Friday, June 30, 2006

Oh NO...They Wouldn't...WOULD They...?!

Short answer: Yes, and most likely the bastards laughed the entire time.

Among my daughters' many stuffed animals is a small purple and white duck, which 'quacks' charmingly when you shake it. Like most toys these days, it hails from Asia. Well, recently it stopped quacking, and small, sorrowful kideyes were begging me to make it quack again. Because, well, I'm Mom, and I can fix anything.

Not wanting to nuke my reputation right out of the water, I agreed to perform stuffed duck surgery and see if I couldn't fix the quacker. I attacked a seam across it's back with a seam ripper and managed to work the noisemaker out of the thing.

The noisemaker looked for all the world like a black 35mm film can. I popped the top off and found quacker innards within. I dumped it out and found the problem immediately: The rubber casing of the thing was disintegrating. Inside the rubber case was a spring and a mysterious contraption made of a moving weight and a bit of colorful metal. The colorful metal looked to be aluminum recycled from an Asian soda can, amusingly enough.

As I explore the thing I determine that the noisemaker proper is working flawlessly, the sole problem is the rotting rubber sleeve. As I more closely inspect the sleeve to see if a replacement for it might be cobbled together somehow, I realize something.

The rubber sleeve is, indeed, A RUBBER.

They had the balls to name this line of toys "Playful Plush", too. More factory-wide sniggering over that one, I'm sure.

As soon as it dawns on me what the creepy, slimey, rotting thing I'm holding in my hands is, I drop it like a hot rock, accompanied by a string of choice four-letter words, uttered in a loud, disbelieving tone of voice. So loud that my husband emerges from the kitchen to see what prompted THAT aggrieved outburst.

I point in revulsion to the toy's parts. "Look at that!" I watch his face closely for his reaction.

Sadly for him, he doesn't realize what it is at first, either, and picks it up. After a moment, HE now knows what it is, too, and practically launches the thing into orbit in his haste to get it out of his hands. "Jesus!" He shoots me an incredulous, disgusted look.

"I know!" I say, before he can say anything else. "And this damned Toy From Hell won't work unless I replace it!"

Who WOULDN'T want to touch this?

He merely returns to the kitchen, laughing because it isn't HIM that has to fit a new condom in a toy duck. He does, however, volunteer to go to the store and get the needed condoms.

Now I know why this damned toy has such a look of Pure Evil on it's face, along with a creepy grin.

OK, I draw a deep breath, Mom Up and do the deed. Old condom removed, new one (lubricated, just like the old one) placed and *of course* it needs adjusting before the quacker works again. Husband makes requisite snarky remarks as to how the things never fit, now I know how guys feel, etc.

New, uh...'apparatus' in place

So for now Evil Condom Duck quacks again. Until THIS condom wears out...

Sunday, June 11, 2006


OK yesterday was a fluke. Back to feeling really crappy again and getting worse. Back to the doctor again tomorrow I guess. Oh God, PLEASE let me keep out of the hospital...I don't have time for that BS...

Today brings another new medicine: a PINT (that's 480 doses, zowee!) of Prometh w/Codiene 10 mg. cough syrup. The bottle is ridiculously large and must weigh in at around several pounds. When J. brought it home, he gave it to me with, "Here's your fifth of cough medicine!"

Please tell me the doctor does NOT expect me to drink that whole damned thing...

Today sister J. came and whisked little N. away for the day so J. and I could get some rest...he REALLY needs it, he's been pulling solo parent duty, working full time+ and caring for me for the last week and a half. He's tired. His family has been wonderfully supportive and right there. Great folks. :)

Side note: I see the side of the Predisone package carries a warning: "This medicine may lower your ability to fight off infections. Avoid people who have contagious diseases."

