Friday, December 01, 2006

Dear Santa...

Even though Stacy Without An E is in his (ahem) 30's, he still writes to Santa on a yearly basis. In the past, his letters have been primarily about "stuff" that he desired at that moment in his life. Due to circumstances dealt Stacy by the Hand of Fate, "stuff" just seems a little less important these days.

Dear Santa,

Hi Santa, remember me? Sure you do. You honored me with many great presents over the years and I have always been eternally grateful.

When I was nine you blessed me with the amazingly entertaining Matchbox garage. It had three stories and could be arranged into different configurations. I never could get the elevator quite right though. Every time I tried to rotate a car through the three levels the entire structure would collapse. With that simple gift you allowed my imagination to create StacyVille on the top of our huge family cedar chest.

The following year you triggered my imagination again with Brix Blox. They were a less expensive version of Lego's, but they added homes and businesses to StacyVille. I wiled away hours wondering aloud what it would be like to be an adult and own all the cool cars in my Matchbox collection. I had the Trans-Am (stop laughing, it was the 70's), the BMW with the gull doors (the only car in StacyVille that could fly) and even a Rolls-Royce.

But that next year, things changed. StacyVille gathered dust as I wiled away my youth being shuttled from one hospital to another. That's not your fault though. As time went on and my treatments began, the floor of the living room became my home. My toys became dry and listless without my creativity to give them life.

You remember, don't you Santa?

I've mused for many hours wondering what I should ask for this year. I realize I'm probably on the naughty list. Some days I'm not as nice to people as I should be. I get riled easily when people don't use their blinker and my temper is short with those who I don't believe are using as much mental power to get through their daily lives.

I could really use one of those portable DVD players so I could fully immerse myself in my movies and forget that I'm forced to endure Dialysis each and every week. Maybe I could finally block out ol' Farty Snorey they always seem to place me next to.

There's also this really cool watch at Eddie Bauer I've been eyeing too.

But none of those things would really give me an ounce of happiness. Not really.

I know what you're thinking Santa. You think I'm going to ask for a kidney.

I wouldn't dare to request what you cannot possibly give.

Last Thursday in hour two of my treatment, as I dreamed of knawing off my arm at the shoulder just to gain some relief, the idea came to me.

I just want some peace this year Santa. That's all. Some peace.

No more depressing thoughts. No more weakening pain.

I'm not sure how much peace you can stuff into my stocking, but I'll hang it dangling by my office door. I'm working through the holidays because my family won't be with me this year.

Just some peace. And maybe some quiet. Peace and quiet.

And when you're done with me, if you have any left over, feel free to splash some around the globe during your yearly trek.

You know we need it.

Thanks Santa. You rule.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Kidney's Last Stand

One thing you should know about me is that I'm a native Northern Californian. Born and raised. And I'm very proud of that fact for whatever reason.

So it should come as no surprise that when the thermometor drops below 50 degrees Farenheit my body loses all ability to function properly.

Case in point, this morning in my shabby overpriced apartment.

I stumble out of bed and attempt to mine the eye nuggets out of my peepers and stagger to the bathroom.

Greeting me, as usual, is Cinder the Moody cat's feces. What's different about this morning is that they were steaming.

I scoop them out and continue on with my first business of the morning. A long-fine -all-American-better-watch-where-you're-standing forty-seven second urination.

Before my urine can expel from my body and arc it's way into it's new home, it freezes.

Not kidding. Not even joshing. It freezes there creating a lovely yellowish green (or greenish yellow if you prefer) Arc of Urine.

I paused for a moment and admired the flourescent light from above causing a prism of light to land on my nearby bath towel.

It was so beautiful I almost cried. Quite a spectacle to behold.

I have contacted the local art museum to display my personal fluid sculpture for all to ponder.

I call it Kidney's Last Stand.

Thank you and good night.

Friday, November 10, 2006

State o' Flux

Since my early college years (which are fading faster than my hairline) I have created a statement that was meant to quickly and succinctly declare when moments in my universe are completely out of whack.

That would be the proverbial: "State o' Flux."

More specifically, this is when moments in my life are completely and utterly out of balance and I have no idea how to achieve equiliibrium and, in turn, peace.

Nothing makes sense right now.

Maybe I should edit the phrase to "State o' Rut" because that's what my life has landed in.

State o' Flux @ Work

About two weeks ago my IQ challenged boss rushed into the studio and declared that management was NOT renewing his contract.

Because of my current state, this came as no shock since I can usually sense these things. My Stacy Sense had been tingling, alerting me to the fact that chance was afoot.

This is where Dialysis comes in handy. I've learned to be extremely patient after wallowing away my afternoons for three hours in the Chair.

Each day I ritualistically check the radio job boards to see if the position is posted.

Hmm. No? That's good.

I promised not to say a word. You know what happens when someone's departure is imminent.

Gossip and conjecture combine forces to create this river of nervousness that splashes everyone in earshot.

He's also been paying me $20 an hour to mix a new aircheck for his impending future employment. Not a bad gig since it's completely and utterly easy.

I've made a personal decision. If management offers me his job, I'll most likely take it depending on the salary increase.

If I'm passed over like bad gas, I will have to seek out a new opporunity. This actually excites me and gets me thinking of where I could take my talents next.

But at the same time, there's comfort in familiarity. I know the staff and work with them well. I have creative freedom on the air. My GM isn't breathing down my neck with show notes every day.

And Northern California is like a warm hug for a native. Born and raised. Missed it when I've been away.

There's nothing like spring or fall in Northern California. I highly recommend it for a vacation destination. Just make sure the shocks on the rental car are new because are roads are not.

State o' Flux @ Dialysis

I signed up for a research program at Dialysis.

I know, I know. What was I thinking, right?

It's been somewhat simple really. And the results could help Dialysis patient for generations to come.

A select number of patients are either put into the Control or Variable group by random computer selection.

At least that's what I was told.

Before Thanksgiving, I will either be three days a week at night for three hours. I've been fighting for this shift since we moved to the new clinic. Or, I'll be six days a week on two hour shifts.

The patients that are already in the study haven't had any complaints about six days a week. In fact, they've had more energy and felt better than ever before.

I'm only worried about my arm. Can it handle six days a week of needles? Will I give in to the urge to use Vicodin again? Will there be more sexy nurses six days a week?

I need someone to flirt with while I'm Dialyzing don't ya know.

I'm rooting for three days but will accept six days if it happens.

Much like my job, I dislike the waiting. It's as though there's this huge bulldozer about to scoop me up and drop me directly into a big mud puddle of impending Doom.

State o' Flux @ Night

I can't sleep. Lately I can't sleep for a series of three to four days and then my body suddenly gives in and tries to catch up.

That's when the nightmares take hold.

Last night I was in this little vehicle made out of a beach chair. It was similar to what James Bond used in one of the early Sean Connery films. Behind me were a fleet of similar vehicles using nothing but glass shards as weapons.

I would veer and turn and try as I might I couldn't escape them. Closer and closer they came. I was defenseless. As they honed in, I could feel the shards of glass, small at first, then larger in mass, eat into my flesh.

