Category Archives: baltimore

remember that one time we were on a low-carb diet and robbed a dunkin donuts?

first, the (big gay) elephant in the room: i kind of (read: totally) fell off the face of the earth for a minute. i told you about holly’s short sweatpants back in march and then i left you hanging for months.

  • was she still wearing the sweatpants?
  • did she cut them into shorts for the summer?
  • did she forgive me for encouraging her to buy them in petite when she clearly should have bought them in regular, thus saving her from the type of shame that only comes from wearing any kind of pants that are obviously too short for you?

the short answers to all of these are a. no (it’s been too warm for sweatpants) b. no (they are still whole and intact plus holly would never wear cut-offs; i’m not saying this is the right way to be but this is how she is) c. yes, she forgave me but i have yet to forgive myself. they’re pretty damn short.

where did i go? well mainly i was working. (if you’re self-employed the way i am, being busy is a good thing) and also life just wasn’t seeming all that funny. i mean, there have been many many funny moments, but it just wasn’t feeling funny enough to sit down and write about things, which is a major bummer for many reasons. if this blog has a purpose, it’s to make you laugh. to help you forget about whatever you’re dealing with in life and just sit back and have a good ol friggin laugh.

so now that i’m back, let’s just launch right back into things, shall we?

here’s what’s been going on since march:

we went on a low-carb diet and robbed a dunkin donuts.
the details are fuzzy because i was so weak from low blood-sugar. all i remember is waking up  covered in crumbs (old-fashioned cake: my fave), vanilla cream (cream-filled: holly’s fave), and raspberry jelly (jelly-filled: mutual fave). i had bite marks on my arm, which, if i remember correctly, i had tried gnawing off the day before. i realize that my arm would be considered “low-carb,” but i  hallucinated that it was a hot dog bun, so i tried to eat it.

(no seriously: it was “phase 1” of the south beach diet. it went well but…yeah, after 10 days we totally fell off the wagon. however, it was a good learning experience. like, a good way to learn how to creep out of dunkin donuts on your hands and knees after you have no idea how you got there. also we learned how to make cauliflower pizza, an odd but strangely addictive low-carb delicacy.)

i got in a fight with the sushi guy at whole foods and can never get sushi there again.
it sucks but look: i don’t need to be buying overpriced sushi from whole foods anyway. it’s kind of awkward now, but whatever! don’t try to charge me $4 for single sheet of soy paper! so i don’t like seaweed! do you really need to punish me for that? jews don’t like seaweed. it reminds our collective subconscious of crossing the red sea, which you know was uncomfortable for everyone involved, especially us jewish women because, hello, our hair. anyway. next!

i brought more natural disasters to under armour.
last time i contracted on-site at under armour, there was an earthquake and i split my pants right down the middle. this time i brought a tornado. well it was actually a “waterspout.” either way it scared the sh*t outta me and i hid in the basement until it was over, where, oddly enough, i learned there was a much better snack machine than the one on the third floor where i was working. holla!

i accidentally gave holly caffeinated coffee for like two weeks.
she kept saying she felt nervous but we couldn’t figure out why. i think i switched the bags or something? or labeled them wrong? oh i don’t even remember how i did it. honey, i am so sorry!

i got a retainer.
well actually it’s a night guard but it’s funnier to say retainer. apparently, when i sleep my jaw clamps down like a vice, resulting in phenomenally bad headaches. i finally relented to the idea of a mouthguard, which i imagined would be this big behemoth of a thing, like the kind of mouthguards football players wear, and i was concerned that, you know, instead of helping me, it might choke me while i slept. but when i went to go pick it up, it was this cute, teeny-tiny, dainty clear thing. like, it should have an english accent or something.

going in to get it molded at the dentist wasn’t as bad i thought it might be. to avert a new-jersey-jewish-control-freak panic attack, i kept telling holly “THLLLL MAA AH NNNLK,” my mouth full of this weird kind of…blue goo? and a big plastic mold-type thing.

“babe, i can’t…i can’t understand you,” holly said, laughing, while the dental assistant shot us weird looks trying, but failing, to smile.

(if i could have spoken i would have told that assistant to mind her own bees-wax and that if she didn’t look away i would punch her in the throat.)

“THHLLLL. MAA. AHH. NNNLK!” i kept saying.

this, of course, meant “tell me a joke.” which holly never did, as she couldn’t understand me. the exchange was ridiculous enough to avert anxiety, and now when i go to bed, i’m super sexy. i put in my mouthguard and it mathhes me tawlk like thiithhh. nicethhhhhhh.

i got fever & we almost missed jamie & jamie’s wedding.
i came down with a mean 36-hour flu on friday, may 31st. the day before our friends’ jamie and jamie’s wedding. (yes, they’re both named jamie. i know. the gays, constantly throwing you for loops and destroying the universe.) it came on in the span of like 10 minutes. i swear my body felt like it was shutting down. holly was irritated because the wedding was going to be fun and she didn’t want to miss it. (hello, i didn’t want to miss it either!) she also said i was complaining a lot. however, i couldn’t hear her because i was under three layers of blankets, shaking so bad from how cold i was because i had a 101.7 fever.

(holly, you’re mean. if you weren’t so cute i’d punch you in the throat, too.) 

i tried dry shampoo.
total bullsh*t. i felt like i had lice for like four hours and it made me smell like old lady.

i made a short-lived decision to become a charm city rollergirl.
i announced this in the car last week. it was a sudden decision but seemed like a sound one at the time.

“i mean, i’m not really athletic enough. right now. but i could, like, train to be,” i said, twirling my hair thinking of my cool future rollerderby name (Jersey J.? Jess The Jerk?) and all the tattoos i’d get and then have to hide from my parents.

 “i’d also need to learn how to skate backwards. and learn how to stop.” 

“you’re not tough enough to be a rollergirl,”  holly said.

“yes i –”

then she poked me in the arm.

OW! HEY! THAT HURT! THAT WAS LIKE, A PRESSURE POINT OR SOMETHING.”

“see? you’re not tough enough. you can’t be a rollergirl.”

“yes i am!” i said, rubbing the spot she just poked. “that’s going to leave a mark.”

and then, just to emphasize how i upset i was, i added the clincher:

“i’m going to blog about this.”

and so, here i am. blogging. again. gettin fevers. robbin dunkins. cussin at whole foods. makin tornados waterspouts. pullin out weaves. cuttin b*tches who be frontin me. wearin pajama t-shirts in public.
(note: i only did one of the last three things listed here.) (you’d never even know. it’s like, a regular t-shirt.)
(we also never actually robbed a dunkin donuts.)
(i’ll tell you what: if we did ever rob a store, it’d definitely be whole foods. and i’d rob the sh*t outta their sushi bar.)

