Prescription for Disaster

Friday, 30 January 2015

The Nylons Incident (and why I will never be a girly girl. Or socially competent)

Alright. So we had a work-do last night, and the requirements were to 'dress to impress'. Obviously my usual clothing style of 'homeless person at a funeral with sneakers' did not fit this criteria, so I dug deep within our already packed closets (read: Paul dug deep within his carefully packed closets and suitcases) and pulled out my one, my only, my favourite... my little black dress. 

This dress has served me well over the last 5 years.

It was my brother in law's graduation little black dress:

It was one of my best friend's wedding little black dress:

This little black dress saw me through parties and Cambridge dinners and just about every other lovely London event since having the kids. The dress hasn't changed and remains wonderful.

The body not so much.

Honestly, the dress is okay. The dress still fits, though it a little bit tight. Not too bad. My issue yesterday wasn't the dress. It was the nylons.

See, you have to understand that this isn't really my fault. The steroid medication I'm on causes Cushings Syndrome, which creates benign tumors and bloats around your face, back of your shoulders and your middle - giving you the body shape of... say... an egg on sticks. 

So if you think about it, there's nothing for the nylon waist to hang on to. I have no waist. None. I have hips, but they're buried somewhere (I know I have them, I've seen them on x-rays). 

This is fine though, I have extra large nylons, shimmied into them at home, pulled them up somewhere near my chest and completed the outfit with my little black dress, a pair of great knee-high boots and pearls.

Good to go.

The work-do wasn't until the evening, so I went downtown with Paul to an appointment before heading to work in the afternoon. Everything was fine and I looked fantastic. 

After his appointment we walked about 10 minutes back to Victoria Station to each catch our respective tubes. Now, Victoria is a HUGE station in London. I could feel the nylons start to kind of pull down around my boots and bunch around the waist, but no matter. I could fix them when I got to work later.

Hungry yet rushed we stopped at a burrito place within the station, each getting a half-wrapped burrito to go full of authentic Mexican goodness - and we were on our way, beginning the slow walk through the station to the underground entrance. 

I'd taken only a few bites of my burrito when I stopped, frozen in my tracks. I looked at Paul with horror on my face and told him I needed to find a bathroom, stat.

"What?!" he choked out having thrown his head back in laughter "you just took a bite. It can't be affected that fast!"

No Paul, no. I explained to him that it wasn't the burrito. It was the nylons.

They had started... the death roll.

The waistband of the nylons had somehow bunched just enough to form a perfect cord-like cylinder around my middle, rolling down in sharp, sudden 1/2 inch waves of suspense, stalking down my torso in a slow but inevitable escape. It was like being cornered down a long dark alleyway in a horror movie, the killer scraping his meat cleaver along the brick walls as he slowly ambles along toward you with the knowledge that there will be no escape.

Holding my half-eaten burrito in one hand and using my other to inconspicuously (so consipcuously) hold up my nylons at the point of my hip under my coat I pleadingly looked around for a washroom sign - though none was to be found. Paul saw that my anxiety and panic had reached the point of a hyped up gazelle and led the way through the station as I hurried along keeping my legs as straight as possible so as not to encourage further death-rolling behind him, in desperate search of the station washroom.

He found it - pointing a short way away. It was a pay-to-use public toilet (augh!) and I had nothing. Paul came up with a 50 pence coin and I bolted, trying to hold up the nylons by clenching my thighs together and walking with my knees touching, feet apart as fast as I could.

So there I was, desperately lurching toward the loos with my knees pressed together, apparently hiking up my dress with one hand and holding a half eaten burrito in the other. The nylons had reached crisis point and with a violent, shuddering effort of a roll had overcome the peak of my mid-section and were now free-rolling down my hips and toward the top of my thighs. Another minute and they would be below coat line, and wait, what was that? Oh God, no. They had gotten hold of my underwear and were pulling those down too. Oh no. 

No no no no no.

