Pump It Up!

I like cream. Not whipped cream, not ice cream—in fact, I hate ice cream, and I can hear you muttering right now, “Weirdo”—but no, I’m talking about body cream. Lotion that comes in all different scents, with luxurious ingredients like hemp oil, shea butter, infusions of collagen, and jojoba, which is the best word to say in the world. But do you know what I hate? The damn pump containers they come in. Every single one of these things is designed specifically so that the pump stick thing (I just googled it and it’s call a dip tube, and if that isn’t the most sexual term for a thing that isn’t particularly sexual, I don’t know what is, and don’t pretend that you weren’t all like Ooh! as well) doesn’t go right to the bottom, leaving you inevitably with an inch of cream that you can’t access. Then you have to take off the lid, and try your best to get the rest out of the container by a) turning it upside down and slamming it against your hand if the container is small or b) sticking your hand INTO the container and scooping it out, if the container is large enough, thereby getting it all under your fingernails, which is what I’ve been doing for the last few days with a particular favourite. The only problem is that every time I take off the lid, the dip tube pump thing falls out, forcing me to reassemble the whole damn thing every time.

And here’s where I found myself on Wednesday night, in a perfect storm of circumstances. On the weekend prior, I had stupidly carried a heavy bag and re-injured my bad shoulder, eradicating all the good, and the extensive number of dollars, that the recent round of shock wave therapy had provided. My shoulder, like the rest of the world, went into lockdown. And there I was, in my bathroom, half naked, trying to scoop the last of the collagen cream out of the bottom of the stupid container, when the dip tube not only fell out but the whole lid fell on the floor and rolled under the bathroom vanity. And what did I do? I waved the arm that wasn’t in agony imperiously and yelled, “You know WHAT? You can just f*cking STAY THERE!!” You may be surprised to learn that the lid did not respond and is, in fact, still under the bathroom vanity where it is paralyzed with fear.

And then, to add insult to injury, I had to see my doctor, he of the dick-ish bedside manner, who matter-of-factly referred me to an Orthopaedic surgeon. While he was looking for the referral form on his computer, all the while muttering, “Where is it?” and forcing me NOT to respond “Would it be under ‘O’?”, kind of like trying to help your elderly parent figure out how to reset their password on ‘The Facebook’ or akin to watching my colleagues walk me through how to download and edit a document in Teams, he DID offer this:

Dr.: I’ll also give you a cortisone shot.
Me: Oh, Ok…um, will it hurt?
Dr. (laughs): No. Oh, I found the referral form! It was under ‘W’.
Me: Makes sense. Are you going to do it now?
Dr.: No, I don’t have any cortisone. I’ll fax a prescription to your pharmacy and you’ll need to pick it up, then make another appointment and bring the vial back here next week.

NEXT WEEK? How many more cream jar lids will have to die before I get some relief?!

In other news, I couldn’t resist sharing this ad, which I saw last week after my post about my chair, and I wish there was a way to tell the Facebook algorithm that I ALREADY BOUGHT ONE and to stop sending me ads for chairs. But this one for a ‘single seater couch’ is the best marketing strategy I’ve ever seen:

There are four pictures, all of the same chair, with one showing a huge rip in the arm, and they’re STILL asking $150 for it! And it made me think of other ways to advertise things to make them sound more valuable than they actually are, so here are some examples for you to guess:

Upright bathtub
Winterized motorcycle
Compact minivan
Organic glass
Semi-liquid product with dip tube

But I’m sure you’ll be able to think of lots of better examples than I can.

My Week 267: Testing Myself

A few months ago, you may remember, I was at my doctor’s. He has the worst bedside manner ever, but during this particular conversation, he got very animated; in fact, he got more excited than I’d ever seen him, because I had asked about a colon cancer screening kit:

Me: I’m really sorry but the requisition you gave me 3 years ago expired. I know I should have taken care of this sooner but–
Doctor: No! Don’t worry about it! Because there’s a new kit, and it’s EVEN BETTER than the old one!!
Me: So I can get one of the new ones?
Doctor: YES! Call the office on Monday!!

Well, Monday came and Monday went—in fact, many, many Mondays came and went—but I finally called the office last week and asked for one of the new kits. The receptionist said it would arrive in a couple of days, and when I came home on Thursday, there was an appropriately brown envelope waiting for me. I opened it up and Ken and I examined it:

Ken: There’s only one test tube! Aw, you’re so lucky!
Me: Um, why?
Ken: My kit had 3. I had to do it three days in a row.
Me: Ugh! As if one day isn’t bad enough.
Ken: You could do it tomorrow.
Me: No, I’ll wait until the weekend when I can be sure that I’ll be in my own bathroom, and not in the bathroom at the train station.

And on Friday morning, I WAS in the bathroom at the train station, and it seemed like a real missed opportunity. But then on Saturday morning, it was time. The brown envelope contained the following: a folded up piece of tissue paper, a little ziplock bag containing a vial that had a tiny spatula attached to the cap, an instruction sheet, and another pre-paid return envelope, this one yellow. Ken and I have been binge-watching Rupaul’s Drag Race, which is an AWESOME show, so when I said, “OK, it’s time”, Ken’s immediate response was, “Good luck. And DON’T f*ck it up.”

