Wednesday, March 23, 2011

East Coast

So much has happened since I wrote last. I didn't cover much or any of Mom's visit, so here's some bullet points:
  • We roadtripped in Massachussets. First we went to Salem with Melanie. We saw the House of Seven Gables, the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Phippen House (I'm descended from Phippens, but the gov't owns the house as part of the city of Salem, so we didn't go in), the memorial built for the 17 people who were convicted of practicing witchcraft in Salem and hung (or pressed to death), and some cool houses.
  • We roadtripped North. Mom wanted to visit Joseph Smith's birthplace in Vermont, and I wanted to see if Maine exists, so we rented a car and went on a roadtrip. First we went up the coast of Maine. We saw Portsmouth, Rockport, Rockland, and some other places. The best lighthouse was Nubble Light in York, ME. We visited Bowdoin College in Brunswick, where we found the only gargoyle in the state of Maine and visited the arctic museum. After some good time in Maine we decided to try and make it part of the way to VT. So we took off heading west. It started to snow really bad in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, so we stopped at this place called the Town & Country Motor Inn Resort. The old guy at the desk talked and talked about his old days in Boston and the place was actually really nice. When we woke up we heard about the tsunami that hit Japan. Keep praying for those people. We woke up and drove to Joseph Smith's birthplace right by Sharon, VT. We had the place to ourselves other than the nice missionary lady that gave us a tour. It's quite the place and the obelisk is gorgeous and has an incredible how-I-got-here story.

    Nubble Light - York, ME
    The only gargoyle in the state of Maine - Bowdoin College - Brunswick, ME
    My favorite inuit artpiece.
  • We roadtripped South. The day after we got back from VT we piled in a car with Allison 1 and Mel and went to Newport, RI to look at some mansions. The mansions were freaking huge. Some people just have too much money. My incision was acting up by the end, but I couldn't not go see The Breakers (one of the mansions). The gate and the inside reminded me of the Palace of Versailles, which it turned out to have been based off of. The billiards room was the coolest. Absolutely crazy.

    The Breakers
    Captain Morgan pose in front of the awesome tiger-killing-crocodile statue
    Allison 1, Me, and Melanie in RI
  • We stayed in Boston. Mom's last day here I took her to Bartley's for my Boston hamburger experience. She got the Oprah and I got the Viagra (best burger in Boston, so far).
Now Mom is home and I miss her. Especially when I had to do my own dishes. I'm glad she came. Totally saved my butt.

Since Mom left I've done even more. More bullet points!
  • The opera that Robert wrote had its American debut. He got me two free tickets to the full dress-rehearsal the night before it opened. Danielle Dobson came with me. It's called Death and the Powers: The Robot's Opera and was all sorts of craziness. There were robots controlled by MIT people who look exactly like you'd expect MIT robot-controlling students to look like (geeks), a part where the poor and starving attack the main character's daughter (it was a total zombie-esque scene and really well done), and even a man that sang super high and sounded like a woman. All in all I'd say that the words were fantastic and the music was just okay. But overall it was a good time.
  • I went to Boston Restaurant Week. Essentially, it's a week when restaurants make special menus so that you'll go try their stuff. Nishan, Rich, Daniel, Darin and I went to an upscale steakhouse called Mortons. It's down on the waterfront. The waiters all wear tuxedos and the cheapest steak we were shown was $68. Enter restaurant week: big chef salad with anchovies, filet mignon with broccoli and mashed potatoes, and desert. All for $35. It was the ultimate man night.
  • I went to Block Island, RI. Block Island is a tourist trap about an hour (by ferry) off the coast. It was me, Nishan, Danielle, Mel, and Dianne. Turns out it was still off season, so the place was deserted. Lucky for us we're all pretty chill, so we made an adventure of it. We walked around till we found a guy to ask for directions. He sent us to the grocery store (only thing open) where we got some food. Danielle found a number for a guy who rents out cars, so he came and picked us up in a Buick and we did some paperwork. Then we went all over the place. We walked out to the North lighthouse, had a picnic on the beach, skipped rocks, visited the anti-climactic "painted rock", checked out the South lighthouse, walked down to the bottom of the cliffs, and went to opening night at the one soon-to-be-open restaurant. We also found a human bone and talked a bunch about how much living there would be like an episode of The Twilight Zone. Dianne is a great photographer and got it all documented really well. Overall it was a blast.
  • Rich, Nishan, Reed, and I went to Joshua Tree to watch the BYU game the other night. My bracket is so freaking screwed up (freaking Rick Pitino), but BYU is doing pretty well. As usual, I am happy that we win but don't care when we lose. Jimmer's pretty amazing though. If we beat Florida (not a chance) I might root for us for a game. Don't cross your fingers.
  • I saw a racoon in Allston the other night. That was cool.
  • Last night Dan called me up and told me that he had discounted tickets to the Bruins/Devils game at the TD Garden. His roommate was supposed to come but had bagged out. I'm busier than I ever have been in my life, but I really like hockey. So I went to the game with Dan. Dan's from New Jersey, so he was in a Devil's jersey. The guy behind us gave him so much crap. It was hilarious (to me). The Bruins won 4-1 and I was a happy camper. Although there were no fights, which was super disappointing. After the game I had to pee, so I went into the bathroom where there were lines to every stall. The guys there were so drunk but they were making fun of each other and it was so funny. My favorite was the jab at the guy that had his hand up on the wall and the dude that suggested we unzip our pants early so that we saved some time. Gotta love hockey.
So, yeah, that's an update. More has happened but I think that's the big stuff. I'll try uploading pics again later; the computer is being stupid as usual.