I awoke in a pool of sweat breathing heavily.

I went to www.DreamMoods.com and here's what they stated about glass in dreams:

To see glass in your dream, symbolizes passivity or protection. You may be putting up an invisible barrier around you in order to protect yourself in a situation or relationship.

To see broken glass in your dream, signifies a change in your life. You will find that a situation will come to an abrupt and untimely end.

The Stacy Barrier is always up to protect me from the evils of Dialysis. But it is spot on as to change afoot. Maybe I'm worried that I could be next in the "...we'd prefer not to emply you any futher" arena.

State o' Flux @ Life

I really feel I'm ready to date again, but something is holding me back. I believe deep down in the bowels of my soul that no one will wish to accept me because dating me means accepting the fact that I have a machine to keep me alive on a weekly basis.

Friends have often asked if they can visit with me at Dialysis and I always refuse. It's less a sense of pride and more an issue of vulnerability. Allowing someone to view me struggling to live may make me seem less human in their eyes.

Trust me. I've seen it before. It's not pleasant and steals my self esteem.

Sigh.

The State o' Flux continues unabated...

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Metamorphosis of White Pumpkin

I snuck the unsuspecting White Pumpkin into my office and closed the door softly, but quickly. White Pumpkin was looking forward to his first carving.

"Can I be a happy pumpking Stacy? Can I?CanI?CanI?CanI?CanI?Huh?Huh?Huh?Huh?Please?Please?Please?Please?Ple..."

"Ok, alright. Calm down."

I placed him on the corner of my desk and it took all my strength just to deal with his infantile questions.

I slumped down in my office chair as a wicked smile came across my face.

The White Pumpkin was going to become my unwilling pawn in teaching the world about the true nature of Dialysis.

But White Pumpking wouldn't stop jabbering.

"And I want really wacky hair! And a bow tie! Take the seeds from my belly and give me dimples! The other pumpkins are going to be jealous."

What White Pumpkin didn't realize is that, much like his new owner, he was an outcast. And my plans for his Halloween debut were not going to make him happy.

"Listen WP. I need you to relax. You're not going to like what I'm going to say."

White Pumpking stopped bounding about and his mood began to cloud.

"You're not going to drop me from an overpass are you? Some of my friends had that happen to them. They were denied the honor of the Carving."

I waved my hands in an effort to toss those ideas aside.

"No, no," I reassured him. "I have much loftier plans for you."

"Whew! Ok, that's cool. What did you have in mind?"

"You see WP, I'm on Dialysis."

"Synthesis?"

"No, Dialysis."

"You're going to die my skin. That'll be cool."

I grabbed a Sharpie and began to sketch the true face of Dialysis on White Pumpkin's skin.

"Hey! Wait! Hey, cut it out! That tickles!"

His giggles were high pitched and grating, but White Pumpkin seemed to be enjoying himself.

I took the pen knife and slowly started to etch out my drawings.

I paused momentarily, wondering if White Pumpkin could feel pain.

"No, no. The feel of the knife into my shell actually feels reassuring. Every pumpkin I've ever met wants to be carved. Few ever want to be used for pies or cake. Carving is the ultimate position in the pumpkin hierarchy.

White Pumpkin rambled on as I finished applying my final cut. The world of pumpkins was surprisingly fascinating.

"You see, the larger pumpkins control the community, but then there are divisions among skin clarity and deepness of color."

"What about you," I asked. "Aren't White Pumpkins considered outcasts?"

"Yes and no. We're considered 'special' by the Pumpkin Community. Many of the larger pumpkins adopt us, especially because many of us don't get picked by the Carvers."

I made my final cut and suddenly felt a kinship with White Pumpkin. We were both outcasts, but had survived our maladies and made something of ourselves.

"Are you done? Can I see? Can I? Huh? Huh? I wanna see!!"

I grabbed him from the corner of the desk and carried him to the men's bathroom so he could see himself in the mirror.

He nearly jumped from my fingers when he witnessed the result.


The tubing was compliments of the staff at my Dialysis Clinic.

"What did you do?!?! I look horrendous! None of the other pumpkins are going to accept me now! Why? Why Stacy?? Why did you do this? What did I ever do to you??"

I gently carried him back to my office and placed him back on the corner of thedesk.

"You see, Dialysis has been a long and insufferable part of my life. By creating you, I'm taking some of the pain I've felt over the last couple of years and harnessed it to teach others about what it means to be on Dialysis."

White Pumpkin was still crying. He didn't want to be Dialysis Pumpkin. He wanted to be happy and impress all of the pumpkin friends.

But it wasn't meant to be.

"What's all this crap in my head? When did you put all of that in??"

"While you were telling me about pumpkin history. You were so engrossed in your story you didn't notice."

He started to bound about the desk in small, erratic jumps.

"Hey, hey, hey!" I grabbed him by the sides in an effort to calm him down.

"Ok, listen." I started to mix a concoction of corn syrup and corn starch as I spoke to him. I spoke softly and reassuringly in an effort to help White Pumpkin understand my point of view.

"I can guarantee you that there is no other pumpkin on the face of the planet, right here, right now that is as cool and original as you."

His sobbing had diminished to sniffling, truly amazing considering he had no nasal passage or tear ducts to speak of. Before I continued I told myself a crying pumpkin is probably the saddest creature on Earth.

"So, um, well, I'm one of a kind? Really? There's no others like me? Are you sure?"

"Positive," I replied as I dabbled a few tablespoons of red food coloring into my recipe. "But you're not done yet."

"Really?" A sense of excitement returned to White Pumpkin's demeanor. "What's next?"

"One of the major drawbacks to Dialysis is that, from time to time, you lose a lot of blood. It's a bloody business overall and something no one should have to endure, ever. So I want to symbolize that with this."

I placed the glass of blood I had created directly in front of him.

"That looks delicious, what is it?"

"This my friend, is fake blood. You see this hypodermic needle?"

He nervously started to shake.

"I'm going to fill it with this fake blood and spray it all over your skin. Because it's composed of corn syrup, it will stick to your white skin and make it appear as though you were splattered."

Before the look of concern on his face could reach full strength, I calmed his fears.

"YOU are going to look SO cool! And it will feel cool too. Do you think you're ready for this?"

You could almost see the pumpkin seeds swirling inside his head, taking in every fact I had given him about Dialysis and processing it. He finally reached a decision.

"Let's do it! Go for it! Make sure you start at the top so it will drip down the sides."

"You're pretty special, you know that White Pumpkin."

"I'm sorry. Call me Dialysis Pumpkin!"


Dialysis Pumpkin lasted seven days and proudly lived his life as a 2nd Place Prize Winner at Punky's Perfect Pumpkin Patches On-Air Personality Pumpkin Contest. He made friends with the other pumpkins and was flirting with a rather shy deep orange pumpkin that was based on "The Great Pumpkin."

Once he returned from the festivities, he was greeted by every member of the staff as he made his new home at the corner of my office desk.

