Thursday, December 31, 2009

I, Myself, And I

Happy New Year to everyone!

I have been quite a slacker today, going to lunch with my gambling aunt, and planning a casino trip for Saturday. The whole Christmas vacation has flown by in a whirlwind of doctor's appointments, and I have nothing to show for it but a bruise on my neck.

I found my fruitcake online, Claxton Fruitcakes, which is exactly the kind I was looking for. Eat your hearts out, you fruitcakeless unfortunates! You don't know what you're missing.

I would say 'Enough about me!', but we all know that there is never enough about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom here at the Mansion.

I will finish this post with a fourth paragraph starting with 'I' just to prove my point above. Now I must go check the weather for Saturday. We can't have any snow to slow down the Old People Casino Bus.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

I'm psychic, you know. Just as I predicted, Dr. WhizKid recommended surgery on my massive thyroid nodule. What's up with that? Surgery as a first alternative?

Here's the deal. Dr. WhizKid is an ENT. That means Ear/Nose/Throat specialist. He knows where everything is, and can dig around in there with confidence during surgery. So the thought of him being the one to do the surgery is not what concerns me. Dr. WhizKid drew a little picture of his proposed surgery, and said he'd give me a copy, but he didn't. I blame that girl in there with him, whoever she was, who had the papers in her hand when we left. Without scheduling surgery.

When Gyno first felt my goiter and exclaimed that he did not like the feel of that nodule, way back in early November, he said it would need testing. He elaborated with the mention of a radioactive iodine test, and a fine-needle biopsy. After going off my meds for three weeks (that strikes fear into your heart, huh, the thought of HM off her meds), I partook of his radioactive iodine test, and also an ultrasound of my thyroid.

Gyno called me with the results of that radioactive test. His exact words were, "It's most likely cancer." That's not something I would have told someone over the phone, myself. So I asked why, and he said because it was a 'cold' nodule, and that it was solid, not cystic. But that he, himself, is not a doctor that deals with this, and that he would refer me to Dr. WhizKid, the new ENT in town. The only ENT in town. And a DO to boot, which rubs my mom the wrong way. She has no love for osteopaths. When I called Gyno's office back to inquire about scheduling a fine-needle biopsy, Gyno said, "Uh, who said anything about a fine-needle biopsy? We're looking at a course-needle biopsy." After my interrogation, he said that yes, they do knock you out for one of those, and that it could be done right here in town. Pardon my persnicketyness, but GYNO is the one who brought up the fine-needle biopsy originally. I did not remind him. In all fairness, he did say that this is not the kind of thing he does, and that I should see Dr. WhizKid, and upon further questioning, revealed that he has sent Dr. WhizKid three patients.

Since it was taking six weeks from my first appointment with Gyno to even see Dr. WhizKid for the initial consultation, my regular primary care GP, an old Army doc, hooked me up with a fine-needle biopsy. As he said at the time, "They do these for me all the time down in the hospital lab." The results of that fine-needle biopsy came back 'benign pattern' on Monday. Doc is on vacation this week, but had instructed his nurse who called with the results to tell me to keep my appointment with Dr. WhizKid. Which I had planned on doing all along, because the appointment had been made for four weeks already.

NOW, Dr. WhizKid only mentions surgery as an option, after reading my fine-needle results right there in the exam room with me. To hear him tell it, (after all the possible complications he listed), they will slice up the nodule and send it to the pathologist. That's after they have removed the nodule and half my thyroid. And put a drain into my neck so I won't die from a hematoma blocking my airway, after dancing around my vocal cord nerves that could render me songless or breathless, and tiptoeing around my parathyroid glands, which could upset my calcium balance in 30% of patients who have this surgery, meaning they have to take expensive meds for the rest of their life. Oh, and the results of the nodule sections won't be known for about a week. Which to me, sounds like this whole hemithyroidectomy is just an extremely dangerous diagnostic test.

When I've already gotten back the results of a much less invasive diagnostic test. If that fine-needle biopsy is not good enough, why do they do them at all?

So I asked Dr. WhizKid the odds of this nodule being cancerous (because he did not volunteer that trivial bit of information), and he said, "Well, it's a cold nodule, which is more likely to be cancerous, and your age in not in the right category...and the odds of it being cancerous are about 16 percent." Loyal H, who went in the exam room with me, asked how soon this surgery needed to be done. Dr. WhizKid said, "In the next few wee---in the next few months." He asked if I would be more comfortable having it done in the city, and I said I would be more comfortable not having it done at all. I said I needed a week or two to think it over.

You can plainly read that I am dragging my feet on this surgery recommendation. Do the odds of my thyroid nodule being cancerous outweigh the risks of the surgery? I think not. I don't want to be some kind of two-insurance cash cow for Dr. WhizKid and Gyno.

I am setting up an appointment with Doc when he returns from vacation. I plan to ask him what he recommends to HIS patients after getting fine-needle biopsy results such as mine. And I want to get an appointment with the endocrinologist Doc refers his patients to at Barnes Hospital.

Because what if the surgery to cut out my thyroid kills me, and then they find out that it wasn't even a cancerous nodule? According to my aunt, "Then the family could get a big settlement." Yeah. That's my gambling aunt.

I don't want to be like the model who died after butt-implant surgery.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Relaxed, Withdrawn, And Stabbed

Today was the first day of my Christmas vacation that I got to relax. If by relax, you understand that it means I only had to do six loads of laundry, whip up a pot of spaghetti for lunch, drive the #1 son to basketball practice, shop at The Devil's Playground and Save-A-Lot, and drive the #1 son to watch a basketball tournament. But really, it was better that sitting in freakin' doctors' offices like I did for three days last week, or driving around making bank deposits and paying bills, and calling the credit card company to see why an automatic withdrawal of $5,583.28 was taken out of our checking account. Is the suspense killing you? Yeah. It was killing me, too. The rep said, "Oh, that is a withdrawal from HH Manufacturing." Like that made it all better, finding out that HH's workplace had withdrawn a tidy sum of his hard-earned money. Then she went on to say that it looked like the company had direct-deposited his check like they do every month, but had also deposited that $5,583.28 for no good reason, and had quickly withdrawn it. Good to know.

Speaking of doctors' offices...Wednesday at 3:30 I go to see the ENT whizkid about my goiterous neck and its nodule. Nobody called me about my neck-stabbing results on Christmas Eve, as Doc and The Stabber had thought might happen. That kind of worried me, because even though The Stabber had seemed optimistic, I figured that nobody would dare call me with bad news on Christmas Eve. Except maybe my Gyno's receptionist/wife. So it was kind of a bittersweet holiday, what with me constantly remembering to worry about my mortality.

Monday morning at 8:30, Doc's nurse called and said she had just spoken to Doc (who was taking this week off), and that he said my stabbing test showed a benign pattern. That is good news, she said, as if I do not know the meaning of benign, though I certainly won't hold it against her. I called my mom and my HH, and tried to call my Mabel, but she was apparently not taking calls, being on a cruise or beach somewhere, enjoying a beverage with her ship-shape thyroid. But I noticed that Nursie did not say the nodule was benign, only that it showed a benign pattern. Still, I'm counting that as a rousing bit of good fortune. Until I see the ENT whizkid on Wednesday.

I am now concerned that Young Dr. WhizKid will say that the fine-needle biopsy was inconclusive (meriting a big ol' 'I told ya so' from Gyno's receptionist/wife), and that he still wants to go ahead with a course-needle stabbing. But maybe not.

We'll cross that half-empty glass when we come to it. Wednesday at 3:30.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Newest Vice

Today, in order to kill some time while waiting for the #1 son's basketball practice to end, I stopped at Walgreens. I don't normally go in there except at Christmastime, to see what odd seasonal candy might be found to surprise my offspring. Today, I was looking for some leftover fruitcake. Yes. I confess. I looooves me some fruitcake. Not a lot of it. Not the big round kind in a tin. The rectangular long kind that can be sliced into small squares. A little fruitcake goes a long way.

I don't normally buy fruitcake for myself. My mom gave me some that came in a fruit basket that the masons always give her at Christmas. Thank the Gummi Mary, my dad belonged to three different lodges. Now I get a fruitcake at Christmas.

But Walgreens had no fruitcake. They did have THIS:















It is fantastic! I have not had black licorice since when I was pregnant with The Pony. Nobody told me that black licorice raises your blood pressure. The doctor was a bit concerned with my blood pressure one visit, and made me lay on an exam table until it went down. That evening, I happened to read somewhere about this mysterious licorice property. I stopped eating it, and VOILA, my blood pressure went back to normal (until I became aged). Anyhoo, I have stayed away from this childhood favorite until now.

