Sunday MopUp 11/25/07
Need a little update on all things jimmy? The coffee is hot, I'm slowly waking up, and I'm here to spill the beans. I call it my MopUp. My friends call it "that thing you do". Let's proceed. Carefully. Might I suggest hitting the jukebox and letting me play a tune or two for you as you try to get throught this mess?
A Quick Weather Report
Whoa, Texas is nippley nowadays! Makes for lazy weekend mornings, with the blankets pulled up to your face, burrowing into the covers like a mole. The birds outside my window have stopped singing lately, and started squawking something that seriously sounds like "What the FUCK?". Shouldn't those things be in Central America by now, anyway? Migrate, you silly bitches!
[Here's a little factoid about me: I despise turning the furnace on in my house. The central heat here dries my sinuses out and can give me chapped lips, literally, overnight. Waking up to a huge sinus headache just aint a fun way to start out your day, ya know?
As a big old Hunk O' Funk, I can get by with no heat for quite a good while. It's one good benefit of being so well "insulated", I guess. But, 'round about Thanksgiving, I knew I needed to warm Casa de Jimbo up a bit. My solution? Laundry. I've been washing and drying clothes like a mofo all week. Seems my dryer has a bit of an air leak in the exhaust and heat from the monster toasts up the downstairs quite nicely. And, since the clothes start out WET, the heat is kinda MOIST! Plus, I'm gonna have clean clothes to last me until the new year! See how smart a monkey I am?]
Point being: it's cold. Cold for Texas, anyway. Lows into the lower 40s at night. Yes, we Texans are "weather pussies". Go ahead, punch us in our parkas.
Cochlear Implant Update
It was pointed out by a friend that I have done a shitty job keeping you posted on the progress of my deaf sister and her surgery to get a cochlear implant and how all that is going. Sorry.
The backstory is that Lisa, my sister, is 45 years old and has been totally deaf since about the age of 2. No one knows how or why she lost her hearing, but deafness DOES run in my Dad's side of the family. Back in October, she underwent a surgery to have a cochlear implant inserted into her head, behind her left ear. Painful process. They drilled a hole in her skull and inserted wires that will produce electronic facsimiles of what the brain will interpret as sound. So, in essence, she will not be hearing the actual sounds of the world, but an electronic re-creation of impulses by a device that feeds the brain information. Her ear is being bypassed entirely.
Does that make sense? I'm just trying to point out that this device cannot make her ears work again, but is providing a detour around the ear, and trying to give the brain something with which to work. Will she ever hear the actual, natural, original sound of our world? No. She's getting an electronic representation of sounds via this miraculous little device and her brain must now be taught that "this" stimulus is equal to "that" source.
See, it would be one thing if Lisa had actually had working ears for some time in her past. Then, she would have some context about what things should sound like. She doesn't have that luxury.
Right now, she is going through a period where she goes to see the audiologist every two weeks or so and they 1) increase the volume, and 2)fine tune the channel frequencies. This process could take up to six months. She is currently cranked up to about 2/3's volume. From what I understand, there are hundreds of frequencies that this device can be set to. It's a daunting challenge to try to determine which one will work best for her.
Lisa reports that she can tell when her dogs bark (short, sharp bursts of noise - not too complicated to figure out, huh?) and can associate a noise with the sound of her husband's voice, if he is standing in front of her and she can read his lips. But, for example, if he were talking to her and there was music playing in the background, she would have a hard time differentiating the noises coming into her at the same time. She would need her lip reading skills to help sort out the sources of the noise.
Ever heard something that you couldn't identify and said "what was that?". I think Lisa is in for a long period where everything is "what was that?" until her brain starts getting some context.
How successful this is going to be is still up in the air. Right now, we are being told to be patient.
To say the least, Lisa is thrilled with what is going on. Her only bitch is that the device that hangs on the back of her ear isn't very comfortable, so she takes it off when she gets too irritated.
Now, what I have just tried so feebly to explain may actually be WAY off the mark. I'm learning about all this, as the family is, as I go. If someone with expertise in this field should happen upon this post, and want to correct me, I would surely appreciate any input.
(excuse me while I dash off for a refill of my coffee...I may need to throw another load of laundry in. My toes are cold, and my penis is lodged somewhere in my abdomen. - By the way, it should only be fair that, in the cold, vaginas should shrink as well. Imagine how popular sex in Alaska would be!)
Bariatric Surgery Update
Okay, I went through my three days of appointments the week before Thanksgiving at the amazing Methodist Hospital in Houston. I went with an open mind, but was leaning towards the lapband surgery, not the gastric bypass (called a "roux-en-y"). Well, in the orientation seminar, it was very clearly pointed out that the roux-en-y was the most effective surgery for weight loss, and that the lapband had lots of potential complications. Being the eager student that I was, I was easily convinced that the intestinal re-routing of my guts was the only way to go, and I jumped on the Bypass Bandwagon, and nodded like a reborn Christian in church that Bypass was my only Salvation.
I met the surgeon the next day, and when he asked me of my choice of procedures, I immediately assured him that Bypass was my decision. He smiled at me, and agreed with me, and signed off on being my doctor. His only caveat was I have to lose 30 pounds before he will operate.
Friday was my "clinic' visit, where I was evaluated, psychologically and nutritionally, and given notebooks full of information concerning the procedure. I was instructed to read carefully about all facets of the process, so that I was comfortable with what my future was going to entail.
So, I read.