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holly, i’m sorry i told you to buy those sweatpants in petite

as a spouse/significant other, you are depended upon for both a) tasks and b) opinions.  in our household, one of my tasks is that i make the coffee because you’re so good at it, holly says, batting her eyelashes. (i need to note here that she’s actually pretty good at making it, too, but she’d rather i’d do it, which is totally fine, as i’d rather her take the recycling and trash out to the black hole that is our alley.)

anyway, sometime within the past six months or so we were perusing our local jcpenny’s–wait, no: JAYCEEPEE–perusing the aisles of our local JCP, when she stumbled across a pair of particularly comfy looking grey sweatpants.

ooooh these are nice, she said.

yeah, i said. nice.

now, you may or may not recall this, but i’m not much of a shopper. it’s like, the “gayest” thing about me (besides, you know, the obvious). i mean, i love a trip to target, but at least there i can make a quick getaway into the greeting cards/ cleaning products/make-up aisle to get away from all the clothes.

holly loves to shop. oh she loooooves to shop. (“i DO NOT love to shop,” she just said. whatever, she likes to. i don’t care what she says.) and she loves to get my damn opinion on everything. so that’s the context here. as i was saying:

do you think i should get them in a regular or petite? she asks me as i walk behind her, distracted and instagramming (is that a verb? i’m making it a verb.)

you’re small. get a petite, i say. otherwise you’re gonna havta get em hemmed and that costs as much as the pants. 

so i should get the petite?

yeah, get the petite.

ok, i’ll get the petite.

great, can we leave now?

no, not yet, i want to look in the kitchen section. where’s the escalator?

at which point i groaned and we had our usual but-i-don’t-want-to/pipe-down-babe-it’ll-just-be-a-minute,-if-you-want-me-to-cook-for-you-i-need-kitchen-tools exchange.

after a couple of washes the pants shrunk. holly noticed first. i looked up from words with friends and agreed that yeah, they were a little on the short side.

now, weeks later, i see that they’re actually not just a little short, they’re painfully short. she likes to wear them, because they’re a great color and they are indeed comfortable, but, like an inside voice or an inside cat, they are inside pants. she’ll occasionally wear them for a walk to the park and immediately regret it, saying she feels like rocky balboa (see below).

Rocky Balboa runs up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum in the first Rocky movie.

rocky balboa’s short pants in the first rocky movie. i guess it was ok because it was the 80s? anyway, holly’s aren’t quite as short, but it’s close. it’s really close.

anyway, now i feel kind of guilty. even though i laugh and call her “short pants,” i really do feel bad. she depended on me for input and i lead her astray. she should have never gotten the petite. babe, i should have never told you to get the petite. i’m sorry and i love you, even in your short pants. especially in your short pants.

i’m also sorry i was accidentally making you caffeinated coffee instead of decaf for like a week last month and you kept feeling anxious and we didn’t know why. i didn’t properly label the ground bulk coffee we got at whole foods. completely my fault. it was my task and i failed. i’ll take the trash and recycling out to make up for it. wait no. i can’t because i’m scared of our alley. but i love you and i’ll be more careful from here on out.

in other news: we’re getting MARRIED this weekend. THIS TIME RIGHT HERE IN OUR HOME STATE OF MARYLAND! on st. patty’s day (sunday!), the three-year anniversary of our first legal wedding in dc.

it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision. we ran over to the baltimore city courthouse earlier this week and were like HOLLA! we’re here to get our marriage license! (well, we didn’t say “holla” but we could’ve) and the lady was like HOLLA! here it is! (well, no, not really but she was nice). anyway, the rabbi that married us the first time will do it again, except this time she’ll be able to sign a license. full circle right? and this time in jeans! (if you’re new to this blog and you’d like to read about our nuptial adventures–and oh, we’ve had many–in one fell swoop, check out this essay i wrote for the current issue of baltimore bride.)

until then, folks, take your spousal/significant other-ly duties seriously! if your partner’s pants seem too short, for crying out loud, pay attention and speak up. and if s/he can’t process caffeine, don’t confuse the bags. you know it can only end badly.

hurricanes upset my hiatal hernia

(a breaking news interruption in the what i did this summer series)

like most jewish girls in the 21st century, i’m not known for my hearty nature. my straightened hair frizzes easily, my joints tend to ache before rain, and i need to eat every three hours or my blood-sugar will drop severely and i will undoubtedly act out.  (trust me, you don’t want me to act out.)

i also have a hiatal hernia that gets irritated during stressful situations. so you know i wasn’t happy to hear there was the worst hurricane in like 50 years headed our way.

to be quite frank, even before sandy’s arrival, i’d kind of had it with the natural disaster type things around here. we’d already had two hurricanes and we’ve only lived in baltimore since 2006. oh and then there was THAT EARTHQUAKE which i mistakenly thought was an underground gas explosion, which propelled me to make the wise decision to stick my head out of our second-floor bedroom’s wide-open windows and shout at the jackhammering work guys outside WHAT THE F*CK ARE YOU DOING MY HOUSE IS GOING TO EXPLODE.

as luck would have it, a drugdealer across the street looked up at me and shouted EAAARTH-QUAKE!!!!!! oh so it wasn’t a gas explosion, i thought as i my socked feet slid across the rumbling floor. relief quickly turned to guilt, as i really gave the confused-looking workers a verbal lashing. i kind of felt like a dumbass but whatever. it could have been a gas explosion. what the hell do i know? i’ve never felt a friggin earthquake before. this isn’t california, it’s maryland. so i did what any jersey girl would do: i threw on my sneaks and jean jacket, grabbed  my purse and ran the hell out the door. it doesn’t matter that it was 90 degrees out. hell if i’m going to let our house crumble on my very best jean jacket.

anyway, as soon as i heard about the hurricane, my hiatal hernia started acting up. (have you ever had bad gas pains? yeah, it’s kind of like that but higher and it burns.) i put on my brave face (and yes, my jean jacket) and went to safeway friday afternoon to buy water only to be confronted by soviet-era empty shelves, then promptly threatened to cut a girl and pull out her weave for two bottles of smartwater. (no i actually didn’t do that but i could have don’t tempt me)

i bugged holly all weekend about getting ice, buying more drinks, buying more food, making sure the gas tank was filled, recharging all the rechargeable batteries we bought before the last hurricane that we haven’t used yet. i also bugged her to cook me hearty hurricane food like guinness beef stew and chili even though they would probably all upset my hiatal hernia.

i finally remembered to fill up the bathtub sunday night, when the hurricane was already well under way, of course. i’m not exactly sure why you should do that? because storms make the water go out? and then you use it to flush the toilet?

whatever, they kept mentioning it on the news and it was stressing me out. so i turned on the tub then went downstairs and started doing dishes until, panic-stricken, i remembered OH MY GOSH I LEFT THE WATER ON BABE TURN IT OFF HURRY!

“oh i love how this is my responsibility now!” holly shouted as she frantically ran up the stairs.

i knew she was right but i was also in the middle of doing dishes. sue me, i panicked and she was closer to the stairs. anyway, in those moments before she got to the bathroom, i had visions of the tub running over and telling people, yeah we had a really bad leak and our ceiling collapsed but no, it wasn’t because of the hurricane, it was because i left the bathtub on for like 30 minutes.

