June 21, 2022

Too Ranty To NOT Use...

So I  got an email from the official First Friend of the Pond Vaucaunson's Duck (est 197 today that ended with "Hang In There."

The following is much of the response I sent.

Hanging is sounding more and more like the right choice! Though all things considered, my luck has been so bad recently that the hangin' folks ("Nooses R Us"?) would probably use a bungee cord instead of a rope:

"May Heaven grant you forgiveness, for you'll get none from us. Hangman, if you would?"


"Haw haw haw!!! You shoulda seen the look on your face! Actually, us too, what with the black hood and all. But I'll betcha it was funny!"

Huh... literal Gallows humor. Wasn't my plan, but what the hell, it's keeping my mind off the travesty they just served for lunch. Pot pies are called pot pies because they look like friggin' PIES, not because they look like someone made them while high on pot. Seriously, a dry, ice cream scoop sized, ball of some vegetables, and something that looks like... chicken? Tuna? The result of feeding a nice 2x4 into a wood chipper?...that's used as both the pastry part and the filling part.

Mmmmm... I love the smell of wood filler in the morning. But not, it must be said, when it's lunch. I'm starting to understand the people who say "I'd kill for a good slice of pizza"  AND MEAN IT. I've actually had dreams about swimming-pool sized deep dish pizza. Or simple mac and cheese that that tastes like it was at least in the vicinity of actual CHEESE at one point in its creation.


"Why did they use lasagna pasta?"
"Why does it have brown gravy?"
"Why is the cheese sauce spicier than the enchiladas we had yesterday?"
"What sins have I committed to deserve this punishment?"
"...where's the macaroni? What do you mean 'they substituted toast'???"

At least they haven't figured a way to ruin jello yet. I like the orange-colored better than the red-colored, and they're both better than every other color. Though I remember a black cherry jello that was really tasty growing up.


I didn't get any sleep last night, courtesy of two soggy and not very warm at all grilled turkey and cheese "sandwiches" and their effect on both my stomach and my gag reflex. My tum-tum didn't stop doing the Hustle until 430am, at which point a nurse came in and  turned on the 1000000lumen overhead lights to get my "roomies" BP. It took 19 minutes, as his brain is even farther off the reservation than I was led to believe. 

If I get no sleep tonight, you're probably getting a 4000 word essay on the evolution of the toothpaste tube's cap, such is the effect all of this crap is doing to my already stupid stream of consciousness.

Look forward to it, don't you?

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June 19, 2022

Because Of Course It Did

1043pm Sunday night, after having requested it, I had a test come back as positive for COVID-19.

I willingly hermited myself for two+ years, and went through two different outbreaks in my various locations, nothing. I was tested on Friday, clean. A few wet coughs later, tah-dah, I've got the thing I've tried so hard to avoid.

If this wasn't a family-friendly blog, this is where there would be a long, invective-filled diatribe. But it is. So there won't be one.

But oh, the need to curse the universe is very strong right this moment...

Edit: Roommate came back clear, which is good. I may not like him, but I have no interest in having his health on my conscience.

They moved me to the Plague Hall inside of an hour. My new roommate has the same first name as the other one. According to the nurse? CNA? in the hall, he's apparently not really present, if you know what I'm sayin'??

WiFi is spotty or just *bad* here in my little corner of the leprosarium. It was excellent at the other end of the building. Swear to whomever if I can't get good broadband...

Edit, Next Morning: Food is served on paper plates or in Styrofoam cups, with sporks.  Better and better. Probably will just burn our gowns and bedding instead of washing them...

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June 17, 2022

More Hoses

I woke up Thursday morning, grabbed my bucket, and take a whizz.

Except I didn't. The urge was there, but nothing I did worked except just gritting my teeth and straining until I saw stars. This has happened once before and it cleared up after a couple of hours.

Nope. By three in the afternoon I was very unpleasant from pain, except to Carrie, the Nephrologist. She called ahead to the hospital, let 'em know what was coming in.

Once transportation arrived things took place in a hurry. In an ER room that's also regional trauma center??  I laid there until they got around to me... and it took three professional nurses 11 sticks to take 4 bottles of the red cstuff and get an IV going.

Around 1030pm, they took me into a room and said "We're going to insert a Foley cath now." Then when they saw my face, they said there will be good drugs. The first was a sedative that took me into a numb haze. The second was a gel they liberally gooped into lil' ducky.

And then they began sticking hoses  and tunes into something that's a definite out.

It took them five tries, using progressively smaller hoses, until they installed a Pediatrics sized hose.

Almost immediately 750ml of brown sludge flowed into the bag. Yeah my superbug infection appears to be back. Didn't get home until 2am, but didn't sleep... my mind wad wearing a groove into my brain with "20, 18, 16, 14, 12." Those being the sizes they tried.

I slept all day while my body flushed the anesthetic out of me... always takes longer for me. Even this post has taken two hours to type... prufredin it going to take forever.

EDIT: It fell out around 4am Saturday. I have no friggin idea what now, because I can't get the nurses here to talk to me.  My mood is not high.

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June 03, 2022

Hospital pt6, The Other One With All The Hoses.

