Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sometimes I actually sew, you know!

While we were in Germany this month we found much to our delight that Hans' distant cousin HAS A WINERY!!!!

Oh happy day!

Here is Hans standing in the door to their business. They've been making wine for years but now that the 'Sohn' (our age) in the Werner & Sohn has taken over there's a bit of concern because you see, he only has daughters and they have no desire to continue the family tradition.

I just hope that the Sohn is around for a long time!

Cousin Marianna treated us to a wine tasting at the family home and I surprised myself when I discovered I absolutely loved one of their sweet wines. Normally they make me shudder but I couldn't get enough of theirs. In addition to the many wines, very expertly described by the owners, we had freshly baked bread from their kiln, elk pepperoni, and an assortment of cheeses.

Toward the end of the evening Bernard brought out an unmarked bottle which I learned he'd pulled from their 1976 stock and apparently it had been a very good year.

I think it was too.

Anyway we ended up ordering a case of assorted wines to be sent to us here in the states and I'm anxious for its arrival.

And as for a true test as to how good their wine was; I woke up headache free the next day.

All the greenery you see here are vineyards.

Actually Germany has many fine wines, they're just not that well known in our area.

Hans says that's because they keep all the good stuff to themselves!

This is Trittenheim, and Baby Brother has an oil painting of that little yellow church before the town grew up around it. Cousin Bernard drove us to the top of a lookout so we could get pictures of the valley.

I wish I had a better camera.

Here are just a few of the bottles we sampled.

I tried to transfer this picture onto photo transfer fabric (purchased from Nicole Mallalieu) and I think I need to monkey around with my printer settings. It worked; it's just a little washed out (see next picture).

I then sewed the finished transfer to the front pocket of my Passport Purse.

I didn't put Velcro at the top of this pocket because I didn't want to stitch into the picture.

A close up.

You can see that it's slightly grainy.

Here's the back. Instead of another outer pocket, I added a more secure zipper pocket.

I also made an adjustable shoulder strap.

I couldn't find small tri-slides so I substituted a vest buckle.

The zippered gusset at the top of the bag.

And I used one of the Werner wine corks as my zipper pull. As a thank you for showing us such a wonderful time, I'm going to send this particular bag to Bernard's wife. She's the tasting expert of the company.

On our next trip to Germany we hope to find relatives who own a brewery!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Big City Welcome to the G-20

One of many welcoming signs.

The Welcome Wagon.

And we were there.

Tomorrow promises to be better.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Start with The G-20, add some Hans and Laura, and look out!

They've taken over the Big City.

The G-20 has moved in and everything is grinding to a halt. Blackhawk helicopters are flying overhead, police cars are everywhere, and streets into the city were completely closed off at 11 PM. While I was at work today we were laughing because a lot of little boys (disguised as grown men) played with their toys all day long. Fire sirens, police sirens, and one electronic siren that warbled on for so long it made me feel like maybe aliens had landed.

The news just showed a poor downtown hotel worker (who was just one of many) who was stranded for hours because bus service was shut off at 6 PM. Everyone in town had been told that the buses would run until 11 PM.

I suppose the G-20 people will make their own beds, clean their own toilets, and cook their own meals. If I were an underpaid hotel worker I'd tell them where to stick it, because the only way to get into the Big City tomorrow will be to use bikes.

And that's what Hans and I will be doing.

Believe it or not there is still a professional baseball game still scheduled tomorrow and we will be there!!!

Why they didn't cancel, I can't imagine. Believe me, I'll be taking my camera.

It's not like they're doing well this year. They lost 12-2 tonight to a team that has just as bad a reputation as them! Is this what we really want to show the world?

But we can't resist! This really is a big event, and Laura and Hans (or Bonnie and Clyde) will be there. It doesn't matter that Hans' brother was at the Seattle debacle and literally feared for his life, Hans says we're going!

But I need to know; if I put a donate button on my sidebar, is there anyone out there who will consider helping us to post bail.

Because I think we'll need it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Like Mine Medium Rare

I've completely lost my sewing mojo, so I'll continue with another story of our recent trip to Europe. But don't worry, I went to JoAnn's today and bought fabric for our Halloween costumes. I'll post about them later and you're gonna love 'em!

This is the hotel that Hans' great-grandfather owned, in Trier, Germany, over a hundred years ago (we have an old oil painting of it hanging in our apartment). His son (Cousin Marianna's father) took over from 1900 to 1931.

