Tag Archives: blogging

Squeaming Is for the Squeamish

When I first published this a few years ago, I excitedly announced that it was my 7th post! I could be snarky now about my own enthusiasm (did I have so little confidence that I would actually get that far? Seriously, 7th post?). But my fatigue from all of the activities this summer is making me crabby enough, so I’ll instead take it as a reminder to be positive, whether it’s the 7th or 181st post, it is saving my bacon, and for many of you it will be the first time reading it. Win-win. Also I would like to dedicate this post to my colleague at the hospital who is retiring, and may very well have been the guy who had to make the poster mentioned below. May your life be forever anal complaint free, my friend. So, here it goes…

I’m squeamish, sensitive, and emotional, so I’m not sure how I ended up in hospital communications. I have a cartoon pinned to my cube wall that shows a doctor saying to a patient, “This procedure is not for the squeamish. Squeaming is for the squeamish.” That pretty much sums me up. The main reason I can actually work there is that most everything I write is about data, metrics, redesigning care procedures, and information technology—it’s beautifully bloodless. I could never do my colleague’s job—she writes moving profiles about patient care, like how a nurse finds a key psycho-social element to care for a dying patient. Those stories always have me bawling, which is kind of uncool at work, even in a hospital. It doesn’t help that my desk is located in the hospital building. My squeamish coworkers and I call our administrative area “the bubble.” Once we serpentine through the less public halls to get to the bubble, the rule is to avoid leaving it at all costs. Over the years I have cultivated a number of additional tactics to help: I bring my lunch most days so I don’t need to go to the cafeteria, but I also found the back way to get there. If I have to interview someone, we either meet in the bubble or a neutral place like the cafeteria. I once had to interview a doctor in the Emergency Department, but my therapist says I shouldn’t dwell on it. I do occasionally have to go to the ATM which involves running the gauntlet of the main corridor plastered with posters. For the most part though, the posters and the signage are sensitive to the fact that patients also see them, so they generally don’t get too graphic. They mainly publicize hospital support programs and celebrations for nurses’ week or patient safety week. Even the more medically related ones are pretty tame and use smaller print for the medical case details. It’s easy enough to walk by quickly without being able to read them, which is normally what I do. Except for last week.

This poster stopped me cold with its 200 point type bold headline: “Managing Common Anal Complaints.” There was no escaping this thing, but after my initial squeamishly scientific reaction (“Ewwwwww”), my brain paused, ruminated, and then started a steady fire of questions I didn’t necessarily want the answers to: how could there be enough kinds of complaints to warrant a whole lecture on just the common ones? How many are there in total? Thanks to Preparation H commercials, I know there are hemorrhoids, but what other “complaints” could there be? And if they are so common, why don’t we see more commercials for medicines to relieve them? It’s not that big of an, er, organ, if that’s the term, and it only has one function, so how on earth can that many things go wrong with it? And dear god, what the heck is an uncommon anal complaint?

Even though I was able to retreat to the bubble, my mind was trapped in front of the poster like a witness to a car crash. I couldn’t stop thinking about it—is this some kind of silent epidemic that needs to have a campaign ribbon (you know what color it would be) and a month named after it? Common anal complaint awareness month? What unlucky health problem would want to share their month? Would they have a national conference and draw straws? You could just see the pink breast cancer awareness people wrinkle their noses, while other health awareness groups pressured the “Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month” group to team up; “Your topics are kind of related,” they’d say enthusiastically. As I was considering the fruits and veggies group’s response, I realized something.

Not only had my squeamish tolerance increased, it had taken a horrible nerdy turn. In all my ponderings I never once went to that place: you know, the teenager place of farting, pooping, sexual innuendo, and pain-in-the-ass jokes. Which is probably the more normal way to think about it, rather than imagining, say, “Common Anal Complaints Awareness Month.” OMG! What have I become? A common anal complaint nerd, that’s what. Now that’s a real uncommon pain in the ass.

Top 10 Posts from 2016

Intellectually I know 2016 wasn’t the worst year ever, but it was pretty bad; so let me have my grief before I move on. On my better days and a couple of glasses of wine, I try to see 2016 as a wake-up call. We’ve drifted from some essential human ingredients–some of which we know and others that gobsmacked us seemingly out of nowhere. So it’s time to face that, and I tell myself to suck it up, buttercup. Of course, we still need to laugh and wisecrack on the way to saving the world. Princess Leia and Hans Solo taught us that.

And in that spirit, I present to you the top 10 posts for the year, selected by your interest; you guys have good taste. It’s a balanced mix of serious, funny, and frivolous.

Thank you for allowing me to butt into your life with my random musings. Thank you for telling me you liked a post that I was unsure about or that I enjoyed writing. Most of all, thank you for just being here with me. It means a lot.

10. This one is a good reminder to keep checking my own biases and little (or big) judgy ways. Please forgive my unfettered Anglophile-ness. It’s a Blonde Line Between Love and Hate

9. Ah, Collegepalooza 2016. The applications should be done by now–surely I can trust my teen, right? Right? Well, we’ll always have rubber bands. Snap to It

8. Oh, perimenopause! You blogging gift from the gods. Although I fear that your weird pains will be eclipsed by the PITA prez (pain in the ass). The Mother of All Aches and Pains

7. And when all else fails, look at the cute hamster to make you smile, take a deep breath, and get beck in the ring. Cute Hamsters Is All I Got

6. Some days it’s all I can do to be verbal, so “kind” seems like a stretch. Looking at hamsters is probably a good start. Nice, My Ass

5. Sometimes you stand and fight, and other times, you flee. Alpha Flee

4. Dancing is good. Dancing with a cast can be even better. It’s not a bad reminder that barriers mostly exist in our minds. You Should Be Dancing Part II

3. Here’s the much-needed frivolous post, strategically placed before the impossible politics. For Fart’s Sake

2. Darth Vader is out there. Grab your light saber and your blaster, we’re making a run for the Millennium Falcon. Time to Get Busy

  1. I love that two dancing posts made it in the top 10, but I wish I hadn’t had to  write this one. Dancing Should Not Be an Act of Courage

In 2017, I promise to keep writing, laughing, fighting, and being Sandy.