“IT’S OKAY!” holly shouted downstairs.

i breathed out, eternally grateful for our oversized tub.

i rewarded myself for getting through such a stressful time by drinking some cranberry-lemonade honest-ade, which we bought in case the water went out and/or became poisoned, so it was strictly off-limits. i took a few gulps and irresponsibly encouraged holly to do the same.

then we decided to go downstairs to our children-of-the-corn basement, which, yes, once smelled like dead people but doesn’t anymore, to check how much water we were getting.

we quickly discovered that we’d sprung a new leak, which was saturating the ceiling. i immediately started worrying about how much it would cost to fix and would it lead to structural damage, simultaneously patting myself on the back for even knowing such a term. then i realized holly had been talking to me for like a minute asking me to help her pump the water out of the basement through our street-level basement window.

while we were pumping, all i could do was think about how much i wanted to wash my hands and would i get a spider bite and would patient first be open and what if i needed antibiotics?

we went back upstairs to the living room, and by then the wind was really going. between the howling winds, the leak downstairs, and pounding rain, i doubted i’d be able to fall asleep.

suddenly holly was next to me on the couch in her pajamas wanting to watch one of her dumb comedy/action movies. you know, the kind where one thing after another goes wrong? (this one was “the sitter,” which, though kind of annoying and crude, was also kind of funny.)

she’s always stealthily changing into her pajamas. seriously, i turn my back for a minute and the girl’s in her pajamas. i don’t even know how she does it but it never ceases to amaze me.

“you really want to go to sleep in your pajamas?” i asked her wide-eyed. “what if we need to run out in an emergency in the middle of the night? i’m sleeping in my clothes. i’m not even taking off my bra.”

“what kind of emergency?” she said, trying not to laugh.

“well…like if the windows break. if the wind blows the windows out and we have to run out of the house away from flying glass!”

“i think we’ll be ok,” she said, settling into the movie.

i gave her the evil eye, jealous of her cozy pajamas. my jeggings suddenly seemed restrictive, and my ironic flannel shirt felt too hot. but whatever. i was prepared. she’d be the one sopping wet in her pajamas outside with the neighborhood perverts if our window blew out, not me.

when the movie was over, we went to bed. i decided to wear sweatpants to sleep because hell if was going to run out of the house in the middle of the night in boxer shorts amongst the perverts and whatnot. i had a moment of hesitation regarding my bra but decided i could put it on while running out of the house if need be.

i’m happy to report that besides the new basement leaks, our house withstood the wind and rain. and i did manage to sleep. and there were no emergencies causing us to run outside in the rain amongst the perverts. i was relieved i didn’t have to put my on bra on the run. to be honest, i’m not sure if that’s even possible.

my heart is heavy for all the folks that lost their homes, lost everything, even their lives. i spent many happy times with my family at the jersey shore. but, as a one-time jersey girl, i have to say: new jersey folks are damn resilient. if anyone can rebuild, it’s them. the same goes for those in queens.

last night i thought about posting this entry, wondering if it was too nonchalant considering the damage that’s been done. but then i decided everyone could use a laugh right about now. and what better way to cheer up than to read about my multiple neuroses (and my hiatal hernia) during a hurricane? exactly.

in unrelated news, if you love lunch at 11:30, and i know you do!, please help me win best personal blog in the baltimore sun mobbies competition. signing up takes about…5 seconds. and voting takes about the same! just click on the badge below and look for lunch at 11:30. you can vote once a day, every day! not to try to bribe you or anything, but i’ll totally send you leftover halloween candy if you vote for me. i promise it won’t have any needles in it. promise. and no raisins. i don’t believe in giving out raisins. or pennies. just candy. THANKS.

Click here to vote for my blog ... early and often

if you say you don’t have a crush on kate middleton you’re lying

claire danes, who played angela in the short-lived mid-90s drama "my so-called life"

i can’t believe i was jessica’s crush in the mid-90s. it’s so…so…unfair i didn’t know her then. i’m going to have to tell ricki the next time i see him in the girls’ room.

first things first: yes, i kind of abandoned you. kind of like when i went to under armour except this time i didn’t dropkick any ladies’ rooms bathroom stall doors and/or split my pants down the middle, then have to take a boat home, then have to go out for pizza with holly with my underwear showing. (gosh that was kind of funny now that i think about it.)

no actually i just felt severely unfunny the past couple months. so instead of turning this blog into an episode of my so-called life (omg loved that show; loved angela (loved her too much, probably), loved jordan, loved ricki & his eyeliner in the girls’ room, even loved rayannei decided to step back and “let the storm pass.”

so yeah, the storm passed. and one day i’ll write about it in a sensibly priced e-book. until then, i’m back to help you procrastinate to the best of your abilities. so here we go!

first: a number of revelations i’ve had over the past few weeks. let’s start with kate middleton.

1. kate middleton:  yes, if you say you don’t have a crush on kate middleton, you’re absolutely 100% lying. or else you’re of a grandmotherly-type age–or you’re actually a grandmother–in which case it feels quite wrong to crush on a real-life 30-year-old princess. but i’m not a grandmother yet so i’m just going to say that i suddenly noticed it’s probably almost impossible not to have a crush on her.

she’s just so…so absolutely heartbreakingly lovely. not only is she beautiful, she’s graceful and loves children–and they love her back! she’s the type of girl that, if she were to, say, walk into a forest–which i imagine she would once in a while, as she seems like the outdoorsy type–animals would gather around her feet. like bunnies and deer and baby animals in particular. puppies, especially. i know puppies don’t live in forests, but they would sense her presence and run into the forest to find her.

anyway, i’m not going to deny my feelings anymore. instead i’m embracing and sharing them and suggest you do the same.

2. facebook: i took a two-week hiatus from facebook and i kind of loved it. i felt so…so 90s. it kind of made me want to listen to some gin blossoms and…pick up my home phone and call someone. (of course i didn’t. but i could have. except for i’d text them first to tell them i was calling.) it was like: i wasn’t bombarded with 10,000 pieces of information every five seconds and i actually started liking people again. but then i got back on and got disgusted and started hating people again. it’s really a catch-22, facebook. i’d say more about this, but i have to go check my notifications. kthanks, brb.

3. growing out my bangs: ok, i’m back. speaking of the 90s, i’m growing out my bangs. yes, growing out my bangs. i should note i’ve had bangs since 2003 so this is major for me.

in hindsight, i’m noticing that bangs kind of held me back. like, creatively. now that i’m nearly sans bangs (that’s fraaanch. “sans” means “without” and no, i don’t remember anything else from five years of french, so help me, what a waste of time that was–i should have taken spanish so i could communicate with all the hispanic guys that probably say such nice things to me in their native tongue) anyway, without the baggage of bangs, so to speak, i’m able to do all sorts of fun things with my hair now: flipping it this way and that, using hairspray and clips and all sorts of things.

note: i haven’t used hairspray since the early 90s! i feel like buying some guess jeans, pegging them, splashing on some jean nate (pronounced GEEN-naTAY; also fraaanch) and doing the running man to some c+c music factory. i probably won’t. but i might. then i’ll go to friendly’s and get a fribble. WHAT. get outta here. i totally would but it’s 2012 and most of the friendly’s have closed down. i also don’t have to peg my jeans anymore. that’s what jeggings are for! 