On the final day, his skin was wrinkled and he could barely keep his eyes open.

"I don't feel very good Stacy. Can you help me?"

I squatted on my haunches so I could look him square in the eye. I needed to pay him the respect he was due.

"Unfortunately, even though you're a Dialysis pumpkin, Dialysis can't save you."

He sputtered and coughed until a minute amount of fake blood spit from his lips. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of powerlessness. There was nothing I can do.

"I'm going to say goodbye now Dialysis Pumpkin. You were one of my most proudest creations. I'll never forget you."

He paused for a moment until he gave me the best gift of all: his final words.

"Thank you for my life."

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Stacy Dialysis Reality Check

I've been approached by one of the nursing students to do a case study on what it truly feels like to be a Dialysis Patient.

She caught me on a bad day.

Here is how I responded on the questionairre. Maybe I should have been more serious.

To acheive a realistic case study of what it truly means to be a Dialysis Patient, here's what I suggest you do:

1. Get yourself an easy chair that doesn't quite recline the way you like and pokes you in the back continuously.

2. Sit in said chair with one of your arms tied down with two painful needles inserted.

3. Stay put for three to four hours, depending on what treatment you're trying to replicate.

4. Four feet away place an elderly gentleman with terrible gas and a bad attitude who likes to shout phrases like, "Fuck your cabbage," or "Douche bags are tasty," continuously through the treatment.

5. Give elderly man a 13" diagonal TV and turn it up to full volume while tuned to some tacky novella.

6. Have someone playing a doctor come by, ask you how you're doing and then ignore everything you say.

7. Make sure at the 2 hour mark to have someone take a vice clamp, apply it to your right calf and tighten it as far as possible for as long as possible.

8. Repeat three times a week until a new kidney becomes available or you pass on.

The preceding may seem faceitous, but there's nuggets of truth scattered throughout.

I haven't seen her since.

Sometimes the truth hurts, especially when you're on Dialysis.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dialysisification of the Soul

I'm trying to create the proper phrase to fully demonstrate how awful I feel lately.

I've been vomiting a lot. How about Upchuckified?

Too cliched. Craptastically craptacular.

It applies, but I've used that before. How sad.

Case of the Oogies? Half past Death? Frumptastic?

Slightly used episode of According to Jim??

That'll do. I feel about the same after watching an episode.

I was doing so well too. I requested a bump in my ratings bonus and it was approved. I've been working weekends running the studio or hosting local events and I've earned nearly $1000 extra in just the past 6 weeks.

The truck loan will be obliterated in early '07. The student loan later that same year.

I started vomiting uncontrollably on Sunday. Mondy night after work I couldn't walk three steps from the bathroom without letting go.

Fortunately it was after hours, so after every incident I would just roll onto the floor outside the women's bathroom (it smells nicer) and try to catch my breath.

I've been able to hold down food now for about four hours. It's been heaven. Don't take digestion for granted; it's a wonderful chemical reaction that I have never fully appreciated.

After my treatment today Raven Haired Tech wanted to know what was wrong. Apparently my face was telling tales I couldn't control.

"I'm cramping in my chest."

I fell back to the chair and used all my strength to keep my fingers on the gauze holding in my limited supply of blood. I asked her to hold my sites while I clenched my ribcage. Moments later another one struck my lower back.

Extremely Obese Fat Woman (or is she Extremely Fat Obese Woman?) chuckled to herself. I couldn't tell if she was laughing at me or Oprah. I didn't really care.

When I arrived back at work, I slowly closed my office door, grabbed my Pittsburgh Steeler pillow and collapsed on the floor.

Fifteen minutes into my nap, I heard keys fumbling in the lock. My boss entered and I sprung to my feet. I must have startled him becuase he almost dropped my pumpkin.

And then it hit me how I could mock Dialysis and feel better all at the same time.

I had requested a white pumpkin. Nobody could figure out why.

We have this contest among the on-air talent where we have to create our own carved pumpking and present them to the listeners to vote on.

Dialysis Pumpkin, plain and simple. Pain-filled carved face. Tubing I "borrowed" from Dialysis. Fake blood and one of my old Dialysis filters.

Half past Death and still mocking Dialysis.

That's me this Halloween.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Perchance to Dream

When I state that I am God's Action Figure, I'm not joking. I wish I were.

I imagine that God has days when he's frickin' bored out of his essence and needs something to play with. Sure, He's many millenia in age, but even omnipotent beings need to be entertained from time to time.

That's where I come in.

It's not enough that I have transplanted kidneys from other healthy human beings to keep me alive. It's not enough that I suffer endlessly on Dialysis.

Now I can't sleep.

The local paper ran an article a number of weeks ago on a local sleep clinic endorsed by the National Institure of Sleepy Dudes (or whatever generic name they're attached to themselves) so I contacted them and set up an appointment.

I usually detest doctors before I even meet them. Force of habit. Years of being treated like a specimen rather than a living, breathing, ailing human being.

But Dr. A was surprisingly different. We talked at length about my personal sleep issues and what could be causing them. An overnight sleep study was set up and I merrily went on my way, hopeful for my future of counting sheep.

Since it seems that a majority of society is having sleep difficulty, the appointment wasn't for another month. I was placed on 200mg of Trazadone to help me earn some REM's while I waited patiently for them to record my every sleep movement.

I've spent a substantial slice of my life trying to remain comfortable while wires monitor my heart or feed my bloodstream while recovering from surgery. When the sleep tech begin to prepare me for all the branches of tubing that would be Super Glued to my tiny little frame, I didn't flinch.

But it did seem to take an eternity.

To give the wires attached to my head some extra added oomph, they used this gooey substance to make sure they wouldn't be yanked during sleep mode.

I don't think I have to tell you what this goo looked like in the mirror when I went to the bathroom before turning in.

The room resembled a typical stay at La Quinta. Nice, but not overly so. There was even a teddy bear on the bed mocking me as I pulled the covers back. I didn't know if the cameras were recording yet or not, but I tossed him in the corner until he was face down in the carpet.

That'll show him.

I decided to read my latest Entertainment Weekly and USA Today as I normally do to wind down. I had taken my medication when I arrived, so I was staring to doze. The fact that they were watching my every move didn't really bother me. Years of hospital dwelling cured me of that.

I notice personally that my deepest sleep usually happens between 3am and 9am when I wake.

They get you up promptly at 6am for reasons I'm not quite sure. Since they make you go to bed at 10pm, I guess mathematically it makes sense.

It would take another three weeks to get the results, but I was hopeful. I entered Dr. A's office to find a computer monitor with lines and lines of squiggles. It actually resembled one of the editing programs I used for mixing audio at work.

One line was for my brain waves, another for my leg movements. Still another recorde my snoring.

Diagnosis: Mild Sleep Apnea with Restless Leg Syndrome.

On a regular basis (and this was noted quite visibly on the screen) at almost equal intervals, my airway would narrow causing my body to snore. When I would snore heavily enough, my legs would kick and my brain would slip quickly out of slumber.

Over and over again this happened, all night long.

