Aug 31, 2008

blame canada

Posted by Mary |

Screw this country. I haven't had cell reception anywhere yet. I'm holed up in a tiny 8x8 cabin because it
a) has wi-fi (again, the first I've encountered in Canada)
b) has a shower next door

I'm in Whitehorse after some epic 800-mile days, getting ready to push for home.

Aug 23, 2008

can't get a break

Posted by Mary |

My dad got out of the hospital on Tuesday. He went back into the hospital today. But it's a different hospital this time.

I'm starting to think he's just pulling this shit to keep me around. If you can have Munchausen syndrome by proxy, does he just have Munchausen syndrome? Or is it my mom who is secretly poisoning him?

Once again, I'm feeling like I'll never get home. My cat is an orphan. She was evacuated by canoe to my ex-boyfriend's house, then over to Dara's. Dara is in New England now, and I think her family is checking in on the cat. Or she has a friend staying at her place. Or something like that. Nibbles is going to totally snub me when I get home.

Aug 18, 2008

heard in the car

Posted by Mary |

What's the point of being gay if you're not going to appreciate my shoes??
--me, on my lack of appreciative
gay boyfriends in Fairbanks

Tom always says I shouldn't quote myself in my blog. Which lead me to....

I don't see why I can't quote myself. I'm the wittiest person I know.
--me, on me

My dad is recovering, but slowly. His heart is not repairing itself after that heart attack, so tomorrow the doctors are going in again. They'll do another angiogram, then place two more stents to help repair his hear. Dad is being persnickety, and refuses to let the nurses take any more blood for tests. I can't really blame him, since one arm is completely shot, and the other is covered with bruises and track marks.

But it can't all be hospital time, so Saturday I joined my sister and brother-in-law for a trip to the casino. They had tickets to see Chris Rock, but not me. No, I went to see Charo. If you don't know, Charo is like the Shakira of the Rat Pack. Like if Dolly Parton and Elvis had a Spanish daughter.

She's a big hit with the gay crowd, and it's easy to see why. It's hard to explain the singular joy of a Charo concert. She's loud, Latin and campy. And a little bit of me will always be with her. Because my hair got caught in her costume bodice. How did that happen? Don't ask.

But don't think she's nothing but Vegas. In the second half of the show, she toned things down, pulled out her acoustic guitar and started to play. She's trained with Andres Segovia, and it shows—the woman can play! Yet another free concert that was worth every penny. And I spent most of them in the magic crystal martini mountain after the show.

Aug 14, 2008

a low point

Posted by Mary |

I'm in Connecticut, dealing with my father's health. My work laptop is wonky, slowing down my efforts to do my job remotely. I don't know if my house is livable or if I'll have to move when I get back. I don't know where my cat is living these days. I don't know if my boyfriend is aware that I'm still alive.

It's one of those not-good days.

Aug 11, 2008

Weekend wrap-up

Posted by Mary |

Where did I last leave my updates? I don't think I've been very forthcoming in blogular terms.

My father had the surgery last week. The stent was successfully placed, meaning they won't have to do open heart surgery. This is normally cause for rejoicing, but you don't know my father and hospitals. A bout of Legionnaire's Disease about 30 years ago left doctors wondering what the long-term effects on his health would be. Apparently, it results in a bad case of everything-that-can-go-wrong-will-go-wrong-itis. Seriously, he's 61 and has the circulatory system of a 90-year-old man. He's already had a triple bypass about 5 years ago.

So, bearing that in mind, he got the stent. And then he started having bad back pain. And then he lost feeling in part of his body. Paralysis was a risk with the surgery, and it's been one of his big fears. All this stress combined with recovering for surgery is a recipe for disaster, and thus he had a heart attack. And then the doctors found fluid building up in his lungs. And so they sedated him and put him on breathing machines, aka life support. And then he regained consciousness long enough to rip out his tubes, causing a panic in the cardiac intensive care unit. And so now he's sedated once again and tied to the bed, just in case he wakes up.

The doctors estimate he'll be in ICU for at least another week, then about a month more in the hospital before he can come home. And if I sound flip and not too concerned, well, just bear in mind that I joke my way through any tough situations.

To distract myself, I went down to Mystic on Sunday for brunch at Kitchen Little with Meg. Mystic is my old stomping grounds - I spent my formative teenage years hanging out at the Green Marble coffee shop, mocking tourists, getting up to all sorts of no good. It felt weird to be back, though I skipped downtown because it was the outdoor art festival weekend, which is always a madhouse. And in case you're wondering, yes it is the Mystic of Mystic Pizza.