The Time: a couple of days after my lil' wonderduck had been dehosed. Late evening.

The Place: a remarkably comfortable hospital bed, watching Guess Who's Coming To Dinner? starring Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

The Moment: I was reminiscing about an acting student at Duck U when I was getting my tech theater BFA. I'll call her "Kate" because she looked remarkably like Hepburn at a similar age, and for once because that actually was her name. I actually met her before I was a student at Duck U, during an orientation day/night, when us prospective theater folks (all three of us!) got to watch the current show. Us three n00bs unofficially teamed up against the ravening hordes of real students. I was struck by three things about Kate: first, her remarkable resemblance to K Hepburn. Second, her nose stud, the first I had ever seen, which I found to be quite fetching. And third, she actually seemed to like me. But that's a different story for a different day.  Anyway, watching hi g the film and reminiscing when The Event occurred 

The Event: I barfed.

Now you may say "But Wonderduck, you hadn't been eating much, how did you.. ," which is a fair question, and one I had no good answer for at the time. I didn't even feel poorly, it was a very strange occurrence, and one that happened so quickly I had no prep time. One moment I was fine, the next I had a brown-green slurry about the consistency of a melting vanilla shake from WcRonald's down the front of my gown, the blanket,and a pillow.  Quite a bit of it too, if I may be so bold.

Surprised, I hit the call button, explained what had happened to the nurse on intercom duty, and a few minutes later I had been tidied up all my bedding changed, and the poofy air mattress wiped down with something that smelled of equal parts bleach and Satan's left armpit. While I was rolling around on the bed and biting back tears from the pain in my leg, I explained that no, it just happened, ykonw what I mean, and that I felt okay.  Just in case though, she handed me one green barf bag, a rubberized plasticy thing that looked like a bondage getup for a cucumber.

One. Oh, if only...


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May 11, 2022

A Dog's Age, A Duck's Life

Well, it has been a while,  hasn't it? There are reasons for that.  Firstly, I've been a bit under the weather... maybe a week and a bit ago my stomach rebelled against the proletarian concept of food, one Stalinistic Purge after another.

Then there's the infection. I think I've mentioned it's antibiotic resistant. Turns out it's not resistant to all of them. Unfortunately the ones that still work are IV-based. So the decision was made to throw another PICC line (nurse: "It's a mid-line.") into my arm. At least this caused no issues, but I'm hooked to the tree for about two hours per day.

Despite my taking a prebiotic, the antibiotic ... I'll just call it "Jeff" from now on... has done a number on all the good bacteria. I mean, Jeff has done a better job on that than the real target. 

Anyway, there's less blood usually so that's a positive. I'm seeing a specialist tomorrow with a non-trivial chance that a catheter is stalking me. I used to hate dentists, but at least they don't try to work via your bellybutton.

There's been a lot of not sleeping going on too.  My roomie, who I'll also call Jeff, is 65 looking like 80, and goes to bed right after dinner. Lights out and silence, and he tries to get me to do the same. Jeff doesn't care if I sleep, he just wants dark and quiet.  To which I have of course said no. 

Jeff also thinks the light of my phone screen is too bright, and the sound of a bag of chips being opened too loud. As is my bed as I adjust it to a good sleeping position six hours early. To express this dislike, he unleashes the Litany of Profanity and the Panoply of Sounds. 

The Litany is uninteresting; only five words that get strung together in combinations.  The Panoply is different. From hums to express displeasure, to a Lecter-style intake of breath, to a raspberry, these sounds definitely indicates bad moods. The big one however is a heavy breathing thing... like he's trying to growl, maybe. Last night he added a new one... whacking his table hard with something. 

Of course that one dragged me out of a rare bit of sleep. I mean I'm a night owl... 3am is no stranger to me... but I've been trying to be polite and nice, which results in me waking up at 2am and not being able to sleep again. At least last night I expressed my displeasure with "what the hell is your problem?" His muttered "no problem" seems like he didn't expect me to respond.

I've resorted to official complaints, and two nurses have gotten involved too. Apparently I'm not his first roomie, just the most recent.

In good news, visitors have been a thing! First it was the folks, then Vaucaunson's Duck all the way from California, and The Librarian is coming next week. All of which has been a welcome change from being the youngest inmate and having nurses and CNAs only to talk to... and they all yell. I assume it's because of deafness of the other folks. I've taken to speaking quietly while they yell, hoping to reduce their volume subconsciously. Mixed results.

The 6th Hospital entry is coming... this one is probably the worst to talk about because there's very little funny involved and I need there to be some.

Lunch is being passed out... allegedly chicken parm and pasta. We'll find out.

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April 24, 2022

Birthday Gifts

No donut, alas. Just a store-bought chocolate chip cookie... sugar-free. I ate it anyway.

Ph.Duck and The Nurse (ret.) stopped in for about an hour or so. First time I've seen either of them in the flesh since the hospital. They brought with them two bottles of Sprite, which was heavenly. It's been water and juices all year... and some kool-aid,  which in the right circumstance can be awfully tasty.

