Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friday Links, on Saturday

I'm just a huge fan of Dubious Quality's Friday Links. And you should be too.

Yankee Diddle*

And yet, just as doom seems to take hold, a girl reads the following on

Red Sox 11, Yankees 4

NEW YORK (AP) -- At this rate, the Boston Red Sox will blow the New York Yankees out of the AL East race before summer.

Daisuke Matsuzaka overcame control problems to defeat the Yankees for the second time in six days, and Kevin Youkilis and Julio Lugo homered. With a come-from-behind 11-4 victory over Andy Pettitte on Friday night, Boston improved to 4-0 against its longtime rival this season.

I believe in a place called Hope. Or at least a place called Fenway.

*PS: "Diddle," not as in cheating but as in dabbling, being amateur, before anyone accuses me of casting aspersions on the gentlemen from NY. ;)

Yes, Madam!

I've been awake since 4:40am as a result of a Bambina bad dream. She is now sleeping peacefully and I am not. I was cursing my inability to get back to sleep until I read this.

I just can't believe my great good fortune so early in the morning, delightful piece on a (perhaps just the first of a series?) member of the Bush administration, dedicated to abstinence and fidelity, outed as a customer of the DC Madam who is on trial. I can't wait for her next announcement. Like the saying goes, if you aren't prepared to defend it publicly, you shouldn't be doing it.

As jocular as I sound about this, it is extremely depressing and ominous, if you consider that (if it isn't already crystal clear to everybody and their mother), the overriding theme of the GWBush administration is "Hypocrisy," and that this is just one more small element of a theme: no accountability, no integrity, no shame in the service of power.

Some days I just feel like we are doomed...and not just because I'm on 4 hours of sleep.

Limbaugh: Our "National Treasure"

A good piece over at hullaballoo on the Rush Limbaugh minstrel show:

Just as Don Imus faced the consequences of his ongoing, long-term offensiveness, it is high time for Rush Limbaugh to do so as well. In fact, how Imus got booted before Limbaugh is a bit of a mystery. Unless you notice that most of Rush's truly offensive statements and "parodies" are available only on the ($55 membership) members-only portion of his website.

If we are going to be consistent and say that Imus crossed a line (even if, as his on air cohort Bernie says something like, "It's hard to know if you're crossing a line when you don't know where the line is..." Hello, Bernie?! A rich white dude calling young, successful female college athletes who did nothing but live their lives 'nappy headed hos' pretty much draws the line itself with its disdain, however "comically" delivered), then we need to make sure Rush feels the same pain for his minstrelsy.

Of course, Limbaugh has done a fantastic job of setting himself up to be a martyr for the cause. Those who take offense are seen as liberal panty-waists who can't take a joke; the thought police; political correctness run amok. Meanwhile his dittoheads will be outraged that such a fine man, such a paragon of intelligence, morality and patriotism (illegal viagra on questionable trip to the Dominican Republic?) is being attacked by Hillary Clinton-lovers, who are of course the scum of the earth to his listeners.

Like Imus, Limbaugh has some guests who need to account for their support of the show's rhetoric. The President of the United States called him "a national treasure." He recently appeared on his show, as did Dick Cheney and other elevated Republican officials. We need to ask them if they support this kind of "parody." We need to ask the President where he sees the line between parody and racism being crossed. Does Laura Bush listen to Rush? Is it something they listen to in the home, or is it simply a way to have a surrogate mouthpiece rally the bottom-dwelling elements of your political party?

Either way, I think it's something the American people should ask their national leaders, especially the two at the top. In the meantime, don't feel like we need to involve Sharpton in this to effect some change, because you know any effort in that regard will only feed the prejudice that already exists in the minds of those who want to say that Rush is just being funny and that Sharpton being a boob somehow ought to constitute a defense of Limbaugh. Feel free to contact the following companies who, according to the Limbaugh website (and via comment at Digby), support the show:

AutoZone (901) 495-6500
Bose Wave Radio 508-766-7781
Mission Pharmacal
(makers of Citracal) (800) 531-3333
General Steel Metal Buildings 1-888-98-STEEL
Hotwire Discount Travel 415-343-8444
Lending Tree (704) 541-5351
Life Quotes 1-800-670-5433
Select Comfort 763-551-7460 (801) 947-3100

Rush is entitled to his free speech, but these advertisers are not entitled to our business. If we can't make them care about doing the right thing, at least we can make them do the math.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Paint It Black

Let's play a game on your Friday morning! It's called, "Spot The Classic Anxiety Dream." I'll be your host as we navigate the underlying meaning, so let's get started!

I'm hanging out in a bar/restaurant with all of my girlfriends. Suddenly a man (who looks like a combination of all of my doctors over the past year) walks up with a woman holding a TV camera. They turn on the camera, flip on the bright lights and start telling me breathlessly "You've Won! You've Won!" [Doctors offering something to help me]

I of course bear that "Me? What did I win?!" look that all TV contest "winners" or surprise guests on Maury Povich seem to have; the look that is somewhere between abject fear and fruitless hope that 'win' in this case is not a misnomer. Then the Doctor Morph tells me "You've Won! You are going to LA to have sex with Mick Jagger!" [Rare and dubious physical undertaking]


All of my friends are clapping, the entire bar is on its feet cheering, and it's clear that I'm supposed to be brought to my knees (ahem!) by this amazing stroke of good luck. Doctor Morph hustles me away into a van as I still hear the cheering ringing in my ears. I then get to an office where another woman is sitting. She looks exactly like a groupie for Ratt, circa 1986 or Poison, circa 1988. [Someone else belongs in this scenario; not me]
She has also won. I think, "Geez, Mick, you can't even settle on ONE 'winner'?" The rest of the dream involves me being interviewed to determine what I want to see happen with Mick; how do I feel that this "experience" should go in order to get the most out of the time I'm spending with Mick. I spend the rest of the dream asking questions like, "Um. I have a family at home; I'm not sure this is a good idea" or "Honestly, I really can't say what specifically should occur. I'd really rather just wish my fellow winner here well and say goodnight." Doctor Morph tells me that "oh no, you really can't back out now. Mick is counting on you." [Unable to get off the speeding train of dubious and rare physical events]

I tell him to tell Mick that I have tremendous respect for his work (barring of course that Dancing in the Streets duet with Bowie), but that I really do have to get back to my life. Doctor Morph tells me "This will change your life for the better." I look at my clearly-been-around-the-block/arena-bathrooms compatriot from the era of Dokken, accept my fate, and say, "Okay. But as long as I can go before HER."

