Rest assured, I will handle the subject with care.

I raised two sons…past tense because I’m sure they absorbed just about all they possibly can of my motherly wisdom, and what hasn’t killed them made them stronger, or something.  I tell you this because it has changed what I know about testicles, ten fold.  I am outnumbered by them, and they influenced everything around me.  In partial and humorous acknowledgment of that fact, some years back I bought Mr. Stuck a set of Bulls Balls (R), a molded plastic reproduction of your choice of either a human or bull scrotum that is meant to be mounted at the rear of your vehicle.  (Great Christmas gift idea, by the way.)

- dodge truck balls -
You get the idea. Photo credit www.bullsballs.com.

I thought they were funny as hell (still do), and they prompted quite a number of comments and finger-pointing over the years.  Eventually they either fell off or were stolen, so I may have to replace them with the 2nd generation style.  My sense of humor.  Anyway.

You may already know that I have two Chihuahuas in the house: Bo, the Epileptic Chihuahua, and Camo.  Camo we got as a puppy a few months before we got Bo.  Camo is a handsome devil and he knows it; he is also a tyrant and a hormonal teenager.  He terrorizes Bo constantly.  Bo was fixed long before he came to live with us, and he’s always on drugs, so he pays Camo no mind unless he’s near his food.  Lately, Camo has been ‘overly attentive’ to Bo, leading us to again discuss (with vehemence) having him neutered.  (Unlike our other pets, Camo was never fixed, because friends had expressed interest in him siring pups with their dogs.)

Which brings me to this: Neuticles, Testicular Implantation for Pets. Yes, you read that right.  I thought Mr. Stuck was pulling my leg when he mentioned it.  I had to look it up for myself.  Sure enough, over half a million pets have been ‘Neuticled’ since 1995.  Heck, they even have the below photo of the abundantly breast-tacular Kim Kardashian and her beloved Rocky as testimonial to how wonderful they are.

rocky-kardashian-dog
Rocky Kardashian, proud owner of a pair of Neuticles.
Photo credit epicplasticsurgery.com.

You can get a whole range of sizes, from jelly bean on up to real bull.  No, I am not going to get Camo implants.  To me, that’s money better spent elsewhere, and ridiculous, besides.  But apparently it is perfectly reasonable for 500,000 other folks out there who may never have had their pet’s procedure done without implants.

To be fair, the company sells ear-stiffening implants and eye implants for pets, as well.  I never realized there was a market for any of these things.

Shows what I know.

 

 

And How Was Your Week?

Finally.

So last Tuesday, the 10th of December, I went in for my surgery.

We reported in at just after 7 a.m.; actually, I was standing just inside the building near the reception door waiting for Mr. Stuck to take care of the parking fare when the check-in desk called to ask where I was.  I had been standing there a few minutes already, watching him through the window, but I hadn’t checked in because I was pocket-less and he held my ID and insurance card.  Eventually man bested machine, and then he was standing next to me, handing her my driver’s license.  We finished our paperwork and had just found a seat in the waiting area when they called me to prep.

At prep, all of the normal things happened: I was fitted with my bracelets, I changed into my hospital gown and non-skid, unisex tube socks, I settled into the gurney with a blanket (a heated-air blanket, even!) an IV was started, and my surgeon stopped in.  In between, I met several nurses, a nurse-anesthetist, my anesthesiologist, a patient care technician or two, and the assisting doctors.  I also said and spelled my whole name several times and confirmed my birth date to anyone who asked; in the fray I was also answering questions, the same questions I had been asked and had answered before: who is your doctor?  what is he going to do?

I remember being rolled out of there into an elevator and then into the operating room.  The last thing I remember is a nurse talking to me after emptying a syringe into my IV port and putting a mask on me, but even that’s a bit fuzzy in my mind.

Not me. photo credit Zdenko Zivkovic.