4. the blue angels: the the blue angels came to baltimore and omg. we watched them practice and perform from our roofdeck and holy crap wow. seeing and hearing them so up close and personal from the comfort of home was like this big free gift wrapped in a bow dropped on our house–like a big ol loudass exciting present for persevering in this hot mess of a city. who knew a neurotic jew like me was an airshow fan! instead of complaining oy it’s so loud! oy they’re so close! OY ARE THEY GOING TO CRASH INTO OUR HOUSE CALL THE SISTERHOOD WE HAVE TO PUT THIS IN THE NEWSLETTA!  i was like HELL’S YEAH DOGGIE BRING IT ON!

5. middlesex: i finally read middlesex by jeffrey eugenides and woah. dude, that is a good book. i seriously felt myself getting smarter while i was reading it. also who knew a, ahem, love scene between a 14-year-old hermaphrodite and 14-year-old a red-headed girl could be so…special? oh shuddup. i’m not a sicko, just read the damn book, you’ll see what i mean. (p.s. I WANT TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE RED-HEADED GIRL, DAMMIT, JEFFREY!)

6. new jersey housewives: i know she’s kind of a bee-otch, but jersey housewives wouldn’t even have a storyline if it weren’t for teresa. so even if you don’t like her, i suggest you just deal with it or else you’re not gonna have a show to watch. also: i love rosie. and, i hate myself for saying it, but joe gorga‘s kind of a hunk. and if you don’t watch the show don’t worry about it, you’re probably better off without it, let’s go to the next revelation.

7. more with the hair: i need a keratin treatment. i tried to deny it. i said i wasn’t interested but i am. i’m going to get carpal tunnel in my right arm from straightening my hair in this damn humidity. put that in your sisterhood newsletter. no wait. don’t. my mom probably gets that newsletter.

til next time!
xxo!
jessica, i.e. the one in synagogue with the mouthpiece and all the hard candies

ladies, shave your legs b/c you never know when you might end up in the ER

in our quest to become responsible senior citizens, holly and i went to bed on friday at like 9pm. there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to tell you that, as it will ruin my “street cred,” but honestly? i don’t know if i actually have any “street cred” other than wearing black all the time and let’s face it: you can wear black even on a good night’s sleep so i guess i actually don’t even care.

so we get into bed, take out our dentures (psych!), turn on the tube and…my left leg gets all tingly. like pins & needles, but ever so slightly, from my toes up to my knee. soon, my left arm–from my elbow to my fingers–gets tingly, too. this sort of thing happened to me once years ago, and i’ve since heard it can be a painless migraine-type thing. since i’m a migraine sufferer, i didn’t think too much of it. but then my left cheek started feeling weird.

i told holly, who immediately asked me if i wanted to go to the ER.

“ew, no,” i said, grossed out.

a baltimore city ER on a friday night? i pictured people with knives sticking out of their foreheads. no thanks, i thought.

i figured i was just being neurotic and was imagining the feeling in my cheek anyway. i told holly i was going to sleep, would probably be better in the morning and that she was giving me anxiety by bringing up the ER and it was only making me tingle worse. we put on “something borrowed” for the gazillionth time (OMG GREAT MOVIE) and i fell into a deep sleep, despite the helicopters overhead and tumbleweave rustling by.

we woke up and i was better. in fact, i forgot i even felt weird the night before. but by around 9:45am, the feeling was back–and stronger. and it really was in my cheek–and behind my eye and the left half of my tongue, too. despite my apprehensiveness googling medical stuff (i only trust NIH, the mayo clinic and webmd), i googled something like “painless migraine numbness on one side of body” and found this.

while reading the symptoms i was experiencing aloud to holly, it was like there was a delay between my brain and my mouth. like i had just taken half a low-dose xanax (on my way, for example, to san francisco, where i would wear a sparkly chico’s holiday sweater to nicole’s pre-wedding party in…october). all joking aside, that’s when i really started to worry. i told holly i wanted to go to the ER after all.

baltimore may be dirty and dangerous, but it’s chock full of great hospitals.  we decided on hopkins because, well, it’s hopkins. if there was something wrong, they’d find it.

as soon as i told the registration lady my symptoms, things started happening–quickly. before i knew it, i was in a wheelchair with a blood pressure cuff on my arm. then i was being pushed through back hallways and finally through a stainless steel swinging door into a bright room that looked…gosh it looked a lot like an operating room, i thought. this…suddenly felt a lot like the movies. and not in a good way. in a really really scary way.

a team of doctors and nurses were waiting for me, and i was told to get on a gurney. suddenly lights were being shined in my eyes, and i was being asked question after question. a gruff woman strapped my right arm with one of those rubber blood test bands that freak me out so badly.

“wait! wait!” i told her. “I’M NOT READY FOR A BLOOD TEST WAIT JUST GIVE ME A MINUTE.”

“ma’am! MA’AM, you need to stop moving. YOU NEED TO PUT YOUR ARM DOWN NOW MA’AM. PUT. YOUR. ARM. DOWN.”

holly was on my left side. panic-striken, i looked in her big brown eyes for support. she usually smiles at me while i’m getting my blood drawn (*thump* sorry i just fainted as i wrote that) and distracts me with something funny and touches my hair and says you’re doing great, babe, nothing to worry about. but this time all i saw in her eyes was…worry. panic, even. and she started to cry.

“babe! babe you’ve got to tell me something funny. keep it together, honey! I NEED YOU. TO TELL ME. SOMETHING. FUNNY. TO KEEP. ME. FROM. FAINTING.”

“babe, i’ve…got nothing funny to say. there’s nothing funny!”

i’m getting really really scared at this point because, i know you won’t believe this, but out of the two of us, holly’s the one that keeps it together.

while i’m begging her to make me laugh, the doctors and nurses are all asking us questions: when did the symptoms start? what exactly do they feel like? has this happened before? and on and on and on. and Nurse Gruffy McGruff is still taking blood. then she ties another damn rubber band on me and sticks me with an IV. then she instructs me to take off my shirt and my bra (the nerve!) and i’m handed a gown.

it dawns on me: holy shit. this is the stroke unit. they think i’m having a stroke.

after a lot more questions and some neurological tests, they decided that i wasn’t having a stroke–or at least not the kind that necessitates immediate treatment. so they took me down, on the gurney, to the main ER area. and this is where the baltimore city fun started.

no rooms were available so they put us in the hallway. this nice nurse brings holly  a chair. and we sit. and sit. and sit. we sat in the johns hopkins ER hallway for a total of almost 12 hours. and at some point–i can’t even tell you how long we’d been there–we hear an ambulance call in over some sort of speaker system saying some guy had just overdosed, they’d probably need to call security and etc.

holly and i looked at each other.

“can’t they put us somewhere else?” i asked. “i don’t want to be here for this.”

“i don’t think there’s anywhere else they can put us, honey. otherwise we wouldn’t be in the hallway.”