In the evening, I headed for the casinos. OK, it's true that I grew up in the country. It is also now true that the largest casinos in the world have been built in that countryside, which is a little freaky. But it also means concerts. On this particular night, at this particular casino (Mohegan Sun, instead of Foxwoods), I had my choice of three concerts. I could have gone to rock with the old hippies at Jethro Tull. I could have schmoozed with the blue hairs at the Smothers Brothers. But both of those cost money, and I have highly honed skills for getting a cheap night out at casinos. So I opted for the free show by They Might Be Giants. One local ale and one giant foam finger later, I was chatting up the people at my table and then bopping along to the entirety of the Apollo 18 album, plus a few extras and a few encores. The band dubbed it the "Night of 1,000 Fuckups." They came pretty close to success.

Today it's back to business. And by "business" I mean "sitting on my ass in the hospital instead of at home."

Aug 4, 2008

The high cost of convenient flights

Posted by Mary |

In an effort to save some money, I used some Alaska Airlines miles to get to Seattle, then bought a ticket from Seattle to Hartford. Clever, yes? No.

My father's surgery did not happen last week, which means my flights home tomorrow won't happen. And now I have to deal with two airlines.

My tickets on United? It seems the best thing to do is just not show up for the flight. It will cost me a $150 airline change fee, a $30 Orbitz fee plus the cost difference for a new ticket, which is around $120. Grand total: $300. On a $475 ticket. I can get a one-way ticket for under $300, so why bother jumping through these hoops, especially with the possibility of my flights changing again?

My tickets on Alaska? I cancelled the return leg. For right now they aren't charging me anything, but they're also holding my 10,000 miles for that leg of the ticket hostage. If I rebook that specific leg, I will be charged $100. If I don't rebook it and buy a car and drive back, which is looking increasingly likely, I forfeit the return and lose the miles but don't have to pay the $100.

And why, you may ask, would I consider driving back?

My car is the blue one in the back. Apparently the ground is much lower in that part of the driveway - who knew? So, why rush to get home? I'll just have to canoe in to my house and try to find a car in town to buy. Might as well see if I can get a better deal in the Lower 48 and drive back.

Aug 3, 2008

What I've been eating

Posted by Mary |

  • Soy and mirin glazed tofu with spicy peanut sauce
  • Dairy Queen soft serve ice cream
  • Wasabi goat cheese
  • Sushi
  • All-you-can-eat Indian lunch buffet (and I can eat a lot)
  • Mango ginger stilton
  • Devil dogs
  • Apricot wheat germ muffins
  • Bombay fruit salad
  • Corned beef hash — this was in the hospital cafeteria, where apparently they don't believe in overcooking it so that part of it gets all burnt and crispy

Aug 1, 2008

green acres is the place for me

Posted by Mary |

I know that no one ever believes me when I say I'm from the country. No one believes that Connecticut has any countryside left. But really, it does - mostly in the small area around my parents' house. Examples:

  • Upon leaving the house to head to town for some groceries on Monday, I promptly got stuck behind a tractor.
  • The farm stand has pies for sale on Tuesdays.
  • While in the entryway looking at a flyer for a haunted pumpkin ride (not happening until October), I realized that the bank smells like manure.
  • We stopped by the general store for grinders (know as sub sandwiches to the rest of you). The general store is located on the town green. I think it sells chicken feed along with people feed.
  • Sign on the road: Baby donkey, $500.
I've realized that I miss big trees and old buildings, neither of which are present in Alaska. I snicker inside when people talk about preserving a historic building in Fairbanks that has been there for 100 years. I grew up in a 300-year-old farmhouse.

And now for the update on my dad. We went to the hospital on Wednesday, leaving at 5:30 in the morning to get there on time. It is not sunny in CT at 5:30 a.m. Chalk one up for Fairbanks. A lot of the day was spent doing tests, including an angiogram. The two surgeons needed to talk with each other about the best way to proceed, so naturally one of them was in surgery most of the day. We left the hospital with a "We'll call you about scheduling surgery sometime within the next two weeks." That was a little disconcerting, as I came home on Family Medical Leave expecting that the emergency surgery would happen immediately (as in the day we went ot the hospital) and I could return to Alaska the next week. All jokes in my previous post aside, this is not a vacation and I am not at the beach. But I have had some damn good cheese.

The good news is that the FDA has finally approved the procedure they want to try on my dad, and the surgeons say he is just within the limits for them to do the surgery. For right now, the surgery is scheduled for next week. I wish I had more news of any sort, but I don't.