As Nacho Libre would say: My life is good. Real good.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How to Have Your Appendix Removed

Check it out!

Isn't it beautiful?

So, last week I got my appendix taken out by Dr. Hackford at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center near my house. Sunday night I went to bed around midnight with some pain in my stomach. It wasn't like a stomach ache, but actual pain. That never happens. So I decided to sleep it off. At 2:30am I woke up and it still hurt, but a lot of the pain had moved down right above my belt on the right side.

I got up to get a drink of water and the thought popped into my head Maybe I have appendicitis. So I got on (never fails) and looked up the symptoms. I had all of them except a fever, and I don't really get fevers, so I decided to call Melanie, since she lives the closest and is a nurse. While I was waiting for her, I got bored. So I made my bed, tidied up my apartment, and paid my rent downstairs. Then I got in Mel's car and we drove up Beacon Street and then down Washington Street to St. Elizabeth's.

The guy at the emergency room door looked bored and kinda bummed when I walked under my own power. I told the lady at the front desk that I thought I had appendicitis and gave her my insurance stuff. A few minutes later a large, scary nurse came out and took me in to question me and take my temperature, etc. Our conversation went like this (she talks first, then we switch off):

Do you smoke?

Little did I know that I would have that conversation 800,000 times before they ripped out a part of my body and let me go. So they gave me a bed and Melanie came in and sat with me till  7am when she knew when my surgery would be (she's a trooper). The next lady came in and we had this conversation (same format as before, with her talking first):

Do you smoke?
Recreational drugs?
Haha, nope.
What do you do?
I play basketball.

She was my favorite. Later a girl doctor came in and poked me a bunch and then set me up to go get a CT scan. One of the sweetest movies ever, The Patriot, was on TV, but I didn't get to watch hardly any of it because the doctors and nurses would all come in right as it started up and ask questions and poke and prod and then they would leave right as the commercials started. Then the next one would come in right as the commercials ended and stay till the next commercial break. So I saw Mel Gibson be sad a few times and wave a flag. Still good, but not what you want from The Patriot.

Next I went in for my CT scan. I like that they call it a "cat scan". My radiologist's name was Jaime and she was a few years older than me and had some cool piercings in her right ear. She told me that I would need to fill my bowels with dye so the cat scan could see my innards. There were two options. Option 1, I could drink the dye, wait for two hours and let my appendix throb, and then get the cat scan. Option 2, she could "fill me up in reverse."

Being the adventurous type, I went for Option 2. Now Jaime is the woman that knows me better than any woman on Earth. She filled me up backwards and we talked about her 5-month-old and how funny it was that there's a balloon at the end of the tube she was using to keep it in place. I didn't feel much (I'm good at relaxing) so it wasn't as horrendous as I thought it would be (given, I don't ever want to do it again, but you know what I mean). The cat scan made lots of cool noises and I watched the green lights spinning around and around.

Then we were all done, she drained me (forward?), and then I got a new hospital robe, which was shorter. Sexy. Jaime wheeled me back to my room in the ER and I asked her if I could see the pictures. She told me that they'd show me later, but we were buds, so she said she'd see what she could somewhat-illegally do. A few minutes later she came in with a CD and told me that it had the software I needed to see my guts and to hide it with my stuff so they didn't take it away or charge me for it. So I gave it to Mel and she put it in her purse for safe keeping.