I wake up. Immediately wonder why I was dreaming of Mick Jagger, whom I find to be repulsive. Feel grateful I was spared a visual of whatever I was gonna have to do in the name of "White Sugar." Wonder if Mick knows he represents chemotherapy, mouth sores and vomit. Decide to bar Mick from my brain and instead eagerly look forward to dreaming about winning the "Ewan McGregor" contest post-transplant.

Democratic Debate #1

I missed it. But no matter. I'm sure it'll be on YouTube in no time. And let's not forget tomorrow's Daily Show. ;)

If you're interested in some post-mortems (I actually hate that term but can't conjure up another one right now) from various locations who actually have articles rather than open threads, which drive me crazy. Who is really reading through MYDD's 562 comments!?
For those who like The Tiffany Network:
And a little something on Mike Gravel, this season's Guy Who No One Knows How He Got On The Stage:

Gravel for President
Actually, check out his bio which gives this quite cool info:
In 1971, he waged a successful one-man filibuster for five months that forced the Nixon administration to cut a deal, effectively ending the draft in the United States. He is most prominently known for his release of the Pentagon Papers, the secret official study that revealed the lies and manipulations of successive U.S. administrations that misled the country into the Vietnam War. After the New York Times published portions of the leaked study, the Nixon administration moved to block any further publication of information and to punish any newspaper publisher who revealed the contents.

From the floor of the senate, Gravel (a junior senator at the time) insisted that his constituents had a right to know the truth behind the war and proceeded to read 4,100 pages of the 7,000 page document into the senate record. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Senator Gravel did not have the right and responsibility to share official documents with his constituents.

He then published The Senator Gravel Edition, The Pentagon Papers, Beacon Press (1971). This publication resulted in litigation, Gravel v. U.S., resulting in a landmark Supreme Court decision (No. 71-1017-1026) relative to the Speech and Debate Clause (Article 1, Section 6) of the United States Constitution.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bambina Bon Mots: Part 147

Yeah yeah. People who talk about their kids are boring. I know. I can barely sit through their stories myself.

So I'll make this brief! ;)

Bambina is almost 3 now, and although still working on really saying her letters properly (ie, "are you saying 'boon,' 'spoon," or '?une'?), she is talking in 10-12 word sentences (if you don't count the 30-word runons) about all manner of things I'm certain I was not aware of till approximately 6th grade. She knows Jackson Pollock from a painting in a book called "Olivia" which is about a little pig who wears her mommy out. She knows that gravity (whatever that is) makes it impossible for Pooh's honey to fall up into his mouth. I'm sure beyond a reasonable doubt that "gravity" was not in my lexicon at 3. Which is why sometimes I have to remind myself that she doesn't always get what I am saying:

Me: Should we get dressed before Babysitter arrives?
Bambina: No! No! No!
Me: Oh. I forgot you are in your "no phase" right now. Let me rephrase my question into a statement...
Bambina: I DO SO have a face!

When I talk to my mom on the phone I sometimes say "Hello Mummy!" as most Scots and English kids do. Yesterday when I said it on her voice mail, Bambina wondered where Grandma's bandages were. Thinking she was having some thoughts about my health situation I started asking probing questions, like "Why would Grandma have bandages on, sweet girl? You know that no one can catch mama's disease, right?" "Everybody is completely healthy, okay? Grandma is fine. Gram and Pop are fine. You are fine." Blah blah, seizing a "teachable moment" as all the books on raising-a-non-freaked-out, emotionally-secure-kid-when-you-have-a-chronic-illness/cancer books say to do. When she managed to get a word in edgewise she looked at me like I was a moron, then laughed and said, "You called Grandma a 'mummy'!! That's silly!"
(The books, I probably don't need to point out, don't address the issue of making classic rookie parent mistakes in misidentifying 'teachable moments...')

And finally, because I can only fake a smile through two stories of "and then he pooped in his pants! It was so cuuuute!" before I pretend I have to go to the bathroom myself to escape, I'll end on this one, which is less funny and just kind of cool:

We were talking about moving to Boston so I can go to my special doctor who will give me special medicine (that might make me feel yucky for a little while) but so I can get better and never wear a mask again--yippee! She amazes me with her ability (like most kids?) to just roll with whatever is going on--be it vacations, trips or doctor visits--provided she's been given a heads-up, assurances that swings and slides will be available at our destination, and that if airline travel is involved she can bring her wheelie suitcase and eat chocolate on the plane. Those three demands being met, she's a happy chappy. We talked about moving to Boston and how she was helping me to pack her room so we could unpack it at G&P's while looking for a new house that she'd help pick. She was delighted that she'd get to pick her new house and new room. And then she said, "and then this house be someone else's new house." I thought that was such a cool observation to have made at 3-ish years old without prompting. She completely got the feng shui of the whole deal that I affirmed as: "Yes, our old stuff will be new to someone else. Someone else's old stuff will be new to us." She answered, "Me like that."

Me like that too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

God's Grand Plans

I recognize this post will be about a visit to the hospital, and perhaps should be a Fantastic Aplastic post, but I think it is about more than that. Specifically, the unending number of hospital staff who make sure to tell me that "God has a plan for you."

Hello?! What the f*ck does that mean exactly? Do you hear what you are telling me? Really?

Seriously. God's plan is that f*ckwits the world over are to be healthy, happy and thriving but I (an albeit snarky but trying-to-be a good person) am to be facing a life-threatening disease with the potential of not seeing my daughter grow up? If that is the case, please tell me who I speak to in God's Planning Department, so I can register my total dissatisfaction with His work to date.

I don't want to diminish anyone's else's belief in such a Plan. But, much like when someone close to you dies and you come over time to see that perhaps it is better that they are not suffering, etc, it is really a conclusion that you--the bereaved--have to reach on your own. Someone telling you a day after your kid dies that he's in "a better place now" is barbarically presumptuous if not outright cruel. It's a conclusion that only the affected person can arrive at, if that's where they need to get to. To have someone else tell you such a thing, based on their own belief system, is simply not appropriate or necessary.

Same with diseases, chronic, life-threatening or otherwise. YOU don't tell me that this is God's Plan for me. Who the hell are YOU? Have you chatted with Him recently? Did He tell you something he's been avoiding telling me? And are you seriously telling me that God decided that I should be sick and you should be healthy? Are you TRYING to sound like an a**hole?