No wonder I'm in daze for the majority of my day.

This is where things take a terrible turn and I realize why my soul is slipping away.

Sure, the leg kicking can be medicated, but the airway problem was a little trickier.

They have a machine called a CPAP: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure that provides air pressure throughout the night to keep my airway clear, open and resistant to narrowing during sleep apnea.

The most frightening postscript to this is as I age, this problem is only going to get worse.

A Dialysis machine to keep me alive. A CPAP machine to help me sleep.

I'm slowly losing my humanity to technological achievement.

And it bothers me to no end.

But at least I'll get a good night sleep. That can only help me deal with the former while benefitting from the latter.

And that's how I'm going to look at it for now.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Stacy Dating Attempt 2007

Right around the turn of the New Year, I will be celebrating just a little bit more than usual because the Stacy Blue Devil Truckmobile will FINALLY be paid off.

That frees up $350.12 each and every month. Since I've been allowing my slightly dented truck to take over my life for the last few years, it's time to take it back.

I believe it's time to start dating again.

There have been two primary reasons why I stopped dating and I'll share them with you now:

1) I've been broke for the last three years.

2) Women seem to shy away from guys with needle marks up and down their arm.

More duckets in my pocket and long sleeve shirts speak to me softly that it's time to find a short haired brunette to laugh and make out with on a continuing basis.

Since the only women I meet are on Dialysis or nurses in the ER, I've taken some advice from my office neighbor and decided to try Match.com.

I've browsed through the profiles and set my requirements:

1) Must be between the ages of 28-40. It's been my experience that women younger than 28 haven't quite figured out who they are and women over 40 might just be a little too jaded. I could be wrong in both respects, but that age range works for me.

2) Must be my height or shorter. What's highly hilarious is that a number of women on the site who are 5'4", 5'5" and the like want gus who are 6'2" and taller. That strikes me as quite odd. My personality is 7'2" so they'll just have to miss out.

3) Must not have any kids. I love kids, but I'm just dipping my toe in the treacherous waters of the dating pool so I should probably date slow.

4) Must have no expectations. If you're on this site looking for a husband, I'm probably not for you. I'm probably not a good husband for anybody, but that's beside the point. Or next to it. I'm not sure, it's pretty late.

5) Must be silly. Silly is the only thing that gets me through the day. Goofing with listeners, joking with the clinic tech's. Without that, I've got nothing.

So here is a mock profile I've composed. You may believe it to be off kilter and ridiculous, but that's pretty much me in a spoiled nutshell, so enjoy with an open mind:

(Since Stacy is having trouble composing an introduction to his profile AND he just conked out from a Steve McQueen marathon, his roommate's moody cat Cinder has decided to compose this section...)

Stacy is a bewildering roommate sometimes, but he always scratches me behind the ears, so I guess he's tolerable. He seems to spend an inordinate amount of time watching movies and whenever my owner asks him, "Hey, remember that movie with so-and-so," he seems to always know the answer.

He's also contradictory because he'll try and save money by making his lunch every day for work, but then he'll go and spend $300 on new clothes. I've never understood that. I prance around naked and I'm pretty happy. Go figure.

His conversations are usually punctuated by a startling amount of laughter. Sometimes it wakes me up so I give him a dirty look. Then I roll around in his bed so there's cat hair everywhere. That'll teach him.

Stacy often makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up because he'll be talking about this and that and suddenly exclaim, "Let's throw a day's worth of food in our backpacks and just start hiking!" Or, "George Carlin's at the Fillmore tonight. We're there!" Some people enjoy that "drop of a hat" sort of personality, but it tires me out.

Speaking of which, it's time for my mid-morning, post-sun bathing nap.

So, in conclusion, if you enjoy lots of attention, like your neck scratched and appreciate having food snuck to you when your owner's not looking, Stacy's probably for you.

And by the way, if you know a good tabby with impeccable hygeine and a fashionable flea collar, let me know. I'm single too.

Is this even passable as a profile? Will nothing but cat owners respond? Should I have asked Cincer before posting her comments?

Cinder likes to crap and completely miss the catbox, doesn't pay rent and hisses at me if I scratch her on the wrong side of her head so I think I can quote h
er directly, don't you?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Vomitorium

I'm sorry I've been absent from my ever lonesome blog. But it's been a helluva September so far.

My body has decided that Dialysis isn't enough of a hellish burden (two hell references in the first two sentences, sheesh) that my body needs to react even when I'm not at the clinic.

I believed that I had, in my ever evolving late 30's, developed allergies.

That turns out not to be the case.

Greek Goddess informed me that because my body slowly stores fluid from the moment I leave Dialysis, that my body reacts with coughing, sneezing and general stuffiness in an attempt to alleviate my system.

What follows is a gross description of how this is highly tortuous on my body.

Most mornings I wake to a nose full of snot and a debilitating need to cough. Phlegm tries to escape through my esophogus and nasal passages, but instead, is sanctioned into my stomach.

The coughing irritates my digestive system and it starts to become sore.

Then more and more phlegm swims with my stomach acid and creates a Stacy Vomitorium.

You can guess what happens next. It's a plot point I would care to stick in the guy who screams at everyone at Dialysis, but instead yours truly, the put upon protagonst, must stab himself with this truth and attempt to move on.

This is highly regrettable when it happens at work. No one wants to hear someone puking their guts out when they're trying to sell air time to a plumber in Glen Ellen.

I slyly asked for a key to the bathroom on the breezeway. Very few people use it because we have four bathrooms for men and women within the walls of this fine broadcasting empire.

But the receptionist isn't stupid. She sees me race out there, fumbling with the keyhole as I try to keep from spewing all over the generic male bathroom icon.

Most of the time I haven't eaten anything, so it's just clear mucus. But it makes it's presence known before being spiraled into the waste water system by leaving a burning sensation all along my esophagus.

I've noticed that I digest food pretty fast these days, because I'll try and hold some food down and then a half hour later have to spew. A lot of times I'm thankful for that fact.

I truly miss the days when all I had to worry about was whether I woke up early enough to watch "Speed Racer" in syndication.

When I was twelve years old shuttling back and forth from UCSF for my continual hospital visits, I would listen to Frank and Mike in the morning on KNBR. They were a duo morning team and my inspiration for wanting to be a broadcaster.

I would imagine the possibility of working on the radio, having as much fun as those two seemed to have each and every day.

It's intersting to witness how a dream is never truly fulfilled the way you imagined.

Nobody really ever wants their own Vomitorium. It's vile and disgusting and shouldn't be a part of anyone's life.

Which is probably why I won't charge admission.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Antagonistic Characters in a Ballistic World

I've put on four pounds.

Now if I were of normal stature (translation: tall) and normal weight (over 125lbs) this wouldn't be a big dealio.

But four pounds is roughtly 3.25% of my total weight according to my worrisome Windows calculator.

All my clothes are suffocating around my waist. All the angst I've been lugging around in relation to Dialysis is now resting comfortably above my navel and below my A cup breasts.