We went to Germany to specifically meet Cousin Marianna who lived there as a child. She was Hans' dad's first cousin.

If you can keep all of that straight.

Anyway, we took Cousin Marianna (who is 87) back for a visit to her childhood home while we were there.

A closer look at the sign. Weis is the current family that owns the hotel.

Cousin Marianna was born in 1923, after World War I, and Germany was going through a great depression. While everyone was affected by hardships in one way or another, some suffered more than others. Marianna's family certainly never went hungry but their business fell off greatly. "We had five guests one year and they only bought one beer." Marianna joked with us. An exaggeration I'm sure but in 1931 when she was eight, they were forced to sell the hotel.

The family acquired a Doberman named Max the same year that Marianna was born, and he became her best friend and guardian. No one came near Marianna that Max didn't lift a lip in warning. Max certainly never went hungry, and in addition to his food, he was always given the leavings from the table after every meal.

I don't speak German but I knew exactly what Marianna was saying when she swept her hands over the table while talking about Max.

"He table surfed didn't he?" I asked Hans (my parents have a Doberman and I've seen her in action).

"She says Max's nose was level with the table and they had to watch him very closely." Hans confirmed.

When it was time to start school at the age of six, Marianna's big brother who could ride a two wheeled bike, refused to wait for his little sister and literally left her in the dust. School was a long scary two mile trek (it hasn't changed a bit in over 80 years either, believe me!) and everyone knew that Gypsies were just lying in wait to kidnap little blond girls.

So, Fat Max was pressed into service. Every day little Marianna went to school with the faithful Max in attendance. For allowing Max to sleep in the hall during class time, Marianna's teacher, a nice young man, was welcome to free coffee and cookies at the hotel anytime he wished.

But unfortunately, regardless of the exercise that Max may have received while acting as Marianna's guard, his eating habits caught up with him, and when he was seven, Max dropped dead from a heart attack.

Marianna was heart broken and the family made a big deal out of burying him out back and putting up a wooden cross. (Marianna made gestures with her hands to show how big the mound was that covered Max)

The next morning when Marianna started off for school, a poor neighboring farmer asked her, "Where is your fat dog?"

Marianna tearfully related the demise of Max and when the farmer asked, "What have you done with him?" Marianna told him about the burial.

The next morning the family was horrified to find that Max's grave had been excavated.

When Hans translated this information to me, I too was horrified and I had an awful feeling that I knew exactly what happened to Fat Max.

It wasn't until spring that the farmer fessed up.

He approached the family one day and wanted them to know that his family had been able to survive the winter thanks to Max.

After hearing of Max's death and knowing he hadn't been dead for very long, the farmer had waited until nightfall, and then stole the fat dog from his grave.

"We got four liters of fat alone off him!" The farmer proudly proclaimed in hopes that the family would feel better about the news.

They didn't, and the poor man headed for home.

"Wait! Wait!" The farmer called.

"I want you to know!" He puffed as he ran back to them.

What could he want? What could he possibly say to make them feel better about what had become of their beloved Max?

"I just want you to know," the farmer said with genuine sincerity, and he took off his hat and clutched it to his chest, "Your Max was a very tasty dog!"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Brotherhood of the Traveling Pie

Hans and I traveled to Europe last week and our first stop was Amsterdam. We met Hans' baby brother and his partner who'd already been there for about three days. My biggest regret is that we were only able to spend one full day there before departing for Germany. Amsterdam is almost beyond explanation for me and all I can say is I have to go back someday. It's just that fabulous.

Anyway, I will post my Amsterdam pictures later but I wanted to share this fun little story first.

After arriving in Amsterdam we took a small nap to combat jet lag, and then went to meet Baby Brother and Partner who were very anxious to show us their favorite city. We walked for hours, enjoyed stopping at various sidewalk cafes for beer, walked some more, had dinner at a very good Indonesian restaurant (where I ate a lot of very salty Holy Mackerel!) walked some more, caught the midnight tram to our hotel, sat in the bar for a bit, and finally went to bed.

Even though I tried to sleep on the plane and had that small nap upon arriving, you can understand why my eyes were grainy and I felt like I was walking through sludge (remember we lost 6 hours due to eastern travel) when we hauled ourselves to the tram the next morning after waking up at 7 AM.

