Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reading Is Fundamental

Have you ever had to deal with a doctor who is clearly not listening to you or reading what you write? Did you find a resolution to the communication issue that didn't result in you seeing someone else? How long were you frustrated by the lack of care until something positive came from your concerns?

I have to deal with an Oncologist who never answers all of my questions because HE REPLACED the Oncologist I had to deal with who never answered all of my questions. It's like a revolving door of idiocy; you think you're in a better place by going around but you never actually moved forward. One moron takes the place of another and I wind up wondering how these people ever graduated from preschool. It's truly astounding that they can even cash my copay since they are incapable of responding to simple questions.

Case in point:

1. I need to set up a day in August to meet with Dr. Confusion for one last office visit since we are moving into a new program for aftercare, and his time with us is over.

2. I need to set up another day in October to meet the new doctors in the aftercare program and get scans, per Dr. Confusion's recommendation of scans in October.

3. #1 has to happen before #2 per Dr. Confusion's orders.

Tell me this: does the plan above seem hard to follow?

This is what I wrote to him: "When should we come in for an appointment so Emily can move into the ACE program? At the time of her next scans (beginning of October) or before she starts school?"

Here is his response: "I will go ahead and schedule the scans for August 16th. Please call and schedule an appoint for the Thursday of that week."

Are you kidding me?????????????

All I want to do is deal with this fool one last time so we can move on and he can't even make that easy for us. God forbid I ask him a thought provoking question. He might have a seizure if I do.

If you think I'm being harsh, understand that he has been this way and worse for almost two years now. He never answers my questions, he obviously doesn't comprehend my emails, and he always gives me a headache. If there was a Tylenol product to get rid of him I would have taken the maximum allowable dosage by now; maybe even the whole bottle.

I wrote this entry to help me vent before I respond to him. If I learned anything from the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, it's to wait for time to pass before you deal with your frustration. When LeBron James decided to play in Miami, Dan Gilbert let his emotions take over and made vitriolic statements in a open letter that didn't help his cause.

In remembrance of that public relations debacle, I won't send my blog to the doctor. Not yet at least. Not until we make a televised announcement on Nickelodeon that we're gladly taking our care to another oncologist.

On second thought, he probably won't comprehend that attempt at communication either.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Meet Your New Neighbors!

Welcome to the neighborhood! I'm so glad you decided to move into this corner of the world. On behalf of the welcoming committee, let me introduce you to the people you will be living next to. There are some items we'll need to talk about later if you have time, and alcohol. I'm sure you'll have questions soon.

Before we get started, I'd like to share with you some observations I've made from living here. I'm a resident of the cul de sac for the past 9 years and though I've lived here this long, I couldn't tell you anything about most of the homeowners. For some bizarre reason, many of these people never show their face in daylight and therefore, I've never seen them. My Realtor failed to mention anything about living in a ghost town but I suppose quiet neighbors appeal to most folks. Strange though; you would think that emergency vehicles that fill up your street, during a house fire like the one we had, would bring everyone outside. Can't say that happened for us. If you count the baby in my wife's belly at the time of our fire, I suppose you could say Dana wasn't alone. I guess the neighbors just wanted to give my frightened wife some privacy during our crisis. You'll see for yourself how the neighbors are so thoughtful that way!

Now that I've talked about our neighbors in general, let me tell you about the individuals who live next door.

The woman who lives on your left is Lady Deathwish, an avid art collector who oddly goes by the name "Electra Cuteme" when she's entertaining. We're not sure how she got that nickname but she sure likes to swim in her pool during thunderstorms. If you don't mind me giving you some advice, you might want to look into soundproofing the North facing walls of your home. Celine Dion is a wonderful singer and has a lovely accent, but after you've heard her songs for the 10 thousandth time, you'll want to rip your ears off. Lady Deathwish apparently has only one album in her entire collection so, how do I say this politely, I hope you like "Because You Loved Me" and enjoy the soundtrack from "Titanic". Good luck to you with that.