So I went upstairs and looked at the instructions very carefully. They were absolutely bizarre, and a little juvenile, but easy to understand, as you can see:

When I came downstairs later, Ken asked, “Well?”

Me: It was really stressful.
Ken: Why? Did you put the paper in the toilet first like it said?
Me: Yes. And then I went. It was a really good one. Almost too good.
Ken: Because?
Me: Because you have to swirl the spatula around in it, and then put the spatula back into the vial, and the opening is REALLY narrow, and there was a lot on it, so I had to keep trying to wipe off the excess so that it didn’t get on the outside of the container.
Ken: *laughs hysterically*
Me: I didn’t imagine I would be spending Saturday morning leaning over a toilet full of a steaming pile of poo, worrying about offending some unknown lab technician with my clumsy vial-handling skills. Also, the instructions were very unclear about where the wiping took place in this whole process, so I had to improv that part. I can’t believe you did this three days in a row.
Ken: No wonder your doctor was so excited.
Me: And now I’m worried that I did it wrong because my poo didn’t look like the one in the picture, and I just did kind of a whimsical swirl in it but this picture shows the person swiping from side to side, and maybe I really did f*ck it up.
Ken: Sashay away.

And quite possibly I AM overthinking it, but 23andMe sent me a SECOND DNA KIT because I hadn’t done the first one right, and all that involved was spitting into a test tube. I don’t know what it’s like where you all live, but I’m in Canada, so this is free, and there are some poor lab techs out there who must have to deal with hundreds of poo vials a week and I just want to make their lives a little easier. Maybe I’ll spray some perfume on the envelope as a goodwill gesture.

Last week, my niece was very proud that she was good in math, and this week I was also proud of my math skills (until I talked to Ken):

1) My director called me in to discuss my budget. “I know it’s right,” I said, ‘because I used a calculator”, and she said, “Good job.”

2) I was on the train, sitting with my friend Max, and he was mad because all the stores are now decorated for Christmas, and holidays are just an excuse to sell stuff. “Did you know,” he said, “that yesterday was National Sandwich Day?!”

Me: Did you have a sandwich in honour of this special day?
Max: No, I did not.
Me: Personally, I prefer Pi Day.
Max: What kind of pie?
Me: No, like 22 divided by seven. I think that’s on July 22nd.
Max: (*looks it up*) It says here it’s on March 14. That’s a Saturday.
Me: Ooh, then it could be a whole Pi weekend, because Pi is 3.1415. What’s Pi for anyway?
Max: I think it’s to calculate the area of a circle.
Me: Why would you ever need to do THAT? Just buy enough floor tile to make a square and trim stuff away. Is it some theoretical bullsh*t thing, like Schrödinger’s Cat?
Max: No. It’s probably for things in nature, like calculating area in the ocean.
Me: Like what, how big is the Bermuda Triangle? Oh wait, that’s a triangle. I think you use a different formula for that. It’s the Pythagorean theorem.
Max: Are you sure?
Me: Andre! Andre! How do you calculate the area of a triangle?
Andre, The New Train Car Attendant: You use the Pythagorean theorem.
Me: See? I told you I was good at math.
Max: Happy National Vinegar Day, by the way.

3) And then Ken read the above and said, “What are you talking about?

Me: It’s the Pythagorean theorem. A squared times B cubed or whatnot, and some other stuff gives you the area of a triangle.
Ken: No, it doesn’t! That’s what you use if you don’t know the length of the hypotenuse of a right angled triangle. And it’s A squared plus B squared equals C squared. Your whole train car sucks at math.
Me: Then how do you calculate the area of a triangle, if you’re so smart?!
Ken: Height times base divided by two.

Me: Shantay, you stay.

My Week 227: What’s Up, Doc?

Have you ever had a relationship with someone who was a bit of a dick, but you needed him desperately and couldn’t do without him? No, I’m not talking about Ken, who is seldom a dick. I’m talking about my family doctor.

21 years ago, I had a terrible doctor. This was during a time in Ontario when there was a doctor shortage and it was almost impossible to find a family physician, and once you had one, you NEVER let them go. But I hated her with a passion for some very specific reasons which I won’t get into here but which involved my possible demise due to her negligence, so when Ken and I moved to a small town, I started investigating the possibility of finding a new doctor. There was a clinic in town, but they were only taking on patients if you had a “local reference”, so I struck up a friendship with the woman who lived next door. She and her husband had a dog named “Patches”. He was a purebred Pomeranian. Consider for a moment the type of person who looks at a mono-coloured dog and bestows it with that particular moniker out of ALL THE F*CKING DOG NAMES IN THE WORLD. Patches barked incessantly, like ALL the damn time and shat on our mutual driveway, but I was willing to overlook all of this in exchange for her passing on the good word to one of the docs at the clinic. But first, she grilled me:

Neighbour: Do you have any pre-existing conditions?
Me: No…
Neighbour: So you would describe your general health as very good?
Me: Uh, yes.
Neighbour: I hope you’re being honest with me. If it turns out that you’re high maintenance, my reputation as a referee is down the toilet. PATCHES!! STOP BARKING!!
Me: Ken and I are VERY fit, no worries.
Neighbour: OK. Dr. Monteith is a very good DOCTOR.

