Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Three Plus Some Other Stuff That Just Won't Sit Still And Behave

Hey, everyone! The Dept. is Three! And according to this article, now my blog is "full of energy and enthusiastic about living!" It is also "very curious about everything that goes on around" it. This third year is a year that will be filled with changes for my blog, say these experts. About halfway through the year, my blog "may suddenly become strong-willed and disagreeable. It may become emotionally insecure and anxious. It may also become very picky and hard-to-please. "


Sounds like both my blog and I will be going through menopause, people! This is not going to be pretty. Holy crap.

In the meantime, I wanted to just get a few things off my mind since it's been such a long time since my last post. I'm way overdue, and so much is happening all over the place that I have to say something!

1. Physical therapy: Tedious, boring, horrid, silly-looking. Some days I cry and it's embarrassing. Some days I look around at what we all are doing and I think "This is what insane asylums back in 1934 looked like."

2. Joe Biden: How much do I love him? He's a good pick for Barack's VP, and he is just terrific. You just know that he'll come out gangbusters with that mouth and start firing off some great ones at McSame while the press chuckles and the republicans cringe. He is a pit bull and the Obama campaign needed someone with that earthy gravitas.

3. Olympics: Why did I have to see eleventy billion hours of beach volleyball and NO cool stuff like javelin, shotput, decathlon, shooting, hammer throw, or THE MEN'S BASKETBALL GOLD MEDAL GAME? Why is beach volleyball even an Olympic sport? And, does anyone really want to watch PEOPLE RUNNING A DISTANCE RACE? AT ALL? No.

4. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: I do not read fiction, as a rule. I read this book as the last book of my summer. It was gorgeous and moving. It was the author's first novel and if it is his only, it will either be a tragedy or it will be his one book a la To Kill a Mockingbird for Harper Lee. Go get it and read it. The writing is superb without being "writerly" in that it doesn't take away from the power and readability of the narrative. Beautiful, heartachingly sublime writing.

5. McSame's Bullshit: Hey, John, "my friend". Two things. Only a Rove-ian protege can commandeer your campaign and turn it into the disgusting crapfest it has become: painting the first black candidate as a high-class elitist country-club snob who wants to burden the middle class with higher taxes. Excuse me? You cannot remember the fact that you own seven homes. And when Jay Leno asked you about it in a joking manner, you fell back on being a POW and said, “I spent five-and-a-half years in a prison cell. I didn’t have a house. I didn’t have a kitchen table. I didn’t have a table. I didn’t have a chair." We get it already. You WERE a POW. WERE. And this is relevant now....because...how...? SHUT UP.

6. Gas Prices: Hey, the price of oil keeps dropping. Last time I checked, WE WEREN'T DOING ANY OFFSHORE DRILLING IN THE U.S. Is anyone noticing that? Do you think we're...oh, I don't know...finally catching on to this Conservation Thing? Sigh.

7. Meet the Press: Okay, I like Tom Brokaw, but he's not doing it for me here. He's just not. He's got a whole Sean Connery Mouth Full of Oatmeal thing going on there that I just don't like for the long haul, and I don't find him all that riveting. My heart is still searching. Rick says that Chuck Todd (aka The Professor from MSNBC) is The One, and that may be a possibility, but I have a major thing for David Gregory. But he's already got a full dance card at MSNBC and I don't see it happening.

8. Hillary: I love you, girl, but you gotta let go. It's time. The Party is paramount. We need to beat the republicans hard, and until you just stand up and say "It's time", some people just cannot let the last dog loose. Let it go. Just let it go.

9. School: Sigh. Where did summer go? Oh, I know. Doctor offices and therapy rooms. And I'm resentful and not Over It yet. I'm back, and it will be Okay. I am getting stronger each day, but it has been a meat grinder for me. But you know me: THEY will never ever know it.

All done. Joust away in Comments. I've missed everyone. I will try hard to get to your spots soon. But, remember, I'm three now, and I am "naturally self-centered." I believe "the world revolves around" me. But I am "beginning to understand that others have feelings and needs too." I'm trying hard to find energy and time for everything. Please be patient with me.

I'm only three!

Monday, August 18, 2008

...But just barely. Holy crap, what a ridiculous, screwy, confusing almost-week it's been. You know I won't get into a bunch of Medical Details, but I want to let you know what the deal is so that those of you who have been so kind and concerned are all squared away on Things. Plus, "My Condition", such as it is, will be informing my life for a bit of time to come here, and that will affect my posts here at the Dept.


Surgery did not quite go as planned. Once the doctor got the instruments into the four portals in my shoulder, he found that there was NOT a bigass tear in the rotator cuff. The MRI had provided a false read. It was, as I had known all along, my second case of adhesive capsulitis--this time in my other shoulder. The adhesions were horrible, and he birsed them all away and cleaned up the area. It was only after he did so that he was able to finally fully raise and rotate my arm. My "rise" from the anaesthesia and return home later that day was largely unremarkable--those of you who have had surgery know all about the labors of trying to sleep and the post-op discomforts, etc. That is nothing out of the ordinary. I had to keep my arm in a sling for two days.