I recognize that in many religious traditions, specifically the varied Christian ones practiced by many of the staff at the hospital, there is a belief that "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" and that "He has a plan; this is all part of His plan and we don't get to know why this happens." I recognize that for those who believe that, the notion brings tremendous comfort; a comfort they are attempting to offer me. But here's the problem: I don't believe that at all. And even if I did, it would not be for Mrs. Phlebotomist to tell me what she thinks is God's Plan for me, would it?

From where I sit, if there is to be meaning found in any of life's dramas, heartaches, hurts and tragedies, it is to be found in what we do in the aftermath. There is no reason I have this disease; there is no meaning in the situation in and of itself. It's just life, and this is my and my family's thing to deal with, just as others have different, better or far worse things to deal with in their own lives. There is no Plan that gave me a disease. And if you tell me there is, we are gonna fight. The only meaning to be found is in how I/we handle it, what we learn from it, how we live better or differently or more exuberantly or more compassionately because of it. But there are any number of ways to teach someone that, short of a life-threatening disease, and I choose to believe that the God I believe in doesn't torture humans for the sake of some Global Strategic Plan outlined in a celestial powerpoint slideshow. Which is ironic, considering that we Jews are supposed to believe in the "Old Testament vengeful God" and the ladies at the hospital believe in the "New Testament forgiving God." So why is it that their view of God seems so much more vengeful than mine? In my head, He is guilty of--at most--benign neglect. Setting all these wheels in motion and then letting it all happen according to chance and luck and the laws of nature...and then seeing what we do with it. If I believe that He is actually at the helm, skippering this whole Good Ship Bedlam, then I have to believe that he's either terribly cruel or incompetent or both.

Which is not to denigrate anyone else's religious convictions. I'm not attempting to have a theological discussion or to weigh one religion against another. I'm just saying that in the United States in 2007 it's good to be mindful that the "witnessing" you think you're doing, the comfort you think you're giving, based on your religious beliefs, can actually do more harm than good. I used to like chatting with the ladies at the hospital, but as I've clearly gotten sicker their efforts to tell me to "give it up to God" have gotten more frequent, and I now just say "thanks" and count the minutes till my blood is taken and I can mercifully leave. I have my own religion, I have my own sense of what This All Means, and I appreciate the attempted kindness but despise the assumptions behind it.

My only consolation is knowing that it was part of God's Plan for you that you be stuck reading my rant today on a blog. But don't worry, I hear his Planning Department is open for complaints. :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

How About a Humor Surge, Mr. President?

A friend who attended the White House Correspondent's dinner confirmed reports that President Bush said, "In light of this week’s tragedy at Virginia Tech, I decided not to try to be funny." Without minimizing the terrible events in Blacksburg, one wonders whether his polite refusal to "be funny" on account of the Tech tragedy was really about that at all.

If Mr. Bush really felt incapable of humor because of the tragic deaths of young people, one wonders why he didn't simply say he couldn't attend the dinner. After all, more people--more than 100--(US, UK and Iraqi forces) died in Iraq on April 16th than at Virginia Tech. Seventy-six Americans have died in April alone. More than 3,300 Americans have died in Iraq since the start of the war--from IEDs, hostile fire and beheadings, all truly terrible ways to die. Their last breaths drawn far from home and family.

How is he able to "try to be funny" every other week of the year, I wonder? Again, the foregoing does not minimize the shock and horror of what happened in Blacksburg, nor does it say that it wouldn't have been inappropriate to joke at the dinner. It simply asks why the President considers one event a humor-stopper but not the other. We've been at war with al-Qaeda in either Afghanistan or Iraq since 2001. Bush attended--and "tried to be funny" with great effect at all of those dinners. Why not be consistent? Why not just say, "We are a nation at war, and I simply can't make merry while young Americans are dying. I will be funny again when all of our young men and women are at home to laugh with us."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Party Like It's 1984!

Tonight is the White House Correspondent's annual dinner. You know the one. The one Stephen Colbert attended last year. The one where everyone at the dinner hated him and everyone who saw it on TV loved him, thereby illustrating the central problem of the press and the executive branch having cozy dinners that don't include average Americans...

But I digress. Perhaps in response to last year's entertainment, the WHC have selected none other than Rich Little for tonight's dinner. Because god forbid the comedian be funny. God forbid comedy should make people a wee bit uncomfortable. God forbid the President be required to come out, get made fun of, and act graciously regardless. This is not a monarchy, after all.

So. Rich Little. The guy who performed in 1984 for Reagan. The guy who I don't think has had a gig outside of Branson, Missouri, the Poconos or Las Vegas since 1986. Yes indeedy, the WHC decided that this was Rich Little's year to shine, what with all of his fantastic impersonations of rock stars like Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey and Spiro Agnew. He may be talented but he is dated. He can't even be called "retro," because that implies a sense of subversiveness, a wink to the past in looking at something old in a new way. The selection of Rich Little is just a nod to the fact that the President probably said he wouldn't come if there were an actual comedian present.

Little said, ""They got a lot of letters. I won't even mention the word 'Iraq.'" "They don't want anyone knocking the president. He's really over the coals right now, and he's worried about his legacy."

"For Steve Scully of C-Span, the president of the White house Correspondents Association, this is a game where you can neither win nor lose, no matter what you do. He chose Little this year and had a hand in picking Colbert last year.

"I picked Rich Little because I think he is funny," Scully said in an interview, adding: "This is a dinner we put together and invite the president to. He does not have to be our guest. We want an enjoyable evening..."

I'm not saying that Little is not entitled to his act and that people are not entitled to feel entertained by him. All I'm saying is that sometimes something retro can be really cool, like in the cases of Debbie Harry or the Where's The Beef? lady. Other times, like in the cases of Rich Little and Yakov Smirnoff, it's just really not. Why? Because it's just one more example of how the Third Estate is simultaneously out of touch with Americans and in bed with the very people they are supposed to be monitoring.

Movin' On Up...

and Over.

I've made the executive decision that the chronicles of my ongoing bone marrow situation should probably come from Fantastic Aplastic.

My reasoning is three-fold:

1. I was re-reading some posts and it was so bizarre mentally to swing from "My Dad Died" to "What's Up With Karl Rove?" Or from "I'm Getting a Stem Cell Transplant So I Don't Die" to "Tommy Thompson is So Pro-Semitic He's Actually Anti-Semitic! What a Card!"

2. Sometimes people may just want their daily dose of cynicism and rush-to-judgment that I hope the Haggis provides, without having to weed through my interminable "you show me your bone marrow, I'll show you mine" posts.

3. I am thinking that having one more location to check for updates might offer you a small chance to further avoid work.

So from here on out, go here for my bone marrow stories (although I can't promise I won't cross post anything pertaining to potty humor) and right here for the usual smorgasbord of mishegas.