So I've buckled down. I haven't had fast food in a week and a half. Cut out all sugars. Devoured more blended fruits and vegetables.

And to ensure my impending slimness I've gone back to the gym regularly.

Which is of course where all the trouble started.

Right beneath the giant clock that you can view from anywhere in the club is a list of rules.

Am I a Rule Naxi? Not at all. I have intense distrust and terrible dislike for authority.

But some of the Rules pertain to common courtesy which is something that is severly lacking in the intestinal tract of this country. It's as though an ulcer of self importance has infiltrated the small intestine and is just resting there until it can be expunged my good and common folk.

It probably will never happen.

Here are of the few injustices grunting at my Health Club:

1) Beefy Cro-Magnon Dude

These guys are all very tall and could feed a small remote country if he were maimed and skinned. Which is what I want to do to this idiot every time he leaves 200 lbs. of weight on the machine.

"Excuse me. Are you going to take off your weights?"

I use the most polite voice possible without giving a hint as to my true intention.

Beefy Cro-Magnon Dude stops and looks me up and down and stifled a laugh.

"I don't think so dude."

I start removing the weights myself, bending at the knees so I don't injure myself. I then start talking in what I commonly refer to as Stacy Linguistic Crap. It's basically just a bunch of gibberish I make up on the spot.

This makes Beefy Cro-Magnon Dude very angry. He struts back and for whatever reason sticks out his chest and flexes for a few moments while his mind attempts to comprehend what I've just said.

As I'm removing the last 45 pound weight, I translate.

"I just told you to fuck off in four different languages."

One thing you should know about me: when I feel like crap my "Give a Damn" goes right out the window.

Yes, it gets me into trouble.

I start to place two twenty-five pound weights on the shoulder pull and get into position to lift.

"You little fucker. I could kick your ass with one hand."

"I'm sure your one hand is what you spend most of your time with."

Inside I'm rolling on the floor laughing. I enjoy toying with idiots.

"Listen 'Dude'. Have some consideration for other people and take off your weights next time."

It's all about attitude. Attitude can impress or regress depending on your age and the situation.

Case in point: Beefy Cro-Magnon Dude just stood there fuming while I worked out.

I ignored him.

Eventually he just walked away. I've averted a pummeling for another day.

2) Prissy Wannabe Hot Chick

There are women off all shapes and sizes at my Health Club and many of them are neckish.

The Stacy Dictionary defines "Neckish" as:

"Neckish" (verb)

1) A luscious woman with short hair or hair tied up in a ponytail displaying her neck for all to appreciate.

2) A woman with a perfectly aligned neck, suitable for "neckin'"

3) An attitude of neckishness.

When I hold eye contact for more than a few seconds as I pass by, I'll occasionaly feel like saying "hello."

The Prissy Wannabe Hot Chick rolls her eyes and frequently exhales that "this guy has to be kidding" laugh.

These women are why derogatory terms were invented.

Civility delivers the unspoken rule that you smile back as a common courtesy and then quickly look away. This keeps the Freakish Fawning Flirt from gaining strength and commenting on the size of your, well, you know.

I still despise them though.

3) Sweaty Obese Schlub

Excuse me? Sweaty Obese Schlub? I understand you're trying to make an effort to lose weight. I commend you on that. I was fat for a year after my first kidney transplant and kids can be cruel, so I have some understanding of what you're going through.

When you take all the effort to actually use a weight or cardio maching, you'd think that since you had enough motivation to get some exercise, you'd also do the same for your Sweaty Obese Schlub Sweat.

Maybe I'm just anal retentive, but I take off all my weights AND I grab a paper towel and clean the seating area.

It's common courtesy. Hold on, let me retype that.

IT'S COMMON COURTESY.

Good luck on your weight loss Sweaty Obese Schlub. I'm rooting for you. Just not near you.

4) Orgasmic Grunting Goon

You know these guys, they inhabit EVERY SINGLE HEALTH CLUB IN THE COUNTRY.

They're preening and usually name their muscles. Their breasts are bigger than most enhanced women.

And after placing 50 pounds more than they can actually lift, they start making those obscene sounds.

You know. The kind your hear emanating from college dorm rooms late at night when Cinemax is airing their After Dark shows.

Only louder. And more obnoxious.

These guys have nothing else going on in their self-important little lives so they create these animalistic grunts in the hopes that a member of the female species will be attracted to their annoying vocal intonations.

By the way, yes, I am bias. Women are allowed to make as many orgasmic grunts as they wish when lifting.

This concludes my uncensored rant on those who inhabit my Health Club. If, after reading, you find yourself sharing personal traits with any of the above individuals, I implore you to cut it the fuck out.

Thank you and good night.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Radiothonics

The past two days have nearly wiped out any reserve of energy I had stored in the toenail of my ingrown toe.

I know. I agree. Ewww.

We recently wrapped 48 hours of broadcasting live at the local hoity-toity retail center to raise money for kids with cancer.

Quite noble don't you agree?

What was amazing to witness was the fact that all the upper crust members of our community were doing one of the following as they passed our broadcast tent:

1) On their cell phones oblivious to their personal vocal volume.
2) Doing their best not to look directly at us because then they might feel a smidgen of guilt to help children with terminal cancer.
3) Sneering at us from nearby outdoor cafes because our music "...is for the little people."
4) Angling their nose upward 24-37 degrees in an effort to denote their upwardly mobile stature.

If we hadn't raised thousands upon thousands of dollars, I would have been dismayed by the lack of compassion. The middle class truly is the backbone of this country.

But back to the live Radiothon...

I have a fantastic time broadcasting at remote locations, when I'm allowed to be on the air without other middling air personalities.

Our morning team believes themselves to be the God given almighty entertainers of radio. Yet, they're still in market #117. Go figure.

On Friday, I had the booth all to myself so I was fully in control of the broadcast and it went pretty well. Then I was scheduled to be on the air for three hours on Saturday with the afternoon guy and Program Director. That's right, my bosserino.

I believe within the first five minutes my brain, in an attempt to save itself, started spewing IQ points.

You know in movies from the 70's when they would have a plane start to have problems staying airborne and they would cut to the altimeter spiraling down to zero? That's what was happenning to my brain.

"So the phones aren't ringing and we need to get them to pop. I've got it!"

Ok, sure. Maybe he does have a clever plan to get people to donate money to kids with cancer. Lets give him a chance.

"I'm going to hold my breath until all seven phones are ringing."

I was on the second mic and I wasn't saying a word. I turned back to the promotion staff at the back of the tent and they were all rolling their eyes.

What my dippy boss didn't realize is that holding your breath sounds exactly like dead air.

He mercifully gave up after an excruciating lull.

I really do hate him with all my being.

Fortunately, and for once, Dialysis came in handy because I was excused early so I could receive treatment. I was supposed to return for the final hour so we could all announce the grand total together.

But moments before a rather bloody and painful session ended, I got a call from the board operator.

"Um, uh, hi...uh, well...Stacy?"

People at the station know better than to call me while at my treatment. Either I'll forget what the conversation is pretaining to or I'll lose focus in the middle of the call.