Last week, when I made my regular six-month check-up visit with Doc, he said that he's going to lower my blood pressure meds. Since I haven't refilled the prescription yet, I figured that now is as good a time as any to consume my dear old friend, black licorice. Or as this package proclaims, Licorice Black. Walgreens also had the strawberry flavor. It does not affect blood pressure, as far as I know. If I had been aware of how fresh and tasty this brand would be, I would have also invested in the strawberry kind.

Mmm...mmm...mmm. Licorice Black. The smell when I opened the package was heavenly. I am rationing it until I get that prescription refilled. No need to go hog wild.

In case you can't read the package, it says: Lucky Country Aussie Style Soft Gourmet Licorice Black. And it's 97% fat free! Just sayin'...

These chunks are the twisty shape, but they are solid, not hollow. And they are OH SO FRESH and squishy when you squeeze them. Delicious.

Maybe next week I will run across some delectable liver-and-onions!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tales Of My Success Are Greatly Depreciated

Well. Reports of her magnificent success in the HumorPress writing contest have not garnered Mrs. Hillbilly Mom any increase in respect around the Mansion. In fact, quite the opposite has occurred.

To set the giant turd of disrespect rolling, the #1 son, the first person with whom I shared this fantastic news, commented, "That's good, Mom. I bet everyone who entered got an award." Thank you OH SO MUCH, my firstborn, for that rousing boost of confidence. I'm surprised I can still fit my head through the door. He went on to declare that I am now "...a regular Betty, the famous author who just died." And furthermore, when he told his dad about my electronic publication on Christmas morning, Underwhelmed H said only, "Hmpf." In keeping with the total apathy dished up on a paper plate of lukewarm ambivalence, The Pony added his two cents nonverbally, with a blank stare. You may be surprised to learn that I did not even mention my special award to my mother or my sister or my brother-in-law-the-former-mayor. If it ain't a leg lamp, it ain't a special award around these parts.

I won't be signing autographs any time soon.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hillbilly Mom Gets Even




Hillbilly Mom Earns An Honorable Mention In HumorPress.com's "America's Funniest Humor!" Writing Contest



Hillbilly Mom, a basement writer sequestered deep below Hillmomba, earned an Honorable Mention in the most recent "America's Funniest Humor!" Writing Contest held by HumorPress.com.

For her accomplishment, Hillbilly Mom has earned publication in HumorPress.com's online humor showcase. Her entry, "Grinding the Axe," is about her simple request for one specific Christmas gift, and her family's total disregard for her wish.

"Grinding the Axe" will be featured in the current showcase through mid-February, after which new results from the bi-monthly contest will be posted.

Other writing awards and recognitions earned by Hillbilly Mom include absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. She is a one-trick pony, that Hillbilly Mom.

HumorPress.com is one of the Internet's highest-ranking humor contest sites, with opportunities for writers specializing in humor and those with real-life humorous anecdotes to share. Or, in the case of Hillbilly Mom, a place to let out the crazy without attracting undue attention from law enforcement or mental health professionals.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Tale

Christmas at the Mansion started at 6:15 a.m. By the time the wrapping paper stopped flying, it was 7:40. The boys disappeared to fiddle with new toys: a book for The Pony, and a Zune HD thingy for the #1 son.

The book is now finished, and #1 follows me around telling me to touch the screen of his Zune. He had another Zune that he got a couple of years ago, but this must be a fancier version. The Pony also received a Kindle, and jealously guards it from #1. Little does he know that every night after he went to bed, #1 got out his precious Kindle and had a heyday with it. Not that he wanted one for himself. He said he would never use one. But he sure likes gadgets. His gift for The Pony was to purchase and download five books on his Kindle. However, The Pony had Christmas-listed several print books, and chose one of them to read first. But he carried his Kindle in its little case out to Grandma's house.

Simple H was most enamored with his gift of a bejeweled chicken that doubles as a ring-holder. The top of it flips open to reveal the secret compartment. It appears to be metal with shiny gems all about, held shut by magnetic attraction. His fleeced vest and Carhartt coat were nothing to sneeze at, either.

I did better than a $2 change purse and box of SnoCaps this year. OK, so that was actually a Mother's Day bounty. But still, I got a watch and some Seinfeld DVDs and a soft, soft blankie, and some fruit medley and some Zebra pens. Not bad for an effort by the men of the house. I suppose they are embarrassed because I immortalized them in a whiny essay after the Seinfeld Scene-It debacle last year.

More on that tomorrow.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses A Memory

Christmas Eve, and nobody is snug in his bed. That's because it is only afternoon, and that would be kind of abnormal, even for the Hillbilly family.

We will be going to my sister's house this evening for snacks and games. If there was betting on the contest winners, I would be the heavy favorite. Even money, I'm thinking. Because I always win, except for last year, when my brother-in-law-the-former-mayor's sister-in-law tied with me, and was given the prize. That's because I always win. Like that made it right to just give her the win.

My sister called yesterday with the official invitation. She wanted me to warn The Pony that the game prizes (for the game where everybody gets one) are designed for old ladies, and that whatever prize he gets, he should at least try to PRETEND he's happy with it, instead of groaning. She said that I will probably win this year's games, because my competition can't be there. She also said that she based that assumption on the fact that our mom never really knows what's happening in those games, because she is so focused on the kids, and that she knows it will not be my brother-in-law-the-former-mayor, and that while her mother-in-law is pretty sharp, she won't win. Oh, and that we both know Tunnel-Vision H won't win, and the kids don't know enough old-people knowledge, and that our grandma didn't even recognize her on the phone a few hours ago, so she won't have much chance.

That is a low blow for Grandma. It's not fair to insinuate that she is Alzheimerish. Sure, she gets confused sometimes, but I blame that on dehydration. And besides, you can't just base a decision like that on one phone call. Sis called Grandma to officially invite her to the annual snacks-and-games Christmas Eve bash. It went a little something like this:

Grandma?
Who is this?
It's Sis.
Sis who?
Sis. Your granddaughter.
You're going to have to give me a last name.
Sis FormerMayor.
Who?
Sis FormerMayor.
I don't know what you're saying.
OK, Grandma. Hubby will call you.
What?
Bye now.

See, Grandma has a hearing problem. Her ear holes are too tiny for her hearing aids. At least that's her story, and she's sticking to it, because if you argue about it, she says, "What?" I always have to shout and repeat myself when I call her. Which is not often. Caretaker H goes to visit her every Sunday night. He's good with the elderly. They shoot the breeze, and he fixes things, and he puts her medicine in a weekly container thingy. Caretaker H has to scold Grandma about being too trusting. "Don't sign anything! Even if the pharmacy makes a delivery and asks you to sign, tell them to leave it or not, and we will take care of the signature when I'm here. You don't know what people might try to get you to sign." Grandma has always been too trusting. She hired a dude to paint her house, and gave him the money up front. You guessed it. He never painted her house. She said he must have really needed that money. He had done work for her husband before he died, and she trusted him.

In Grandma's defense, the local paper recently had a story in their scam series about scammers calling old people and asking for money to be wired. The scammer would start out saying that he needed money to bond out of jail.

Grandma?
Who's this?
Your grandson.
Which one?
Which one do you think it is?
Richie?
No. It's not Richie.
Robbie?
Yes, Grandma. It's Robbie. I went to Canada for a bachelor party for my friend, and there was a misunderstanding. I'm in jail, and I need $3000 to get out. Can you send it to me? Don't tell Mom and Dad. They'll be upset.

So 'Grandma' would wire the money. Then 'Robbie' would call back and say the money never got there, and could she send it again? One lady sent $10,000 before she found out from family that Robbie had never even gone to Canada, and was just fine. The thieves can pick up that money at a Western Union store in any city, not just where it gets wired to. That makes it nearly impossible for them to get caught.

I told Sis that maybe Grandma was being extra cautious. I know she reads the paper. Sis said, "But I didn't even tell her I was in jail, or that I needed money." I think she missed the point. Anyhoo... it should be an interesting evening.

Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You Put The Needle In, You Take The Needle Out, You Put The Needle In, And You Twist It All About

And now, the whole shocking story...