Do you remember an entertaining trifle called Go! Go! Nippon? I really enjoyed the thing, and ridiculously enough, liked the geographic bits as much as I did the two heroines, Makoto and Akira. Like most of us dedicated fans... and you have to be considering the amount of weebhate thrown at it, the hope was for a new DLC or, miracle of miracles, a new GGN game. Time passed, and the 2015 date of the last update receded in the mirror. It seemed unlikely that we'd ever see the girls again.

On April 22nd, that all changed. That is when I  discovered that they two of them are VTubers now, and have been for eight months.... and if they got 10000 subs, a new GGN! game would go into production!

On my birthday they reached that 10K goal. There's going to be a new version of GGN! Okay, look, I know it's not much, but that was a nice birthday gift to get.

And in the best gift of all, Big Papa Pixy has found the four missing years and wrangled them back into place on the sidebar. They probably fell under a server rack somewhere and he found it as he prepares to decade to a new residence.  Thank you, Pixelmator! You're the ginchiest!

All right, you apes! You wanna blog forever? Get back to work... um... blogging. 

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April 22, 2022


Birthday #2 in a long-term care facility.

At least I still have birthday candles.

Maybe the facility will give me a donut this year. That would be nice.

Yes, I'm a little grumpy about this milestone.

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April 05, 2022

Hospital pt5: The One With All The Hoses.

The next day was relatively boring, all things considered... except I was told that lunchtime was going to be the last time I could eat or drink for 24 hours. "Okay," I said, "why?"  Tomorrow afternoon the doc you met the previous day is going to do cruel and unusual punishments to your forward naughty bits.

Suddenly all thoughts of what was happening on Law And Order Traffic Division" was totally gone from my brain, replaced by a panicked whining and scurrying rodent. What had been boring had changed to something bigger and more.  AREN'T I LUCKY?  Surprisingly, sleep came easily that night. Inflatable beds: ask for them by name!

The next morning was a thirsty one. No water for 20 hours can do that to a duck, but it's only uncomfortable. I could manage that easily... hey, where'd all these red flags come from?  Once the time came, the medicos slid me easily onto the gurney, thanks to a really slippery sheet that had been placed previously.  Clever. The gurney ride to the Operating Room was exciting... new pattern ceiling tiles!... but strangely nobody else seemed to share my energy for the topic. indeed, I suspect the OR Nurse was looking forward to handing me off to the anesthetic specialist, just to shut me up.  What can I say, I get chatty when I get nervous. 

In the pit lane... yes, the doctor actually called the waiting area for the OR the "pit lane", because of the individual stalls for patient gurneys... they had me sign a consent form. It was a little late for that, to be frank. Then came the moment of truth: the sleepymask was placed over my nose and mouth and I was told to count backwards from 100.  I was later informed that I made it all the way to 98 before the lights went out.

And they say that redheads need more knockout juice to work.

I woke up in the same pit stall some unknown amount of time later.  Well, "woke up" may be a little overstating things.  I was awake, but as has become normal for me and  the goodnight juice, I was really quite out of it. In fact, it took a good 36 hours for my right eye to be willing to stay open, a sure sign that I'm sleepy.  I checked something... yup, firehose stuck into my lil' ducky. I was then encouraged to give it a try.

Red. 100% firetruck red. If there was urine involved, it had been mugged and left for dead somewhere. Khorne would have been well pleased, for he cares not from where the blood flows, only that it does. Or he would have gone "Dude, ew, no." One of the two. I was actually glad to be groggy still, it probably kept me from freaking out.

Ah the innocence on display, where red was something to worry about.

This went on for a few surreal days until I got a visit from the hospital nutritionist. I explained my reluctance to eat much, he talked about what not to eat when you're on bloodthinners ("Kale. It's literally the worst thing possible. I've never actually MET someone who ate kale, but it's bad."), and what his plans were for the weekend: a race weekend for the FIA World Endurance Championship. Big hospital, small world. We talked a bit about that as you might imagine.

Finally came the day that the catheter was removed. "It won't hurt, just some tugging." They were right, but didn't mention how weird it would feel. "So how was that?"  Not bad, just... oh wait... crap! I thought I was about to wet the bed.

Instead, an inch-long thing came out. It was sort of pink and didn't seem to be moving. All I could say was "What the hell is that???" I'm sure my voice was strong and steady, firm without the slightest bit of hysterical gibberish.  

The response did nothing to shake me from my strong mental position: "It's a blood clot, just stuff in the tube. Nothing to worry about!" I gave them both a fisheyed stare for a bit and said "Did you ever see the original *Alien* film? Remember the chestburster bit?  After it popped out and hissed at everybody, it scrambled across the floor and into the walls. That's how that felt.  Without the pain and visible internal organs, though. I think."

The doc eventually came back in, told me everything went without a hitch. I was still in the anesthetic haze, so I may have spoken clearly. I also may have drooled all over myself. Not sure which.

Right. That hurdle passed, hooray!

And then what? Something very strange occurred, and it was nearly as bad as getting a blood clot in my leg.

Next Episode, more zombies!

Also next time, Hospital pt6, The Other One With All The Hoses.

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March 29, 2022

A Word of Advice

If a nurse is holding something medical with intent to apply it to you and she says it isn't going to hurt, do not believe her.