Ms. Deathwish, my fan club president and occasional paint thief, can be somewhat of an enigma at times. We both previously lived in the Midwest and therefore have a great time talking about corn, pork, and children who look like me. To everyone else in my house, the only conversation that Lady Deathwish will engage in, is the resemblance my kids and I share. I know that doesn't seem too bad but my wife wouldn't mind a shout out for her genetic contributions once in a while.

"Hello Dana. Wow! Your girls sure are pretty."

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

"They look just like Jim!".

Dana really hasn't had any other conversations other than this and honestly doesn't share the same warm feelings I have for Ms. Deathwish, but I'm sure Electra will make a wonderful neighbor for you. I bet you'll even get an invitation from her to go swimming. You might want to check the Weather Channel before you go over. Lightning seems to be Electra's favorite form of poolside illumination.

The neighbor to your right likes to swim just as much as Lady Deathwish but he prefers to go in his pool, and hot tub, mostly from 10 PM til 3 AM on weeknights. I'd go over to his backyard and introduce him to you, his name is Ima Noodist by the way, but there's a good chance that he's entertaining at the moment and I'd hate to interrupt him. Ima has lots of friends but rarely will you see the same woman over at his house two nights in a row. I guess you could say that he has a comfortable rotation of lady friends to keep him from getting lonely.

Mr. Noodist is going to be a constant source of joy for you in the years to come. We're not sure if he has ever looked over to our house to notice that we can see everything in his bachelor pad, but let me tell you this, privacy is not his biggest concern! He is an incredibly thoughtful neighbor in that he knows that we do not have a stereo in our daughter's room, so he makes sure that the music he plays, all throughout the night, can be heard by our kids! What a great neighbor! As far as bedtime stories go, he's a trooper with that too. My kids don't have television access to Cinemax and Adult on Demand, so he makes sure that they can see mature entertainment for free right outside their window. Nothing like sex education to give a child sweet dreams right before bedtime!

We are so blessed to have Ima Noodist to help us with all of this. Unfortunately for our kids, we prefer that they actually sleep at night and not during the day, so we moved them out of the bedroom that directly faces Ima's playground. The girls might be mad at us now, but their therapy bills will be cheaper in the long run. Besides, Ima will entertain all night long whether we care or not and thankfully, nothing bothers him.

Well I guess it's time that I get back to taking care of my house and family. I sure hope you enjoy your new neighbors and I am so glad that you moved into our cul de sac. I realize that I might never see you again, like everyone else here, so if you ever need anything, please feel free to knock on my door. Oh, and one last thing. Should you find any exotic animals or lost puppies on your property, the fella who lives two doors down believes in free ranging all of his critters. Just make sure you look in the rear view mirror as you back out of the cul de sac because Bacon, his pig, will be out looking for dinner. Don't worry though, your oak tree provides his favorite acorns so he's likely to be sitting on your front lawn most of the time.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Precious: The Rewind Button

When our old analog TV was hooked up to TiVo, we found out very quickly that the rewind button was going to be something special. Miss a lot of dialogue because the kids are screaming? Hit the rewind button! Want to see an instant replay of that amazing slam dunk? Hit the rewind button! Want to watch old Texas Stadium implode over, and over, and over again? Hit the rewind button! It was that simple.

Several weeks ago, my wife bought me/ us a new TV; this one of the wide screen, 46 inch, high definition variety. Jackpot! I had wanted one of these suckers for about two years but I always had the fear of financial instability in the back of my head that prevented me from driving over to Best Buy to pick one out. They looked sweet. They sounded sweet. They even looked light enough to quickly carry out of the store should no one be looking. The big problem I had was that the price tag, and ensuing costs to get it to produce a HD picture, looked to be out of my budget. Why spend the money on something better when we already had a functioning system at home? This was another example of my boring yet efficient status-quo life strategy.