A student of some kind came out to get me for my fine-needle thyroid biopsy. We went back into the nuclear medicine area where I had my radioactive iodine test. Wouldn't you know it? Melanie, the ultrasound gal who told me that my thyroid was a monster was the one setting up my fine-needle biopsy. She was nicer this time, by that I mean that she didn't refer to any part of my body as a monster. She was not sure if the doctor would allow Optimist H to remain in the room.

I told them I was nervous, just in case they couldn't tell, but my leg-shaking kind of gave it away. Melanie said that it took longer to set up the test than to do it. She did a bit of paperwork, noted that I have a sensitivity to lidocaine, and sent the student to see what was in the medicine cabinet. In a manner of speaking, anyway, because I'm sure they don't let students into the medicine cabinet. I told Melanie my symptoms after previous lidocaine injections, which involved a hot feeling, facial flushing, rapid heart rate, dizziness, shakiness, and nervousness. Kind of like an anxiety attack, but not really, because an anxiety attack goes away in about 5 minutes, and there's no hot feeling or dizziness or facial flushing. It has happened at the dentist, and while having a basal cell something-or-other benign thingy cut off my shoulder. Needles don't bother me, and I never felt like that even with a giant amniocentesis needle that I watched myself skewered with, so I have to blame the lidocaine. I even had it tested at St. Louis University Hospital, and the allergist said it was not an allergy per se, but a sensitivity to something in that lidocaine. So Melanie said, "Oh! Well, we don't want to use that!"

Melanie wheeled the bed to and fro to set it up right for the Needleator. It seems that each doctor likes a different set-up. When he came in, Needleator needled Melanie by explaining like she was simple that he preferred my head at the other end of the bed. Melanie performed her wheelie-bed ballet again, and things were just right. The Needleator grasped my hand in a handshake, and very calmly told me that he could understand why I was nervous, but that he couldn't have my leg shaking while he was needling me. He told me exactly what he was going to do, as in put a drape over half of my face, numb me up with number, make a small incision that would look like a shaving accident, stick the needle-puncher into my nodule, gouge out a hunk of tissue while making a loud clicking sound (times 3), apply pressure to my wound, and we would be all done. Melanie had told me that it would take about 15 minutes of actual numbing and gouging.

The Needleator taped down the drape, asked if I could still breathe, and swabbed the side of my neck with alcohol. It was cold, and a little stingy. He told Melanie that Rudolph would have to go. Rudolph was a beanie baby that sat at the corner of the ultrasound screen. Melanie asked me if I would like to squeeze Rudolph, but I had tucked my hands under the sides of my butt to stop the urge to grab at the needle, so I declined.

The Needleator turned my head to the right, touched exactly where that nodule was (which I can't even see or feel), and told Melanie to put some gel on her wand thingy. He said I would feel some sharp sticks and burning as he injected the anesthetic. It did hurt. A burny feeling after a pinch. I think he poked me 2 or 3 times, and twisted that needle to spread the squirt of burny fluid. I knew it wouldn't take long, so it was bearable.

Then the Needleator asked if I was doing all right. I said 'yes', though I had a bit of tingling all down my legs (must have been what Chris Mathews felt like when he heard his favorite candidate give a speech), and a bit of heart thumping. It only lasted a couple of minutes, and then I was fine. The Needleator said he was going to take his samples. He told Melanie to use her wand, and he proceeded to poke a puncher needle thingy into my neck. We had seen them laying on the tray when they were preparing, several needle thingies about 12 inches long, wrapped up in translucent paper or plastic. I couldn't see, because of the drape, but I would not have watched anyway. Optimist H said Neeldeator was using the ultrasound as a guide, and stuck that puncher into different parts of the nodule, which Optimist H saw on the screen. He said the puncher needle was like his lancet dealy that he uses for testing his blood, all spring-loaded, but with a vacuum thingy that sucked tissue in after the punch. The Needleator then shot the sample it into a specimen jar, held by the reluctant student. Melanie cautioned her not to hold it with her hand on the bottom, because that puncher could go right through plastic and stick her.

The Needleator mentioned how my neck was seeping, which was to be expected, because the thyroid is a vascular organ. Optimist H said I might have lost a tablespoon of blood. I saw the wand as Melanie put it up at the end, and its gel was covered in blood. But that didn't bother me. The clicks of the puncher were loud, right in my left ear, but I knew that there would only be 3 of them, so it was OK. When he was all done, The Needleator put pressure on my wound for about 5 minutes. It kept seeping. He told Melanie to put pressure on it, said we would need a clean-up, and stepped aside to do something that I couldn't see, because I was still turned sideways. Melanie nearly choked me with her heavy hand. I think she shoved my goiter out of place, because it felt like she was pushing on my trachea.

The Needleator told me that I shouldn't worry, that I had done all that I could do, and that I should enjoy my holidays and not stress over things that were out of my control. When he first came in, he had commented that I had this goiter for quite some time, and I agreed, but said that it seemed to be getting bigger. He said he wasn't sure that it was all that much bigger. I said that if I had this for 4 years, it must be a somewhat good sign, and he agreed. The Needleator said we needed to make sure that there wasn't something slowly growing that would harm me. He said that even if there was something, that the cure rate is very good for the most common type.

After he left, Melanie patched me up with a band-aid and asked if I wanted to see what The Needleator took out. Of course I did! At first I just saw clear fluid that came with the specimen jar, but when I held it to the light, there were some whitish-pinkish little floaty stringy things. I don't know what that was supposed to look like, so I guess it could be good or bad, depending on what the pathologist finds.

Melanie gave me a little gel ice pack that could be stuck on like a big blue cardboard band-aid, but I elected to just hold it in place. She said not to lift anything heavy for 24 hours, since that could dislodge the little blood clot, and start the bleeding again. Optimist H and I hit the road to the Mansion, from which he went to work, and I drove back to my mom's house with The Pony as she took #1 to basketball practice.

I laid on the long couch with the soft blanket, The Pony covered my feet with the horse blanket, and I put a baggie of ice on my holey neck for 20 minutes. From there I took a 40-minute nap. Upon awaking, I had the most pain of the entire episode, what with the local anesthetic having worn off. It hurt inside my neck, and on both sides of the outside neck area, especially when I swallowed. More ice eased the pain. No aspirin or ibuprofen was allowed, and since acetaminophen does not help me at all, I did not even bother.

Back at the Mansion later, from 3:00 to 7:00, I was busy with other things, and had no time for the ice. I did manage three more frigid sessions after #1 fixed the ice-maker in Frig. I fell asleep in the recliner from 11:00 to 2:00, woke up freezing, and went to bed.

This morning I had very little pain except when coughing, and a little knot right over the nodule, and three tiny holes in the side of my neck. Unless I turn my head quickly, or lean it back, or laugh too hard, I forget that my neck was pierced by a hole-puncher yesterday.

The anticipation was definitely worse than the actual event.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Local Woman Stabbed Numerous Times

I have survived my fine-needle thyroid biopsy. HooRah!

Not that it was a pleasant experience. The Doc said it would take about 30 minutes for the procedure, but it was actually about 45 minutes. I arrived around 8:10 to go through admitting. Wonder of wonders, I was the only one there, and was taken right in, which is quite different from my radioactive iodine test where I was fifth in line to get my paperwork.

From there, Optimist H and I proceeded to the radiology sitting area, where the mother of a student popped over to visit. Not that I minded, because it passed the 10 minutes that I had to wait, and took my mind off my predicament. What I minded was the receptionist from my gyno's office, walking through on her way up to the 4th floor, who stopped in front of me to ask if I was there for a test. Not that it was her business. There is such a thing as HIPAA, or whatever that dealybob is called. So I didn't have to answer her, but being an honest type of gal, I did. She looked a bit displeased. I told her I was still keeping my appointment with the ENT she referred me to next Wednesday, and that he would be getting a copy of the results, as well as my gyno, who just may or may not be her husband. She editorialized a bit snippily that Gyno could access them on his computer, and that the reason they don't usually do this fine-needle test is because often times you do not get enough tissue. I'm thinking it's because the fine-needle test is less expensive than the coarse-needle test, but that's just how my mind works. What difference is it to her which test I have? I'm sure the ENT can still recommend the other test if he thinks there is not enough info.