Baseball Has Been Very Very Good to Me

We’re back from our “listening tour” of transplant institutions.
DFCI it is.

By the time we left the hospital it was all but decided that this would be the place. I felt understood, safe and for the first time in a while, really and truly hopeful. Not only had the transplant doctor actually heard of my disease, he had treated two patients with my exact disease and they had just passed their one year anniversaries. How do you ask for more than that? It was a welcome relief from telling doctors with twenty years under their belt, “See, it’s a disease called…, discovered in…caused by…” Here was a doctor finally telling me something I didn’t know. Yippee!

But as with most blind dates, the first five minutes of our meeting would not have presaged that outcome.

The doctor was not at all what I was looking for. What, in retrospect was him checking me out as a potential patient, came across at the time as standoffishness. He seemed to be questioning my presence there, my diagnosis, everything. Because some of my medical records hadn't arrived there yet (I shake my fist at you, Hopkins!), he asked me if I was sure that I had such a rare disease because, as I may know, diagnosis is not a simple undertaking. I said, "Yes of course", but was really thinking, "Are you effing kidding me with this?!!" Yeah. I just like to drive around with a mask on to random health care institutions, randomly claiming to have a rare disease so that they'll give me chemo for fun. Having an ordinary disease is so not my style, so I figured I'd come up with something arcane and challenging just to keep it interesting for us both.

I immediately decided I didn't like him very much. Which meant that I couldn’t possibly work with him on the (flawed?) theory that a guy you can't stand to be in a room with can’t possibly be entrusted with your life. He was very officious, quite cold, and obviously dealing with some serious lack of social skills, in my most humble socially-skilled opinion.

And then came the Red Sox. It came up in stilted, awkward, fill-the-silence, small-talky discussion that, being so close to Fenway, there would be opportunities for baseball games. He immediately came alive, talking about how he and his wife were trying to get tickets, being a fan, the whole Red Sox Nation discussion. He became a person; a rather warm and engaging person at that, finally connecting with me as a non-stranger. I considered it a sign from G-d himself. Or at least from David Ortiz.

Of late I have been becoming more attuned to things I consider signs. Perhaps it’s the natural human reaction to a lack of control over major aspects of your life. Your brain becomes primed to find meaning in randomness, to assign significance to seemingly unconnected or insignificant things, perhaps as a way to reassure yourself that the universe does follow some kind of order, that whatever is being hurled at you is part of some grand plan that you will someday look back on with wonder and humor and “I knew it would turn out fine as soon as I saw that '69 Chevy on Arbor Day 1986…blah blah blah.”

Whatever the reason for doing so, I like going with my gut, with my signs, with my instincts. Especially when the quantitative side of the equation is equal no matter what, as it is in my case. This way I will never look back and say I made the wrong decision, because having studied all the facts, sometimes the only way to finally move forward is to go with your intuition. Even if it's about baseball.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

God-Given M.B.A.

Wow. I'm uncertain why this comment by Tommy Thompson is not getting more play in the press. I'll give you a highlight of his speech to an American Jewish organization:

"I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money. You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that."

"Thompson later apologized for the comments that had caused a stir in the audience, saying that he had meant it as a compliment, and had only wanted to highlight the "accomplishments" of the Jewish religion." When asked to clarify, Thompson just made it worse, calling us "outstanding business people."

Well, among the "accomplishments" of my religion, I am hard-pressed to find anything in the Torah about "earning money." I know it's an old stereotype, but it's just that: old. He ought to address Southern Baptists and evangelicals with that "compliment" seeing as how every sermon I see on TV is about "casting your bread upon the waters" and getting ten times the amount back. To my random experience, I would say that there are many other religious denominations focused on achieving wealth through religion, whereas I have never heard a single mention of it at any synagogue service I've ever attended.

But beyond the obvious fallacy of his statement, the real issue for me is that Tommy Thompson actually thought that he was offering a COMPLIMENT. That telling Jews how good he thinks we are with money is something we'd find him charming for saying. My Dad drove a school bus for a living. Plenty of Jewish people across the globe live in poverty. The fact that he equates Jewishness with mad business skills is not only ignorant and wrong, but it is incredibly offensive. I wonder if he also thinks telling African-Americans that they are "clean," and Chinese-Americans that they are good at math and violin are compliments...

I have never considered Tommy Thompson to be a credible candidate for POTUS, but this has certainly sealed the deal for me. He has a campaign organization that didn't think anything of his remarks and physically didn't barricade his access to the building to prevent him from delivering them. 'Nuff said.

Or, for a much funnier and in-depth look at the speech, here is Rosner's Blog:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Road Trip? It Depends!

I'll be out of Haggis HQ for a couple of days as I go for a consult at a major transplant center in New England. Sounds simple enough, right?


You'll recall that I cannot fly due to low white counts. Which means that I also cannot take a train, it also requiring me to commune with The Great Unwashed. Which means that BBDD is going to drive me. Eight hours.

Fair enough. But insightful readers will wonder, "Well, if she can't get on a plane and can't get on a train--how will she able to go into a New Jersey Turnpike rest area bathroom?"

The short answer? I can't.

The long answer? Such has been my dilemma as we have planned this trip down to the last detail: Cipro? Check. Thermometer for hourly temp check? Check. Multiple masks for whatever situation may arise? Check. Maps to hospitals along the way just in case (god forbid) I spike a fever and need immediate help? Check.

Where to pee? Check-mate.

Hold it for 8 hours? Those of you who know me (or have been long-time readers) are aware that I can't hold my pee for 8 minutes, especially during any car journey, client meeting or movie screening. Holding it for 8 hours simply ain't gonna happen.

Which brings me to this:

Whaddaya say? Should I take friends' suggestions and make like that NASA woman who drove to Florida to supposedly kill her former flame? Just throw on some granny panties and put the pedal to the metal?

I'm torn. On the one hand, there seem to be few other options. On the other, there are lines that even I cannot bring myself to cross--and peeing in my (albeit paper padded leakproof) pants is one of them. I think I'll get stage fright and won't be able to do it.

Well, whatever I decide to do, I probably won't share out of sheer embarrassment. (Who am I kidding?! Full report upon my return!) But in the meantime, you all can send me any suggestions you may have...

ps--Happy Patriots Day, Massholes! Happy Emancipation Day, DC Denizens!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut: "So It Goes"

Rest in Peace, Mr. Vonnegut. I haven't had peace since reading Slaughterhouse Five or any of your books since. Which I suppose was your point. Thank You.