“don’t get snarky,” i told her.

“i’m not getting snarky.”

“by the way, why couldn’t you just have said one funny thing while that beast was drawing my blood?? just one thing! i was this close to fainting! you couldn’t have told me a joke??”

“babe. i was scared. how could i have told you anything funny? what kind of joke could i have possibly told you?”

“oh i don’t know! how about: what’s invisible and smells like worms?! BIRD FARTS. bird farts, babe! that would have been a great one! remember we heard it the other day?!”

“yes i remember! but there’s no way i could have remembered it at that moment.”

“i know,” i said quietly, trying to avoid thinking about the prickly needle in my arm and wondering when i might eat the peanut butter sandwich i packed before we left home. yes, i really did pack a peanut butter sandwich before we left the house. who knows when we’d even eat next?? i mean, they don’t feed you in the ER, do they? i had no idea and hell if i was going to be left stranded without food.

thankfully, i ate half my sandwich and had some time to digest before they brought in Over McDosey. we knew he was on his way in because we heard him screaming. 

“oh jesus,” holly said, watching. “he’s coming this way. right behind you. don’t turn around.”

“HELP ME HELP ME HELP MEEEEEEEEEE!” he shouted as they pushed him down the hall.

i watched holly’s face, her eyes bulging, as his voice grew louder and louder.

“drugs are bad, babe!” i whispered, probably too loudly. “DRUGS ARE BAD.”

our luck being, well, our luck, they put Overdose–no, actually, let’s call him Speedball, because according to the paramedic that brought him in, that’s what he took, some kind of combo of methadone, cocaine and prescription pills–in the room right next to my head.

a line of nurses filed into his room carrying a tremendous amount of bedpans. more bedpans than i had ever seen in my life at one time.

“he said his stomach really hurts,” the paramedic told the nurse next to us.

“IT’ COMIN OUTTA ME!” he shouted. “OH IT’S COMIN OUTTA ME!!!!! UHHHGGGGGGG!!!! HELP HELP HELP ME IT’S ALL COMIN OUT!!!!”

“holy shit, babe,” i said. “what the in HELL. we can’t stay here! i don’t want to be near this!”

holly, at this point, was nearly gagging. with her t-shirt over her nose and mouth, she helped me up from the gurney and we walked to the other side of the ER’s nursing station, as far away from Speedball as possible.

and that’s when we saw him: someone we recognized.

now, around our neighborhood here in southeast baltimore, we have an array of characters, some more unsavory than others, and we have private nicknames for them.

Jerry the Drunk
Janet the Drunk
Raspy-Voiced Unemployed Dry Waller Drunk Guy That Lives at Jerry’s
Guy That Drinks From Jerry’s Hose
Hooker We Thought Was Pregnant But Just Turned Out to be Bloated
Steelers Fan That Beat Her Teenager With a Cane in Front of our House
Blond-Haired Hooker
Hoops The Hooker
Big Bubba the Drugdealer

and then there’s the best one of all: Feral Cat Guy, named such because he actually looks like a feral cat. he has chunks of hair missing and is just…dirty. it’s like he’s the druggie, adult version of pigpen. we once heard jerry, janet, all the hookers and the raspy-voiced unemployed dry waller drunk guy shouting at him:

“get lost! you smell! YOU STINK!”

“honey,” holly whispered to me as we cowered in the corner, holding our breath trying to ignore Speedball’s screams. “is that…it couldn’t be…”

“FERAL CAT GUY,” we said simultaneously.

“Feral Cat Guy is here at the ER? with us?” i said. “oh you have got to be kidding me.”

he was skulking around the doorway of his room trying to get the nurses’ attention, any nurse at all. asking for some sort of medication. it looked like he had been, well, it looked like he had been in a cat fight, actually. i kind of couldn’t believe it. here we were, on a saturday afternoon, with Feral Cat Guy, for hours and hours. and i’m not even wearing a bra. wonderful.

the nice nurses set up a little station for us in our new corner of the ER, with a gurney and blanket for me and a chair for holly. and that’s where we sat. and sat. and sat.

eventually Speedball was wheeled out by security to go night-night, one guy holding his arms and another holding his legs. we tried avoiding Feral Cat Guy’s stare, lest he recognize us from the neighborhood, which we didn’t think he did.

eventually it was unavoidable: holly had to walk past him to get her phone, which was charging near the nursing station.

“Feral Cat Guy just talked to me,” she said when she got back.

“huh?”

“yeah. he said, ‘hey homie, you got the time?'”

“he called you HOMIE?! what is this, 1996?”

“yeah. i know. seriously.”

more hours went by. then transport came to take me for an MRI. i hate MRIs. i’ve gotten a bunch of them, but it’d been a while and i was out of practice. holly came along, and as we walked (well technically i was being wheeled) i prayed i wouldn’t have a panic attack while i was in “the tube,” as i call it.

we arrive and the techs tell me i can listen to music. in fact, i can choose whatever i’d like, as they have pandora. i tell them frank sinatra.

“old blue eyes it is,” the male tech said.

the techs, a man and a woman, take me in and i say i’m scared. the lady tells me it’ll be fine and instructs me on how to use this little squeeze device to notify them if i’m having a problem.

i close my eyes and they cover them with a cloth. then they put this weird grate thingy over my face. i feel the MRI table move backwards and even though my eyes are closed and covered, i feel the space close in. it takes me about two minutes to let go of the lady’s hand. i’m suddenly paralyzed with fear–40+ minutes in this MRI tube and what will they find in my brain??

i tell the techs i’m ready, and they leave. my heart is racing. i try to remind myself that they’re just outside. in a few moments, the music starts. the sound of sinatra’s voice is comforting. then a home depot commercial comes on and i feel irritated. home depot ruins everything. then more music. i’m shaking like a leaf. the machine is pounding and i imagine magnetic waves slicing through my brain.

i take a deep belly breath and imagine dancing with holly in our living room, as we often do, with comcast’s “singers & swing” cable radio station on. i imagine the soft feel of her cheek next to mine, the warmth of her arms around my body.

“i love you, honey,” she says.

“i love you, too,” i say, swaying to the music.

suddenly i imagine us folding sheets together, matching up the corners, holly teasing me, telling me, “stop walking towards me, babe! walk back, go back.”

“i can’t help it!” i tell her. “i just want to be near you.” and then we laugh.

i imagine us chopping vegetables at the island in our kitchen. well, i kind of suck at chopping vegetables, so i decide i’m peeling potatoes, that i can do.