It's going to hurt.

A lot.

Even without needles.

I've been going through some health issues recently, caused by my infection.  Turns out it's a superbug that simply laughs at most antibiotics. Most... but not all. There are a few that will kick it in the teeth, but they're all IVs.  After a week long fiascorevRxing the placing of a PICC line that involved three attempts, two failures, a lot of bleeding, and a company losing the facility's business, they finally got one in me. 

My arms look like I let a boxer practice on me for a while though.

At least I'm in Duckford.

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March 18, 2022

Fast On The Phone

I can only hope this looks okay when I post it, as this is quickly being dashed off on my phone. As mentioned before, I've made it to Duckford.

Quite honestly, this place looks a bit shabby when compared to its sister in Elgin... the remodel is pending. 

The physical rehab room is frankly small. You could fit two or three in Elgin's place and they'd still rattle around. But it's got the equipment I need, the therapists who seem to want to help, and a nice view of Mulford  to remind me that I'm finally back in the right city.

On the negative side the portions during meals are smaller here.  This may be a blessing as the kitchen staff seems to be populated by high school lunch ladies.

My roommate is the worst I've had since the 2nd one.  He has breathing g problems and "shooting pain in (his) legs. His breathing sounds like he's growling. The worst are his explosive yells two or three times a night. Just out of nowhere, suddenly I've got frigging Beetlejuice yelling at the top of his lungs. GREAT way to be woken up, lemme tell ya.

On the other hand, I've managed to stand up. Need assistance, and I was leaning hard on the parallel bars, but I  was vertical again. A few times, actually. And we may be able to do away with the embarrassing Hoyer lifts into and out of the wheelchair, thanks to a sit-to-stand machine. It ain't easy, but I can do it.

So there's that, which is good. I promise pt5 of the story is coming soon. 

Standing up... I do declare.

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March 10, 2022

Some Good News?

I haven't slept at night for about five days due to the Unholy Trinity of the jerk across the hallway and his TV at max volume all night, a guy that doesn't understand the concept of a call button and will yell "HALP!" all night, and my roommate who sounds like an Apollo moon rocket when he snores and he snores all night.

The morning headaches are amazing. The breakfasts somewhat less so.

And despite all of that, I have a smile on my face. Why?

I'm going back to Duckford. Not to Pond Central, alas, but I'll at least have the possibility of seeing family and friends. I'm being moved to the Duckford branch of the chain of LTC facilities. And its only a few miles from Pond Central.

Saturday morning is D-Day.  This pleases me. A lot.

Any of you watch "reaction videos"? A guy plays a song for the first time (allegedly) and... well, reacts to it. 90% of these are total crap. Another 9% are mostly crap. It's that last 1% that has a chance of being watchable.

I've been listening to a lot of loud, fast music just to keep me interested during my workout.


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March 02, 2022

A Terrible Day For Rain

This past Monday, Feb 28th, 2022, at 4pm, marked an unimaginable milestone.  The one-year mark of my adventures in WTFdom passed with no fanfare, no acknowledgement, not even my weekly headshrinker visit... also with me suffering from the effects of my infection: chills, headache, general malaise and stupor. So really not much different than any other day, just with chills.

I thought about posting on Monday, but was too tired of all of this crap to actually write about it. Instead, I vicariously watched artificial people play videogames that I knew I myself would never finish. One was a ridiculously fast paced FPS, and my fast twitch muscles have been shot for years. The other was Getting Over It With Bennet Foddy. I own a copy of that one, which is why I know I'll never finish it.

Until 4pm.  At that time, I got to the edge of my bed, leaned hard on my heavyweight cane, got my legs under me and shoved with them like a Free Safety trying to break up a pass. Liftoff was Apollo-speed, not Shuttle-zippy, but I could feel the strength building, my knees getting closer to the point where they'd keep everything centered and controlled. If I could stand, I could walk. And if I can walk, this whole miserable adventure comes to an end.  It was going to happen right then and there. With the cheerful bit of my workout music screaming in my ears, I felt like it was really happening.

Then my knees screamed ABORT ABORT ABORT and I abruptly returned to the launch pad after a three inch freefall. No massive fireball though, which I guess is a good thing. It wasn't pain, it was just the realization that my knees were already wobbling and would have pitched me to the floor in short order.  Since I was there already, I did the usual leg and arm stuff until dinner. It was as disappointing as I was.

Just gotta work harder. Easy to think, hard to accomplish when you thought you already were.

On a different topic, remember that song I posred a bit ago, Lagtrain? About a month ago, another fanmade video for it came to my attention. This one was different though.

I'd seen it before. The source material, that is, back in high school.  You don't forget something like this. Or I don't. I forgot plenty of stuff from when I was a Knight but this bubbled up from the tar pit portion of my memory after just a few seconds. Vauc, does this looks familiar at all?  Mr Carlson's Geometry class?
This ring any bells for anyone? Well, whatever. Like I said in a comment on the yootoob page for this thing, "If you went back in time 40 years and told 14 year old me that I'd be seeing it as a cool video set to a kickin' song sung in Japanese by a computer... I would have been the happiest guy in the world.