Attagirl, Ativan!

I had a bone marrow biopsy today. Only, this time I scored some Ativan before the big dig got underway.

Good lord, why have I not been on more drugs like this?! Ativan is delightful in every way. You're totally conscious but you're totally relaxed. Everything's cool, everything's nice. The nurse practitioner who did the dig was amazing too, to give her her due. She talked very calmly, asked me questions about my life to keep me talking, told me what she was doing as she did it (which I thought I'd hate but ended up feeling grateful for), and in general gave me--and I say this in total seriousness--The Best Bone Marrow Biopsy in Medical History, if there can be such an achievement.

You see, I've had Quick and Excruciating. I've had Slow and Quite Painful. I've had Slow and Excruciating. I've had one that I can't bring myself to recall in order to describe it properly, except to say that I cried all through it like my dog had just been killed--and they were coming for me next. But this one--drug assisted--was really, truly (dare I say it?) okay. Now, don't go making appointments for a BMBX just for the experience. But if you ever need one, go to Hopkins and ask for the woman I had today.

The only hiccup was when she was actually finishing it up and doing the "reverse grind" to pull the ice pick out of the bone. Something visceral just seized, like my body was wondering: "WTF is going on??!! This is not right!! That's not supposed to happen to a bone!" And then came the nausea, which thankfully I managed to talk down for fear that I'd start wretching with an ice pick still in my open hip bone. Luckily, talking myself down from the barf left me too busy to think about the final bizarre weird exquisite pain that occurs when they pull it out and say, "We're done!"

In any case, I held down my breakfast, delivered some primo bone marrow for general research as well as for my own situation, and started thinking about how women interact differently from men.
For instance, BM woman and I shared a little post-coital lovefest that I just can't envision between two guys:
Thank you, you were so good!
No. You were so good. You were a great patient.
Well, if I was great it was because you are so good at what you do.
Well I'm just glad you are feeling good.
Well, I appreciate everything you did to make that possible.
Blah blah blah. Ending in hugs.

It's wonderful to be a woman. You show a woman a little a** crack, let her take your bone marrow, she makes it hurt so good, and all of a sudden it's the Ya Ya Sisterhood. Which is why it's wonderful to be a woman. Even a woman getting ice-picked.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

HRC is the Dems' Dominant Front Runner

According to the good people at Gallup:

But here's my concern. Those numbers concern Democrats, not undecideds, not independents (although those are mostly Republicans who are too embarrassed to wear the uniform), not anyone who is not currently a registered Democrat. Those numbers may be enough to get HRC the nomination, but they are nowhere near good enough to get her the White House.

Gallup says the following: Clinton's 97% name ID makes her one of the best-known politicians in Gallup Poll history. Her image ratings appear cast in stone at this point and have remained remarkably constant regardless of what is in the news. Voters give Clinton credit for her knowledge and expertise. Her long exposure in the White House also gives her "baggage", which some voters cite as a negative. She is less likely than other Democratic candidates to be seen as likable and in touch with ordinary people. Her favorable ratings among the general population fell in late March, and are the lowest of any of the four leading candidates. Still, Democrats see her as the most electable of the candidates. Bill Clinton is seen as an asset to a Hillary Clinton presidency rather than a detriment, even among Republicans. Hillary Clinton's gender gives her a significant edge among younger Democratic voters.

Voters are on a learning curve when it comes to Obama. His name ID has risen from 53% in December to 77% today. So far, his favorability has remained positive, although his negatives have risen from 11% in December to 24% today. Obama's great appeal to voters is his youth and freshness. He is also seen as likable. Voters also cite his inexperience as his biggest weakness. Well more than 9 in 10 voters say Obama's race would not be a factor in their vote.

Consider this (as a friend who conducts polling schooled me and as Gallup bears out): HRC's name recognition is 97%. Her favorable/unfavorables are "set in stone." Those numbers remain--and have remained--relatively consistent no matter what. What this means is that she has no room to grow support. People have already decided how they feel about her, about whether she will receive their vote or not. In a national election she will need more than every registered Democrat's vote. She will need the undecideds, the truly independents. However, it is more than likely that those people have already decided how they feel about her and do not represent a truly fertile pool of conversions post-primary.

You would think that these data would cause grave concern among Dems who wish to win back the White House, but nope. The Clinton machine rolls on unabated, focusing us on the primaries where she will no doubt kick a** and take names. Until the general election when we once again get our clocks cleaned when we should have known better.

My prediction? HRC will win the nomination and then lose the presidency by a huge margin. Hello, President Romney, perhaps?


Don Imus.


I've never really liked Don Imus. I think his whole show is an exercise in vanity, and some seriously undeserved vanity at that. From way back in the day when he and his cohorts joked about Greg Louganis having HIV (what kind of person milks someone else's HIV for laughs?) to more recent days (the Rutgers women's basketball comments), I have never once had the urge to listen to his particular brand of "humor." To be sure, the I-Man has his rabid supporters who will defend him (again) for being a "good guy who said something inappropriate (but wasn't it funny anyway?!)." He'll be congratulated for apologizing, as if his racist comments were a one-time occurrence that no one can believe occurred. He'll be defended by people who say, "Everyone knows that Don Imus is not a racist." They'll point to some evidence that he once gave money to a charity that helps blacks, gays and Asians and incredulously ask how someone who supports minorities could ever, possibly be racist. They'll then rip apart Al Sharpton's performance during Imus' appearance on his show, as if trashing Sharpton's words does anything to erase Imus' words. Those defenders will also not admit that their blind allegiance to Imus might perhaps mirror other people's blind allegiance to Sharpton; so what makes the Imus disciple right and the Sharpton disciple wrong?

But let's be honest here. It's time for Mr. Imus to grow up. You don't have to BE a racist to say something racist. Once. But you can't keep saying you're not a racist if you keep saying racist things, or hiring cohorts who say racist things on your show. You aren't what you do or say...unless you keep doing and saying it. Imus is resolutely recidivist when it comes to being offensive. That is his right. And it's also the right of his employer to decide they don't want him on the air, and it's the right of listeners to make him responsible for his words.

I wonder if perhaps people want everyone to get over it because he said something about Black people. It's easy for a certain demographic to tire of being taken to task for "saying things that rappers say all the time." So noted. But if you hold "rappers" in such low regard, why are you talking like them? And, furthermore, believe me, if he had said something along these lines about "slanty-eyed Asian hos" I would personally be outside the MSNBC building loaded for bear. Him "not being racist" would be immaterial to me. The point is that he said something incredibly hurtful, untrue and--here's the most important part--UNNECESSARY to the discussion. Would that conversation have been any less "funny" had he not called a very talented group of women what he did? He thoughtlessly maligned a team, a group of women, and a race--just because he could.