One thing I've learned in my overseas travels is that you really need to pack light as you'll be expected to walk up and down many stairs, get on and off too many buses and trains, and run like hell through airports. Baby Brother and Partner travel about a thousand times more than us (this year alone they've been to Egypt and just before meeting us they were sailing in Turkey) so I was a little surprised at the amount of luggage they had when they met us at the train station.

Rolling baggage, back packs, a huge camera case complete with a portable, bendable tri-pod, plastic bags full of sandwiches (a brilliant move on their part and I will love them forever for that as we ended up on trains for 7 hours that day), and a bakery box.

A bakery box?

I was too tired to think clearly, and my stomach doesn't like to travel as much as I do, or I might have questioned someone carrying a bakery box onto a train for a 7 hour trip. We lumbered onto our first train, banged our shins, knees, and elbows as we stowed our luggage, and struggled around each other as we tried to fit into our seats. During this time the bakery box was very delicately handled and then finally found its place of honor on the drop down tray in front of Partner.

I was tired and grumpy so luckily for everyone else I fell asleep as soon as I sat down.

Everytime I woke up though I saw that pie sitting on the drop down tray. Sometimes the lid was up and sometimes it was down (to let the steam out and keep it from getting soggy I later learned) and I caught Hans looking at it in a perplexed way a few times. I still didn't say anything as I thought maybe taking pies across borders was a European thing and I didn't want to appear to be any more unworldly than I already am.

We'd been on the move for about three hours and were only minutes away from our connecting train station when an announcement was made that there was a problem. We were going to have to get off of our train and onto another one. NOW.

This was not good news as we only had 10 minutes between our connecting trains and this switch was most likely going to screw everything up.

It did.

"We ask that everyone exit the train and move swiftly to the awaiting train," was the next announcement.

Then, "We will need your full cooperation. Exit to the right and board the other train immediately. Everyone must exit the train."

I looked around and saw young people with strollers, old people with canes, and I knew that even if I threw these people off the train myself, there was no way we were going to make our connection.

We didn't.

With one last dire warning from the 'voice', we retrieved our luggage (and the pie) and shoved our way off the train fully prepared to leap onto the next one.

Only it wasn't there.

As everyone looked around in puzzlement, Hans looked at me.

"This never happens! Never! Only with you, I swear!"

I gave him my dangerous look.

A few minutes later the other train pulled in but it really didn't matter because we'd missed our connection anyway.

Once again our luggage, bags, and the pie were loaded and stowed.

A few minutes later we arrived at the station, disembarked, got new tickets, and found out we'd have to sit there for an hour, so we went outside to a cafe for a beer.

The next train wasn't the 'Deluxe Lickety Split Get You There In No Time Train', it was the 'I've Been around Forever And I Don't Give A Shit How Long It Takes Me To Get You There Train".

So after heaving our luggage, bags, pie, and tired bodies aboard yet once again, I noticed there were no drop down trays.

No drop down tray to hold the pie that I was now starting to equate with the Baby Jesus as it had been cradled and carried ever so reverently for the last few hours.

Since I was still tired and grumpy, I did everyone a favor once again and took a nap. I woke up as Hans arrived back from a trip to the potty when he once again glanced at the pie which of course now had to be hand held for the remaining 4 hours of the trip, and whispered to me, "What the f**k gives with that pie?"

Just then Partner (who is a wonderful person and did not hear that comment) opened the box and peered in. "It's cracked!" he cried in dismay.

And that was it. The pie wasn't the only thing that cracked.

I dissolved into my seat in a fit of giggles.

All I could see was that pie box that had been on and off trains, up and down broken escalators, in and out of cafes, and hand held lovingly for hours at a time, and I just couldn't stop laughing. Poor Hans broke down too and when Hans gets going on a belly laugh it just fuels me even further. Tears were running down our faces and I turned toward the window and hoped that I wouldn't offend anyone but I don't think I succeeded.

The pie ended up being given to Hans' eighty-seven year old Aunt Marianna (who had once upon a time mentioned to Baby Brother that this pie was her favorite) and she served it to us the next day.

All I can say is this; for a pie that started out hot in Amsterdam, and was served cold in Germany, it was very good!

Sehr Gut!!!

The guest of honor on it's drop down tray.

At a cafe at the train station in Cologne as we wait for our connection.

Making sure all is well.