"Um, your PD told me to tell you that you have to like, you know, do the last hour of board-oping."

"Why didn't he call me himself?"

"Uh, well, I, um, sure, I don't know."

Click.

This is what aggravates me most about working for this dimwhit. Not only does he wait until the last possible minute to take care of pertinent business, but he relays messages through other people. That's just cowardly and shuns the basic logic of the communication industry.

And to quote the comic book guy on "The Simpsons":

"Worst. Boss. Ever."

We did manage to raise over $66,000 for the hospital, so it wasn't a total waste of airtime.

The question that may have erupted into your mind is, "Stacy, why are you still there?"

It's difficult to put a quality aircheck together when you're fighting for your life.

That goes for a resume as well.

It takes three times as long to do anything these days and sometimes I feel the quality lingers just out of reach.

But the kids at the cancer hospital probably know the preceding better than I do.

And I feel for them.

When I was recovering from my first kidney transplant at UCSF, the room across the hall was always very dark and eerily quiet. My room was bright and sunny and full of life.

I asked the nurse on duty while she as changing my sheets who was in the room across the hall.

She sighed heavily before answering.

"Those kids have cancer. We have to separate them from the other kids for their treatment regimen."

Fortunately, those days are long past because of places like St. Jude.

The Radiothon has taken on a much more deeper meaning these days because I have a nephew and a niece on the way.

When people speak about how fulfilling the past was as opposed to what we have today, I always try to remember that if I grew up in the early part of this century, I probably wouldn't have seen my thirteenth birthday.

To quote my Dad, who can be quite wise from time to time:

"Just when you think you've got it bad, somebody always has it worse."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

MediDontCare

I have wasted the last two days allowing the government institution known as "MediCare" to freely and purposely devour my cell phone minutres.

You think this program is hungry now, wait another ten years.

Usually every three months, like amazing clockwork, the government's financial hampster wheel spins wildly until a bill for $148.50 spits out and lands in my apartment door mail slot.

I didn't glance at the calendar to check the date. I knew in my pocketbook that it was time for another bill to arrive.

I don't know if our President needs one of those large belt buckles declaring his state of origin (you said "confused?" Ha ha. Don't forget to tip your waitress on your exit from the blog...) or Cheney needs another gun safety, but my bill has ballooned to $402.

Deep breaths. Don't panic. Close your eyes and think of puppies.

That's better.

The government still wants over $500 in taxes from last year's return. Now this.

Sigh.

This is where the government dolts you see biding their time in their little pre-fabricated cubes inadvertantly display how clever they truly are.

I trekked from work to the Social Security office, avoiding construction signs for a freeway that will never be wide enough, eventually arriving in what I affectionaitely call "Slimy Town."

It's a part of Santa Rosa where you want all your senses at full alert. My Dad once taught me it was all about attitude when you're walking by your lonesome. Place both hands deep into your front pockets and play with your keys like you have some sort of weapon. When you pass someone, look them directly in the eye whether they want to or not.

Pretty damn good advice.

The security guard at the SS Office is the nicest gentleman you'd ever want to meet. Regardless of who you are or how you might be dressed, he wishes you a good day and asks about your weapon inventory.

I didn't really consider a copy of "USA Today" violent, but I guess that depends on your political view. I like their pie charts.

Here's where I gamble with my medical insurance future. I've been here numerous times to make a last minute payment before they cancel my Medicare benefits and it's a crap shoot as far as who you meet at the window. If it's the short raven haired temptress at Window #3 with too much makeup and her nose tilted ever so subtle into the stale air, you're fucked.

"I have a question about my premium statement."

Her nose wrinkled up and twisted her pretty little face into a contortion that didn't bode well for my financial future.

"We don't answer billing questions. We just take payments. We're the middle man."

"But I've..."

She cut me off with a slice of attitude.

"...here's the phone number. Call them and they'll take care of it."

Over my head she sceams, "Next."

I was too tired and dizzy from a lack of blood pressure medication, so I exited and allowed a few expletives from languages other than English to escape my lips.

So she was the government's first patsy in the way of resolving my problem.

Sneaky lackeys.

The number she gave me was for the Social Security office, not Medicare, so she fucked me while only displaying her massive bosom at the SS Office.

The frustrated lackey at the 800 Social Security number gave me the 1-800-Medicare number.

That turned out to be for people wishing to file a claim, not ask a billing question, even though one of the choices on the overly verbose menu was "billing."

I wanted to jam my cell phone antenna deep into my ear in hopes of connecting with someone with some compassion, but all that managed to do was bring in the local "hits of the 80's, 90's and today" station. Since I wasn't in the mood to "Chaka Khan" I removed the device and tried one last time.

"You have reached the Office of Billing for Medicare Part B..."

Success! Hooray! Booyah!

"...we are presently closed."

"Bastardos! Vendejos! Putas!"

That's all the Spanish curse words I could remember from my time as an Assistant Manager at Mama's Pizza in Seal Beach during my ever fading college years.

It then occured to me that I could have shoved the cell phone up my skinny pale ass and achieved just as much as I had in the previous two hours.

Which is pretty much how I see my government from time to time.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Crest of the Listener Wave

Most of the time people really piss me off.

Somewhere in the mid-80's, this country adopted a "fuck you, please me" attitude where it was every soul for themselves.

This annoys me to no end.

Dialysis patients blasting their TV's and failing to adhere to normal hygiene practices.

Fucktards failing to hold the door open so it slams down on your innocent wrist.

Clinically obese co-workers who swallow five pieces of pizza and then complain about why they can't lose any weight.

And then I receive a letter like the following:

Dear Stacy...

Last year I remember listening to your show and your comments about Dialysis. Ending your show with comments of "off to Dialysis" or thoughts about meeting girls but afraid to let them see your arm really hit home for me at the time. My husband just had a fistula put in his arm and we knew Dialysis was coming soon.

Last November he started Dialysis. As you know it is a total loss of freedom not to mention the inconvenience and pain. It turned out that I was a match for him and he now has my kidney. Our surgeries were in April. Every day is a gift to us now.

When I listen to your show, I always think and hope that a kidney transplant is in the future for you. People who have never been on Dialysis or have someone close to them who is on it, never know how hard it is. People need to know that is it OK to give one of your two kidneys away and live a normal life. I sincerely hope there is a new kidney for you in the near future.

Good luck.

Louise

In response, I write in kind to Louise:

Dear Louise...

I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to send a letter detailing you and your husband's ordeal with kidney failure. Please know that I am glad to admit you and your husband to a special Transplant Club. My mother and sister are both members and have never had a health issue related to donation.

I am also a little ashamed to admit I am a little envious and not for the reason you probably suspect. Your husband is a lucky gentleman because he has had someone to share the hellish experience of surviving Dialysis. Loneliness and despair can occasionaly hinder the healing process when it comes to recovering from Dialysis.

And don't be surprised if your husband adopts a few of your quirks or preferences. After my Mom's kidney was transplanted, I loved nothing more than salty food and chewing ice. Right after my sister's kidney was accepted, I found myself with an insatiable desire for anything chocolate.