Here's the thing...I am the one who has to decide what course of treatment I want. It makes no matter to me that Gyno and Doc may have friction between them, or jealousy, or a sweet kickback deal with their referrals. I like each one of them for their very different bedside manners, and I'm not going to be put in the middle like an after-thought in their divorce. Doc says he has a lot of thyroid nodules in his practice, and that the hospital lab does these fine-needle tests for him all the time. Gyno's receptionist (who may or may not be his wife, she of the same name as that signed on Gyno's patient Christmas cards) says he is very cautious with his patients, and refers them to the new young hotshot ENT. When I asked Gyno how many people he had sent to Hotshot, he told me "Three." To me, that's not a lot. Anyhoo, if Hotshot doesn't want to advise me according to the fine-needle test, I'm thinkin' I need a second opinion. From what I've read, a fine-needle biopsy gives more info than a radioactive iodine scan, which is what Gyno sent me for in the beginning.

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way...I am bored with the subject, and will make you wait until tomorrow to hear about my neck-stabbing. Let it suffice to say that I am fine right now, except for the feeling that my neck has suffered numerous stabbings. I am going to get a bag of ice to throw on it for 20 minutes, and kick back in my recliner and watch The Shining, which the #1 son paid Amazon $9.99 to download, after I forbade him to download it for free from The Pirate Bay. Dot org. Which he says everyone will know what it is, just put 'TPB' for short. I told him old people like me do NOT know that site, and that you might as well call it Illegal Downloading Arrest Me Now.

I'm not paying $1.92 million for that boy's criminal activities! I have a thyroid to raise.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Party Like It's December 2009

I am a bit preoccupied tonight. I can't decide if I want to throw myself a pity party, or just go watch Monday Night Football.

Today I went to my regular doctor for my regular six-month exam concerning my blood pressure meds. Which he is reducing, what with my blood pressure being 110/70, due to my habit of walking the soles right off my shoes since July. He doesn't want the blood pressure to get too low, and I must say that I agree. As he always does, he asked what was on my mind, and I told him about my thyroid nodule, and he pulled up the ultrasound and the iodine test results and let me read them along with him on his laptop on a rolling stand thingy. That thing is freakin' HUGE. The nodule, not the rolling stand thingy. I can't believe it doesn't enter the room a full two hours ahead of me. I am wondering how long it has been this big, what with the last ultrasound of it being five years ago. I swear that lab tech told me on Dec. 2 that my thyroid was 1 centimeter bigger than it was back then. Which would mean that this nodule was there then, and already quite large, or else the rest of the thyroid shrank and this took its place.

Anyhoo, I am quite depressed about it, and told the Doc, and he asked about my treatment, and I told him that I had an appointment with an ENT on Dec. 30, just to plan a course of treatment and schedule a needle biopsy, and Doc said, "I can get you one earlier than that." I asked how much earlier, and he said, "I could get you one today. The hospital lab does them for me all the time." I told him I wasn't quite THAT ready to have one, and he said he could get me one tomorrow, and I agreed. I told him I was really concerned that he wanted me to have one so soon, and he said that he was doing it for me so I didn't have to drag it out and worry for a couple more weeks.

Sooo...tomorrow morning at 8:30, I am having a fine needle biopsy of the thyroid nodule at the hospital radiology department. Loyal H has volunteered to stay home from work and drive me there and hold my hand if they will allow it. I know that was quite a sacrifice for him to miss work! At least this is a fine needle biopsy, not the coarse needle thingy that the gyno thought I would have. Maybe that was just a trick, anyway, to get me knocked out and then rip out my whole thyroid under the guise of a coarse needle biopsy.

Doc says he might have the results as soon as Christmas Eve, but who wants bad news on Christmas Eve? And I think it might be bad, just from the look he gave me and how nice he was. But anyway, like he says, at least I will know, and I will still have the ENT appointment next Wednesday, and the ENT will already have the biopsy results.

Doc says he refers his patients to an endocrinologist at Barnes Hospital who does thyroidectomies all day long. And that it is quite an involved operation, taking 3-4 hours and requiring a 2-3 day hospital stay to make sure the airway is maintained. Loyal H says that if that's what I need, that's where I'm going.

I am SO not looking forward to dealing with this issue. I would rather be with Mabel on her tropical vacation.

And for tonight, I have decided on a small, private pity party in front of the TV.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nope

Nothing tonight.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Quick, Somebody Call The DBS

I have a confession to make. I have been neglecting my blog. I meant Bloggy no harm. I was just busy. I had a week with a choir concert, late basketball practice for the #1 son, and two basketball games. So I blogged ahead. Like storing hamburgers in the freezer, and setting them in the fridge the night before you need them. Voila! Hamburgers ready to cook when you get home the next evening.

I did not even log on for three nights. Shame on me. Bloggy was neglected. He could have been running with scissors, playing outside without a coat, drinking toilet cleaner from under the sink, putting his shoes on the couch, watching pr0n on the DISH, prancing around wearing my unmentionables, prank-calling the principal, eating a four-pound bag of sugar, talking to strangers, watering down the vodka in the liquor cabinet, or drawing penises and balls on some passed-out teacher chick. Or roaming the neighborhood in a brown dress that he stole from under the neighbor's Christmas tree, a half-empty can of beer clutched in his little 4-year-old hand.

I'm sorry. Sorry for neglecting Bloggy. I will try not to let it happen again. No need to call the Division of Blogger Services on me. No harm, no foul. I will keep a closer eye on Bloggy. I promise.

Unless I get really, really busy and he becomes an inconvenience for me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snippy Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

If only the #1 son had time to blog, I would let him guest tonight and give his account of our evening at Grandma's house on Tuesday. It would be like one of those sitcoms where they show you each person's point of view.

#1 did not find Grandma overly accommodating. That's because she favors him, and on Tuesday, she treated him equally. #1 did not like giving up the long couch. He told Grandma that she didn't have to be so snippy with him. Which she wasn't. She was merely giving him the same treatment as the rest of us. She fixed him some chicken quesadillas, which were not the kind he prefers, the frozen TGI Fridays brand, but an Aldi's brand, which would have been fine, except these were rolled instead of folded over. He told her they were still cold in the middle, so she had to reheat them. She really catered to him, but he had the nerve to call her 'snippy.' She laughed it off.

I would have had more reason to call her snippy. She fetched #1 a mini Kit-Kat for dessert. I said I would have one, also. But mine was some kind of freakish Kit-Kat mutation, which was solid chocolate, no cookie crunch layers. #1 said he would take it. Did my mom offer me a replacement? Why, yes she did. She said she had a Hershey bar. Did she bring me the Hershey bar? Yes, she did. As she laid it down, she said, "You can have three squares of this." Which was kind of an insult to me. "What do you mean, I can have three squares? Is there a shortage of Hershey bars? Are you saying I don't need a whole one? Are you rationing chocolate? And why are three of the squares already broken off?"

She explained. "You can have the whole thing if you want it. I just thought that you might not want it all, because you had a mini Kit-Kat. It's broken because these are the Hersheys that I carry in my purse to church." No doubt rationing three squares apiece to those worthy of her Hersheyness.

And she acted a bit put-out when I asked her for the third time to cover my right foot, which would not stay under that scratchy old horse blanket she covered me with. It would not have kept coming out if she hadn't done such a faulty covering job. I can't help it that she tried to give me leg cramps by tucking that sucker in too tight over my toes. I had to shake it loose. And when she propped those pillows under my head for the third time, I laid still, because she had that look in her eye like Jerry Seinfeld when he was fluffing George's pillow in the hospital that time, after George had his not-heart-attack, and Jerry fake-smothered George with his own hospital pillow, before removing it from George's face when Elaine walked in, causing Jerry to fake-exclaim, "Elaine! What are YOU doing here?"

But I would not call Grandma snippy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Killing Me With Kindness

On Tuesday evening, when the #1 son had his Winter Choir Concert, we stopped by my mom's house to avoid a trip home to The Mansion. She's quite hospitable, my mother. She made us all a different meal. She put the TV on what we wanted to see. She nodded attentively at The Pony's computer game play. She negotiated a truce between #1 and me over who got which couch for a nap.

I know she meant well. She gave #1 the short couch, but the soft blanket. I got the long couch, but the rough blanket. She said it was soft, but I knew better. As #1 languished on his short couch stomach-down, bent up at both ends like a canoe, under his soft, soft blankie...I laid on my back on the long couch, neck askew with the pillow-propping job a la mom, my right foot hanging out in the cold, that rough blanket scratching my chin like kissing a dude with yesterday's beard. I know she meant well.

This morning, she asked how I was doing, as she does every morning in our routine conversation. "Well, about as good as could be expected for somebody with frostbite on one foot, abrasions on my face from that horse blanket you gave me, and sudden-onset scoliosis from that pillow-fluffing episode." She laughed like I was not serious.