I suspect I'm not alone in that.

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February 20, 2022

Hospital pt4: I Only THOUGHT I Was Embarrassed Before.

Attempt #4 to write this entry.  I'm hoping that after having the previous three attempts fall over into the swamp, perhaps this will go better.

As you may remember, I had just informed a nurse that I needed to... um... empty my personal solid waste container, and she had just returned with a smile on her face and a bedpan in her hands. I suspect I had a look of horror on my face, both because of the... thing... in her hands and her first instruction: roll onto your side.

I tried. I tried very hard. I grabbed hold of the bedrail to my left and HEAVED... and sorta half-rolled to my side, kinda. My right leg was dead weight with the added fun of hurting like hell too.  I only thought I knew what pain was because the nurse put a hand on my right flank, another around my right knee area, and shoved.

I was later told that my scream could clearly be heard at the nurse's station half a floor away. My nurse was startled; she didn't really understand the situation. Once I could breathe again and my eyeballs stopped vibrating, she honestly apologized which was nice. At this point, allow me to mention something interesting ("Finally," says every reader of The Pond ever)... the bedpan itself.

I've seen bedpans before of course... big, metal things with a white color to it.  As it turns out, that was a very long time ago. Nowadays, they are a pale blueish-green thing made out of plastic, with so many swoops and curves it wouldn't have been out of place on a F1 car. Of course, aerodynamics is not exactly the point of one of these things, though sometime winds are involved. The nurse placed the device into the correct position and helped me slowly roll onto my back. And with instructions to press the call button when I was done, she sailed out of the room.

And then there was another problem. I hadn't voluntarily done... um... doo in bed since I was very very young and I was having a mental issue about letting fly. It wasn't until my guts were filled with stabbing pains that the cork was pulled and the contents decanted... and I still felt an intense embarrassment.  I pushed the call button...

...and very quickly, the nurse returned. Trailing behind her came another nurse... and I instantly wanted to die. This new one was younger and a LOT cuter.  That she was young enough to be my kid did cross my mind, and only added to my weaponized embarrassment. The two nurses together pulled and tugged me back onto my side. This time, my pride stupidly made me NOT scream in front of a cute girl. Tears, however, I couldn't quite control.

Then she walked by, carrying the bedpan while the other nurse began to clean my stern....

(I would like to point out that just now, this post attempted to make a break for freedom.)

...and I began to have a mental argument with myself: which is worse, having the cute nurse carry my pan of former food and clean it, or would it have been worse to have her cleaning me?

These are the sort of questions that try men's souls and keep me up at night. Does that surprise any of you? I mean, c'mon. Its me.

When they were finally done, I apologized to the first nurse. She just said it's the job, no worries, and they left me alone.

Some time later, a doctor walked in, introduced himself as the "(something) doctor, and I looked at your scans a bit ago.  Your kidneystone is too large to nibble out, so we've got two choices. The first is a full-blown surgery, which I think is overkill in this case."

I wholeheartedly approved of this assessment. "So what's the other choice?"

He gave me a real smile and said "We knock you out, run a tube with a camera up your lil' ducky, maneuver it up to your kidney, then slide a stent up it to the kidney in an attempt to let the stone escape on its own. And then we'll place a catheter in your dingus to your bladder to give it a path to follow!"

For the luvvapete, it's getting better and better by the moment. And despite my brain-addled situation, I had a feeling that I was missing something important...

Next: more zombies.

Also Next: Hospital pt5: The One With All The Hoses.

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February 10, 2022

Bedpan Saga Delayed; Delay Post Also Delayed

I just lost 1200 words of Hospital Hijinks for reasons I totally don't understand. I woke up my laptop, there's the post... must not have saved it at the end of the last session. So I clicked "save" and I got a message I had never seen in 18 years of using .mu.nu software.

"You are not authorized to access this page."

Look, it hasn't been the best of days. One of those "I want everything to go away for a while so I can just relax for once" days. Now that happens.  My chill is non-existent right about now.

And then the original version of this post disappeared, eaten by an unfortunate combination of touchpad and hate. So I had to rewrite the post explaining why I'm having to rewrite a different post.


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January 30, 2022

Hospital pt3 - So Sick I Felt Fine

Sleep, when it finally did come,was not of the highest quality.  But it DID eventually happen between nurse incursions. Blood pressure was watched carefully overnight... I vaguely remember telling them to just leave the cuff on my arm, it'd save time.  If I did tell them that, they didn't take my advice.  They finally did get the stereo equipment plugged in, but it was much improved from when I had the monitoring stuff back in 2005. Still had enough cabling to control an Aegis cruiser's coffeemaker from the 12 sticky pads stuck to my chest, but the box they ran to was smaller and lighter. Still too heavy to put in the hospital gown's pocket though... my lovely frock was quickly disheveled, pulled into a plunging V-neck that'd be illegal in 17 states and Switzerland. However, instead of a big cable running from that to the wall, it had wifi.  Of course.  Everything has wifi anymore. Somewhere around 3am I could take no more and slept the sleep of the innocent.

