Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fresh From My Diary of Indignities

I’m having some weight loss surgery later this summer (!) and in preparation I have had to take so many tests. Crazy tests. Tests that involve drinking liquid plutonium, being strapped to roller-coaster like devices passing through x-ray machines, and drawing gallons and gallons of blood. I swear the real point of these tests is not so much to determine if you’re ready for surgery, but to test your metal to see if you can survive. If you can make it to the other side after running the gauntlet of these tests, you can survive a measly little surgery with no problem.

So, last Sunday I had to check in to the hospital at 9:00 p.m. for my sleep study test. This is a specialty hospital, which I only mention because that means they don’t have a lot of patients there on the weekends since they do their procedures during the week. When I walked in at 9:00, it was dark, eerie, and as empty as a ghost town. I walked down the hall and finally saw the sign that said “Sleep Study” with an arrow pointing to the stairs. I hiked up the dark stairs and opened the door into an even darker room. After my eyes adjusted, I could see the faint glow of a light coming from under a door, which I opened and saw Pam. I was in the right place.

Pam is the nurse. I’ve met Pam before. I’m not even kidding when I say that when you answer her with “I’m fine, how are you?”, you will not say another word for at least 15 minutes. Pam is a talker. And not even a good conversationalist talker…she’s a prattler. She gets off on tangents and argues over the inconsequential details with herself and it’s like something out of an episode of Seinfeld. She calls you “honey”, “hon”, “sweetie”, or “sugar” at least seven times per sentence. My heart kind of sank a little bit when I saw that Pam was on duty that night.

But she is kind and helpful and she got me to my room all the while telling me about her latest romance with “that no good Bobby’s brother Hank.” My room looked very much like a Motel 6 room and not a hospital room. A regular bed, recliner chair, table and lamp. I had to put on ye olde open-backed hospital gown, which instantly made me want to break into the narcotics storage room and pill up. But I just got to stew in my disgust because Pam told me to wait there while she went and got the other people situated in their rooms - there were three of us on the ward that night.

I sat and tried to read my book but was distracted by the enormous console by the bed with all of the ports waiting for things to be plugged into them, and the video camera over the door that I knew would be pointed at me when I was sleeping. That just felt a little pervy.

When Pam finally got back to me it was about 10:00 p.m. She proceeded to wire me up, and people, if I’m lying I’m dieing, I had almost 50 electrodes attached to my body when it was all said and done. It was never ending. The glue on the little patches that holds the wires to your body is super sticky - way tighter than a band-aid. She had those babies duct taped all up and down my legs, in my arm pits, on my boobs, all over my face, on my back, on the soles of my feet, and at least a dozen of them in my hair. I cannot BELIEVE I didn’t bring a camera. You just have to picture it because my hair was sticking straight up because of that glue and each wire was at least 10 feet long so I looked like I had broken free from some experiment that had gone horribly wrong.

Now I’m no fool. I knew I’d have to be monitored in some way but was all of this really necessary? I made the mistake of asking Pam that question, and she was still talking 20 minutes later. In addition to monitoring your brain waves, they monitor your muscle movement, body temperature, heart beat and all sorts of other things that are going on when you’re asleep. Together these readings paint some kind of picture about you – do you have sleep apnea, are you not reaching REM sleep, how hard are your lungs and heart having to work, and so on. Oh Pam, please stop and tell me more about that no-good Bobby guy’s brother Hank because you’re freaking me out!

The problem was, after being rigged up, I wasn’t tired in the least, so Pam tells me to go in the common room and watch some TV for awhile. So, I get in the WHEELCHAIR and she bundles up my 500 ft. of cords and sets them on my lap and takes me in to the other room…where there is a giant man sitting in the couch as totally wired up as I am.


But of course I didn’t say any of that. I let Pat help me out of the wheel chair, position my tethers in such a way that they wouldn’t get tangled up with Carl’s tethers, and sit down next to this enormous guy who looked even worse than I did because not only was his hospital gown hiding very little that God gave him, but he already had his nose hose in place, which added an extra special touch to his spools of wire. Through this entire shifting around process all I can think about is my gianormous butt poking through the gown. Lord.

So Pam leaves and it’s just Carl and me in this poorly lit, tiny little room, watching…I’m not even kidding…The Food Network. Two giant people, looking like science experiments gone wrong, preparing for weight loss surgery, watching the Food Network. The irony had jumped into my lap and was physically slapping me in the face.

But it gets worse.

Second only to Pam, Carl was a world-class talker. But not just a talker, he was a chatter, and people, he was chatting me up. Oh, yeah. It didn’t take me long to realize that Carl was hitting on me. Taking his best swings. Showing his skilz.

It started out bad enough, but pretty soon he was using lines that made me want to wrap his nose hose around his neck and strangle him. “Yeah, I’m a financial advisor and I’ve gotta tell you…I’ve had some pretty good luck there. I just bought a Jag. I had to have the front seat widened (A DETAIL YOU MIGHT CONSIDER LEAVING OUT IF YOUR GOAL IS TO SOUND HOT), so it is one comfortable ride. Would you like to go for a ride with me some day? I haven’t widened the passenger seat but I think you’ll fit just fine. (OH STOP YOU FLATTERER, YOU!).” Or, “Well you sure are pretty. Maybe after our surgeries we could meet for ice cream (BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT TWO PEOPLE RECOVERING FROM WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY SHOULD DO!)”. And my favorite, “Yeah, my tango teacher thinks I’ll quality for regionals in another month, or so, so once you lose some weight maybe you could be my partner.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely aware that I am no prize, and I don’t get hit on very often, and I’m not a snob. It’s just that Carl had chosen the absolute most inappropriate time and situation to bust a move. And it went on and on and on. I wasn’t sure whether to be embarrassed for the guy or applaud his chutzpah. But of course, as I’m wont to do, the more he went on the more ludicrous the whole scene became, and the funnier it became the more I started to laugh, and the more I laughed the more he thought I was enjoying his humor and advances, and the more moves he busted, the harder I laughed. All the while sitting in hospital gowns with electrodes glued to every part of our bodies.

I finally had to excuse myself from the whole situation. I was done. I wasn’t even going to wait for Pam to come back with that wheelchair. I said goodnight to Carl, gathered my two tons of wires which I held in one hand while holding my gown closed behind me with the other hand, and shuffled back to my room as quickly as I could. I only tripped one time on the wire connected to the bottom of my foot.

I have to say that I’m going to think about Carl a lot over the next few months, hoping that things work out for him. Because it seems that Carl is looking for love and everyone deserves some love. But baby, you need to save it for tango class and leave the sleep study chicks alone. We do not feel flirty when there is glue in our hair, wires on our eyelids, and the possibility that our butt might bounce into view at any moment!



  • At 6/13/2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I gotta tell you that your verbalization works wonders for my visualization! I bet ol Carl DID sneak a peek as you were trying to escape. Your stories slay me. I can't wait for more.

    both my parents have sleep apnea so they both sleep with the gurgling, whirring machine at night. at least now he can't hear her snoring! haha

  • At 6/13/2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This is a book in the making, for real . . . keep on blogging

  • At 6/13/2008 , Blogger Emig Family said...

    Pam should dump Hank and hook up with Carl. And you SHOULD learn to tango after all this is said and done.

  • At 5/08/2010 , Blogger Paula Webb said...

    I just discovered your blog. Enjoyed the wedding pics. Yea! Looks like EVERYONE was having a great time.

    Also read about Carl and the sleep clinic. Laugh? That was hilarious! You are such a wonderful writer, "Sweetie"!


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