At last! Serving its purpose on this earth.

Traveling with Hans is too much fun.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Crappy before and after pictures

I mentioned in my previous post that I bought valances for the whole apartment at the cost of eleven dollars.
I took some pictures today and they turned out just awful.
What's really bad is that I think some of the before pictures look better than the after.

Here is the before picture of the bathroom window. My bathroom is so small I had to stand in the bathtub to take this picture.
This blue cloud print valance was originally in Vet Tech Girl's room at my old house. I'm going to give it to Baby Girl for her apartment.

Here is the after picture. It looks better in person and at least now I can have the window up and not worry about scaring our neighbor in the apartment just across the driveway.

The before picture of the living room.

After. Once again, they look much nicer in person.

I couldn't get decent pictures of the shower curtain because the bathroom is so tiny but anyway it's cream with a thick brown satin stitch border around the sides and bottom. It looks a lot like something from pottery barn and it was one dollar.
These are all the pictures I'm going post but you get the general idea. Since we just rent this apartment, and we have no idea how long we'll be here, I can't justify buying enough fabric to make them.
I already made that mistake when I made curtains for Baby Girl's apartment and she moved shortly after I made them.

No rest for the weary

Yesterday we arrived home from our family reunion in Europe and today I had to drive back home to mow my grass which for some reason won't quit growing.

I will blame backward jet lag for some of my actions today which include; forgetting to take important things with me like soap, deodorant and my wallet.

Mowing my yard (with a push mower) takes about an hour and a half and a shower is required before launching myself into public life (unless I'm going to WalMart and then it wouldn't matter).

Unfortunately, I realized I didn't bring deodorant until I was done with my shower (where shampoo had to be substituted for the soap that was left in the apartment) but I didn't worry as I could always run to the Dollar Store before heading to The Inn to meet The Quilters.

Yes, The Inn!

Yes, The Quilters!

I haven't been back to the Inn since it closed last year and I was honored that The Quilters remembered me, and extended an invitation to visit with them.

That's why I needed deodorant.

It was when I was at the Dollar Store checkout counter that I realized I didn't have my wallet. After checking the car to make sure it hadn't fallen out of my purse, I called Hans. You see, Hans lost his job just days before we left on our trip and he was in the apartment supposedly making calls to prospective employers and the like, and not playing Internet poker all day long while I was gone! My heart stopped pounding when he verified that my wallet was indeed at the house and why didn't I just go to the bank and get some money.

I had a small meltdown when I reminded him that besides my driver's license, my wallet contained everything including my bank card. Hans being the nice guy that he is (meaning that he ignored my hysteria), very nicely reminded me that I come from a small town and surely someone at the bank would know who I was and let me make a withdrawal.

After listening to my plight all of the tellers vehemently denied ever having seen my face (are they fun or what?). They did let me make a withdrawal (I only took $20.00) and I laughed and told them that, being license less, I hoped I didn't get pulled over for speeding.

They said not to worry about it, at least I wouldn't stink.

Back to the store I went, bought my deodorant, and off to the Inn I sped.

Well, after I got my McDonald's ice cream cone.

Then off to The Inn I sped.

But not before I stopped at JoAnn's because Butterick patterns were on sale for 99 cents.

Then off the Inn I sped.

Except I had about 10 minutes to spare and since there's a really great consignment store just down the street from The Inn that I haven't visited in a zillion years, I had to stop.

I really had to.

I left 10 minutes later with a shower curtain for the bathroom and valances for the entire apartment.

I kid you not!

Later, I called Hans when I was on my way home to tell him I'd bought curtains for every window in the apartment, and I thought it would be fun to scare him to death since he's now jobless. I was very disappointed, and he obviously knows me too well because when I asked him how much he thought I'd spent he came back with, "Twenty dollars?"

"Hans! How the hell can an apartments worth of curtains cost twenty dollars?" He'd ruined my fun. "And anyway it came to eleven dollars."

Yes, eleven dollars!!!! I promise to post pictures tomorrow.

Anyway, The Quilting Ladies were on the porch where they were starting their traditional tea pot exchange. I didn't have my camera with me but believe me when I say I've never seen so many cute/pretty/original/fun tea pots in my life.

I also got to see their latest creations and they were breath taking as usual. One of their projects is; each lady leaves with an identical fat quarter and brings it back the following year, incorporated into an original design. From table toppers to mini quilts to bags, each creation is lovely. In addition to exchanging tea pots, these creations are also swapped.