“this is called a mirepoix,” holly says, pushing the onions, carrots and celery into a hot sauté pan. the mixture begins to sizzle and our first floor starts to smell like the start of something delicious.

i snap out of my revelry and realize i’m still in the MRI tube. i start to panic. i take another deep breath and instead imagine us on our bed. we’re lying on our cool, white bedspread. our windows are open and the ceiling fan is on.

i think of my dear, late grandmother.  i’m in middle school running up her apartment building’s stairwell with my bookbag on. i’m climbing up the stairs two by two, i’m so excited to see her. i open the stairway door and i’m in her dimly lit hallway. she’s cooked for me, i can smell it. it’s chicken soup or stew, i’m not sure, but it smells warm and delicious and i’m hungry. i’m at her door, i ring the bell. she opens the door and i wrap my arms around her. oh jessie, i’m so happy to see you! she says. you’re the apple of my eye, you’ve always been the apple of my eye. she steps back and sings me this little old-timey song she used to sing to me all the time and we dance together.

i can’t give you any-thing but loooove, baby. that’s the only thing i’m thinkin of, baby…

my eyes well up with tears. grandma, i think, whispering to her in my mind. please don’t let anything be wrong with me.

the machine shakes my entire body and i force myself to imagine holly and i in our living room again. we switch between dancing and folding sheets and cooking dinner until the lady tech announces over my earphones, “you’re all done, jessica. you did great. we’ll be right in.”

transport comes back to take holly and i back down to the ER. we’re there, back in our corner, i don’t know how much longer, hours and hours, and finally a neurologist comes to speak to us. she says my MRIs and CT scan looked great, and that i didn’t have a stroke. holly and i breathe out. everything will be fine, i think.

she does a full neurological exam on me and says she’d like to admit me–something about my reflexes being jumpy and she’s concerned that my left cheek was somewhat numb to her touch. my stomach sinks. i’ve never stayed overnight at a hospital.

we ask her why and she says she wants to do more MRIs, this time of my spine, to rule other things out. i ask her what other things? she says let’s not get ahead of ourselves, and just see what the MRIs say. i look at holly and suddenly i’m scared again.

finally, around 11:30pm–nearly 12 hours since we arrived at the ER–we’re taken to a room on the ninth floor in the neurological unit. everyone is so nice it blows me away. they bring holly a cot and pajamas and we both fall asleep watching, yup, you guessed it, “something borrowed,” until the nurse comes in at 4:15am to take me down for more MRIs.

trasport is waiting for me with a wheelchair. i start shaking again and this time i can’t stop.

“i love you, honey,” holly says as they wheel me out. “you’ll be fine.” but i know she’s freaking out inside. she’s been crying on and off all day.

i get down to the MRI area. the lights are low and it’s silent except for the hum of the equipment. the same male tech is there, but the lady’s gone. the buzzer rings and a new patient comes in. it’s a woman–she looks like she’s been in an accident or beat up or had a stroke or something equally terrible. she asks for water and throws up off and on while i wait in my wheelchair in front of the MRI room. i know it sounds terrible, but i’m relieved my back is to her. i read the warnings on the door over and over again to pass the time while i try to keep myself in check.

another patient comes in. he’s on a bed and i find out he’s just had a stroke. i remind myself just how lucky i am. things could be a whole lot worse, i tell myself. but i continue to shake.

i go through the same routine again. my earphones are on and sinatra’s being piped in. i imagine all those comforting everyday things that kept me calm the last time: dancing…folding laundry…cooking dinner…a cool breeze as holly and i lie on our bed.

the tech comes back in and puts dye–“contrast” it’s called–in my IV. six more minutes, he tells me. i’m covered with sweat. i can do this. i can do this. and then i’m done. it’s over. soon i’m back in my room next to holly. we squeeze each other’s hands and the sun rises over the city. we sit up and try to see our house in the distance. i want to be there more than anything. i never knew i could ache for our neighborhood like this. i just want to be home, healthy. folding sheets. dancing with holly. in our bed together, not in this hospital.

a nurse comes in to draw more blood, and this time holly’s able to distract me and make me laugh. she leaves at 7am to get a shower at home and change her clothes.

“i don’t want to leave you,” she says.

“it’s ok,” i tell her. “i’m not going anywhere. i’ll see you soon.”

i lay alone, trying to fall back asleep but i can’t. i flip the channels on tv over and over again. breakfast comes in and it’s pretty gross: eggs (powdered?) and cream of wheat (??) and…overly sweet blueberry coffee cake. and coffee. i gulp the coffee and before i know, holly’s back, looking adorable in her UB sweatshirt and her comfy, loose-fitting yoga pants i always steal. i feel so happy i could cry.

“honey! you’re back! you look so cute.” i can’t stop smiling. just looking at her makes me feel like i’ve slipped into a hot bath.

she walks over, crawls on my bed, puts her head on my chest, curls up and starts to cry.

“honey…what’s…what’s wrong? honeybear, don’t cry. i’m ok. i’m ok.”

she lifts her head and looks in my eyes.

“i hated being at home without you,” she says. “i couldn’t stand it. i’m gonna be a better spouse. i’m gonna…i’m gonna do more dishes. i’m gonna clean up more. i’m gonna be better.”

she starts to cry again and i shoosh her and tell her she’s a wonderful spouse, to not be ridiculous. but i know what she’s really saying: i am so worried about you and i don’t want to say it out loud. i don’t want to say what i’m worried about. i’ve never had to imagine you not in my life before. we’ve never had a scare like this. i want you to be around forever. and i’m so sorry if i haven’t been everything you’ve needed because you’re everything to me.

i hold her and she calms down. soon we’ve found a movie to watch: tyler perry’s “i can do bad all by myself.” little-known fact: holly loves emotional african-american comedy-dramas (dramadies?) and now i love them, too.

by the end, they’re singing in the church and i’m bawling, covered in goosebumps.

“oh these tyler perry movies get me every time,” i whimper, wiping my eyes. “i’m starting to think i’m part african-american.”

we laugh and soon there’s a knock at the door. the head neurologist and two residents file in. they introduce themselves, and the doctor says he has good news: everything checked out just fine. i didn’t have lesions on my spine and i don’t have MS or any number of things they thought i might. i breathe out deeply. i had no idea i was even a candidate for something like that. no wonder the neurologist in the ER didn’t want to answer all my questions.

he does a neurological exam on me. i groan inside when he asks me to take my legs out from under the blanket.

“just a disclaimer,” i say. “it’s not like i knew i’d be here so my legs aren’t…well, being that i’m of eastern european descent, i pretty much have to shave them every four days, so, uh, yeah.”

they all laugh. not a problem, he says. after the exam, he says the neuroradiologist just needs to confirm that everything is ok. and then i’ll be released. i feel like jumping out of my bed and clicking my heels together.

after everyone leaves, holly and i look at each other. i put my hand in hers and she wraps her fingers around mine. there’s so much to say but we don’t need to say much. she climbs up in my bed and wraps her arms around me.

i tell her about all the things i imagined while i was in the MRI tube.