Then a new doctor came in. He was a few years older than I was, too, and didn't like to make eye contact. He showed me my guts and saw that my appendix was blocked halfway down instead of at the opening where it hits my intestine. He said that was different but that if he had been told that I was young he would have treated the symptoms and set me up for surgery without having ordered the CT scan (toss up...I never would have met Jaime, but I never would have been filled up backward either). So he set up my surgery for noon and left Mel and I to the closing credits of The Patriot.

Mel left and a few hours later I was wheeled up into the recovery area. They took my glasses and my iPod, so I was bored and blind so I asked Carol (my nurse) for a urinal and something to read. She gave me the urinal first. It looked like a wide-mouth water bottle and I filled it up almost to the brim (but didn't drink any). Then she could tell that I was bored and brought me one of those stupid celebrity magazine. I gave her my best I'm-not-an-idiot-,-are-you-? look and she laughed at me and went to find something. She came back with an outdated Time Magazine. I read it cover to cover and right as I was finishing one of my doctors came to meet me. He looked and sounded exactly like Jeff Bridges. Unfortunately, I was not in a movie, but it was still awesome.

Jeff Bridges-Kinda and I had the smoke/drink conversation. Carol and I had it. Then some new guy that was really cool but didn't stay long asked me all the same questions. Then I met Dr. Hackford who looked very extinguished. He asked me all the questions and then poked me harder than anybody else had poked me. Then he drew a line on me with his pen and said "Ok. Let's go." So they wheeled me into the operating room and gave me some gas and told me to breathe.

Next thing I remember is Carol's voice asking me if I can wake up. It took a long time, and I was really mad that she kept asking me if I could roll left when I just wanted to sleep. Eventually I came out of it. It was 4pm. I stayed there for a while until I wasn't quite so groggy and then they sent me to my room. I got the window side.

My roommate's name was Carl. He was 32 and had been in the hospital for a long time. He had something wrong with his large intestine that nobody under 50 ever has and instead of following protocol and removing the entire whatever-it-was they only took out half. But he was still sick and knew a few doctors here in Boston who told him to come here and work with a specialist. So he did. He hadn't eaten in like 9 days and was set to get a pick, which is, as far as I gathered, a giant IV that fills him with milkshakes or something.

Then I had visitors. First Kelly Welch, Katie Thornton, and Austin Walters came to visit me. They had just come from FHE and had missed me. It was sweet to see them and I learned how much visiting someone in the hospital really does help their spirits. Then I called Mom. She was on her way to take care of me. I told her not to, but I'm really glad she did. Then I watched the Bruins game. There were lots of fights, which made me feel better. I did my best to not get riled up and I resisted the urge to throw off my IV and start punching Carl. Resisting that urge was the hardest thing about surgery.

Then I texted Allison Mitton and asked her to come get my keys and then go to my house and get my iPod charger so I could continue playing Solitaire for hours. So she stole a car from one of her roommates and did just that, but it was late so the nurse gave her a hint that it wasn't a good idea to stay long. How rude. I am thankful for good friends. Huge, huge, HUGE blessing. I got calls, texts, and emails from worried people and Chelsea Ashton had some chocolate covered pirate-themed brownie suckers sent to my house from Sheri's Berries. Hooray for good people.

Then I kinda slept. Every two hours Carl's machine would start beeping so he could get more medicine. It would wake me up and I had to pee every time, and getting out of bed was a process (the urinal was fun, but not that fun). It felt good to get up, though, and my calves were really sore from the little air-filled braces they put on me during surgery and recovery that squeezed my legs every few seconds so I didn't get a blood clot (not worth it).

Then it got light. I asked the nurse for breakfast. When it came we had to convince the lady that I was Calvin and Carl was Carl. Nobody really wrote down that I was at the window, so they just assumed the food was for him since they had seen him for a while. I kinda felt bad when one of the nurses came in and handed him a menu and told him that he was allowed to eat and I had to tell her that I was Calvin. Then the brunette doctor I didn't remember very well came in and told me that I was free to go whenever I wanted. Mel was picking up Mom at the airport so I decided to try and get dressed. When I was mostly done they showed up and I slowly made my way out of the hospital.

So now it's been a week. My cut (seen above) is healing nicely. I'm not allowed to lift anything heavier than 15 pounds for a 4-6 weeks and I have to take it really easy, but I can eat whatever I want. I'm officially out of Percocet so I am enjoying my Advil and this morning I finally put on my own socks. Mom is here for another week since she had limited flight options for medical emergencies. It's been nice to have her here and she's seen some of Boston, but our adventures can wait since this post is forever long.

So, yeah. I am now appendix-less and trying to get back into the swing of things.

The End.