The man has verbal diarrhea of the most offensive kind, and it's really, truly time for someone to administer the pepto. For all of our sakes.

The Polysyllabic Axis of Evil

An absolutely hilarious post by Andy Borowitz, via The Moderate Voice, entitled,

"Bush: Ahmadinejad Must Dismantle Last Name
Threatens Sanctions Against Polysyllabic Leader"


Boomsday. Or Why I Have a Crush On Christopher Buckley

I'm halfway through Christopher Buckley's latest book, Boomsday. It's the funny story of a woman named Cassandra and her movement to solve the US's mounting financial insolvency driven by the social security crisis and an ongoing 6-front war. At the time of the book's writing in the future, there are only two people to pay for each social security recipient, down from the high of about 30 in the 1970's and 1980's, thereby forcing America's young people to pay high taxes to subsidize retired-but-wealthy Baby Boomers who are driving the crisis by collecting their checks while golfing and drinking gin-and-tonics in their upper-middle class communities.

Cassandra's at-first joking, then serious, solution is to pay Baby Boomers to commit suicide ("voluntary transitioning") when they hit 65, with special additional financial incentives for those who'll commit to doing it at 55, on the OMB-approved theory that limiting social security payments would bring the US back into the financial black. Cassandra's life is the vehicle by which the story is told, primarily through her work with her partner in a PR agency and a wealthy, empty-suit Senator.

Buckley's rapier wit and spectacular command of the language, previously evidenced in Little Green Men, Thank You For Smoking and God Is My Broker, are in full effect in Boomsday. I'm only halfway through, but I can barely put it down to feed my child, which I suppose qualifies this as a half-way but fully glowing review.

It's no secret that I love Christopher Buckley, perhaps more than I love his father. I can take or leave their politics (mostly leave), but I cannot do without their writings. Whenever I read CBuckley I always think two things:

1. I'd love to have drinks and a long chat with this guy. I bet it would be the most fun I've ever had with my clothes on.
2. I hope he's as wickedly funny and erudite as his writing suggests, or else it'll be the saddest happy hour on record.

So. Short Story Long: read Boomsday. It's definitely funny and wry and all of those things that are CB's stock in trade. But it's also a very good thought piece on the future of social security, the challenges we face in having it continue as it is, and the additional problem of the US's mounting national debt. And don't be too offended by the "voluntary transitioning" storyline. CB is a Boomer too.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


What a weekend. I hope Easter was lovely for those who celebrated. We're still in Passover till Tuesday, so still with the no leaven, ie, bread, pasta, beer--anything wheat-related or fermentable or--oh, the list goes on and on. This year I'm taking no chances and eating prunes (or, as the purveyors of prunes insist we call them: dried plums) like they're going out of style (were they ever IN style?) to counteract the previously-described "binding" nature of matzoh. The Bread of Affliction indeed.

Speaking of affliction, I got sprung from my mostly self-imposed house arrest yesterday when we went to color eggs at a friend's house. Bambina had a great time seeing her friend, and I had a great time seeing her parents, my friends. The affliction, however, was all theirs. I walked in with my own ten-gallon sized drum of Purell, my own plastic utensils, and a big old mask on to frighten the young'uns. Nothing says "gracious guest" more than bringing your own disinfecting materials to a host's home and telling them you can't eat with their silverware lest it kill you. I'm nothing if not charming from the word Go, darlings.

Speaking further of affliction, I was--there is no delicate way to put this--"dutch ovened" by my child today. Yup. We were hiding under a blanket counting down from twenty, until getting to zero, throwing off the blanket and yelling "Blast Off!" as we careened into outer space. We were at 14, 13, 12 when Bambina "Buzz" Aldrin fired up her solid rocket boosters right into my face while resolutely holding the blanket down (because you can't throw it off till Blast Off, Mama). I said, "Did you just fart in my face?!" She said, in hysterics, "Yes! Haahahahahahahahahahaha!" Even with my super-industrial hotzone mask on, my eyes were still watering; but it was only partly due to the oven situation. It was also no small amount of pride. Because you can't really teach a kid to find innate joy in delivering a dutch oven; they either have that in them or they don't. I always hoped that my kid would be a "have" just like her Mama, and d*mmit if today didn't prove how blessed I am, even in affliction.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I Am A Bad M*** F***

BBDD and I were chatting yesterday about my less-than-stellar blood counts. I was remarking on my surprise and delight that, notwithstanding my horrifically low neutrophil count, that I had not yet gotten fevers or infections. BBDD answered, "That's because the 37 neutrophils you have are totally bad-ass."

I laughed hysterically and then realized: he's damn right. I may only have 37 neutrophils when I should have thousands, but those 37? They are Samuel L. "Bad Mutha F'er" Jacksons. I started picturing my 37 little neutros doing their Jules from Pulp Fiction thing, quoting Ezekiel 25: 'The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyrannies of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness. For he is truly his brothers' keeper and finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.' Now I've been saying that s*** for years, and if you've ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never gave much thought to what it meant, I just thought it was a cold blooded thing to say to a mother f***er before I popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some s*** this morning that made me think twice. Now I'm thinking it could mean you're the evil man, and I'm the righteous man. And Mr. 9mm here is the shepherd, protecting my righteous ass. .."

Then I wondered about my platelets and red cells. Who would they be if they were anthropomorphized? Send me your suggestions and the winners will represent in my new Blood Cell Health Visualization program. Or something.

Getting to Know My Blood Cells:
Platelets. Historically reliable, and then suddenly not. A little of them goes a long way, they do good stuff in small numbers. But when they randomly melt down it is a complete and utter scene. They hold it together until the bitter end and then--BLAM--they need twelve kinds of intervention to stop the shame spiral. Tom Cruise, maybe?

Red Cells: Have always been a problem. Even when they were only failing once a year, they were resolutely recidivist, requiring a bailout at some point in the future. When they were good, they were transcendent. But when they were bad, they were diabolically bad. Robert Downey, Jr perhaps?

Like I said, send me your suggestions and we'll see if we can't concoct a hematologically diverse and entertaining cast of characters. The winners receive a "Save The Haggis" T-shirt, which now that I think about it, has yet to be designed...

Cancellation is Not an Option

I'm just going to attach my online chat transcript with EFax, in my attempt to cancel my company's online fax service, since clearly I'm not going to be doing too much consulting in the near term!