I don't think she felt bad one bit.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brrr! Humbug!

I have been freezing all week. In the house, in the car, outside, in bed, in my classroom, in the lunchroom...I can not get warm. Our classroom thermostats were set at 72 for heat, and 80 for cooling. Oh, and they shut down at 4:00, with the heat set at 60, I believe. Because last night at the Winter Choir Concert, I stopped by my room and it was down to 67. I know that when I arrive in the mornings, it is 69. Not that this fact is remarkable, because most of the day it is 69 degrees in my room. I wear my coat. The kids wear coats. Not all of the kids. Some of them come in without a jacket. They are the ones who complain, "It's COLD in here." Even when I cheat on my thermostat and set it for 73 (!!!), the temperature in my room stays at 69. If I stretch my hands up over my head, I can sometimes make the numbness go away. Whoever thought that putting the heating vents in the ceiling was a good idea needs to live in my classroom for a week. In the winter.

The lunch room has a draft. That draft comes from the kitchen, wherein the cooks prop open the door to the parking lot because they get too hot. The cold air rushes past them and into the lunch room to my table. I wear my coat to lunch. Future comedians think I am fair game for the "Are you cold?" routine. Yes. I am cold. I do not wear my coat in the building just to garner attention. I am truly cold. And the coat does not help. Much. I put my arms up into the opposite sleeves to get my hands warm enough to grasp a pen. I draw the line at wearing gloves inside the building. Today, when I backed into my regular parking spot, I told the #1 son, "I hate to get out. It is so cold inside." He looked at me. "Don't you mean OUTSIDE, Mom? Because you just said it is cold inside." I had to explain. "Of course I meant INSIDE. That's where I spend my whole day. The 30 seconds I spend walking in is not the problem. It is the entire day inside in the cold that I am not looking forward to."

The Mansion thermostat is set at 72. Most of the time, it is actually 72 degrees inside. But I am cold. I need a blanket over me as I recline in the recliner. If I had a shawl, I would wear it. I hate to take my hand out from under the blanket to use the remote. The end of my nose is like ice. I miss the days when The Pony was an infant. He was a regular little hand-held warming device. All I had to do was lay him on my chest, with his downy little head up under my chin, and I was good to go. He was a regular furnace, that boy, my February baby.

Dictator H prefers a quilt on the bed. I, myself, am partial to comforters. The quilt lays heavily on my toes, and does not provide the warmth I require. A cuddle with Dictator H and his breather is out of the question. That breather sprays its cold, cold breath on me all night. After my morning hot shower, in the 30 minutes I have to recline in the recliner, I can get almost toasty warm. But then I have to take an arm out from under The Pony's Yu-Gi-Oh throw blanket that I cover with to call my mom. After that, I am not getting truly warm again until the next morning.

Even in T-Hoe, with his magical heated seats, I am not warm enough. My butt area gets warm, but the seat back heater is not so hot, and I can either have the defroster drying out my eyeballs with cold feet, or the windshield foggy with lukewarm feet. The hands are cold no matter what setting I use. Gloves only make them colder.

I am better preserved than Ted Williams's head.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trash To The Bone

Nothing new tonight. I've been held hostage at a Winter Choir Concert. At least at this one, we got to hear actual CHRISTMAS music.

I do, however, have issues with the skanky wench two rows down from us who kept whipping around backwards to snap a picture of the woman in front of us. I'm hoping they were in some way related, or that would be assault in my book. The problem was, that woman did not want her picture taken by the skanky wench, which is why all the whipping around whatnot occurred. That meant that as I watched the middle school choir down on the floor, every 1-2 minutes a FLASH went off in my eyes, and just about the time the blinding white spot faded from my vision, another FLASH popped off. I think I have post traumatic stress syndrome from those bulbs bursting in air. If I had wanted my picture taken and my retinas overexposed, I would have sat down on the floor in front of the choir and luxuriated in FLASHes. I did not wish to ruin the evening for everybody by staging a confrontation. Skanky Wench looked like she had come out the winning end of a bar fight or two. And she might have been tweaking on meth. So I bottled up my crazy and saved it for my blog. Because that's the kind of gal I am.

Some people, on the other hand, are just trashy to the bone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Early To Rise

I arose at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday to make a batch of my fabulous Chex Mix. It's best to get that out of the way early, because it takes 2.5 hours by the time you get everything ready to toss into the oven. Time has a way of escaping me if I put it off until later.

Chex Mix is a harsh mistress. She must be tended every 10 minutes for 120 minutes. By the time you scrape her bottom to keep her unsticky, you are down to only 6-7 minutes between stirrings. I separate my Chex Mix into three pans. Two are nonstick rectangular cake pans, and the other is a big black roasting pan. I pile as much mix as I can into each pan. That way, I can make all I need to give away in just two batches. Those 13 advisory kids are killin' me. Last year, I was down to 8. Now the ranks have swelled, and so has my give-away list for Chex Mix. The kids only get a baggie of it, but the powers that be over me get a regular plastic container from The Devil's Playground. Miss Mabel always brings her containers back for next year. Of course, she also angles for a refill, which I am happy to accommodate as long as the Chex Mix holds out.

You'd think that with The Pony out of Elementia now, I could cross off some teachers from my list. The #1 son started the tradition of giving the glorious Chex Mix to all of his past teachers every year, and they grew to expect it. Who should I run into at a different Devil's Playground on Saturday but The Pony's old 3rd Grade teacher. "Well, I guess I can't expect any Chex Mix this year, now that Pony is in another building." She was only joking, I think, and added that her mother just made a big batch of it. But nobody's Chex Mix is like mine. So I might see if The Pony will run some into Elementia after school one day, providing I have any left.

Here's some trivia for you. Did you know that all Chex is not created equal? Corn Chex comes in a box of 14.0 ounces. But Rice Chex, in the same size box, only contains 12.8 ounces. I wonder if that's because we grow more corn here than rice? I don't even bother with the Wheat Chex, because that just spoils a good Chex Mix. But in the interest of science, I googled it and found out that Wheat Chex also comes in the 14.0 ounce box. Why all the hatin' on the Rice Chex, people? I wondered why my Chex Mix batches always used up all the Rice Chex, but had some Corn Chex left over. Now we know why. I daresay you pay the same price for the 12.8 ounces as you do for the 14.0 ounces. They're tricky, those marketing people! They know you have to have both the Corn Chex AND the Rice Chex to make exemplary Chex Mix. So I continue to support the price-gouging conglomerate. Though I DO wait until The Devil has a big sale on Chex around holiday time.

Here's a hot stock tip for you: invest in General Mills.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

How Do You Solve A Problem Like My HH

Against my wishes, and against my direct order, Collector H went to the livestock auction this afternoon and bought five more critters. Five.

According to Collector H, he just had to get another turkey, what with the unfortunate demise of Big (Who's A Big Turkey?) Tom. That's a story for another day. Let if suffice to say that the Mansion has been turkey-free for about a week. Until today.

Collector H also bought a guinea, because he didn't have one. And to round out his lot of poultry, he also purchased three turkens. Turkens, people! This is not our turken, but it is the picture that The Pony said most resembled our turkens. We have two white turkens and one gray turken.

For now.
















They are butt-ugly if you ask me, but Collector H didn't bother to ask me, he just came traipsing home dragging three turkens with him. They are not half chicken and half turkey. I could see why you might assume so. But no, turkens are a breed of chicken without neck feathers. They are known for being quite docile, and laying large brown eggs, and having a meaty body, if you are of that persuasion. Here at the Mansion, we don't eat our chickens, only their babies--I mean eggs.

Collector H said he saw a Chinese woman at the livestock auction. She's there every time he goes, and she buys chickens and ducks, but won't pay over $3.00 each. DUH! I told Collector H that she was obviously buying them for food, which is probably a racist thing to say, but at least I didn't ask if she bought cats, which is what my students would have said. Collector H said another guy asked her if she had a restaurant, and she said no, that she only buys them to feed her family. They are used to fresh meat, not storebought meat. She even told Collector H that if he wants to sell some of his 15 roosters, to let her know.

How do you solve a problem like my HH?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cracker Found Under Aretha Franklin

Breaking news! Cracker found under Aretha Franklin! Film at 11:00. Not really. Hillmomba runs on Central Standard Time, people. The film is at 10:00. Except there is no film. Nobody was recording this earth-shattering event. However, The National Enquirer does deserve special thanks for the role it played as this incident unfolded.