I guess it took me awhile to wake up; I was two hours in recovery before I was brought to my room and Mr. Stuck was allowed to visit.  Sure seemed warm in the room; I kept kicking off blankets and requesting ice chips and cold washcloths for my forehead.  No fever, but I was just too warm.  Besides my pain control IV, I was hooked up to a couple of monitors as well as oxygen, because my O2 level kept dipping.  My respiratory rate is slow and always has been, and the monitor didn’t like that at all.  Periodically, the respiration monitor (whatever it’s called) would go off because I wasn’t breathing fast enough and it apparently thought I had stopped.  No, I was still breathing, just at my own, slow, pace.

Each time I hit the button to get more hits of Dilaudid, a cycle began:  the narcotic entered my bloodstream; I would relax and drift off; the alarms would sound as my respiration slowed and my oxygen dipped; I would wake with a start and sharp inhale;  the monitor, assured I was again breathing, would go silent (most of the time), and with my muscles tense and heart pounding I would again feel the pain and need the Dilaudid.  Over and over and over this played out. The oximeter’s alarm was about four times louder than the respiratory alarm and sometimes the alarms wouldn’t cancel once my stats came back into their ‘normal’ zone, and I would have to wait for a nurse to silence them.  This went on from the time I came back to my room until after 2 a.m. — about twelve hours!  It was awful and it just wouldn’t stop.  If the nurses were getting tired of the routine, and they were, you can imagine how I felt.  When they called him, the doctor told the nurses that I was exactly the type of patient who needed those monitors on.  I’m sure he’s right, but it was a long, sleepless night.

Around 2 a.m., the doctor allowed the alarm to be turned off on the respiration monitor as long as they got me a better cannula (the nasal oxygen tube) so my oxygen saturation would rise.  Thank the Lord.  I was able to get a few hours of shuteye until the resident doctors made their rounds some time around 6 a.m..  But at least I finally — finally! — got some sleep.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It’s me, but the pic’s a few years old.

It took a long time the next day to get discharged, but we finally did, and we made it home after stopping to pick up my prescriptions.  I suddenly took very cold and started to shake; even my teeth chattered.  I had been so overheated in the hospital, but now I was freezing!  This was the anesthesia talking.  Mr. Stuck tucked me into bed with extra blankets and got me my medication.  My belly was bloated and sore; I just wanted some rest.  After a few hours, I awoke to rejoin the family.

I’m glad everything went so smoothly for my surgeon; apparently, chaos reigned (rained, too) at home. Bo, the Epileptic Chihuahua had suffered a couple of seizures. Number One Son ran his car out of oil. Number Young Son’s car has to quickly be rendered safe and drivable to give NOS a way to work. Mr. Stuck’s truck has been inoperable for several days, waiting for a special tool, because it is leaking fuel.  But these are not things for me to worry and kvetch on; my job is to rest and get better.

Today, four days after surgery, here’s what I know:

  • Although at first disappointed that I didn’t get a heated-air gown, I found that the heated-air blanket is just as good.
  • I have five neat incisions from an inch to an inch and a half long on my belly, which is still a little sore inside.  No tape, because I’m allergic, but all 5 healing nicely.
  • I am still burping from a lot of trapped air (‘scuse me), but I am not so bloated now, and I am sleeping well.
  • I’m not hungry, but I am thirsty, so I am constantly sipping small amounts of fluids.
  • Last night I didn’t need to get up and take pain medicine at all during the night.  Yay!
  • I am tolerating strained soup, protein shakes, tea, jello, and water just fine.
  • Mixing ground-up prescription pills into your food and drink is worse than nasty, and I will stop doing it the very moment I can.  Bad memories of marshmallow creme and crushed aspirin came flooding back.  Mr. Stuck says Actigall is worse than anything I’m taking.  I’ll take his word for it.
  • Omeprazole is my new best friend.  After the couch and the heating pad, I mean.

And now, if you’ll excuse me…

liquids
a few of the things on my nutrition pyramid these days.

 

 

Cheesy.