After those two days, I went to physical therapy and the doctor and got all the tape and packing and the four small stitches taken off/out. The sling was taken away, and I was given the first round of physical therapy, and the doctor's blithe philosophy, which is: "It's going to be hell for the next 4-8 weeks. Intense. And I don't believe in pain meds. It's pretty much Aleve and suck it up."


So let me tell you this: I don't "believe in pain meds" either. I had adhesive capsulitis before. And the pain is excruciating. I cannot describe it except to tell you that it is like knives at one time, then like insistent throbbing the next, then like someone taking a rope and wrenching your arm out of the socket when you least expect it. And this could all occur in the space of, say, two minutes. Over and over again twenty-four hours a day for months and months. Aleve does not even begin to do it. So, doc, don't give me your bullshit, okay? How about this instead: "I know you'll be in a lot of pain, and believe me, I'm sorry. But pain meds bring along a whole other set of problems and I'd rather not set you down that road. Let's be realistic together and agree that therapy will be painful, but it will be worth it."


Sorry. I'm being a bit negative. Sigh. Here's the thing. I'm not real sure the surgery was entirely necessary at this point. As I said, I've had this before, and I got through it without the surgery; it merely ran its course, and I had therapy at the end when it "thawed", when I was not in as much horrible pain. Now, I'm still in the terrible pain I was in before surgery, and I'm in pain from post-op, and I have the soreness and stiffness of working the joint and muscles that are slack from not being used. I don't get it.

I am very grateful that I didn't have the torn rotator cuff. That surgery is nasty to come back from. I'm grateful to be able to start school on time, but I feel so weak and tired and not 100%. I start in just a few days! It feels impossible. And I wonder how they (both my family doctor and the surgeon) could have been so wrong with the MRI. Last time, the other surgeon (this guy's brother, ironically!) looked at the MRI that had been read as a tear and immediately diagnosed adhesive capsulitis and that it was a false tear. No one really answered my questions adequately, and it's really just too late now. "It is what it is" and the best I can do is just do my therapy and get over this hump.

I want very much to be well. And soon.

This is sounding un-Nance-like. But we all have our Off Times. I am a firm believer in Wallowing When Necessary. I know many of you will want to suggest Drinking Overmuch as my Home Therapy. I have considered it and discarded it for now as Dangerous. I like Drinking as an Indulgence, as a Happy Thing or as a Rewarding Experience. Drinking now would seem like a Desperate Thing. Not good.

Ah, well. There it all is. But, I am back. And soon, the Rest of Me shall be as well. I don't often wallow long. But I do think I have reason.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Thanks so much for all your kind emails and encouragement in comments. I'm doing very well, and I'll be back here in a day or two. There's lots to talk about.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

In The End, It's All Politics--But The Politics Never Ends

Like the Obama campaign, I have been trying to calculate when to release this post so that it gets as much attention as possible and gives me the maximum bounce in the polls and is not overshadowed by the 2008 Olympics Live from Beijing. You know...8-8-08 and all that crap.

There is, quite possibly, only one thing that I am sicker of in the news these days than The 2008 Olympics Live from Beijing (8-8-08), and that is Brett Favre. So, let me just say this: Brett Favre is just a football player. He did not discover a cure for AIDS or cancer. He did not build low-income housing for the poor, nor is he rescuing millions of people in danger in Darfur. He did not biologically engineer a new species of drought-resistant grain to feed the starving, nor did he build a fuel cell that will allow my car to run on water. He is a snarky prima donna who has decided that he can't live without his little sport and wants to return to it and is astonished that people moved on without him. SO! PEOPLE! MOVE ON!

Moving on.

(Note to general media and ESPN--see how I did that?)

I will say one little thing, however, about The 2008 Olympics Live from Beijing (8-8-08), and this it is: the government there has the right idea. They have published and distributed to their citizenry a little booklet that instructs them all in the finer points of acceptable dress and behavior. I am certainly on board with that. This is exactly what we in the United States need Government for. It is painfully obvious by a cursory glance in any public venue that Most People are simply unable to do this themselves.

This booklet in China was written by--get this title--the deputy director of the Office of Capital Spiritual Civilisation Construction Commission. Holy crap! It contains these fashion admonitions:
*don't wear your pajamas in public
*don't wear white socks with black shoes
*don't wear more than three colors in your outfit

It also contains these behavior rules:
*no spitting
*stand with feet slightly apart or in the shape of a V or Y when standing
*no public displays of affection
*handshakes should last no longer than three seconds

As you may recall, I have offered to make the Department of Nance a bona fide Government Office and take it upon myself to be the Authority about such things as these. I wouldn't even expect a bigass title like the Chinese guy up there. (Although, wow. That's way impressive.) I also find the Chinese rules to be reasonable and would echo them in my own booklet. But, how do you get your feet in the shape of a Y? Hmmm....