Why does everything have to turn into what my Dad called "a g*ddamn ordeal?" Just cancel my service and in the future I'll use you again for my fax needs. But now? I don't think so.

Welcome to chat.
The session has been accepted.
{Luke D.} Hello, X. Welcome to j2 Global online support. I am Luke, your Online Live Support Representative. How may I assist you today?
{Me} Hi. I need to close my account. How do I do that?
{Luke D.} I'm sorry to hear that you wish to cancel. May I please have your fax number and PIN associated with your account?
{Me} Sure. It's abc. Pin xyz.
{Luke D.} Thank you for providing your information. Please give me a moment while I go through your records. In the meantime, please type the number corresponding to your reason for cancellation:

1) Moving to another provider
2) Bought a Fax machine
3) Business or role changed
4) Short term project completed
5) Financial reasons
6) Problems with Faxing or Billing
7) Dissatisfied with Quality of service
8) Too Costly
{Me} Number 3. We're closing our business.
{Luke D.} It is always good to have an alternative faxing.
{Luke D.} We value your business and our relationship. Hence, if you wish we can waive off the monthly fee for the next 2 billing cycles. This way you will be able to keep your local fax number, which will enable you to send and receive any pending faxes with your number and make sure you do not miss any important faxes.
{Luke D.} During this credit period, you will not be charged any monthly fees.
{Me} Oh, no thanks. I won't need a fax anymore at all.
{Luke D.} X, since you have already paid for the month I suggest you to retain this number at least till the end of two months credit offer as you will not be charged any monthly fee for the two months. If you find that you need our services during this period, then you will still have the account. If however, you still feel that you do not have any use for our services by the end of the two months credit period you can always feel free to contact us back as per your convenience, we are at your service round the clock.
{Luke D.} As a good will gesture to continue our association I will offer you an additional gift balance of $10.00 which will enable to send up to 100 additional fax pages free of cost.
{Me} I honestly really do not need it anymore. thanks anyway.
{Luke D.} You just need to contact us only once before the offer ends and confirm whether you need the account or not. Since we are available here 24 x 7, you will not have any problems in contacting us.
{Me} Luke, I'm about to be hospitalized for a lengthy period of time and I really don't want to have to remember to contact anyone in two months time. I'd just like to close the account now.

Account closed, right? WRONG!

{Luke D.} As a special consideration, I will set our system so that your account will be automatically cancelled at the end of the two months credit period .
{Luke D.} However, if during this period, you decide to continue with your account, please send us an email or contact us via chat and we will take care of it.

So my account is still not cancelled. I'm not being billed, but it's still out there. Till June. Like, what part of "business closing" and "lengthy hospitalization" tells you I want more faxes till June?!! And how he's doing me a favor with "special consideration"? I love it! How about you just give me the regular consideration, ie, receiving and acting upon my request to cancel my service?

Pretty hilarious for me to write about, pretty atrocious as a customer service strategy.

"Someday My Prince Will Come...

...and wedding bells will ring..." --Cinderella

There is so much to loathe about the Disney empire, and yet so much to love. This just in: Disney has just changed its policy to allow same-sex couples to purchase their Fairy Tale Wedding package.

"We are updating our Fairy Tale Wedding guidelines to include commitment ceremonies," Disney Parks and Resorts spokesman Donn Walker said. "This is consistent with our policy of creating a welcoming, respectful and inclusive environment for all of our guests."

So now, if your wedding dreams involve a ride to the ceremony in the Cinderella coach, costumed trumpeters heralding the couple's arrival, and attendance by Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters dressed in formal attire, you can get married at Disney World or DisneyLand, gay or straight.

Just make sure I get an invite!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Congratulations, Sam Fox!

Imagine my surprise and delight when I learned that the President is recess-appointing Sam Fox to be Ambassador to Belgium! I mean, it's a bit curious, considering she's British, but whatever. And I wasn't aware that she had any electoral or political experience short of being Top of the Pops and Mistress of the Mammaries as a "Page Three Girl" and one-hit wonder from the 80's. But still. You've got to give it to the President this time around. He's reaching out beyond his usual bunch of major-donor cronies for appointments. He's choosing someone who has no political baggage, say, from the last election. He's working within the system of checks and balances since his last nominee got pulled for being part of the Swift Boat Veteran Liars for Truth. What was that guy's name again?....Sheldon? Stan?...

Oh. Wait a minute. Oh. I guess the President is recess-appointing The Other Sam Fox? I'm too taken aback by it to say anything (not to mention disappointed that Samantha Fox wasn't going to be representin' for the US in Belgium), but you can go here to read more about the ongoing malfeasance of the boob in the White House:
Bog Geiger

Program Note

*This is not an official post, lest anyone think I am delving into online diary territory...*

So. What's up with me? First, thanks for all of your emails and calls and otherwise-delivered lovely thoughts. Every single one means a lot.

Well, the excrement is hitting the air cooling turbine, to be brief. (?) I'm going to need a bone marrow transplant, sooner rather than later. I don't have a matched family donor, but I am on the registry and have a ton of potential matches. We're doing all of the rapid response activities that usually follow such a chat with one's doctor: finding a place, working out whether I have time to wait for *the* donor to be identified, contacted and marrow-extracted. Deciding whether to do a pseudo-experimental transplant that might reduce the incidence of post-transplant complications, which are generally the reason for transplant mortality rather than the transplant itself. Figuring out what insurance covers. Figuring out how to ensure that daily life will go on as normally as possible for Bambina during the transplant. Asking myself if I really, truly have the stones to do this. Realizing that I'd better score some regardless because I don't have a choice in the matter.

So. It's on. Still not sure how or when or where, but it's on. I always knew that, as Hottie Hebrew Hematologist put it so reassuringly, "this disease is going to bite you one way or another, sooner or later." I always knew it, but somehow really figured there'd be an exception made in my case by virtue of my natural good looks, innate intelligence, breathtaking capacity for kindness to others, and exceedingly generous quantity of modesty and self-effacement...

And so. It's on. I'll keep you posted, and in the meantime will try to not litter your blog reading with Adventures in Hematological Emergencies: From CBCs to PRBCs, The Excruciatingly Tedious Story of Haggis's Bone Marrow. Just know that I appreciate the love and concern, that I'm hunkering down for some serious shit coming my way, and that I definitively plan to be around for the SS Haggis 5,000th post in 2010.