A friend and I had the following (not exactly PC) exchange today…

—Original Message—–
From: Friend of Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Stuck
Subject:

I saw those new Lay’s cheesy garlic baked potato chips down in the machine downstairs.  I had already bought something but knew right away I HAD to have some of those.  The machine ate my money and didn’t give me the chips.  I fought off the urge to break the glass with a huge frickin’ hammer but it was very hard.

It’s 20 frickin’ 13 fir chrisesakes!   We got IPad’s, spaceships, robots, and 30-34 freeze dried pork chops in a can but we STILL can’t make a frickin’ vending machine that works!

They should be delivered to my mouth every time I think of them and charged to my cloud based food account.  Do I have to think of EVERYTHING?

Is that the way this day is gonna be?

—-Original Message—–
From: Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Friend of Stuck
Subject: RE:

Oh man!
I haven’t tried those, but my friend’s kid thinks they’re amazing.
What they didn’t tell you is that those chips are sealed in a glass-fronted, apocalypse-proof vending machine; nothing short of a Bunker Buster will get ’em outta there.  Either that, or your wife got there before you did. 😉

Song lyrics for today?

—–Original Message—–
From: Friend of Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Stuck
Subject: RE:

Listening to ’70’s country this morning.  This music makes me holler better, spit better, drank better, and eat BBQ chicken better!  Yee haw…

“Take this job and shove it”

—–Original Message—–
From: Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Friend of Stuck
Subject: RE:

Sweet!  That’s what I need to do — a country playlist…
Hmmmm….

—–Original Message—–
From: Friend of Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Stuck
Subject: RE:

I just noted that AccuRadio has a channel called “Blonde Country”.

Really……?

Is that for people that hate the singing of brunettes and redheads?

I have always had a hard time deciphering the hair color of various singers upon first listen…….

—-Original Message—–
From: Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Friend of Stuck
Subject: RE:

Easier than you think.
If she’s singing about getting drunk in a honky-tonk bar and going home with the Marlboro Man, she’s blonde.
If she’s singing about getting drunk in a honky-tonk bar and giving a beat down to the other girls, she’s a brunette.
If she’s singing about getting drunk in a honky-tonk bar and burning the place down because they ran out of beer, she’s a redhead.

Just a guideline for ya.

——Original Message—–
From: Friend of Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Stuck
Subject: RE:

LMFAO! Hahahaha

Perfect analysis!

—–Original Message—–
From: Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Friend of Stuck
Subject: RE:

I am a professional.

I may make this a short blog post.  I found it amusing, too.  😉

—–Original Message—–
From: Friend of Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Stuck
Subject: RE:

You should!

I want my “Redhead Country Channel”

—–Original Message—–
From: Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Friend of Stuck
Subject: RE:

I bet we could come up with some great songs for it, too.

—–Original Message—–
From: Friend of Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Stuck
Subject: RE:

Burning Ring
Kiss the Devil Good Mornin’
He is Buried in Our Yard
Fire in the trailer
Our not so happy home
Don’t Look my Way
Rodeo Men I’ve Rode

—–Original Message—–
From: Stuck
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
To: Friend of Stuck
Subject: RE:

Oooh…I like it already!

 

photo credits Scott Cyrus, alainnblog

Unintended Consequences.

I started to write a post about how my life with hearing devices is going (and I was on a roll) when I looked something up online that pointed me in a slightly different, but more interesting, direction…

While researching a condition called Hyperacusis, where a sensitivity to certain sounds (also called a lowered Loudness Discomfort Level, or LDL) causes discomfort or pain, I discovered something:  I have a set of symptoms that correspond to a recently discovered (well, around 2000 or so) neurological disorder called Misophonia, or Selective Sound Sensitivity Syndrome (4S).  I’ve had these symptoms for many years – so long that I can no longer recall a time I didn’t experience them.  When I hear certain sounds, I get an immediate, irrational, extreme fight-or-flight reaction: rage, panic, severe anxiety, hate, and disgust…over something as simple as someone whistling or clicking a pen.  Sometimes even visual stimuli can cause the same reaction as auditory triggers.