Two hours later I was awakened by a frantic electrical *beep*ing, quickly followed by a fast-moving nurse.  Turns out three of the leads on my chest had worked themselves free of their pads, and the machine interpreted that as signs of imminent death. Reassured that I was not, in fact, shuffling off this particular mortal coil, the nurse decided to remove the old pads and hook up a wah-wah pedal, too.  How could anybody had known just how the adhesive on the pads would react to the feathers on my chest?  All the skin on the front of my body came off with the yanking of the pads.

Business began to pick up at 7am. Shift change occurred, a nurse held the bucket for me, blood was taken, medications hung, and breakfast served.  Break Fast literally in my case. Pancakes, sausage, thick gooey oatmeal? Heh. I like that version of life. A thin gruel that seemed to have been genetically related to Cream o' Wheet, a half-slice of wheat toast with a tiny amount of butter, and a glass of water. I couldn't finish it.  

9am brought the conversation I had wanted: doctor time! Or, more correctly doctors, plural. The first talked with me about the blood clot. It was fairly large, but they believed it'd respond well to the blood thinners.  Surgery was theoretically possible, but very unlikely. Everything would have to go horribly wrong for it to be a thing. Deep deep inside me, a little voice started to chant "you're gonna need it, you're gonna need it." Thats when it was the other doctor's turn. He introduced himself, and I realized the other doctor had pulled a Batman and completely disappeared. The doc explained that not only did the Donut and the Ultrasound fund the bloodclot, it found a kidneystone, too. Hooray! 

In a day or two they were going to take me in for a Procedure. They'd run a probe up my Lil' Wonderduckie and to my right kidney where they'd stick a stent up there to encourage the stone to go a-wanderin'. Then they'd install a catheter too. I suspect my cringe could be felt in Chicago... everything I've ever heard about catheters made it perfectly clear I never wanted one, ever. But wait, there's more! Remember that nurse who asked about the urine's smell? They apparently used it for a testing sample. I had an infection, and not a small one, either.  With that, a whole bunch of puzzle pieces fell into place. I had a whole series of symptoms for years... I've even written about them here occasionally... but never all at the same time. For an idiot like me, they didn't particularly cause any red flags to fly. The worst was a sudden back or neck pain, followed by bad chills. It would only last for a few hours, then disappear like nothing had happened.

But most of the time, I felt fine. I didn't even have a hint of the kidneystone. The antibiotic would flow immediately... but not before the vampires came by again. But after that... well, in fact, something else had to take place first. Something very, very important.

I needed to void solids.  And then, proving to me that nurses are very odd, the nurse was pleased. She left the room for a minute. Upon her return, she held out the other thing I didn't ever want to see. In fact, it was presented with a flourish worthy of any courtier in a fantasy castle.

A bedpan.

Oh, crap...

Next Time: More Zombies.

Also Next Time: Hospital pt4: I Only THOUGHT I Was Embarrassed Before. 

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January 25, 2022

Hospital pt2: Like A Cloud, Only With Squeezy Boots.

As the gurney was rolled through a maze of hallways... I could have sworn one of my steering units was dropping popcorn behind him... I couldn't help but notice that the ceiling was entirely different from what it had been when we had visited the land of the Angry Growling Doughnut.  Turns out we were headed into the hospital's New Wing... you could hear the capital letters thudding into place... which surprised me.  See, back in the day the Duck U Bookstore sold the books for this hospital's college of nursing so I had spent a lot of time there, and to be honest I had no idea where'd they'd PUT a NewWing. As it turned out, I was both right and wrong; there wasn't room for new construction.  So they made room... RIP college of nursing and some other stuff.  And so, I got to notice a new ceiling. And yes, I did spend a minute of your life telling you an over-detailed story to explain a different shape of ceiling tile.

I'M BACK, PONDSCUMMERS! Did ya miss me?

Eventually the steering units... it was a powered gurney, even had cute little brake handles and everything. The medical folk involved just leaned on the thing to make it go one way or the other. Anyway, they found an elevator and as luck had it it was packed with medfolk. A short standoff occurred before it was sent on its merry way. The next one was empty, though only for as long as it took to load in my scooterbed. Which took longer than you'd have thought; the wheels got stuck in the gap between elevator and floor. Eventually this trouble was dispatched and up we went to the 5th floor... the newest in the entire hospital.  The Cardiac floor. New ceiling, too, much further away than all the rest thus far. I really realized something right then. This was serious.  Or really, SERIOUS.  They wouldn't put me in the Cardiac wards if it wasn't.  They rolled me into a random room that honestly was bigger than my living room. 

And then, another transfer to another bed. As before, serious pain and sad puppy whining sounds. And a bed that was the most uncomfortable I've ever been. Seriously, it was like lying on an aluminum sheet with rods on it. The rolling table went away, taking the medical personnel with it, and I was in a hospital, alone, basically naked, on a painful table, in the dark, and scared out of my tiny little mind. Not because I was alone... that could be a good sign, you don't leave cardiac cases alone without them being wired for sound first... but because of the pain.

At the beginning of all this two weeks previously, stuff in my leg hurt but it stopped hurting when I stopped moving. When it stopped doing leg things it didn't hurt. But now it was constant sharp lance being wiggled around and THAT was scary.