Wait--that's me. Tell me again how to avoid myself...?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fun With Pneumonia

Here are the fruits of my stupidity, what I get to eat for my meals these days till further notice:

Robitussin AC (with Codiene) Cough syrup, 2 teaspoonfuls every 4 hours.
Levaquin antibiotic 500 mg. tablets, 1 a day.
Amox TR-K CL antibiotic 875 mg. twice per day.
Methylprednisolone (Prednisone) 4 mg. tablets, 6 per day.
Albuterol 90 mcg. inhaler, two puffs every 8 hours.
Azmacort 100 mcg. inhaler, 4 puffs twice daily.

Most of this stuff is screamingly expensive (nearly $500.00), frighteningly strong and tastes like death. The inhalers flavor your every breath and swallow for hours, and dry your throat out so you COUGH MORE! I had to make myself a schedule, I was spending so much time taking medicine.

OK, so on Memorial Day weekend, I come down with a VERY nasty fever and a very slight, almost unnoticeable bit of congestion in my lungs. I figure I'm getting a cold and start with the OTC decongestant/supressant/expectorant cough syrup and Tylenol. After 5 days of 102 to 104 degree fever, which cheerfully shows no signs of being in ANY way affected by the Tylenol, the lung gunkies take a turn for the worse and become the worst tasting stuff I've ever experienced.

Now, this is saying a LOT.

It's foul. I can't even describe it properly--it was mostly bitter, with some salty-sickly-sweet-death taste mixed in, and it was STRONG. I knew that this was BAD, so I started myself on some Penicillin I had. I figured it was a chest cold gone awry, and spent most of my time trying to sleep/cough till I pulled muscles/sweat/freeze from chills.

No dice. The fever cleared after about 7 days, the lung gunk remained, evil as ever. OK, continue with cough syrup, slack off a bit on the Penicillin.

Until last weekend, when the fever creeps back and I start to feel really, dangerously ill. The kind where you want to turn to your spouse and say, "OK, call 911..." On Wednesday I give up and go see the doctor, resigned to having my ass chewed out for trying to self-medicate and avoid his office (he did, and I deserved it). Almost three hours later I'd had a chest x-ray (his reaction was, and I quote, an eye-popping "GOD--!"), a diagnosis of Viral Pneumonia (which I'd kinda figured out) provided him the sample of lung cookies he wanted, had a nebuliser breathing treatment, a HUGE shot of Roecefin (killer antiobiotic) to the hip and got the bad news that my blood O2 (oxygen) levels were only one point away from 'hospital time'. He gave me FIVE prescriptions to fill and told me to come back the next day for another breathing treatment and another shot of Roecefin, which I did. He also added another antibiotic to the pile of medications I was taking for a grand total of 6.

That night was scary as I got REALLY ill, and I realize that had I waited just one more day, or even a few more hours, hospitalization would have been the only option. It hurt to breathe, I COULDN'T breathe, I was coughing insanely and the high fever made a spectacular comeback. The next day I managed to drag myself back to his office for more of the same. My blood O2 levels had not changed and he stared at me long and hard, obviously trying to decide if he was gong to stick me in the hospital. The only thing that saved me was the fact that I felt a *tiny* bit better. OK, he says. If you don't feel *BETTER* by tomorrow, come in again for another breathing treatment and shot. OK.

So progress was made finally today, Saturday--I'm out of bed for the first time in more than a week, although I am 23 pounds lighter, still have no appetite and cannot eat, which to my surprise isn't bothering me in the least. I figure it's the negative side effect I'm getting from having to have three different kinds of high-powered antibiotics in me. Antibiotics kill off ALL the bacteria in your gut, the good AND the bad.

Which just makes for one more medication to be added to the routine: Imodium.

Life is a joy. Hopefully in another few days I'll be able to walk across the room without having to stop and rest and get my wind back.

In conclusion, DON'T BE ME. I'm an idiot. The nurse says this crap is making the rounds, and it's damned sneaky and nasty, starts out just like mine. If you start to feel ill, get to the doctor right away...