While we all have certain sounds that bother us, this isn’t like that.  This is a reflex; I can’t stop it from happening, nor can I control it.  My stomach tightens, my heart pounds, I feel provoked to fist-shaking anger, and I cannot ignore the sound.  It is so distracting to me that it becomes my sole focus.  My best bet would be to avoid the stimuli (‘triggers’) that cause the problem, but that is not always possible; in fact, it is rarely possible, especially in a work or social environment.  

Every day is an opportunity for trigger sounds, in every environment.  I go to a meeting, and someone is absentmindedly clicking his pen.  I go to the store, and the teenager in front of me in line is snapping her gum.  I go to the movie theater, and the people behind me drive me crazy with the wrapper on their snacks.  As much as I try to keep my emotion in check when it happens, I usually fail miserably and end up glaring at the person making the sound.  Most of the time, the person doesn’t even realize they’re doing it and has no way of knowing how violently it affects me. I feel guilty and embarrassed to have such strong reactions to such innocuous noises, and I know that it makes me seem cranky or bitchy, but I can’t help it.  

When I was young, my mother’s whistling spurred me to inexplicable anger every time I heard it – it was as if she had provoked me to fight.  She couldn’t understand it, and I couldn’t explain it. Whistling was something my very musical mother truly enjoyed, and she did it without thinking.  If I could, I’d go somewhere else, but that wasn’t always possible.  She tried to comply when I’d ask (or angrily tell) her to stop, but it made no sense.  To this day, I loathe the sound of whistling.  Likewise, the sound of chewing gum, especially with ‘snapping’ or ‘cracking’ noises, sends me into orbit; for that reason, I have always told my kids that if they have gum, I don’t want to see it or hear it.  

Through my (limited) online research, I discovered that I am not alone in this affliction. While it is not an official mental disorder, it is a defined set of symptoms and has been suggested for classification as a discrete psychiatric disorder in the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) spectrum, for the purpose of official diagnoses and treatments as well as better recognition and research by the professional medical community.  It was first identified in the research and treatment of tinnitus.  It is neither a result nor factor in hearing loss; rather, it seems to relate to the limbic system, the structure of the brain that controls emotion and behavior.  A small number of studies and reviews have been conducted, but research seems to suggest that misophonia may be a result of dysfunction in the same cortices of the brain where Tourette’s is also indicated.  There is also data to suggest it might be a form of Synesthesia, a neurological condition where stimulus to one sense gets not only the correct response in that sense, but a simultaneous reaction in another sense; for example, some people ‘hear’ colors or ‘taste’ sounds.

I am thrilled that there is a name for what I have suffered with for most of my life.  I don’t know where it came from or whether I will ever find relief, but it is good to know that my wildly disproportionate reaction to certain sounds is not a result of me being unreasonable and bitchy.  It is not because I am in a bad mood.  It is not because I am controlling, selfish, angry, judgmental, or annoying — although I might well be all of those, they are not the reasons why I might throw you out the window if you decide to chew ice or crack peanuts next to me.

Just sayin’.

 

photo credit timparkinson

Around Here.

tree lined
After a week of being sick, I’m ready to get back on track.  What better way than to put up a new post? 

Driving home a few weeks ago, Mr. Stuck and I laughed about a particularly amusing incident that happened four or five years back on the same stretch of county road we were on.  I thought I’d share the story.  First, some background:

We live in a mostly rural area (“the boonies”) where horses share the road with logging trucks, bicycles, Volvo wagons and Harleys.  In the summer we have a farmers’ market in the center of town, near the liquor store, medical marijuana clinic, and post office.  The civic center houses tennis and tae kwon do lessons as well as a museum, Friday night skate nights and crab feed fundraisers.  Historically, the people who live in our community have prided themselves on their independence and resourcefulness; mini farms dot the landscape, and the ‘old ways’ of homesteading are alive and well.  The area itself has a very interesting history of radicalism, alternate philosophies, and anarchists.  It is for these reasons, aside from the beauty here, that I love where we live and where we chose to raise our family.