“it’s funny, i thought about all the most mundane things,” i say. “even folding sheets with you. after a while i was like, how many sheets can we fold? i just want to get out of this damn tube!”

we laugh more and watch tv, talking about this and that until lunch comes. holly’s finally able to eat a little (she was so nervous she was barely able to drink water). a couple hours later, the neurologist and the residents are back with the official word–the neuroradiologist examined my MRIs and agreed: i was in good shape. what i experienced was what was called a “migraine variant.” i’d be going home soon.

the relief we felt was…indescribable. unfortunately, there’s nothing like a health scare to make you realize how lucky you are. lucky to be healthy. lucky to have your spouse. lucky to see the sun shine another day. or feel the rain on your face. i don’t care how cheesy that sounds, it’s true.

when we got back to our house sunday night, i was so thankful. thankful to see everything. all the rowhomes, their formstone saturated by rain. the wet sidewalks. even the mini liquor bottles in our tree pit and the doggone puffs of tumbleweave. i’d probably even be happy to see Feral Cat Guy skulking around somewhere.

i was home. i was healthy. we were together. it was an ordinary day in every sense of the word, but to me it was extraordinary. even though it was only 8pm, we were exhausted. we took showers, got into our pajamas and climbed into bed. we turned on the tube. i cracked my window and the fresh air blew in. just what i imagined during my MRI. only this wasn’t something i needed to conjure up in my imagination, i thought. this was real. we were here. i cuddled up to holly and fell into a deep sleep, feeling lucky, so completely and totally lucky, and awoke, still grateful.

……

i want to send a special thank you to ms. jennifer weiner–my literary idol and #1 new york times bestselling author–for reading, loving and retweeting my last post to her 43,000+ twitter followers. you are fabulous.

to all my new readers (and there’s lots of you now!), welcome! things are not usually this emotional around here, but it’s good to get a good cry in once in a while. and listening to cyndi lauper’s “true colors” on repeat doesn’t always work. nor does watching the last five minutes of “pretty woman” because you get to a certain age when you realize hookers are never that pretty and she really did deserve more than $3,000 for that week.

you know you live in baltimore when…

inspired by an upcoming 48 hours away from “the greatest city in america,” i wrote this list on the stankass megabus to philly last week while listening to yes, “welcome to the jungle.” which makes me wonder: was axl rose in los angeles when he wrote that song? or was he really in…southeast baltimore??

you know you live in baltimore…

when your alley looks like a thrift shop
when you think you saw a squirrel in your yard, but it actually turned out to be a really big rat
when your “yard” is actually a cracked concrete pad
when you find chicken bones in your yard and you haven’t eaten chicken lately
when you discover the “trees” in your yard–and the trees in all of your neighbors’ yards–are just really big weeds
when you get a cat just to catch mice
when every dog you pass on the street is a “pit mix”
when you can’t figure out if the methhead across the street is 30 or 90
when your neighborhood crime listings read like the funnies
when the whapwhapwhap of helicopters lull you to sleep at night
when half your block smells like mothballs & old church basement during open-window season
when scary-ass ice cream trucks circle your neighborhood til midnight–and you’re not sure if they’re really selling ice cream
when there’s an earthquake in the middle of the day in the middle of the week and everyone’s home
when a construction dumpster is a community event
when half the basements on your block flood because someone stole all the copper piping out of rehab
when you roll over at least three plastic mini liquor bottles every time you park your car
when people save parking spots with orange cones in one inch of snow
when someone gets stabbed over a coned-off parking spot in one inch of snow

live in baltimore? recently escape? add yours below…

probing my ladyparts, part 2

Nurse Ratched. "no i won't hold your hand!" (i hope you have surgery one day and some mean nurse won't hold *your* hand!)

since all you sickos seemed to just love my last surgery story, (the most popular post in the history of lunch at 11:30) i figured you’d like to know the glorious details of my recent surgery, which, yes, was also gynecological. making it even funnier for you but worse for me.

let’s see. it started with a bowel cleanse. no, wait. it actually started with a clear-liquid diet, excessive hunger, extreme low blood-sugar and hallucinations. then came the bowel cleanse.

when i decided to have the surgery, the dr., we’ll call her Dr. MSG (Mean Sexy Gyno; you’ll learn more about her in my book, yes, my e-book, the one i’m self-publishing BOOYAH) was like, yeah, it’s routine, no big deal. and so i was like yeah, it’s routine, no big deal. i’ll go to the hospital, take a nap (that’s what i tell myself when i’m going under to make myself feel better–like saying oh just give me a little piece of cake i’ll just take the littlest piece! at a party and then you get a big ol piece and eat the whole damn thing anyway, saying well i *asked* for a little piece!), wake up from my nap, we’ll go to the diner. no big whoop.

so holly and i go to to see MSG, who was looking especially sexy but luckily not acting quite as mean as usual, a few days beforehand to discuss the procedure. honestly, i didn’t know what we’d talk about. i already planned on plugging up my ears and shouting LALALALALA if she even tried telling me how she was going through my bellybutton to probe my insides.

“so i’ve written you a prescription for a narcotic bc you’re going to be in a lot of pain,” she said, deadpan, as we sat around a small round table in her sunny office.

“w-what?” i said. “a lot of pain?”

“yeah,” she said.

“so i’m not going to be able to go to the diner right after the procedure?”

“uh, no,” she said, taking notes on her computer, obviously not interested in answering my questions.

i tried not noticing her nails, which were perfectly polished. or her high sexy boots, short skirt, and looooong jacket (just like the cake song!) bc you’re not supposed to notice things like that about your gyno for crying out loud, esp when you’re a homo. esp when she’s cutting you open in a couple days.

“you’ll be fine when you get home, bc you’ll be drugged up,” she continued. “it’s the next day that’s going to be your worst. i’ll be filling your abdomen with gas during the surgery. afterwards, the gas is going to migrate to your diaphragm and then settle in your right shoulder. i’m telling you now so you don’t think you’re having a heart attack. it’s going to hurt like hell. you’ll start your liquid diet monday and you’ll do your bowel cleanse that night. nothing to drink after midnight. no tea. nothing. if you even have a stick of gum i’m canceling the whole thing. let’s see, your procedure’s tuesday, so plan on being out of commission until monday.”

w-w-w-wait. gas in my abdomen? settle in my right shoulder? feel like a heart attack? out of commission til MONDAY? LIQUID DIET? BOWEL CLEANSE?!!!!!!!!!

HOLY SHIT LADY. WHAT IN THE HELL.

apparently, for MSG to a) see if i had endometriosis and b) remove it if i had it at all, my digestive track needed to be completely clear so she could LALALALALA. i don’t know what she said bc i put my fingers in my ears and let holly listen to the rest.

the day before the surgery i was to wake up and only ingest clear liquids which hello! is practically a death sentence for someone like me who has to eat every three hours. at 2pm i would take two dulcolax, which was bad enough. then pour entire bottle of miralax–that’s a two-week supply–into a 32oz. bottle of sports drink and then drink 8oz. every hour starting at 4pm until it was gone. then i would crap my brains out and be ready for MSG to filet me like a fish.

needless to say i was not happy. all i’m going to tell you is that i spent that monday delirious with low blood sugar and i will never ever drink blue powerade–or anything BLUE– again. ever. again. (i just got chills as i wrote that.)

by the time i checked into the hospital the next day, i was so hollow that if i passed gas i was sure it’d sound like Old Man Winter at the south pole. i went back to the little pre-op room and put on my gowns, then told the IV lady not to tell me what she was doing but then she said the word “vein” anyway and i almost fainted.