I imagined the nylons building up enough rolling pressure to suddenly sling-shot themselves and my comfy (ahem. Granny) underwear right down over my boots, and if that happened publicly there would be no recovering. I would just have to light myself on fire.

I scrambled toward the turnstiles, already drawing attention from the crowd. The first machine spit my 50 pence coin straight back at me. 

Huh?! I lurched over to the next turnstile, clutching my nylons and pressing my thighs together hard enough to make a diamond. The next one wouldn't take my coin either. What the hell was going on? I looked up at the sign again - the stupid things only took 10 and 20 p coins, and needed a total of 30p! WHO KEEPS CHANGE LIKE THAT IN THEIR BAG ANYMORE?!?!?

So there I was, thighs pressed together and feet wide, hunched down to hide the nylons of death that were trolling down my legs, my eyes wet with tears of desperation and a half-eaten Mexican burrito in my hand (I'll be shocked if the CCTV doesn't end up on youtube at some point) and audibly pleading with the turnstile to take my coin while I debated just trying to jump over the damn thing - when a woman popped some coins into the turnstile and told me to run for it.

And I did! I burst through the turnstile like a champ

barreled down the stairs

and strangled those nylons back into submission, hiking them up as far as they would possibly go.

Pleased with myself I exited the washroom like nothing happened, rejoined Paul and got onto the tube to go to work. All was good again in my world. 

Until I sat down at the next stop and felt a familiar tugging around my waist.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Feline evil is apparently quite contagious

You know that point in life when you sit back and realize that you are finally in a place in which you can get what you WANT, not what you should get? Like when you buy a new car off the lot with all the perks instead of buying your aunt's decades old rusted out Ford that you have to push start? Or when you purchase your own high speed fibre optic internet for your home instead of trading weird and borderline inappropriate favours with your neighbor for their wireless password? Or when you finally buy your very own pair of designer jeans instead of borrowing a pair from a friend and then avoiding her for two years?

Well, we did it. 

After having pined over one for nearly 15 years, we got a kitten. Not just ANY kitten though, we got... a Maine Coon.

After coming to the realization that this was not the type of cat to end up in a shelter we did something we never, ever, EVER thought we would do - we bought a kitten. 

We are more likely to be the one trying to re-home a box of kittens in front of a Walmart than the ones to buy a kitten (took in a stray cat in -40. She had kittens 3 hours later). Our dog was a Chinese street dog covered in fleas and abused. We think he's some kind of shihtsu (more shit than tsu, though), and he's not happy about the new arrival.

Dermot the Chinese Kitchen Cat is even less amused, and rotates between glowering at us from above like a fiendish gargoyle and ignoring us like a sullen teenager. We've explained his own origin story (rescued from a Chinese restaurant menu at 4 weeks old in Dongguan) but he still shows no appreciation whatsoever.

(that's him in the back on his way to steal Christmas)

So it's not necessary to elaborate that these two aren't happy about the kitten.

Although I don't think it helped that the cat we bought was feral and diseased as f%&k.

There was something seriously wrong with this cat. It was very expensive and we had driven 1.5 hours just to collect her. The poor thing looked like it needed to be put down so instead of doing the normal thing and walking away we took her home - love cures all, right?

It was far too late when we realized that the saying is 'love cures people', not cats.

This wasn't a cat that we got, it was something else. It's ears were stuffed with what looked like coffee grounds. One eye was swollen and infected shut. It's coat was covered in an oil-like substance, it was near skeletal and my GOD did it stink The gas coming out of that tiny cat could drop a moose! 1.5 hours of holding this tiny, feral, tear-gas farting cat with all of the windows cracked in the rain. We got it home, introduced it to its litter box and OH MY GOD THAT CANNOT BE NATURAL. Our other cat wouldn't even go near  the litter box to cover up that bomb. It permeated throughout the house like a department store perfume aisle, saturating our clothes, our skin and our souls. 