I would probably add a few, as you can guess:
*no Crocs or flip-flops at all; you cannot control yourselves
*no miniskirts or belly shirts if you are over 25
*no sweatpants in restaurants, ever
*no visible underthings of any kind ever on anyone
*no talking on your cellphone at a cash register
*no talking on your cellphone in the restroom
*no children under 17 in any movies rated R whether an "adult" is present or not
*no food or drink allowed inside a live concert or play or musical venue during the performance

That's just a preview, plus my arm hurts. A LOT.

Finally, let me say this--I live in Ohio, also known as The Swing State to Rival All Swing States. We are bombarded with television ads from both candidates on the half-hour. And I have to tell you that I find the McSame ads so incredibly offensive, so obviously mudslinging and defamatory that I cannot even begin to tell you how angry they make me. The one where he actually asks the question "And who is to blame for high gasoline prices?" and then shows a picture of President-Elect Obama and plays a track of a crowd chanting Obama's name makes me ill and is so patently absurd that I cannot believe it is still running. It's even been mocked by members of his own party. And do NOT get me started on the "Celebrity Ad" where he compares President-Elect Obama to Britney and Paris. And his comment to a questioner at one of his "events" was that this ad was him "just having a little fun." He reminds me of the odd, slightly creepy uncle who likes to tickle kids until they beg him to stop, but he doesn't; they start to cry and then he says, "Oh, come on! We're just having a little fun!"

As a teacher, here are a few reasons I'll be voting AGAINST McSame:

*he supports a plan that would base my salary on students' test scores. That's like your dentist being judged by how well you brush or floss at home. Who controls parenting/the home environment/nutrition/access to materials? (AP 7/8/08)
*he wants people to buy their own health insurance on their own rather than get it from their employers. He proposes a new tax on people who do get health care from their employers. (CNN 4/29/08)
*he voted against 5 billion dollars in public school funding while voting for 70 billion dollars in tax cuts for millionaires. (vote #269, 10/26/05; vote #83, 3/21/07)
*he supports No Child Left Behind, but voted to kill efforts to fully fund it. This single piece of legislation is hamstringing our schools and teachers and, ultimately, our kids. (CNN 11/3/05; AP 4/13/07; H.Con.Res.95, vote #114, 4/28/05; S.Con.Res.18, vote #68, 3/17/05).

Go here to get a free Obama button. Be on a mission. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Get enough to give to friends or leave in places for people to pick up. You never know.

Friday, August 01, 2008

In Which I Share, Complete With Intimate Photos

Entering dangerous territory here. I'm not a Sharer By Nature here at the Dept. But posts are about to get fewer and farther between, and you need to know why.

Well, it's been a rough summer overall. As you know, the maintenance of EmilyCat had become increasingly difficult, and I was her sole caretaker. She suffered two "episodes", and was losing weight alarmingly, despite the fact that all she was able to do was eat and sleep. Finally, after she became obviously confused--she kept wandering and whimpering--and unable to consistently use her litterbox, we had to put her to sleep. Here she is a few days before Her Final Rest, when we decided to let her have a day of wandering about the garden.

For the first time in 18 years, we are petless. It's a little odd--a little disconcerting. I don't really miss Emily because in her last year or two she was not very...interactive. She was, in a word, bitchy. But I miss the idea of her. I do still actively miss TravisCat, who was very cuddly and funny puppy-like.

The Big Deal, the one thing that is most upsetting and has been affecting me all summer is this:

That is my MRI. It is my shoulder. It is a picture of my torn rotator cuff which has made my life a litany of pain for months now. Thanks to The Insurance Company, I had to suffer through a month of physical therapy--which actually made it worse--before I could even GET the MRI which showed that I needed surgery, which I will now have on August 12th. Right before I have to go back to school. My entire summer has been an unceasing routine of doctor appointments, physical therapy sessions, and pain. ALL OF WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF I COULD HAVE HAD AN MRI IN LATE JUNE.

And yes, there is an undercurrent of fear flowing along with all this anger. I. Am. Terrified. I do have absolute faith in this orthopedic surgeon. It is an arthroscopic and an outpatient procedure; I'll be home the same day, thank goodness. I have had orthopedic surgery before, though, so I know about bone pain and rehab. But I am terrified. I hate hospitals, no matter if I'm in them or visiting them. I am scared of hospital infections.

And it's--of course--my right arm. I'M RIGHT-HANDED. I can't even begin to think about what all this will mean when school starts and I'm in one of those horrid goofy slings for six to eight weeks. It's overwhelming.

So! I'm behind on posts--especially at The Tie Report-- because, quite frankly, it hurts to type and I have to rest a lot while I do it. And I'm not feeling like myself. And once I have the surgery...well...I just don't know how it will all shake down at that point.

Sigh. It all sucks. Can I get a Do-Over?
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