Finally a couple of CNAs came in, turning a light on as they came. One threw a sheet over me. The other one though... she threw a switch on the far end of the bed and a loud hiss filled the room.  More importantly was that I was no longer lying on an uncomfortable sheet of aluminum but hovering just over it!  I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that my first thought was air hockey. In my defense, it had been a long day. They had put me in an inflatable bed and for the first time since 3pm, my back and butt didn't hurt.  Considering the pain in the rest of my body, it was a small victory, but a victory it was.

The nurses efficiently got my tree of bags hung and stuck in my arm... and drew more blood to look at the effectiveness of the blood thinners.  This should have warned me of what was coming but I was clueless...  its not like I had any experience in this.  They showed me what to press if I needed to use the loo, to adjust the bed, and how to turn on the TV. This would prove to be the most important of the three. And what a TV! 46" if it was a foot. Much cable channels, including TCM... during Oscars month. Say what you want about the Hollywood "I Love ME!" event, but they give that to good movies. During my stay I got to wat... a nurse walks in and takes blood... I got to watch about 30 great movies. I'd already seen some of them of course: I had Citizen Kane memorized long before, but I had managed to miss most Sidney Poitier films for example.

So that, mixed with my cellphone, would have my entertainment covered.  This was nowhere near to being true, but I didn't know that yet. I also didn't know that despite my bed being comfort itself, sleep was not going to be a thing. But at the moment, it wasn't going to be... a nurse walks in, takes blood, and leaves again... ...be a problem.

Yeah. I was screwed, I just didn't know it yet.

Next Time: More Zombies!

Also Next Time: Hospital pt3 - So Sick I Felt Fine

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January 07, 2022

So This Is The Hospital? Needs Better Urinals.

The ambulance backed into the ERs dropbox, dragged me out the rear... better than via the roof hatch.  I actually asked why there was a roof hatch, but alas I was already being rolled into the lovely eggshell blue hallway to a room past the open bay where the high pressure world of traumatic wounds and spurting blood in a life or death conflict against Death itself.

Two doctors were eating pizza and chatting. But in a high intensity manner.

The EMTs had one last gift for me as they dragged me off the gurney to the bed-like object that would be my resting spot for the next five hours. They tried not to bump me around, but failed. Not really their fault... YOU try transferring a walrus from one table to another, see how it goes. The next hour is mostly a blur now. Medical people wandering in, poke and prod, then wandering right back out again. Somewhere in there they gave me a stylish gown in no specific color... a sartorial choice that I have become quite familiar with, alas.  

Eventually I began recognizing people that made multiple stops in my space. One actually poked me with a needle to take blood... the first of many vampire visits I'd experience. Someone else hung a bag of whatever because that's what the do in hospitals, then plugged it in.

I'm reading the above stuff, and it's not really very funny. None of it really was, honestly. it's even past my admittedly tiny abilities to make funny. There was a lot of pain involved. Like when they took x-rays of my upper leg and they needed me to turn my leg this way or the other... that really was agony.

Then it was time for the device I'd become very familiar with... the Angry Growling Donut. Yes, others call it a CT Scanner, but I don't care. Sadly I had to do the leg trick again, except in a small confined space with no room to move. Fun was had by all. Then it was back up to the warm and inviting ER room and its remarkably comfortable table with great back support. 

By now it'd been a couple of hours, and I'm sure this'll come as a shock to everybody, I needed to use the little ducky room. This caused a rather confused look to appear on the nurse's face: What do you do when a patient the size of a treaty battleship needs to pump bilges take a leak when he can't sail walk? A handheld urinal was out; prior experience definitely rendered that a non-starter. Suddenly the expression of "brilliant idea!" appeared on the face of a second nurse that had been called in for consultation. Or moral support maybe? Was never quite clear on that, just the first time of many over the next couple of weeks. The decision was made: the collection container (two liters... I appreciated their optimism) from a suction machine (note: possible foreshadowing) and two diapers to catch possible overflows (really, it was quite flattering)...

...and everything held in place by two nurses.

Ah. Yes, of course. I should have realized beforehand.  Suddenly the old adage passed through my mind: "You have no pride, you have no shame. You're in marketing!" Or, in this case, a hospital. Ah well, 25 years of retail burned all that down to a small, mewling thing huddled in the corner of my mind, and it's not like worse things didn't happen the last couple of years at the Duck U Bookstore. So once everything had been set up and the audience allowed to take their seats. I let fly. I tried very hard to keep the sigh of relief contained; no reason to make this any weirder than it already was.
Prize gathered (240ml... hey, it'd been a long time) a look of concern flitted across the nurse's face and she asked me a question that in other circumstances would have me laughing at the surrealness of it all: "How long has it smelled like this?" I could only shake my head: not too long at all, really, but not recently. With that answer received, she took the precious liquid away.

Then another torture device was brought in: the ultrasound machine. This was applied to my inner thigh after that odd gel stuff was gooped on, and Madame Torquemada began her work. To explain just how this felt, let me apply a comparison that can be easily understood. 