It took me a couple of days to get through it all, and the more I read, the more I started hearing a little voice in my head. I've named this voice "Jess". Sorry, inside joke there.
Anyway, what I was discovering was that the procedure I had chosen is, indeed, the most effective weight loss procedure, but also a procedure that will mess with my absorption of nutrients and calories is a drastic, drastic way.
See, I am a big guy. I'm not talking fat here, I'm talking about beyond the fat. I'm a large, barrel-chested, big-shouldered brute of a dude. I played football at one point in my life, and it helped me develop a musculature that, although buried right now under pads of fat, is still there.
Sure, I want to shed the fat, but I'm worried about shedding the muscle tone as well.
The weight loss from the Bypass is so severe and quick that I fear I will not be able to keep up with maintaining muscle through exercise and working out. Keeping protein inside you is a huge issue with Bypass patients, and I'm scared I won't be able to give my body what it needs nutritionally.
My dear friend just had the Bypass done two weeks ago. She dropped 13 pounds in one week after surgery. This is after dropping 74 pounds on a liquid diet she has been on since Memorial Day. That kinda freaks me out.
The weight loss from the Lapband is slower, thus giving me more of an opportunity to keep my muscles. If I'm not feeding my body enough, I could supplement my diet with a protein shake. The recovery time for the Lapband is a few days. Recovery from the Bypass is weeks.
My head was swimming with all the facts, and I was completely overwhelmed. By Saturday night, I finally had to admit to myself that I was on the wrong track. I would be more comfortable with the Lapband, I decided.
I called the doctor's office on Monday. They returned my phonecall on Tuesday and were alarmed with my decision. I was told that because I am diabetic, the doctor may not agree to do the Lapband, that the Lapband may not help me knock the diabetes out. I reminded the nurse that there are no guarantees that the Bypass would, either. She pointed out that the Bypass is shown to help patients drop up to 80% of their excess weight, while the Lapband figures are at about 50%. Fifty percent off of my excess weight sounded pretty damned good to me, I replied.
We talked a whole lot longer than this, but you get the gist.
She wasn't happy with me, but told me she would pass this information on to the doctor and he would either agree to it, insist on meeting with me again to discuss it, or simply refuse to do the procedure.
I'm still waiting to hear back from them.
Odds & Ends
Mexican cuisine is a mystery to me. How can such simple ingredients turn into such savory flavors? I went to a favorite Mexican restaurant the other day and treated myself to something I will soon no longer be able to eat: well...Mexican food! This stuff is so unhealthy it's ridiculous. Just a big plate of carbs and fat, with a side of protein, and I know it. But, I was jonesing for cheese enchiladas, and since I start a serious freaking diet next week, I allowed myself this one indulgence.
Shut up. I mean it.
So, I'm sitting in this small, largely empty restaurant, just CREAMING over my plate of hardening arteries, when a guy walks into the restaurant and sits a table away from me. There were only about 5 customers in the whole place, and this jackass has to sit within arm's length of me. Okay. THEN, he pulls out his cellphone and starts on one of the most truly surreal one-sided phone conversations I have ever had to endure in my life. In full voice, like he was in his living room or something, I heard this:
(the following is an abbreviated, Cliff Notes version)
He was talking to an unnamed woman about being kicked out of the house by Becca, who was angry that Zira told her all about his past with Merriam. He couldn't believe it! He didn't love Merriam. Actually, he still had the hots for Zira, but she only thought of him as a friend, which made living with her difficult in the past. He never intended to hurt Becca! Well, without a place to live, he was certainly going to have to find a job right away, even if it meant moving out of Austin. Yes, he was sick of Austin. People are so rude here! He appreciated the friendship of the unnamed woman on the phone. What? He would never want to come between she and Samantha! Well, maybe he would consider it if a job offer that he couldn't refuse surfaced here in town. Becca has just lost her mind! He wasn't sure how much time he had to get his shit out of the house.
I considered stabbing him in the head with my cheesy fork.
Becca might be mentally unstable, you know. She is always picking on him for ridiculous reasons! All he has ever wanted to do was help her manage her life! No, Merriam won't take his phone calls anymore. He thinks she lives on the east side now, and has driven past her house a few times, but never sees her car there.
Why would Zira try to sabotage him in this way? Maybe she realizes that she DOES have deep feelings for him, and is trying to get him back? Life with Zira was carefree and fun. The sex was fantastic! He thinks about that all the time. Why are women so fickle? Why can't they understand that men just want to please and gratify women? Did the unnamed woman remember the time they fooled around in Corpus Christi? He sure did. He hoped that he satisfied her, in that way, too.
I swear to God.
By now, other customers were being sat around us. I turned to look at an older woman who had been there nearly as long as I had, sipping a cup of coffee and trying to read a newspaper. She rolled her eyes at me.
On and on, it went. He never stopped. Talked continually through his plate of beef enchiladas. I could NOT believe what was going on. I wish I had asked the manager to intervene, but I think I was convinced that this doofus was going to stop at some point and allow the rest of us to eat in peace. Never happened.
Folks, if you have a cellphone, turn the fucker OFF when you are in a restaurant, or at least put it on vibrate. If you have to take a call, excuse yourself from the dining room and talk out of earshot from the other guests. Why is this so hard to understand? What the fuck happened to manners?
Okay, that's it for now. I got a little long-winded, but felt I should spend some Quality Time with you. The coffee is cold, and I've lost the will to type. Check back with you soon!