Last week, the #1 son borrowed a book from his buddy, Concussor. He carried it around with him, reading it as time allowed, in the car, in class when his work was done, after school while killing time until basketball practice. He was also reading other books at the time, including Steven King's short story book, Just After Sunset, and The Fountainhead. Unless he finished The Fountainhead. But he had more than one book going. He had The Shining all laid out, but I don't know if he was into it yet. With all this haphazard reading, it is no wonder that #1 lost a book. That, and his absent-minded professorness.

Could #1 lose a book that belongs to the Hillbilly family? Or a book that was loaned to him by his English teacher? If you said, "No," then you are familiar with #1 and his antics. Of course he lost Concussor's book. Not a book owned by Concussor, mind you, but a book checked out of the library by Concussor. Concussor was not worried. "It's not due for two weeks. You'd better find it by then." #1 looked high and low for that book. He last remembered reading it in T-Hoe, so he went out three times to check. No book. He searched the Mansion. He searched my classroom. He searched his locker. The book was nowhere to be found. So he did what any other almost-15-year-old would do: he quit looking.

Wednesday evening, #1 plopped down in the living room recliner. Not having a book to read because he LOST it, he glanced around at the materials on the end table. Aretha Franklin caught his eye. Poor Aretha. The National Enquirer used a most unflattering picture of her on the cover. The article inside was about celebrities considered by The National Enquirer to be fat pigs. They didn't say so in so many words, but that was the gist of it. So #1 picked up Aretha, and hollered, "Hey! Look at that!" I was passing through the room, and said, "I know. It's a really unflattering picture. Aretha deserves more R-E-S-P-E-C-T from The Enquirer."

#1 didn't have the slightest idea what I was talking about. I should have raised that boy better. He did, however, gesticulate in an exaggerated manner, like somebody talking to the natives in that new show on the Travel Channel called Meet The Natives. He pointed at the former resting place of The National Enquirer, which was the latest home of Concussor's library book: Cracker. Before the topic of racism rears its ugly head, let me point out the full title of the book is Cracker: the Best Dog in Vietnam. It's about a German Shepherd who is given to the army because her owner has to move into an apartment and can't keep her. The important thing her is that Cracker was found.

Under Aretha Franklin.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Little Dust On The Bottle

Perhaps you recall my personal motto: People Piss Me Off. Indeed, they do. But I stop short of physical confrontation. Oh, maybe once upon a time, at a casino, I may or may not have uttered the words, "F*** you! You f***ing f***er!" when a snot-nosed frat rat pulled my crank in a drunken display of macho bravado. But I did not lay a hand on him, not even a retaliatory yank of his crank. Nope. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can bottle up the crazy. Then she pours it ever so slowly from a chilled bottle of It's My Blog and I'll B*tch if I Want To. No laying on of hands for Mrs. HM.

Apparently, some people never learn to control their anger in a socially acceptable way. Take, for instance, one Laura Lundquist. Even at the grand old age of 98, Laura Lundquist still has some fight left in her. Not so for her unfortunate roommate. Make that her former unfortunate roommate. Here's the link, but the gist of the story is that LL was perturbed with her 100-year-old roommate, so she strangled her. Allegedly!

First there was a kerfluffle over a wayward table, and next thing you know, Roomie is bedded down with a plastic bag over her head. All fingers point to LL, who was pissed at Roomie for complaining about a table LL had placed at the foot of Roomie's bed. I must take Roomie's side in this one. Put that freakin' table at the end of your OWN bed, LL! Don't play the passive-aggressive game of baiting Roomie with a table encroaching on her territory, just to see if she would take it. Roomie is not your little punk. Not any more, that's for sure!

LL denies the plastic-bag murder. If only people would chose paper instead of plastic, Roomie might still be kickin'. She had made LL mad anyway by claiming she would outlive LL. Au contraire, said LL with a plastic bag behind her back. Now LL is getting a psychological evaluation. Gosh! What if she's fit for trial, and gets LIFE in prison? What if the judge lectures her that she needs to just grow up? I bet LL gets a room to herself now. She can put that table anywhere she wants.

Just in case Laura Lundquist is assigned another roommate, future roomie had best heed this advice:

There might be a little dust on the bottle,
But don't let it fool ya about what's inside.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Uninvited Guest

Last night The Pony and I arrived at the Mansion a few minutes before Farmer H and #1. They had to stop for goat food. The Pony hooked up my laptop, Shiba, who has been joining us at school this week to partake in the showing of Dante's Peak. After performing this little chore, The Pony started down to the basement to lay on the couch and watch the big screen TV. That's his routine. He does his homework in my classroom right after the bus delivers him to Newmentia. The Pony flipped on the light and started down the steps. He stopped. His voice relayed the horror which wrapped itself around his little Pony brain.

"Tank is downstairs." Tank is our beagle. He is an outside dog. He has never been let into the house. We had been at school all day, and Farmer H at work. How could a dog let himself into the house? I walked over and looked through the rails. There were Tank's freckled legs splayed out on the braided rug. It was creepy. The Pony was puzzled. I rewound the morning in my head. Tank did not appear when we went out to the garage to go to school. So he couldn't have run in as we left. And anyway, he never runs in. We make him nervous, because he gets in trouble for going in the garage and eating cat food.

I told The Pony to go through the workshop and check the basement door. He coaxed Tank out with him. The Pony came up to the kitchen to report that the basement door, the metal door to the back yard, had been standing wide open. And that it was really cold down in the basement. Go figure. It was only the coldest day of the year, with winds gusting to 70 mph. That's how I hope the door got open. Not by a burglar.

Farmer H and #1 came busting in, and I told them that we found Tank in the basement on the rug. Farmer H exclaimed, "TANK!" Yes. That's what I said. The dog was in the house. Upon processing the fact that the basement door was wide open, all eyes turned to #1. "Who was the last person to go out the basement door?" #1 had the sense to look sheepish. "Uh...I dumped the dehumidifier a few days ago. But I made sure I closed the door!" Making sure isn't good enough in this house that Carpenter H built. It must be double-dog, triple-decker checked. Carpenter H's handiwork leaves a bit to be desired. The metal door that he had to have so nobody could bust it in is only as good as the doorknob latchy thingy. The metal door does not quite fit in its metal frame mounted on the concrete wall. You have to yank it really hard to make that metal thingy that the doorknob turns slip all the way into that metal box thingy. Otherwise, you can pull it open easily. I figure that a 70 mph gust swung around from the southeast and pummeled that faultily-latched door open. Or else a cold dog leaned up against it while trying to get comfortable on the welcome mat.

At least it was just a pet dog instead of a freakishly long millipede.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Better Grab A Hanky

My classes have worked hard all year to get to this point. The fun stuff. Today was the Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Classroom premiere of Dante's Peak. It's about a volcano, you know. The opening credits begin with tephra flying all over the place.

This is not a new movie. It has been kickin' around for awhile. They used to run it on the USA channel a couple of times per week. It's so old it's new to these kids. Except the ones who have seen it and say it's a really good movie.

Because some of you might be simply achin' to see this made-for-TV flick, I will not divulge any plot points. But I must relate an incident from my 1st Hour class that gave me a silent, secret chuckle.

There is a scene where Pierce Brosnan goes to the home of movie town mayor Linda Hamilton for eggplant parmesan. While Mayor Linda is imbibing some wine in the background, doing kitcheny type things before or after dinner, Geologist Pierce entertains her two moppets at the kitchen table. First is some kind of weak guess-which-hand-holds-the-domino game where the winner gets to topple a lame row of about 30 dominos. Then Geologist Pierce dips into his bag of heavy-duty party tricks with the invisible needle gag. It goes a little something like this:

Geologist Pierce takes a plain white hanky out of his pocket and says that it is empty of boogers and whatnot, but what have we here but a tiny needle. He mock-plucks a strand of hair from the girl moppet's mane, puts on his glasses, threads the invisible needle with the invisible hair, hands the invisible needle to the boy moppet to hold while he fake-blows his nose on the white hanky, then takes back the invisible needle and faux sews the end of the hanky. He pokes the nonexistent needle through the corner of the hanky, grasps it on the other side, pulls it through, and VOILA! The corner of the hanky bends down with the invisible pulled needle. The girl moppet exclaims, "Wow, it really works. It's MAGIC!"

And a kid in my class said to the screen, "It's not magic, you idiot! Didn't you see? He had a little needle!"