Oh yeah, and now I occasionaly sob at sad movies. Sssshhh. Don't tell anyone.

Thank you again for taking the time to write. I wish you and your husband good health and good times.

Sincerely,

Stacy Without An E

P.S...I will keep the small slice of hope for humanity you've freely given me and prepare to use it next time another member of the human race fails to save any for the rest of us.

Monday, August 14, 2006

An Open Letter to My Blog

Hello "Stacy Without An E" blog, how are you?

Please face me when I'm talking to you.

I know, I know, I KNOW! I haven't been paying you any attention lately and I'm sorry.

It couldn't be helped.

I've been bleary eyed from all the hours I've been working and Dialysis just...

Yawning in the middle of my explanation is isn't helping.

I know you're pissed and you have a right to be, ok? Just hear me out.

For the last two months everything in my life has diluted to a barely breathing grey. I'm suffocating from a lack of personal freedom from insurmountable debt. I barely speak to anyone and all the flavor of my personality has gone stale.

Yes, I'm finished.

You're right, you're absofrickinlutely right. I should have spoken to you instead holding all of this in.

You have been my savior in the past. At times, you're the only one who would listen.

Let's not fight. I'm tired and I want to go home.

I can't take you with me. You know I don't have internet access at home.

Yes, I'm one sad mo-fo.

At least you're facing me now.

Ok, I'll ask you. How have YOU been?

Lonely? What a ka-winky-dink. So have I.

I promise to try to pay you some attention each and every day, ok?

I'm telling the truth this time.

No, I won't sign documentation. That's silly.

Hey, I've got an idea. How about a makeover?

No, I don't think you're ugly. I just thought it might cheer you up. I was thinking about YOUR feelings for once.

I'm not verbally crapping on you. It's true. I know this webmaster whose speciality is fixing up blog's that need a little update.

Well, first I'd take away that depressing black background and replace it with something a little more eyecatching.

No, I don't think your background is fat. You're quite lean for your age.

I'd probably adjust the font a little and give you a creative header. Something a little more contemporary inspired by pop culture.

I can't explain right now. Just be patient, ok?

Yeah, it's good to spend some quality time with you too. Now give me a big hug.

Well a sarcastic "fuck you" to you too.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Happy "I Left the Womb Day" Redux

So today was another birthday mired by fate and transgressions that never occured.

But let me explain.

The Eternal Dread of the Stacy Birthday began when I awoke to a day filled to the rim with work, Dialysis and anchovie pizza, but not necessarily in that order.

I had to run all the buttons, knobs and switches for our live broadcast at a business I can't remember and whose host was inconsequential.

What was important was the sixty extra dollars that were going to magically appear in my paycheck (and then suddenly diminish to $23 when the government was done.)

That's when the Anticipation was just ankle high.

With every passing moment it grew in mass and dexterity. It was waiting patiently to see who would have the honor of being the first to phone me on the day of my birth.

Halfway through the broadcast, I decided it was time to celebrate with a pepperoni, sausage and anchovie pizza to drown my sorrows in double digit fat and single digit nutrition before Dialysis.

Two hours, two and a half and then three as I clicked off the mic for the final time with the knowledge that it was now 1:10pm and my birthday was passing with very little recognition.

Anticipation, blue green in color and looking like a jelly bean someone had smushed ever so slightly, squirmed it's way behind me as I made my way to what others affectionately call the Piss Factory.

Gum? Check.

Bottled water? Also a big checkeroo.

Headphones that I only use because I'm not rude to other patients like they are to me?

Depressing check yes.

Cell phone? Oh yeah, it's been here in my backpack with me all along.

I took off the battery and shook it near my ear to see if it was okay. When I realized there were no moving parts inside, I peered around to see if anyone had witnessed my idiocy.

Patients glaring at TV's or snoring incessantly and ignoring me?

Always a big, bloody check yes.

Since the Dialysis Tech's check my chart closely EVERY TIME (sarcasm intended) I thought at least one of them would acknowledge that today was the anniversary of the debut of my existence upon the world.

When nothing happened, Anticpation started whining under my chair like a poor, unloved puppy.

I shoved some Juicy Fruit into his gullet and he seemed to be happy, but it wouldn't last.

Dialysis was amazingly uneventful, much like the previous hours of the day, which was fine by me.

But still no phone call.

During the entire treatment, I began to question my value as first born son, an older brother and a best friend. How had I failed them all? How had they missed the one day of the year when a simple two word greeting can give me the energy to make it through the hell that is my life?

Minutes before my treatment was over, I let the valuable information slip, if only to get some attention from the dough eyed tech who had hooked me up.

She's strikingly beautiful with bright, joyful brown eyes, striking rave hair, sparkling smile, sweet innocent voice and a wedding ring that blinds when held at just the right angle.

But at least it made Anticipation calm down and relax for a few minutes while my needles were removed.

I sludged myself home and found a kind, quickly written "Happy Birthday" note scrawled on a piece of standard copy paper from my roommate.

Anticipation grabbed it and held it up like a protest sign.

And then He started to move in a fashion I can only describe as a cross between a jig and a full blown seizure.

But once again, at least Anticipation was happy.

I put my vast culinary skills to grand use and plugged in the hot air popper. Fresh popcorn dripping with melted butter and popcorn salt always notches up the serotonin.

I fired up the copy of "X-Men 2" I had rented from Netflix and set in to count down the final hours of my birthday.

Thank goodness I had a movie to distract me from the disappointing day.

As the final minutes mercifully ticked down, Anticipation looked haggard and weak. His eyes were heavy and he was struggling to remain concious.

The digital clock blared silently the fact that midnight had arrived and with it the demise of my Anticipation.

And only one thought entered my mind at that exact instant:

I'm older than I look and younger than I feel.

Sigh.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Highly Illogical

My best friend has had some difficulty with his Mac computer. I used to use Mac's back in college, but since we use nothing but Windows compatible PC's in the radio industry, I haven't used a Mac in years.

Ted's has been having a meltdown. The fourth meltdown in four years.

No, this doesn't bode well for Apple.

The guy at the Mac tech center told him his logic board was fried.

Hmm.

Let's say Spock from "Star Trek" is the logic board and Captain Kirk is the CPU.

Spocks has died, Kirk is downtrodden and the final result?

"Star Trek III"

Thank you and good night.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Wacky Parental Units

I love visiting my parents. Any issues I may have had with either of them have long since evaporated and what remains is a huge anticipation for joining them at the drop of one of those giant, oversized foam cowboy hats.

They retired to BFE in the middle of Oregon (California Lite) over two years ago, but they continue to see their doctor in the armpit of California (no, not Bakersfield) Stockton.

They keep trying to say they don't want to change doctors because they've been with this one for over twenty years and he knows them quite well.

Deep down, I think they're just really worried about me. And they shouldn't be. I look back at some of the blog postings from eighteen months ago and I'm not ever sure if I know who that is.

It's all a blurry memory, fading quickly as time rushes by.