It is also for these reasons that not a lot of things surprise me out here anymore…except for this one night, several years ago.  Mr. Stuck and I had been out and about, running errands, I suppose, with Numbers One and Young at home.  It was dark, probably 10:00 at night, and the night was cool, but dry.  I was driving toward home on a two-lane road that proceeds downhill past the power lines and wends its way back up to meet the state highway.  Posted speed limit is 40 mph, but it’s really easy to go faster as you gain momentum, so you have to be careful.

There was nobody on the road that night but us.  I was just past the crest of the hill and heading down when my headlights caught something up ahead in the road.  It was big and light-colored; I slowed way down as we tried to figure out what it was.  Just my luck — as we approached, we realized it was a man, standing in the middle of my lane.

In a squirrel costume, head to toe.  Smiling.

I gave him wide berth, moving into the other lane to avoid him.  He didn’t move; he merely stood there, facing me, as I slowed to barely a crawl.  It rather freaked me out, because it wasn’t Halloween, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why a man would be dressed in a squirrel costume and standing in the middle of the road in front of an oncoming car, unless he had some dastardly plan.  (What the plan was, I had no idea, but I knew it had to be dastardly.)  When we were merely feet from him, he waved genially with his squirrel paw, turned, and sauntered away.

After we exchanged puzzled looks and said, did we really just see that? Mr. Stuck and I laughed and talked about it all the way home, and for long afterward.  We were glad that we had been together that night, because had we been alone and seen it, nobody would have believed the story, and we might have doubted our own eyes.  However, since we could each corroborate the other, we could assure one another that no, we weren’t crazy — or, at least, we weren’t delusional.

There really was a man-squirrel in the road that night.

This, friends, is my life.

Discipline — You Won’t Find it Here.

Discipline.  I suck at it.

I know I need to set aside time to write, and not just here in the blog.  I really need to make some progress on the children’s book I’m trying to write.  And by ‘trying,’ I mean that I have the resources and I have the material, but I just don’t have that crucial First Step.  You know the one, right — the single step that starts the journey of a thousand miles? Yeah, that.  I’m still at the gate.

I’m all start and no finish.  All show and no go.  All worry and no decision.

I have that ‘excuse thing’ down: I’m tired; I just don’t feel like writing; no time; too noisy to concentrate; don’t have any ideas; have too many other things going on; blah, blah, blah.  You know the routine.  I’ll confess that I procrastinate — later.  But for now, I am just putting it out there.  If there’s one thing I shoulda/woulda/coulda change(d), it’s my self-starter.  I think it’s gone out.

Really, that’s the main reason I joined RCC; I need to be nagged and prodded and kicked and encouraged and cajoled and bribed and dared.  My self-motivation at work is great, but once I get home, it somehow eludes me.  Anyone else have that problem?

I can sit down after dinner and write a post or two, but all the little edits and rewordings and such piss away my evening, and that’s as far as I get.  On weekends I feel guilty sitting at the computer, especially when it’s nice out.  Of course, the guilt doesn’t stop me from hanging out on Facebook to play Scrabble, or reading the news from several sources, or browsing through any of a number of sites…I just don’t channel my energy in the right direction.

So I don’t expect this motivation paralysis to be easily cured, but I’m hoping it will improve.  I seem to do better for a bit, and then slack back off.  When I read the posts from the other RCC members and get all enthusiastic about my own progress, that lasts, oh, about long enough for me to open up a blank document.  And then, zilch.  I still use my notebook to write my ideas in, but I haven’t had many entries lately.  Another thing for my ‘to do’ list, I guess.

Well, enough whining.  I have work to do.  Wish me luck!  TTFN!

 

photo credit: Grotuk