To steal a line from Stephen King in The Body, about Vern burying a jar of pennies under the porch when he was 8, and trying to find them for four years, after his mom threw away his treasure map:

You don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

If It's Not One Thing It's My Goiter

My gynecologist called me at 8:45 last night. You'd think he had more of a life. You'd think I would have a phone that could work inside a house. Since AT&T was screening my calls for me, all I got was a chime. I took the phone upstairs to hear the voice mail. Seems that I have a thyroid nodule that requires a fine needle biopsy.

You can find that on YouTube, you know. I'm not linking any freaky medical procedures. My buddy Mabel would flip out. The only thing worse than a needle piercing her own neck is a needle piercing my neck. I'm sure of it. Mabel is quite loyal. While she wouldn't volunteer to take my place, I know she would volunteer to take me to the place of the fine needle biopsy. Because that's how she rolls, my Mabel. Since I don't want Mabel to faint and crack open her skull like my boy on a basketball court, I am pleased to inform Mabel that Medical Courier H says he will miss work to take me to my puncture appointment. I know it's a sacrifice for Perfect Attendance H to miss work, but will step up for me.

First, I have to make an appointment. My gyno recommends a local ENT dude who is supposedly a whiz kid. He opened his practice in 2008, and was in the 99th percentile of all ENTs who took some high fallutin' doctory test. That includes docs from Harvard School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins. I guess book learnin' ain't nothin' to sneeze at. Though I am sure there is some sort of kick-back deal for gynos referring to ENTs. Just because that's how my conspiracy-theory mind works. But I guess this young doc dude has had time to do a few of these fine needle biopsies over that past 18 months of practice. So I'm thinking I will give him call.

And what's a gynecologist doing diagnosing goiters, anyway? He must be the Wrong Way Corrigan of the gynecological world. Because he's the one who found my goiter several years ago. I hope this whiz kid ENT doesn't mistakenly remove an ingrown toenail.

Now I have to check my Christmas vacation calendar to fit this in among the boys' dentist appointments and my lab and regular doctor's appointment (you'd think that lazy bum underachiever could get off his duff and find a goiter before it bit him on the butt) and #1's follow-up orthodontist appointment and basketball practices.

The holiday season is such a busy time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Three Dudes And A Chick

Overheard in the hall outside the teacher workroom, the bantering of freshmen after school.

Hey, Big Shoulders is pregnant.
No I'm not.
Concussor said so.
I'm surprised he didn't just tell her she had big pecs.
Hey, that was an honest mistake. I thought that's what biceps were called.
Don't you know that you can't comment on Big Shoulders' appearance?
Except to say that she has big shoulders.
I was just repeating what Concussor said.
I didn't say she was pregnant.
You said she was showing.
She said she was strong, and I said "It shows."
See what I have to put up with?

Welcome to my world, Big Shoulders. It's one big ol' Mad Hatter's tea party.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Round One

My third child, Little H, is driving me crazy today. First cat out of the bag, he engineered a tantrum to rival a five-year-old over the difference between a tax receipt and a tax return. There I was, elbow deep in the second of my seven loads of laundry, when Little H stormed into the laundry room (where, I might add, against my home-building wishes and against my direct command, he installed a laundry sink between my washer and my dryer, necessitating a four-foot toss of the heavy soaked apparel into the maw of the Dryenator), waving last year's tax receipt.

This is not what I asked for!
You wanted the tax receipt and the tax return.
This is NOT a tax return.
I know that. It's the tax receipt.
You said you laid out the tax return last night.
No, I said 'the tax receipt'. It's all I found so far.
You said the tax return got water on it from the sink.
No, I said the tax receipt got wet.
I don't need this. I need the taxes.
I thought you needed the tax return.
This is not it!
I know that.
I need the tax return with your SS# on it.
I know right where it is.
This is not the tax return.
I KNOW! Would you quit saying that?
You don't know what you're talking about.
That is a tax RECEIPT!
I KNOW THAT! You are the one who called it a tax return.
No I didn't. Why would I do that? I know what it is.
The tax return is what I need.
I know. I just didn't get it yet.
This is not the tax return.
I KNOW!!! Will you quit?
I should know better than to try to talk to you.
You never could say what you mean.
You're the one who can't understand.
I'm not the only one.
Who? Who else?
Everybody at work that you yell at, and the kids, and my mom.
I can't take it anymore!

With that, Little H stomped back into the kitchen, threw his home-laid chicken eggs back in the carton, took his ham out of the skillet, rinsed the skillet like it had never been used, and took off for parts unknown, flapping his arms, badmouthing me.

Earlier in the week, he had asked for last year's tax receipt, and a copy of the tax return. Two items, you see. He needed the receipt for auto licensing, and the return for some retirement mumbo-jumbo. He said he didn't need them right away. It was kind of a busy week. Friday, I laid the tax receipt on the kitchen counter by Little H's phone, figuring that's where he would notice it. I did not yet have a copy of the tax return. After the laundry room kerflulffle, I went to the kitchen table and picked up the tax booklet (which housed the tax return) to make a copy. Little H had rematerialized and was plopped in the La-Z-Boy. He mocked me as I walked down the basement stairs. "I don't need it NOW."

Hillbilly Mansion. We fight more before 8:00 a.m. than most people do all year.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Height Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom spreads joy throughout Hillmomba on a regular basis. Sometimes, it is a calculated effort. Sometimes, it is inadvertent. Case in point:

Last Monday, I was standing in the hall between classes as required by the faculty handbook, but ignored by the hoity-toities. Starter came traipsing down the hall, all cherub-faced and Boy Scoutish, his tongue no doubt wound tight as the rubber-band propeller on a Balsa Sky Streak glider in preparation to disrupt my class.

Yet something was different about Starter. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I hadn't seen the lad for four days, what with Thanksgiving break, and he looked different, by cracky! It wasn't the hair length or the facial features or the manner of dress or glasses or braces or hair color. Then it hit me. The little imp looked taller!

Hey! You look taller today. Did you get new shoes?
What? Are you kidding me?
No. You look taller.
You just made my day!
It wasn't intentional.
Seriously. Finally!
No different shoes?
No. This is great! I'm so happy!
Well, you DO look taller.
Maybe I'm five four and a HALF now, instead of five four!

I didn't know he would flip out. He really did look taller. Of course, he talked about it at lunch, and saw me making copies on my plan time and stopped outside the teacher workroom door to thank me again, and told all his teammates again at basketball practice until they razzed him unmercifully.

But he really DID look taller.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Putting #1 Back Together Again

Last night the #1 son came downstairs during the end of Survivor to torment me. Nothing like watching 99% of a show and then being distracted.

Feel my head.
Why? Do you have a fever?
No. Right here.
I don't want to feel that lump in your stitch area again.
Look. What do you see?
It looks like a scab.
No.
Yeah. Here, I'll get it.
See? It won't come off. It's not a scab.
Then what is it?
It's a piece of thread.
No. They took out your stitches.
The black ones. This is a white thread.

The boy was right. I could even see it from where he sat down on the couch. About 5 feet way, with bad lighting. It was at the top of the cut above his eye, where he bashed his face on the concrete-block wall during basketball practice. A little white thread was sticking out, about a half-inch long. Surely that was not normal. He split his head open three weeks ago. The stitches have been out for two weeks. Or so we thought.

"Since the swelling went down, it's been more noticeable. I thought it was a scab. But it wouldn't come off. It's that thread he used to sew me up."

That's what you get when you let the doctor's office bully you into taking an appointment with a nurse practitioner, because only the nurse practitioners remove stitches in this office. So I did what any normal mommy would have done, and called the ER that put in #1's stitches.

I brought my son there for stitches three weeks ago. The next week we had them taken out at his doctor's office by a nurse practitioner. She got all the black stitches, but now there's a white thread sticking out the top of his scar. What should we do about that? Cut it off? Leave it alone? Take him back to the doctor?
Oh. Let me ask the doctor.
Ma'am? Didn't the doctor do a double-layer repair? I think he did. He says that the white stitches will dissolve. Can you pull on it? Yank it out. Or just cut it off. The inside will dissolve.
Oh, I can't yank it out. But I'll tell him to try that. Thank you so much.

Hey, I'm off the phone. The doctor said to yank it out. Come here.
NO. You're not yanking it.
Or he said to cut it off. It won't hurt anything.
I'll do it.
Just yank it.
I'm going to look in the mirror.
Hey! It came out when I yanked really hard. Look at it.
Yeah. It's a white thread.
But it has red on it. Well, it used to be red. It's kind of brown now.
Whatever.
Hey, Pony! Wanna see my stitch?