In the meantime, text your vote for Sanjaya to the number on your screen. :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Malakar Miracle

With more pressing things to deal with, I haven't been watching American Idol that much. I have, however, kept up with the ongoing drama about Sanjaya Malakar's continuing advance to the finals on the strength of

Many people who take the show seriously are exceedingly upset that the Sanjaya juggernaut has hijacked the "purity" and "artistic intent" of the show, causing other more "talented" contestants to be sent home.

I have three thoughts on this, after I finish laughing hysterically at the above statement:

1. American Idol's top 24 contestants are not the top 24 best candidates in America. You cannot tell me that you watch that show and think, "These are America's absolute BEST singer/performers, bar none." The producers engineer the show to have a smattering of good and bad and ludicrous, all with (I suspect) an idea of whom they'd like to win, from a future financials perspective. Don't forget that AI is a cash cow for everyone involved, especially for the management of the winning singer. Even a non-cynic has to allow for the possibility that the top 24 contestants are not left to chance.

2. The producers of AI are simply reaping what they have sown. If you highlight less-talented people in order to create drama and entertainment value, you have to live with the results. If you tell America that the winner is up to them, then you have to allow for those of us who don't give a rat's a** about your stupid contest's "purity." You can't really expect us to take it all very seriously like a Berklee College audition if you're going to have inane judges alternately tell one singer that his song choice was risky and bad and then another that his song choice was too safe, if you are going to have a clearly inebriated or otherwise-under-the-influence judge talk total effing nonsense throughout the whole show, and if you are going to have another one whose primary accomplishment was working with "80's supergroup" JOURNEY telling you your performance "didn't work for me, man," as if he knows "what the kids like these days," and personally owns 3,000 phones poised on speed dial. Well, my lord, why on earth would I not treat this program as the Very Important and Crucial For Humankind proceeding that it is?

3. When did talent become a prerequisite for celebrityhood in America anyway? Don't you actually have to take some kind of no-talent screening exam to become one? I say, let Sanjaya win. He's not as terrible as people make him sound. And let's see what he does with his fame. He can't do worse than Blohan or Spears, and he has waaay better hair.

Viva Sanjaya.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different

Get Mortified

This is the link to, an absolutely hilarious show wherein average people read or perform their adolescent writings in front of total strangers. It's tagline is "Share the Shame!" I can think of about three friends off the top of my head who should audition for this show. You All Know Who You Are. ;)

When I am successfully on the other side of this whole bone marrow drama I am totally auditioning on the strength of this diary entry alone:

July 28th, 1985
Sue G had a pool party yesterday. It was wicked awesome. Then I went and got a new pair of pink pants that are baggy at the top and tight at the bottom. They look so awesome. Then ** gave me this cute little unicorn with his high school ring between the paws (hoofs? hooves?). I'm not telling mom coz she'll make me give it back to him. She's done that before! Did I ever tell you about that? Well, ** gave me his HS ring about a month ago and I showed mom it and she marched me back upstairs in ## and made me hand it back to him with her watching. I honestly can say that for that moment in time I HATED her. Oh my god I was so wicked embarrassed. ** invited me to his junior prom but I don't know if Dad will let me go, or if I can even afford a $200 gown, but I hope he does because it is TLF.* I love him so much and he is so cute. When he was going on his trip he put "Haggis" in capitals on his list of things he wanted to pack and take with him. Everyone thought that was so cute except for my Dad who of course thinks that all boys are sex maniacs and told him to erase my name off his packing list. Oh my god like why do they have to make me look like such a loser all the time with the boy I love forever? At least we'll have this in the future--

Mr. and Mrs. Haggis's Parents
cordially invite you to attend
the marriage of their daughter
SS Haggis
son of ** parents

RSVP because we are in TLF!

I'm cringeing as I type it, which is precisely why it's potential GetMortified material. I'm saving the diary entries about the time the kid in 7th grade pulled my tampon out of my purse and started handing it around the room and the time when my aunt came to my honor society induction when my parents were out of town and proceeded to fall down twice, both times splaying her legs up in the air and showing her (thankfully covered) ladyparts to all of my friends and their parents; and their parents were all "oh my goodness is your mom okay?" and I was shrieking, "She's not my mother! She's my aunt! I swear!" I can feel the cloud of humiliation approaching as I write...

*ps--TLF means True Love Forever.

I know. Gag.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Famous Last Words

When I said that I got the worst blood counts of my entire life on Friday, that's because it wasn't today yet. I spent last night in the hospital, was feeling all "yeah! I can do this!," when the AM nurse walked in and said quite nonchalantly, "We got your counts back...etc..etc..and your neutrophils are 37..." (Normal is 1000+; Almost certain death by sneeze is 0). As horrifying as it was, it was also quite funny (in that Joe Pesci Goodfellas "Am I here for your amusement?!" way) because I was hooked up to the heartrate monitor so my rapid stress increase was audible:

"...neutrophil count..."
Beep Beep.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, just a little taken aback by the low number." BeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeepBeep!!!!!

She managed to get me off the cardiac ledge by telling me they see lots of people with really low numbers, so not to worry too much about my sad-assed 37. Regardless of how many people have been at 37 and below, and notwithstanding the nice nurse's attempt to have me not code on her watch, this is clearly not a good development. The one thing I do have going for me is that I have no fever, so at least I'm not sick with only my 37 little immune fighters to do battle. But I'm wearing a mask 24/7 and eating zone bars only for fear of contracting anything at all to change that circumstance.

So I was in the hospital all freaking out, trying to call upon every piece of "don't give up" claptrap to keep my head in the game (the Torah, Ecclesiastes, Tony Robbins, Mr. T, ee cummings, Sergeant Slaughter, you name it), when the doctor walks in and says cheerily, "Well, you're on the launchpad!" I was like, "is that what the citizens of Crazy Doctorland call dying?! What is this man saying to me?!" My confusion was (apparently) apparent when he said, "Launchpad...Launchpad! Going home! Discharge!" To which I replied, "Have you seen my blood counts?" After being reminded that the worst place for a person with no immune system to be is in a hospital, I agreed and started packing up my sh*t post haste.

So I'm home. In my mask. Nervous as all hell, to be honest. Bambina is cool with the mask as long as I let her put her feet on it at bedtime while we sing our night-night songs. I'm sure there's something disparaging in the No Neutrophils Manual about toddler feet on mask exteriors, but I have decided--now that my head is indeed back in the game--that survival means a lot more than just continuing to breathe. It also means living all the days of our lives in a way that is meaningful. And having my Bambina pressed against me--albeit with feet on (admittedly soon-to-be-changed) mask--as I sing her to sleep pretty much sums up what matters to me most. And there are no blood counts that can change that.