then MSG came in and ignored me while i asked her questions. i wanted to tell her that she looked pretty with her hair in her scrub/net thingy, but i thought that would be inappropriate. instead i complimented her orange crocs, which she also ignored.

soon, holly was allowed to come back and sit with me. it wasn’t long until everyone and their mom started to come in and introduce themselves, which, i have to admit, was pretty nice. the anesthesiologist stopped by and after he told us he was “heavy-handed” with his drugs (!!??), he and holly talked about ballpoint pens and which were their favorites, both agreeing that these silver fine-point clicky pens from staples were the best. yeah, i know. i don’t get it either.

then this nice nurse lady came back to say hi and just when she had me somewhat relaxed, pulled a fast one on me by saying she was ready to take me back. that’s when i started to sweat profusely.

holly gave me a hug and a kiss and the nice nurse lady held my IV bag as we walked to the operating room. this was a far cry from being wheeled into the OR 100% high on drugs last time.

as we approached the door, i noticed a small ravens sticker on the little OR window. as a steelers fan suffering from low blood sugar i decided i could not stand for this.

“a ravens sticker? on the OR door?! you have got to be kidding me.”

the nice nurse lady whispered to me that she was an eagles fan so she understood how i felt. then i engaged her in a discussion about the city of philadelphia so i could keep myself from fainting.

so i get to the operating table–and i can’t even believe i’m still conscious by this point–and she tells me to step up to the table with the help of this little step stool. she helps me up and i lie down on this padded table, which mysteriously seems…really wet. NO I DIDN’T DO WHAT YOU THINK I DID. I WAS STILL CONSCIOUS JUST LISTEN TO THE STORY.

i tell the nice nurse lady that the padded paper stuff underneath me feels really wet.

“well you mentioned you were sweating,” she says.

“yeah but it feels really wet. i’m not sweating that much.”

“hmm, let’s see. here, let me help you sit up.”

the nurse leans down while i raise my arms up so she can help me up. suddenly i hear the anesthesiologist say, nurse, i already administered the…

the last thing i remember is reaching for the nurse and wanting to say hold me! (i get alarmingly mushy when drugged, more on that in a sec) then i fell back. then i woke up.

oooh it’s so bright, i remember thinking.

“am i still in surgery?” i remember calling out to no one.

“no, you’re in recovery, sweetie,” said the recovery nurse. we’ll call her Nurse Ratched. it was one of those times someone calls you “sweetie” but you know they totally don’t mean it and are only saying it to you bc they’re pretending to be nice bc they feel like they have to or else they’ll get fired.

usually i come out of anesthesia feeling relaxed and pretty excellent. but this time i was totally freaking out. i was shaking and i could hear my doggone heart beating on this monitor thing, which only made my heart beat faster.

“i’m shaking,” i told Nurse Ratched. “i’m so nervous. can you hold my hand and just talk to me for a little bit?”

“i’m sorry, sweetie, but i have other patients to attend to.”

“oh.”

i waited, shaking, for a little longer and then asked again, trying not to sound too desperate.

“do you think you could just hold my hand and talk to me until i calm down? just for a few minutes?”

and you know what that bitch said? she said no. again. i did a breathing exercise i heard about on the today show (i need a t-shirt that says, “everything i ever learned i learned on the today show”) except for i couldn’t really remember it. was it breathe in for 4 seconds then hold it for 7, then out for 8? or in for 7, hold for 8 then out for 4?

“why am i so nervous?” i asked her as she typed on her computer. “why am i shaking?”

“it’s just your nature, sweetie.”

it’s just…MY NATURE?! i swear if i wasn’t drugged up at that moment, i would’ve  given that bitch a jersey backhand into the next century.

you wanna get all existential on my ass? i wanted to say. i’ll show you existential!

instead i continued shaking and tried to remember more breathing exercises while i listened to my heartbeat on that damn monitor, which of course made it beat faster. when Nurse Ratched left, i took the monitor off my index finger. it set off an alarm so i put it back on and shut my eyes like i fell back asleep.

obviously the breathing exercises weren’t working, so instead i forced myself to think about funny online videos, like this one, which i know is mean but c’mon ppl i was desperate. and this one (is megan mccarthy not the funniest woman on the planet?!).

who’dya have to f*ck around here to have someone hold your motherf*ckin hand! i thought, feeling mad and alone.

then i decided to ask Nurse Ratched if holly could come back every two minutes until she would break down and let her back to see me.

her name is holly and she’s my partner, i slurred. can you have her come back here please?

then she asked on a scale of 1 to 10 how bad was my pain? i said 5, then she administered something, then i felt tingly and didn’t feel the need to talk anymore.

before i knew it, Nurse Ratched had me standing up and was putting those weird little hospital boy shorts on me (what are those things made of? i kind of love them, do they come in a five-pack?).

“here, let me just put a pad on you in case you bleed,” she said.

oh great, Nurse Ratched. sure, put a pad on me. you won’t hold my damn hand but you’ll put on my underwear and slap a pad on me? i didn’t have any energy to fight so i put my arm around her and tried not to feel too violated. hell, i already had enough people messin with my downstairs, might as well have one more, i thought.

holly came back and i swear i was so happy to see her i just about bursted out of my skin. i tried to talk to her but the words wouldn’t come out. so instead i held her hand and whispered that the nurse was a real bitch and i would tell her later, could she get another pair of the stretchy boy shorts to take home with us?

MSG came back and told us that i had just a mild case of endometriosis, which she removed, and to eat a very light diet for the next 24 hours. i was pissed bc i wanted a bagel, cream cheese and lox (lox! the jewish sushi) and now that was out of the question.

Nurse Ratched was playing it reeeeal nice now that holly was back there, but i saw right through it and yes, i was going to call her manager.

a clueless nursing student wheeled me downstairs while holly got the car. we got home and within a couple hours, i felt like i had been hit by a 10-ton truck. i’m glad i skipped the bagel, cream cheese and lox bc let’s just say it took a while for my digestive track to get…back to normal.

the next day, a woman from the hospital called to see how i was feeling and i took the opportunity to tell her how mean Nurse Ratched was to me, that i was nervous and shaking and if she didn’t have the time to hold my friggin hand and talk to me for a few damn minutes, then she could’ve found someone that could have. she sounded kind of alarmed and told me that she would pass that along though i kind of doubted that she actually would, as she probably just wanted to get off the phone with me by that point.

so anyway, that’s why i left you in connecticut last month when i really needed to be telling you about our wedding blitz vermont wedding. i was freaking out about my surgery, then i had my surgery, then i was recovering from surgery and picking up the pieces of my broken life that i pretty much ignored for a couple weeks while i sat motionless at my computer watching my facebook newsfeed, hitting “like” at any and all photos of dogs and/or babies and/or dogs and babies together. so that’s where i was. in case you were wondering.

speaking of our wedding blitz, we’re totally famous now. well, more like regionally famous. ok we’re famous with the university of maryland undergrad newswire service. but we’re available for interviews, and we’re gonna keep gettin married til we can’t get married no more!