Not really. The Pony doesn't get excited about much. But I'm certainly glad this latest crisis is over. Can't have my boy running around with a loose thread flopping over his eyebrow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Subzilla Wreaks Havoc

Today I learned that my substitute yesterday turned up the thermostat to 80. I didn't know it was that flagrant a violation of the Don't Mess With The Thermostat rule. When I entered the room to pick up The Pony after my radioactive-iodine-drinking binge, the heat hit me like a slap to the face. It was 75 at that time. My 5th hour said they almost died of heat stroke. Of course, if they had shut their mouths, the hot air might have dissipated more quickly.

Upon logging onto my school laptop, I found that the sub had been on it under the moniker hslab. That is just NOT an option in my room. I should have known when I saw that the lid was closed. I can only hope that she undocked it and fiddled about trying to connect to wireless, which is NOT an option in my room and several others. I'm not sure what we pay Tech Dude for. Perhaps for sending out snide little messages about not logging off even though the laptop won't log off. Which is beside the point anyway, because I turned the freakin' power off when I left Tuesday afternoon. Then there was the issue last year about all computers shutting down automatically every night to save electricity. Apparently we are gobbling kilowatts willy-nilly this year, as the instructions are to leave on your computers so they can run the updates overnight. But getting back to Subzilla...she had no business on my laptop. She did not use it for taking attendance. That is the only reason it would possibly be necessary, and paper forms are provided for attendance for subs, which she used.

Subzilla did not give out the make-up work that I left on my desk in plain sight, labeled Make-Up Work, sorted by class period. She did not manage the classroom in an acceptable manner, as evidenced by writing in the dust on the bottom of my future assignment cart, where today's tests were stored, and anecdotal evidence from students selling out other students, and complaints from office workers. There was also the matter of the poster that fell off the wall. Did Subzilla stick it back up? NO. She laid it on my desk. No wonder it fell off, what with the blazing dry heat of 10,000 suns pumping out near the ceiling. I told Mr. Principal in the hall after academic team practice that I was NOT happy with Subzilla's services, and I would prefer not to have Subzilla in my classroom ever again. We'll see how effective that is.

Letting students switch seats and slither around on the floor and verbally assault people who enter the classroom is just not acceptable for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's classroom.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom Is Hot

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is hot. HOT! As in Karen Silkwood hot. Radioactive!

Today I had to chug some radioactive iodine for a thyroid scan. That's done in the nuclear medicine department, you know. And they run a tight ship. I was told to arrive at 7:30 a.m., and I was taken in at 7:30 a.m. Jim, my nuclear med tech, gave me a wee bottle of water. He said I could use it to swallow my two large orange horse pills of radiation. They were capsules, actually, but still quite large and orange. I have no trouble swallowing pills, even after no water since midnight. They reminded me of one of those camera capsules that people ingest to take pictures of their digestive tract.

The only apprehensive moment of my morning foray into the world of nuclear medicine was that Jim was a bit palsied during the handing out of the hot capsules. Why did Jim's hands shake so? Was he nervous about handling radiation on a daily basis? Was he a secret alcoholic with morning tremors? Was he coming down with Michael J. Fox disease? I don't know. But that's what was on my mind while I took the pills. That vial of radioactive iodine capsules was in a special little cannister, and when Jim took the lid off of the vial, there was a lead liner on top. It looked kind of like a watch battery, but something tells me that Jim wasn't storing his watch battery in the radioactive iodine. If I may, Jim, let me recommend a self-winding watch, what with your tremors and all, because that thing would run for eternity.

Jim passed me on to Rachel, who did an ultrasound that I had been happily ignorant of until she laid me down on that gray-mattressed table. Nobody mentioned an ultrasound. But Rachel was all gung-ho about it, declaring that she had given my goiter its very first ultrasound several years ago. This is entirely plausible. I didn't know Rachel from Adam, but I took her word for it. It's not like my goiter gets around on the down-low, having liasons with lab techs all willy-nilly. Rachel needs to changer her name to Even Steven for my intents and purposes. She got off on the wrong foot by sliding her scanner into that jelly on my neck and declaring, "That thing is a monster." Thank you OH SO MUCH, Rachel, for pointing out how I must be at death's door, with a goiter the size to rival that of the old woman that Elaine volunteered for on Seinfeld, a goiter so big that the woman kept the lights off to tell Elaine the story of her flaming passion for Mohondas. Ghandi. Rachel redeemed herself, though, by looking back at my 2005 thyroid ultrasound, and telling me that it is now 1 cm larger. Which is not good news to me, but a check in the good column to bring Rachel back up to even. Because she didn't have to do that.

After that, I was free to roam about the county until 1:30. At that time, I had a hot date with a bearded dude who had informed me during Jim's mini-quake that he had poured all of his thyroid medication down the sink. He had meant to run himself a glass of water, and had dropped the pill he was shaking into his hand, and all of them poured down the sink. Guess that's why they let Shaky Jim handle the radioactive stuff. Anyhoo, MedicineWaster said that he tried to refill his prescription, but that the recording told him he had to wait 17 days. I told him I had some thyroid meds cooling their heels in my kitchen cabinet, since I had to go off them 22 days ago for this thyroid scan. MW was probably a mole for the DEA.

For the next step in my torture, MW took me into a room with a little hard hammock. That's what it looked like. It was about 16 inches across, and 10 feet long. It reminded me of something an alien would strap you on for an anal probe. Not that I was ever abducted by aliens. MW told me to get comfortable on that thingy, and I told him I didn't think I would fit, and he said of course I would. He placed a folded-up pillowcase for me to rest my head upon, got me a wedge thingy to go under my knees, and a large fur-less muff dealy to place my arms in so they didn't hang over the sides, and a WARM BLANKET. It was the warmest I'd been all day.

Then the torture began. MW informed me that I would have to lie perfectly still while a giant machine hovered over me to take pictures. It's not like I was in a tube or anything, but I feel trapped when I think I can't get up and run out. I told MW. He said that the sides were open, but the machine would be right over me, and might even touch me, and that maybe I should just close my eyes. So I did. I heard that behemoth whirring into place. I could feel its hot breath upon my face. Then MW told me the first picture would take 2 minutes. I counted by a-thousand-ones to get through it. It worked. Then MW told me after different positioning of the behemoth, I would have a 4-minute, 5-minute, 5-minute, and 5-minute series of pictures. I did not think I could endure such torture. MW asked if I wanted some music, which soothed my savage panic, and I somewhat counted and listened to the Eagles (In the Long Run), the Doobies (Black Water), Jackson Browne (Doctor My Eyes), and Elton John (Bennie and the Jets). I hope there's no cryptic message there. MW told his assistant to turn on Pandora, and that's what came out.

When I had been soundly photographed, MW told me to sit in the outer room for a doctor to come talk to me. But the doctor wouldn't talk to me. I assume it was the radiologist who reads the results. MW came back and said the doctor said he had all he needed, and that my own doctor would be getting the results in one or two days, and would contact me. Which doesn't bode well with me. Because if there was nothing wrong, wouldn't the doctor dude just come out and tell me?

But at least I'm still hot for another couple of days.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ripping The Ripper

The student who ripped me off for $10 in the candle fundraiser says she is moving. I think that's a bit extreme to get out of a debt, but perhaps this time it's not all about me. Thing is, she says I should be nice to her because she is leaving. I say she should be nice to me, because she ripped me off for $10.

Hey, I lost it.
That's not my problem.
It's not MY problem.
Yes, it is. It was your responsibility.
Well, I'm going to pay you back.
Anytime.
Won't you miss me when I leave?
I don't know. It depends on if anyone else takes $10 from me.
You should throw me a party.
I just might. After you leave.
How's that a party for ME?
Well, when you pay me back that $10, I can spend it on a party for the class.
But I won't be here.
No, but it will be your party.
How?
It will be your gone-away party. In your honor.
But it won't be a party for ME.
Yes, it will. We can all enjoy your party after you're gone. Except maybe YOU.
You're mean.
I'm $10 poorer than I was at the beginning of the school year. That makes me mean.

Which may sound kind of cruel, but she didn't have to 'lose' my $10 and then tell me that it was stolen and then tell me it was lost and say she's going to pay me back when she's had a month to do that already and then act like it is totally no big deal and I should just forget about it and not expect her to pay.

Try that in the real world, girly. I'm teaching you a life lesson. People do not react kindly when you rip them off.