Despite its' near death demeanor and scent of infected skunk it seemed to actually be a pretty sweet kitten. We went so far as to let the kids name it (Princess Zelda, the only Princess name we could all agree on) and we took to the task of cleaning this thing up.

We brushed. We soaped. We plucked. We wiped. We trimmed. We pulled hunks of black coffee grinds out of its ears like you wouldn't believe. We cleansed this 'cat' in every conceivable way.

In the end we dropped a small fortune at the vet, coming back with ear cleaner, ear drops, eye drops and antibiotics. After a few days, the kitten was starting to turn a corner.

Pleased with ourselves, we took all three back to the vet for their pet passport shots. Yet this is where it all went downhill. It turns out that our feral kitten had somehow infected Dermot and Huar Huar with it's feralness. Empty out your bank account and take this boatload of pet medication home with you - good luck with that. 

Deflated, we gathered up our diseased, furious assorted pets and kids and made our way back through the pet store. This is difficult enough being so outnumbered but much worse when your adult brains are occupied with how this is going to delay your pre-planned international move in a few weeks. I carried 'stinky' (Kitten's nickname) with both hands in a large blue lego box (don't judge me, we were there to buy a second carrier as well!), covered in sweat and panting from the ordeal of holding down my dog for a shot earlier. Lochlynn carried the assorted meds like a Columbian drug mule behind me and Kaitie held the leash, trying to wrangle Huar Huar away from peeing on everything in the store at ankle height. 

And Paul? 

Paul was busy with Satan. 

Dermot screeched and yowled and cursed and tore apart the internal lining of his carrier in a rage so violent that it swung the carrier through the aisles as Paul struggled to hold on. Orange fur spurt out from between the bars like a molting explosion and claws came through gaps at will, lunging for Paul's skin and vital organs with claws outstreched and reaching for sweet vengence. He was out for blood, snorting and spitting inside that wild cat carrier like we'd shoved him in there with a cobra. It couldn't get worse - the sweat had mixed with the flying orange fur leaving us haggard and weary, the kids were tangled in the dog and my lego-box was mewing pitifully. Paul was fighting his way down the aisle with the possessed cat carrier out in front of him at arms' length like an ebola sample...

And we walked into a family from the kids' school. 

Of course. 


So. All in all it could be worse. Kitty is now doing remarkably well.

Dermot is not pleased about having to take medication. Our Dermot-pill daily gear consists of heavy coats, gardening gloves, a syringe of water, a towel, a quick hand and prayer.

And Huar Huar is still an idiot. 

Part I - time for your pill!

Part II - may as well fight him for it

There really wasn't any more than we could do but to just get out of the house for a few hours for a breather (and to get away from Kitty's noxious fumes) - to take the kids to their first Drag Show, of course.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Tiny toilet brushes and straight-up lies

I had a fairly weird moment today when I I walked into the eye hospital and came out an hour later with much more pain and injury than when I went in.

I woke up this morning with a throbbing pain in my face and eye - the same side that often paralyses. Highly concerned, we slept in, went for coffee, took the kids to the park, visited a friend and then I headed over to the eye hospital to get things checked out - as you do.

A frustration I have is that this is often my experience - in London of all places with the distance of a good hour and a half between each one:

Have red, painful, swollen Zombie Eyes:

Go to my GP: Your case is too complicated for care in the community. You need to go to the hospital.

Go to the hospital: Your case is too complicated for general eye-care. You need to go to the Eye Hospital.

Go to the Eye Hospital: Your case is too complicated for just opthalmology care. You need to go to the hospital.

Sigh. You have to start somewhere, right? So off to the eye hospital I went with my swollen, puffy red eye to get it checked out. An opthalmologist saw me right away, given the file they have on me there, and confirmed that it wasn't a new flare of uveitis but instead seems to be some sort of viral infection - probably something minor that had been compounded by my suppressed immune system. Not to worry, here are some eye drops, the nurse will take a quick swab so we can get it checked out further and you will be on your way.