It was nice to see a couple of the waitresses I used to work with, and hear the latest scandals, and The Mrs. (the owner) came out and said hi and even though I don't work there anymore I'm still afraid of her and always will be.

All in all it was a successful if not slightly crazy day.

I went for a run, mowed my lawn, visited some very nice ladies, bought deodorant, three patterns, valances and a shower curtain and had change left over from a twenty.

The only thing I regret is drinking so much coffee, because it's past one in the morning and I'm still wide awake!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

travel update

We're still in Europe and haven't been kicked out yet.

Typing on a keyboard here is quite the experience. It took me about an hour to find the @ sign just to log in to my hotmail. I don't think anyone here needs to worry about my breaking into their computer systems and stealing vital secrets anytime soon.

We had an interesting trip from Amsterdam to Germany and a very precious apple pie made the journey with us.

More on that later.

We are near Köln (German name for Cologne but I wanted to use the ö with the dots over it to prove I'm really here).

Let me give you a few more symbols:

ß;I think it's a funky S.

ü; a different pronounciation of the letter u.

ä, I have no idea what the hell it is.

And the letters y and z are swapped on the keyboard (???!!!)

I really need to start learning German as I feel like the village idiot when everyone can converse in multiple languages but me, and no one wanted to talk in pig latin.

Anyway we've had a fabulous time so far (off to Switzerland tomorrow), including a visit with Hans' 87 year old cousin who told stories of her youth as a secretary with the German Secret Police, her capture, and short spell as a POW.

We visited the old family hotel complete with a castle that Hans has offered to buy back just for me, but I insist that he put the roof back on and get a couple of the fireplaces working. What's a few million dollars in remodeling if it will make me happy!!

We've had virtually no internet access here (so I can't read other blogs and acknowledge comments that have been left and I'm very sorry for that) and it won't get any better.

I'll be sure to catch up and post a few of the thousand pictures I've taken, when we get back.

I know you can hardly wait.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

As the Stomach Turns. The Grand Finale

I ended up spending an entire week in the hospital and here are some of the things I remember:

Arriving back to my room after having been taken for X-rays mid-week (I wasn't responding to treatment as quickly as I should), and much to my dismay finding my parents all gowned up and waiting for me. They looked so tiny (neither is much over five feet tall) and vulnerable, that after they left I couldn't sleep for fear that if they didn't catch my C-Diff, they'd wind up with wild tse tse fly fever or whatever other disease of the month the hospital might be offering.

My son driving over an hour and a half in crappy weather to visit me and my finally having to tell him to go home (around 11 PM) because I kept falling asleep.

Vet Tech Girl (the one I initially blamed for all my tummy troubles) never once calling me to see how I was. I am still trying to file this away in the 'Rotten Things My Kids Have Done, Yet Need To Be Forgotten' file in my brain.

Trying to sit up and swing my legs over the edge of the bed to fend off blood clots as I didn't totally trust the pulsating things they attached to my legs. I usually only lasted about five minutes before collapsing in exhaustion onto my hard pillow.

Watching Jaws at least three times.

Salivating at every food network show and wondering why every sitcom seemed to revolve around people drinking wine and eating fabulous hors d'oeuvres. I was still on a liquid diet.

Hiding my swollen IV hand from the nurses because I knew what they'd do to me if they saw it.

Having a nurse spot my swollen hand at 2 AM and needing another nurse to hold me down as they tried to find a usable vein in my arm. I ended up hyperventilating and breaking into a greasy sweat.

Having the same damned IV removed the next day as I was finally allowed to go home.

Fear sweat has a whole different smell than exercise sweat.

The day one of the nurses stood in the doorway of my room trying not to be obvious as she sniffed the air and asked, "So, are we ready for a shower today?"

Finding out that my co-workers practically fumigated the workplace after hearing about my diagnosis. Later, I assured them that I was a hand washer and that by the time we found out what I had, the 'bug' would have been dead anyway.
I was still embarrassed.

It took months for my heart to stop racing everytime my stomach so much as twitched. For Valentine's Day, a few weeks after my release from the hospital, Hans and I took a long weekend and went to Florida. We were out to dinner with some friends and as I scanned the menu I remarked that while I'd love one of the entrees, it contained spinach (which as we know can wreak havoc on tummies) and I'd have to pass on it.