And the Repairman Sayeth “Let There Be Heat”

And lo, there was heat. For those of you who have been following my no-heat saga for the past two posts (and the checks are being cut and sent, I swear, scouts honor), at the three-week mark on Thursday, I decided I had given my landlord and his, er, colleague enough time to fix the heat and there had been enough of a series of unfortunate events. Wait for it…I called a professional heating company, imagine that! On Friday they came to my house, at the appointed time, diagnosed the problem, spent a little bit of time tracking down the correct part, went and fetched it, came back, replaced it, and then fixed two other things all by lunchtime. My landlord was gobsmacked, and also agreed to foot the bill. I don’t know what else to tell him, except that maybe friends and heating jobs don’t mix.

But there seems to be a controversy around me using my lack of heat for three blogs. The National Blog League (NBL) is investigating me for possible misconduct in allowing the lack of heat to go on for three weeks. They are alleging I did it to get more blog posts and that I could have called in professionals at any time to get my heat. I would like to say, absolutely, I followed all the rules of blogging to the letter. I did not invent my lack of heat, nor did I inflate the length of time I went without heat merely for my own blogging use. Sometimes the environment can influence a topic, like lack of heat. My landlord said his friend would fix it. His friend also told me he would fix it. Whatever they said there, is what I believed they would say here. I believed them because I am not a heating expert, and we all know that heat is a function of a working furnace. So, in no way did I extend the no heat situation to improve my blogging. It’s really a scientific thing, the restarting of the furnace, and I’m a writer, so what would I know about it, really? How would I know when the right time to call in another heating person?

Thank you everyone for your support during this trying time, and I assure you and the NBL that next week’s blog post will be on a fresh topic. Heat does wonders for your ability to think.

Oh, and I have to say these sorts of thing in order to not get kicked out of Massachusetts: Congrats Pats! Your balls are the best ever!

Top 11 Posts of 2014, With Thanks to Spinal Tap

Here we are at the end of the year when those of us in the entertainment industry run out of funny steam and cover it up with top 10 lists. Because I really want to push up the volume, I’m going for the top 11 posts. I was going to list a mix of posts that WordPress stats tell me you liked and add some of my own personal favorites. But as I reread them I realized I had a lot of fun writing most of them, so it’s too hard to pick. Plus, if you don’t like the list, you only have yourselves to blame.

Thank you for hanging out with me this year, and I promise more shenanigans in 2015. Have a happy new year!

11. Black Lives Matter Thanks for reading this one. It was a bit of a departure for me and more serious, but something I needed to write.

10. I would Have Gotten Away with It if It weren’t for that meddling Hamster, Who knew a hamster could be such a rich source of blog material? As a follow-up to this post, yes, he did need surgery, it cost a bundle, I learned that there is actually hamster medical literature, and he is still with us to ring in 2015. More Hamphrey posts to come!

9. Real-Life math Sucks. It still sucks, but I got to let off steam about my divorce and laugh at math, so it’s all good!

8. Let’s Do Things Without Shoes. This was the oldie, but goodie–misheard lyrics. I had a lot of fun reading people’s responses to this one.

7. It’s All About Me, Hannah. Alas, I never did get Lena Dunham to comment on this or respond to my tweet about it. I’ll increase my celebrity social media stalking next season.

6. California Steamin’ I wrote about two East Coast friends who left me for the Left Coast. I saw one at Christmas and I am happy to report he still has his Masshole chops. To the other one, who still hasn’t read this post and is from New York, I say, Boston’s bettah and Yankees suck!

5. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce.  If your divorce isn’t funny, please feel free to laugh at mine.

4. I’m Sexy (if Only in My Head).  Perhaps it’s bad taste to be amused by your own writing, but this one still cracks me up. It made the top 5, so both you and I have excellent taste.

3. Radishes, Carrots, and Kale, Oh My! I love that this post is the third most popular and it was the second one I wrote this year. Foodies and their gastronomic obsessions are all over the blogsphere, but I’m a Cheez Whiz and Parmesan-in-a-can girl, as this post proves. Seems like I can work with that.

2. Thanks a Lot. I was surprised by how much the “kid table” really resonated with people. I also need to add a post script about my brother. For the record, I was describing our holidays from 20 and 30 years ago, because I’m a bratty youngest sister and that’s how I roll. He actually has been attending our holiday get togethers in recent years and seems to enjoy himself (as much as anyone can when they are with their bratty younger sister for more than 24 hours).

1. And what continues to be the Number One, most visited piece on my blog? Yes, It’s still that crazy serious piece I did about women and shaving many years ago. Shaving, Waxing, Electrocution: A Primer on Women’s War on Hair. So much for my humor ego. Go figure. Next year, I’m leaving that thing out of my stats or will try to sell the movie rights to Seth Rogen.

See you next year!