Great, right?

So I go over to the 'procedure chair' - kind of like a dentist's chair in the middle of the examination room. A student nurse welcomes me into the chair and makes sure I'm comfortable - as his training nurse arrived to see how I was doing. She was lovely

Chatty, friendly and kind, she took the student nurse through the motions and prepared some sort of swab kit. No big deal, I've had swabs up my nose before - surely an eye swab can't be too different. Completely relaxed I sat back in the dental chair, closed my eyes and rested while I listened to them talking and preparing. 

A new voice entered the scene. Gruffer. Kind of aggressive. I heard a "You go on your break, I'll train him on this." bark and then meek footsteps out of the room. I opened my good eye.

Oh God. 

Without even introducing herself she leaned my head back, used tissue to pull down my lower eye lid, said 'this won't hurt a bit' and scarred me for life.

She took the medical swab

and stuck it in the bottom of my eye, slowly dragging it UNDER my eyeball and through to the other side. I felt as though my eyeball was being sandpapered. HOW IN THE HELL IS THAT NOT PAINFUL??? Even the nursing student jumped back and shouted "WHOA!!" as I twisted and writhed around in the constricting dental chair - unable to escape from this woman's death-grip on my face. 

It was too much, I finally twisted to the side and let loose a "Wwwwwow that's enough! Holy hell, HOW is that possibly described as 'not hurting a bit'?"

Nurse Olga said nothing.

I still gripped the chair emotionally recovering as she busied herself with the sample tray, putting the swab into it's tube and preparing the next one.

"Alright. This one is going to feel a bit rougher than the last one."


I looked at the 'rough' swab.

Ho. Ly. Crap. It looked like a miniature toilet brush covered in tiny white razor blades. This wasn't a nurse, she was a torturist from some former fascist regime.turned British eye hospital nurse. 

Oh my freaking God. I've never felt pain like that. 

She pulled down my eyelid again with the tissue and shoved this razorbladetoiletbrush thing INTO MY EYE and slowly scraped it along my swollen, infected lower eyelid. The nursing student turned white as she pressed even harder and muttered to him that she needed to open the skin so she could collect as much blood as possible.

A high pitched 'eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE' came out of me as I gripped the dentist chair with everything I could. Hands, arms, ankles, calves... bum cheeks.

It just wouldn't end! I felt every excruciating rip as she drug it across the underside of my eyeball. When she made it half-way I literally begged her to stop. I couldn't take any more. 

She sighed in annoyance and pulled it out, handing me a tissue to dab at my dripping eye saying 'don't worry, it's only water.'

That wasn't water! That is BLOOD! That is MY blood ALL OVER that tissue! What the hell did she DO?? Oh God, the pain. My eye felt SO MUCH WORSE now than when I came into the hospital in the first place. 

I snapped a picture of the offending torture devices before I booked it out of there, traumatized for life. 

I made it out to the street with my eye drops - too scared to jar my eye further by putting them in, and called Paul to relay the horror I had just endured as I made my way over to the train station nearby. 

Have you ever had those paranoid moments when it seems like everyone is staring at you?

I waited for the light and walked across the street, people slowing down to stare at me as they approached and passed me. That was weird, but okay. No big deal. I continued down the street, coming to yet another crosswalk and a London black cab stopped for me. This was a pretty clear indication that something was seriously amiss. Cutting through the Marks & Spencers to get out of the rain I took down my hood and a teenage boy gasped and jumped back at the sight of me. 

Okay, what was going on????

I found out soon after when a guard at the ticket gate stopped me to ask me if I was okay. 

"Yes, fine - why?"

"Yeah uhm... ah... you've got blood pouring out of your eyeball."

After freaking out appropriately and accepting some first aid wet-wipes from the ticket guards I boarded the train, humiliated as usual and really just wanting to go home.

(no makeup today. I thought it would look way weirder to only have made up one side of my face, though it does look like that's going to have to be my plan for tomorrow.