Imagine you're in a terrible car accident on the highway. Everything is destroyed, the engine is in the back seat, the front passenger seat is ten yards behind the car, the works. You yourself are unharmed, and simply get out the normal way. As you do, you are counting your blessings.

Then you are attacked by a bengal tiger. Just as the massive teeth and claws approach your unprotected body, you are hit by an 18-wheeler at full trot. Then, as your broken body lies on the side of the road, someone runs up and presses an ultrasound scanner to your leg.  

After being allowed some water... an entire Dixie cup, all to myself!... I was left alone for a bit. I think I texted Brickmuppet and Ben both at this point though to be honest that's kinda slipped my mind. A bit after that, three nurses, led by a woman that was obviously a doctor (if nothing else, her name badge and ID with the large word "DOCTOR" under it gave it away... mind like a steel trap, that's me) walked in.  She explained that the Angry Growling Donut and the ultrasound both spotted a blood clot in my right leg. The good news was that was fairly early in the experience and should respond well to the usual brace of blood thinners and other meds.  The bad news was that she could not admit to t.he hospital without a display of the physical situation. Or to put it simply, I had to try and stand up.

I goggled (back in grad school I would have helmeted. More protection while welding) at her. Seriously? Step one then... slide my legs to the edge of the table. My left leg moved fine, but the star of the evening was my right one... and I couldn't move it. My foot worked, but every pain receptor  in my brain lit up with a nearly visible "TILT" light. After a few more attempts, each hurting more than the one before it, she said "That's enough. Would you agree?" That was directed to the nurses. A half hour later, I left the ER, bundled into an elevator and rolled to my new home for a while.  It was 1030pm on the last day of February, 2021.

Next Time: More Zombies!

Also next time: Hospital pt2: Like A Cloud, only with squeezy boots.

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January 03, 2022

Pond Scum: Many Comments.

Me When I Saw Them: ?????... !

Seriously, I did not expect so many of you to have stuck around for so long.  If I had not cried after typing "More Zombies" last night, I assuredly would be now.

It's not like I wanted you guys to stick around or anything... baka Pond Scum-chan.

Part II of the story of my predicament vacation is coming; there's a lot of bad things fun things to cover though, and you guys know me... my writing style is not what you could call brief and succinct, even as a joke.

One thing that may surprise y'all is that I didn't discover a lot of new music. Yootoob on my smurtfon was and is clumsy and rife with ads, I don't have Spotify, and there isn't enough storage in it for more than a couple tunes anyway. There was some though, so of course I'm going to make this post seem longer share it with you folks!

Read on, MacDuff!

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January 02, 2022

Knock Knock, Neo... er... Wonderduck

(yawn) {stretchhhhh}

Boy, helluva nap, that.  I was supposed to have dinner with the folks at 6pm, wonder what time it is?

Oh. Oh boy. That's gonna be hard to explain. Well, lets give it the old Duck U try, hey?

You members of the Pond Scum that have stuck around have been told a little bit thanks to Brickmuppet and Ben, both of whom deserve praise (or scorn, whichever) for keeping me sane for the past very long time.

Short ha ha ha version: blood clot in the leg, with added problems, like a previously unknown UTI and a kidneystone.  And with some nutritional problems to boot because this all started with some leg pain like I have gotten for years. But it got worse, to the point where getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom was about the limit of what I could manage... so I stopped eating.  For about 10 days, give or take, Then Feb 28th, as I tried to shower, my leg stopped doing leg things,

when I fell, I miraculously missed everything so it was about as good as you could hope for. Except now I was naked on the floor of the bathroom, unable to stand up, or really move at all without the leg exploding, So I called 911 and actually said "I've fallen and can't get up." It only took a few minutes for the EMTs and firemen to show up, and they then proceeded to drag me bodily into the living room, got me on a tarp, and got ready to take me out to the ambulance.

At which point, one of them asked about my collection of Haruhi Suzumiya figures. I was more than happy to chat about the 110 figure collection... I'm just a few obscure figs from having every scale, prize, trading, and posable figure listed on myfigurecollection, and the general consensus is that it's probably the largest collection of its type in the US. So I've got that going for me.

Which is nice.

That was the last fun I would have for about a month.

When they carried me to the ambulance, it was snowing. Also, the streets they took to the hospital need some SERIOUS roadwork, because every bump, pothole, or slight depression in it transmitted itself directly to my leg. i'm pretty sure I didn't scream at all. Much. The ER was waiting for me and thus ended any dignity and hope I've ever had in my life.

NEXT TIME: More Zombies. Oh my god, did that joke feel good. 

ALSO NEXT TIME: Welcome To The Pleasuredome Hospital. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 04:27 PM | Comments (21) | Add Comment
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February 08, 2021

Winter 2021: Don't Tell Me It's Awful!

There's always somebody out there.  "There's nothing to watch," they'd moan and kvetch.  "It was better before this."  Any maybe those people are correct.  But not this anime season, they aren't.  Here's a look at what I think is a remarkable Winter!

It's a winter of their discount tents...


Posted by: Wonderduck at 09:10 PM | Comments (43) | Add Comment
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