A lady whom I'd never met was dining with us and she bluntly asked why I couldn't eat spinach.

I remarked that I'd had some stomach issues and I wasn't sure if spinach would agree with me.

Getting right to the point she asked, "What kind of stomach problems?"

"Well, I had this condition called C-Diff and it affects digestion."

She reared back as though I'd slapped her.

"You've heard of C-Diff?" I asked.

"My mother had C-Diff," she answered.

"Well," I chuckled, "Then you know how awful it can be."

"Yes I do," she answered. "My mother died from it."

It was my turn to be stunned.

"My niece died from it too and she was only fifty-one."

As I tried to wrap my brain around what she was saying she explained that her mother was too old to fight it off. Her niece had pneumonia and after receiving several rounds of antibiotics, had contracted C-Diff, was too weak to battle it, and had died.

A few months after my initial diagnosis the gastroenerologist requested that I have one more colonoscopy. He explained that in the hospital he'd only had to go a little way into my colon to find the C-Diff, and that I'd been so full of it (not necessarily a new accusation) he wanted to make sure it was completely gone.

Following my second procedure I was in his office when he told me that as far as he could tell, I was completely clear. There are a few foods I'm careful about eating now and I never eat breakfast out without knowing that there is a bathroom in the immediate vicinity.

As I was ready to leave he remarked, "I don't think you really know how very sick you were."

And remembering my conversation with the lady in Florida, I think I do.

Here's a postscript.

Hans and Baby Girl (who still lived at home) didn't get C-Diff because as I stated above, I'm a hand washer. Also they were healthy and less susceptible to the bug. The problem with C-Diff in nursing homes is that after handling a messy patient a nurse might touch someone else before washing her hands.

All antibiotic info will note that upset stomachs can occur with usage.
No shit (no pun intended)!

However it wasn't until after my very scary and expensive experience that I found out that pro-biotics can prevent a lot of these problems.

I never knew this!

You can buy pro-biotics over the counter at any drug store.

A co-worker recently told me that her father, who had been in the hospital for about a month and had been on antibiotics that whole time, had developed diarrhea. She called the hospital (after I became somewhat hysterical at this news) and was told that her father did indeed have C-Diff but gee whiz, they were right on top of things and he was now receiving Flagyl. Why on earth don't they give people pro-biotics in conjunction with antibiotics in an effort to avoid this situation is beyond me.

If I can stop someone from going through what I did by writing this I'll do a little happy dance.

If you take antibiotics and develop diarrhea, immediately ask to be tested for C-Diff. Unless, that is, you think a week in the hospital would be fun.

I didn't.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Up Up and Away!!

Happy Hans the Traveling Salesman and Laura the Vacation Jinx are off on yet another adventure.

I've mentioned in the past that most of my vacations turn into adventures, and not always good ones.

We are embarking on a family reunion that will start in Amsterdam, veer off to Trier, Germany, and end in Geneva, Switzerland.

This is a family reunion, Hans style.

My family reunion's are of the 'who's bringing the three bean salad,' theme.

Anyway I'm very happy that we got an early start because when we got to the airport we found out our flight was an hour earlier than expected.

A certain someone (who shall remain nameless) got a flight update last night, via email, and mis-read our new itinerary. (I have no idea how this man survived before he met me!)

We also decided to check our bags this time. We hope that since we have a five hour layover it will give the airport plenty of time to move our bags from one plane to another.

We hope.

I've only suffered through two weird people so far (I still have 4 hours to go though). The first was when we were trying to check our bags and get our boarding passes. Honest to God, the guy behind us wove between us and our luggage, and literally had his nose pressed to the monitor that the man in front of us was using. The man in front of us very politely told him to wait his turn. No problem, Old Weird One answered and then he did the same thing to us. No amount of body blocking could budge him.

I hope he doesn't try this in the cockpit.

We ran to security (my most favoritest place on earth) and while I was stripping myself of my shoes etc... I noticed that the long stainless steel table that our binned belongings travel along before being eaten by the X-ray machine was empty, and the man in front of me was standing still and doing nothing.

He was just standing there.

Oh, I'm sorry, he wasn't just standing there! He was texting, or tweeting, or whatever the hell some people feel the need to do while holding up an entire group of people at the airport security point.

If he was a pilot I hope I don't end up on his plane.