The one way to bypass my spending preference was for my wife to take me out of the purchasing equation altogether. Dana figured that I was going to tight-wad this purchase to death so she put together a plan with the help of others and Father's Day 2010 became the turning point in our analog life. After Dana handled the Best Buy salesperson as gently as a Great White says hello to a sea lion pup, the total cost was nicely reduced, and "my gift" was put into the back of our minivan. All that I was left to do was put it together when I got home, which was to say:

1. assemble the new TV stand (had a wonderful father-helpful daughter moment with my oldest)
2. disassemble the old, 400 lb entertainment center (always fun taking stuff apart)
3. move the 200+ lb TV to the garage (gauging my eyeballs out would have been more enjoyable)
4. hook up all the old components to the new TV, and finally
5. sit back in horror as the new TV picture looked awful and nothing looked high def

Happy Father's Day Jim. Hope you enjoy your Sony Bravia and precious beginnings of a hernia.

I could go on with the initial shock of disappointment, and pain, but you get the idea. I just couldn't believe that this much work took us back to where we were in the first place. Status-quo had never failed me before so it seemed I was the idiot for having HD envy in the first place.

Dana, in a reassuring tone, reminded me that Time Warner was coming out in a few days to hook up our digital cable and my friend Eric (the reason behind my HD envy) provided tech support to improve the quality of our viewing experience. With their help and acquired patience of my own, my new TV finally looked every bit of the wide screen, high definition variety I had been hoping for within a week! That of course came with the assistance of Time Warner's new cable box/ DVR. Yea! Or maybe yea, almost?

Here's a new dilemma we had to face. This DVR was no where near the awesomeness that is TiVo. Can you have TiVo and the new DVR hooked up at the same time? The answer is no. The new TV is both the subject of viewing ecstasy and the termination of our beloved TiVo rewind button. Did I mention how much I liked the rewind button?

The Tivo rewind button is magical. I can go back 5 seconds. I can go back 15 minutes, 30 minutes, all the way back. I can even go back in slow motion. Oh how the rewind choices are extraordinary!

The Time Warner rewind button is a mystery. I can go back 7 seconds and after that, I have not a damn clue how to quickly rewind to the beginning of a show or even get there half way without 2 minutes passing by. This might seem to be a minor issue but consider this: I live in a fast food world and this DVR is like home cooking; you get to eat eventually but you starve while preparing the meal and then have to wash the dishes afterward. TiVo was the McDonald's of my world. Sad, but true.

Hitting the rewind button now is a chore but I am able, thankfully, to see a sliver lining in this rewind hell. In the time it takes me to see what I just saw, I am reminded to put the remote down and go outside for a walk or get something done around the house. Maybe the moral of this story is that I don't need instant gratification in life like TiVo as much as I need to look at the blessings I was given and enjoy them to the fullest. "My" big screen HD TV does bring me a measure of visual pleasure but the change in DVR units came with a price I didn't see. If I learned anything from this entire experience it is one thing: I obviously need TiVo rehab. Any celebrities I can hang out with while I'm in there? Dr. Drew? Jennifer Capriati? Hello?

As I finished writing this I had an afterthought; maybe if I let others keep buying stuff I won't have any personal worries of financial ruin. My birthday is in a month and I understand that the new generation of TiVo DVR's, "TiVo Premiere", will make Time Warner's DVR obsolete. Imagine all the tantalizing rewind button possibilities with that unit!

The hell with rehab! Happy Birthday to me. I'll have a Big Mac with my birthday cake, please. Just don't show me the bill while I'm eating, or rewinding.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Three Oh No's

In less than 24 hours, our dishwasher drained it's last bubble, my youngest daughter was denied a transfer to her sister's school, and I accidentally punched said older sister in the eye while trying to unfurl a sock. Please tell me that this nonsense only comes in three's. Please.

With all this misfortune bouncing about, I should get off the internet now. Somebody in Kraptakistan is about to plant a computer killing virus on the web that my laptop will surely acquire. In all honesty, I need to put our cold pack "Mr. Bump" back in the fridge anyway now that the accidental victim of my laundry rage has gone to bed.

One last thought though: please pray for Emily's soon to be black eye for quick healing. She needs not to be in pain nor endlessly explaining to the masses how Daddy gave her a shiner. Thank you from the both of us.