But back to my parents.

They swore they weren't going to drive the trailer down due to the gas prices, but they waited until the last minute to book a hotel room, so the trailer was utilized once again.

Long hugs that were longer in duration than usual greeted me as I opened the trailer door and woke my Dad from his nap.

Spending time with my parents, regardless of how long I can stay, always reenergizes me. I could be having the worst time with Dialysis, or the financial burden of my co-pays could be driving me into a deep puddle of depression, but when I'm in their vicinity I know I'm going to laugh and have a good time.

I also know wholeheartedly that I'm going to be fed quite well. In fact, I don't think my parents have ever allowed me to pay for a meal...ever. That strikes me as odd, but one of these days I will prevail in that department.

Upon arrival, I devoured two make shift mustard hot dogs.

I wonder if they taste better because they're made...with love.

I'm laughin hysterically at the preceding sentence.

My Mom does make some mean scrambled eggs and hot dogs though. They're delish.

Usually when I visit, we eat out a lot, which means I'm going to put on unnecessary weight. But we only managed to visit Outback Steakhouse.

It was intoxicatingly good.

I had a seven inch sirloin with a side salad, baked potato with everything and lots and lots of bread.

I was also reminded during the meal where I inhertied my gift for careful observation.

My entire family are people watchers. Mostly because we like to sit there and make sarcastic comments about people around us.

You can say that's disrespectful and terrible, awful and revolting.

But it's always in fun and ridiculously hysterical.

My Dad is seventy five years old this year, but he spotted a busboy at a nearby table slip some cash out of the billfold that was meant for the waiter.

Say what you will, but my parents are still pretty sharp at their age.

A couple of hours later, when I needed to check the leftovers from the meal, I noticed that the butter container from the meal was in the doggy bag.

"What the heck is this doing in here?" I said laughing.

My parents occasionally pilfer small items from restaurants. Don't ask me why. We had silverware and knives growing up from numerous restaurants from across the bowels of the San Joaquin Valley. They're still in the house to this day.

That night my parents turned in and I enjoyed an uninterrupted evening of television. I don't have cable, so it was a real treat to find that on a Sunday evening, one of the networks was showing "Ocean's 11" one of the greatest caper films from recent memory.

Monday, a day I smartly took off from work (something I never do) we visited my uncles and aunts in both Woodbridge and Lodi.

I remember when I was a kid, I would love to visit each of them because they would have these fantastic uncensored conversations about TV and film, politics and sports.

It was almost like I was eavesdropping on little nuggets of wisdom that I wasn't aware had meaning at the time. I would sit quietly and be fully engrossed in the laughter and the storytelling.

I miss those days sometimes.

And for some reason, I'm still not used to being an adult when I'm in their presence. It's as though I relegate myself to my childhood standing. The conversations are still entertaining to hear, they just come a little slower and with a few more references to the ravages of age.

Much as when I arrived, the hugs were a little longer and heartfelt than usual. Was there something they weren't telling me? Were they simply reassuring hugs, non-verbal cues that they're glad I'm okay?

Whatever the case, I had a great weekend.

And I can't wait to see them again.

Although, if this restaurant thieving continues, we may have to stay in the trailer next time.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Themz Blessings on Da Floor

I know I haven't blogged in quite some time. I've been somewhat numb, for whatever reason.

I had writers block keeping me from entering my blog. It was as high as the proposed border fence and had these nasty, sticky weeds that grabbed on to your clothing when you tried to enter.

As I attempted to climb, I slipped in a giant pile of elephant poop.

The elephant in question turned out to be my own fear of writing something crappy.

So to speak.

I'm one of those frightful goons who actually constructs blog posts in their mind. They're usually built upon a foundation of gooey ideas that don't quite mesh together, but they're there, trying, hoping for some coherent message that would be worthy of the ever burgeoning blogosphere.

Is it any wonder my blog is black with dark grey type? That's mostly how I feel lately.

But every so often, and more often than not recently, I witness people or events that remind me that, much like Kevin Kline uttered at the end of "Grand Canyon"...

"I think it's not all bad."

--- A poor elderly woman was hunched over in her wheelchair outside Dialysis, looking broken and beaten by the procedure, waiting patiently for the shuttle to return and grace her with a trip home.

Dialysis hasn't stolen my ability to drive.

--- An unkempt middle aged man tries to catch a nap in a parking garage stairwell while the business of daily commerce swirls around him.

Dialysis hasn't prohibited me from continuing my career and making a living.

--- A funeral procession crawls by the main business strip in downtown while family members of all backgrounds and ages slowly shuffle through, the memories of their loss keeping them from moving their feet any faster.

Dialysis hasn't kept me from travelling to see my parents or my sister and her family, all of whom are still alive and relatively well.

--- A lonely gentleman tries to attract as little attention as possible as he quickly makes his way up the steps of the movie theater, hoping no one will notice he's attending the latest summer blockbuster alone for the umpteenth time.

Dialysis hasn't kept me from spending time with my friends and fully enjoying their company on a regular and entertaining basis.

I should have died when I was nearly fulfilling my destiny as a teenager. But because of a heaping tablespoon of good timing, green leafy medical technology and a dash of delicious fate, I'm still here.

Surviving and thriving. Not bad considering the circumstances.

Suck on that Dialysis.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Stacy Dialysis Course 101

Lo, these last twenty-five months, I have learned from experience the ways of the Dialysis Experience.

Let me share them with you now...

1) If you hold your access arm straight, I mean stereotypical all-American red state straight, the stabbing pain usually won't stop by and pay you an in-laws-are-in-town-and-I-have-no-Valium type o' visit.

2) Eating during the procedure eases the fatigue post-Dialysis treatment. It doesn't even matter what it is, which is good because my budget is quite single. Single bell pepper, single onion, single half gallon of milk. Single servings for a termainally single life.

3) If I'm dating someone for the first time, I like to set up the date within two to three hours post-Dialysis. I appear fierce and lean and my eyes seem brighter because there's less paper or plastic bags under my eyes.

4) I was rather traumatized by the massive amounts of hair on the top of my gigantic head, but I've reached the acceptance stage. Now I collect it all in hopes of using stem stell research, my blender and lots of Cheez-Itz to build a better, bolder, brighter me to usher in the middle of the century.

Yes, with properly functioning kidneys.

5) I don't really care if people stare at my bandages on my access arm anymore. They're my white badge of courage. Plus, I LOVE coming up with excuses for why they're there. "Shark bite" is my personal favorite. Their eyes get wide with anticpation as to what my next comment will be. I've only been called on it once, "Ugh...tiny shark."

6) I speak up and ask for EXACTLY how I want my needles administered. And whaddya know? They listen. I need a full does of lidocaine in each access port now and I only use 16 gauge needles. Some days I'm not totally coherent, but regardless of how I feel I have to check them every time, because they'll try to sneak in 15's when I'm not looking. I haven't decided if it's because they enjoy torchering me or there was a sale on that size.

7) I now define Dialysis, it doesn't define me.

Thank you and good night.