The red flag should have gone up because of the ominous way she said “DOCTOR” but I was young and naïve. The clinic agreed to take me on, and Dr. Monteith (not his real name) was finally mine, and Ken’s too. After a couple of months, I had to schedule an appointment:

Dr. Monteith: Why are you here?
Me: I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive.
Dr. Monteith: And?
Me: Well, last time it turned out to be ectopic and I had to have surgery. In Italy.
Dr. Monteith: Oh. Here’s a requisition for an ultrasound. We’ll let you know if there’s a problem this time.

And it was then that I realized why my neighbour had emphasized “good DOCTOR”. Yes, he was a very good doctor, but he had the bedside manner of a bridge troll:

Dr. Monteith: Why are you here?
Me: I’m exhausted, I’m dizzy, and I’m out of breath all the time.
Dr. Monteith: You’re pregnant.
Me: I know that. But I feel terrible.
Dr. Monteith: Your bloodwork is fine. You’re just pregnant.

Sure enough, I WAS fine, and made it through pregnancy and many other health scares:

Dr. Monteith: Why are you here?
Me: I’m having chest pains.
Dr. Monteith: It’s probably stress. I can recommend some books that you can read about reducing stress.
Me: If I had time to read books, I wouldn’t be stressed. Ha Ha…
Dr. Monteith:
Me: Anyway, if you really think it’s stress, give me 3 Ativan. The next three times I have chest pains, I’ll take one. If the chest pains go away, then I’ll accept your diagnosis.
Dr. Monteith: Fine. Now pay the toll. It’s one goat for today’s appointment.

OK, that last part was a lie. And as it turned out, the Ativan didn’t help the chest pains—it just made me not give a sh*t about them. So he sent me for a stress test and gave me a heart monitor. I was fine.

But despite the fact that he’s been my doctor for over twenty years, I know very little about him. I know that he has two children because for the first ten of those years, there was a picture of two small kids on a poster titled “Doctor Daddy” that they had obviously made for him. The other thing I know is that he played tennis at some point, because once, I had to make an appointment and the receptionist said, “Oh, you’ll have to see Dr. Stellen; Dr. Monteith has to have knee surgery for an old tennis injury.” So I went to the office, and in came Dr. Stellen. He was charming, friendly, and affable, and at the end of the appointment, he actually said, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” He was also twenty-five minutes late. And that’s the one redeeming thing about Dr. Monteith–he’s ALWAYS on time. In fact, I don’t think he’s ever been more than 5 minutes late for an appointment in the twenty years I’ve been seeing him. This is because he does NOT make small talk. He’s not interested in how your day is going, whether you’ve been on vacation, if you’ve changed jobs—the only thing he’s interested in is why you’re there and he gets right to the point. Strangely, however, and very uncomfortably, the only time he was ever chatty was when he was doing my yearly internal exam:

Dr. Monteith: So, how’s work?
Me: Um, fine?
Dr. Monteith: Read any good books lately? Can you just scooch down the table a bit?
Me: OK. Um, books—not really…
Dr. Monteith: Got any vacation plans? OK, we’re done. Pheww.

I’d like to believe he was trying to put me at ease, but I doubt it, based on this conversation two years ago:

Me: Now that I don’t have the prerequisite lady parts, do I still have to have a yearly internal exam?
Dr. Monteith: No! No, you do not!

We both smiled in relief at this positive change in our relationship. Which brings me to Thursday. I’d been having problems with allergies and started getting these weird migraines, so I called on Tuesday and made an appointment to see Dr. Monteith. I was in pretty bad shape as evidenced by the email I sent my boss to tell her I had to go home for a doctor’s appointment. About half an hour later, she appeared in my office, all concerned, and said, “Are you OK? You really had me worried. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a spelling mistake in one of your emails!” and I was like “Aw, that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. I just can’t see out of my left eye right now.”

So I went to his office on Thursday, and he walked in the examining room right on the stroke of 11.

Dr. Monteith: Why are you here?
Me: I can’t breathe out of the left side of my nose, my face hurts, and I’m getting those weird ocular migraines again. (*phone rings*) Oh sorry! I’m being harassed by Turkish telemarketers!
Dr. Monteith:
Me: I’ll turn the ringer off.
Dr. Monteith: Thank you. Let’s see. Hmm. Yes, it looks like an infection. Here is a prescription for 7 days of antibiotics and 6 weeks of this special nasal spray. If it doesn’t clear up, I’ll send you to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. You should also get a humidifier. OK? Bye.

Over the years, I’ve come to accept his bedside manner and appreciate the fact that he is really good at the medicine stuff. He always knows when there’s something actually wrong and doesn’t take any chances. I just pray he never retires. He might be a bit of a dick, but I’m still alive.