I be keepin' you posted!

(The final chapter of As the Stomach Turns is ready to go and will post while we're gone)

Friday, September 4, 2009

As the Stomach Turns Part VI

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V

The doctor had my test results and he was smiling, but I really didn't care as I just wanted to sleep.
He very nicely asked me how I was feeling, and I, thanks to the left over effects of anesthesia and painkillers, told him I felt just peachy, and then he showed me a picture.
I fumbled for my glasses and peered at a pink funnel shaped object on the computer printout.
He told me it was my stomach and pronounced it to be in very good condition.
"It looks so clean!" I remember blurting out and then I laughed, "It's so pretty!" I was quite pleased with my stomach.
"Well just take a look at your colon," and with a flourish, he handed me another printout.
Now I was looking at the inside of what looked like a bumpy slimy hose full of bacon grease.
Big blobs of grayish white bacon grease.

This wasn't such a nice picture and I told him so.
"You have Clostridium Difficile Colitis." He proudly announced and sat back, awaiting my reaction.
I was stunned. After all that I'd been through; the crippling spasms, the sweaty hours spent on the toilet, and all I had was colitis?
"Is that all?" I asked, and I think I was disappointed.
"Not just any colitis. Clostridium Difficile Colitis!"
Which meant absolutely nothing to me so I went back to sleep.

My mother's phone call woke me up and I told her I had colitis. My boss called and I told her I had colitis. Hans called and I told him I had colitis. I fell asleep after each conversation and I barely remember any of them. Elizabeth and old Leather Lungs could have held a rousing tea party over my prostrate form and I wouldn't have given a rat's ass, because that's what anesthesia does to me.
Luckily the gastroenterologist came back later that afternoon, just after Hans arrived, thus waking me up, and explained exactly what it was that I had.

He said that Clostridium Difficile Colitis, or C-Diff as it's more commonly known as, is what happens when bad bacteria in the colon takes over and kills all the good bacteria. "It's so contagious that it's been known to wipe out half the population of nursing homes," he cheerfully informed me. "Back before anyone knew what it was, or how to treat it." He added quickly.

So how did this happen to me?

Remember back when I had my root canal and the dentist prescribed antibiotics? Well, they were far too strong (which is why most doctors won't prescribe that particular one) for me and this was the result. He said that normally someone who is as young as me, and in good health, will not develop this nasty condition but once again, the antibiotics were very powerful. Also, I'd been off of these drugs for a couple of weeks before my symptoms manifested themselves, thus adding to the mystery.

The good news was that a regimen of a totally different family of antibiotics should knock this pesky bug out of my system.


Not everyone responds to this antibiotic called Flagyl but it would be a start. Some people can take weeks, even months to recover. Some have recurring bouts of this awful condition, and Irritable Bowl Syndrome might possibly become a new and unwelcome friend. As to what my future diet restrictions might be? He had no idea. Every case was different and we would have to wait and see.

During the doctor's visit, a nurse arrived and added Flagyl to my IV line. She also brought me dinner, which was a cup of broth.

Two hours later I was still working on my dinner which, for someone who can wolf down a sixteen ounce steak in just a few minutes, shows you how weak I was. Hans tried to interest me in a crossword puzzle but I kept falling asleep.

Suddenly an army of gloved nurses stormed my room and started gathering up all of my stuff. One cleared the bed stand of my belongings and another tossed my garbage can on my feet. Hans was directed to clear out my locker and away we went. I rode down the hall with all my items rolling around on the bed, and my IV pole following closely behind.

I arrived at my new room which I was thrilled to note, held only one bed.

Nothing that touched me could touch another patient. The blood pressure cuff, the thermometer, all of it had to stay in my room. Nurses would be required to don rubber gloves and gowns upon entering my room and they would be thrown away before leaving. Any guests (and any guests other than Hans were frowned upon, but just try telling that to my mother!) who dared to enter would also wear gowns and promise to wash their hands before leaving.

We were informed that the only thing that will kill C-Diff is soap and water. That meant that the sterilizer pump right inside the entry to my room (and in every room) that all hospital personnel are required to use when entering and leaving, was virtually useless against C-Diff.

I felt like Typhoid Mary.

A very contagious, contaminated Typhoid Mary.

And even though my prognosis was a bit iffy, it was worth it.

Because I finally had a room of my own!!!