Did you ever have one of those months where you had about a hundred things to write about, but you had no time to write about them? Yeah, that’s been me lately.
So where do I begin?
Just got back from the ACEP Scientific Assembly in Denver. Have another post about that later. So I’ll begin with the kids.
Lots of birthdays in the house this time of year. My middle daughter happened to be born on the same day as I was. By far my best birthday gift ever. One of the things that was at the top of her birthday wish list was an Orbeez Soothing Spa. The web site says that Orbeez are “wet and wacky, soft and squishy, fun and funky, bouncy and beautiful.” In reality, it’s more like some marketing genius has convinced 10-12 year old little girls that they need to come home and relax in a spa-like foot bath after a hard day at school. Us? We walked uphill both ways to school in bare feet over shards of broken glass and nobody batted an eye. Now, every kid who watches afternoon cartoons needs a foot bath. So, despite my better judgment, we got her Orbeez for her birthday. To activate these things, they must be soaked in water first. Then they go from a little pebble the size of a BB to a large squishy ball the size of a marble. once activated, then kids can put their feet into a foot spa so that they can have soothing relief or from a hard day at school. The problem is first of all that once the kids find out that these things can be squished, then you find squished Orbeez all over the house. Stepping in one unexpectedly in one’s bare feet is not pleasant. Apparently, the dogs don’t think that they taste very pleasant, either. After a few days, an odor began to waft through the house. Did Mrs. WhiteCoat just express the dogs’ anal glands? No. Did someone pour anchovy juice on a used sweatsock? Nope. It was the Orbeez foot bath. These superabsorbent polymers apparently absorb more than water.
Next year, I’m putting a loofah sponge and some moisturizer in an Orbeez box for her birthday present.
Mrs. WhiteCoat also had a birthday at the end of last month. I was going to get her more perfume, but I was scared off by all of these women in lab coats chasing me through the store. Then I noticed … the stores already have Christmas decorations. That’s just un-American. I am not buying anything from a store that has Christmas decorations up before November 1. It’s just the principle of the matter.
And if I see one Santa Claus looking all smiley at my kids before Thanksgiving, I am going to knee him in his jingle bells.
All four of our kids act and model. Mostly, they do student films and indie films, but they have also gotten face time on national commercials, will be models in a couple of Christmas catalogs this year, and have been extras in several TV shows many of you probably watch.
For those of you who do not know what is involved, this lifestyle is rather hectic. You have to be ready at a moments notice for audition calls and, if the kids are chosen, an adult has to be on the set at all times with the children. For most kids, the ratio of auditions to bookings is about 30-1. And it is not like the additions take place next door to your house. We are constantly running them all over the place. But they like it, and that is what counts. They just spent the weekend filming as extras in a dance movie and they had grins on their faces the whole time – even though they were up until 3AM one night. When they stop liking it, we stop doing it.
They were fortunate enough to book a segment on a national talk show recently. They happened to get the role because a producer on the show heard good things about them from a colleague. It was a short segment and it was a lot of fun for them. It was especially fun being able to watch them on national television. That was also the frustrating part. When other people heard about them being on television, many were excited. However, many others were actually upset with them. “You’re just lucky, that’s all.” “You looked silly.” “I bet that little one [meaning my youngest daughter] is a bitch.” “Talk about kids born with a silver spoon in their mouth.” “Wonder who they paid off to get that spot.”
I can take the animosity when it is directed at me. People tell me that I am a “rich doctor” and do not have a right to complain about prices. People tell my wife that she is a “rich doctor” and therefore they should not have to pay their office co-pays. But my kids?
Nobody sees all the work that goes into success. That is frustrating. Nobody cares about the years that my wife and I spent studying and paying a lot of money for our education. Nobody cares about her student loans. All they care about is that they think $25 is too much to pay in order to have a doctor take care of them. And all that several of my kids classmates cared about was that they were jealous and they wanted to make my kids feel bad about their achievements. I suppose that in the long run, things like this build resilience. Doesn’t make it any less annoying. And I am still as proud as heck of every one of them.
Then there is me.
You know that you’re getting old when you choose larger suture sizes so that you can see the sutures when you are trying to tie the knots. No, you can’t use 3-0 on the face. Time to get the eyes checked. I’ve never seen an ophthalmologist before.
I went in the office and had some basic testing done. When the nurse was having me read some of the lines on the chart, I could not see the letters. This is not good. Then she put some drops in my eyes to dilate my pupils so that the doctor could do a better exam on the retina (the posterior surface of the eye). About 15 minutes later, my vision was significantly worse. While waiting for the doctor, I was trying to check messages on my phone and I could not even read the messages. The doctor gave me a funny look when he walked in the room and saw me reading my phone through his pinhole occluder.
After a thorough exam, I learned that I have 20/15 long distance vision, but that I would benefit from glasses for reading and close-up work with my hands (such as tying sutures). Not a candidate for LASIK and I am not going to use contact lenses quite yet. The doctor had me follow up in his office a couple of days later so that I could be measured for a prescription since my eyesight was a lot worse due to my pupils being dilated. He told me to wear sunglasses if I was outside because the sunshine would bother my eyes. I figured “no big deal.” Boy was I wrong.
Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and walking into another room that is brightly lit. Your eyes hurt and you have to squint until your pupils close down so that not as much light is getting into your eyes. The drops that they put into my eyes made it so that my pupils could not constrict. So multiply that painful feeling in your eyes by about 10 fold and then pretend like everything is an overexposed picture. That is what I was like walking out of his office. I literally had my hand over my face and was peeking through the crack between my fingers. I can only imagine how that must have looked to someone looking out the window of the office building or someone driving by.
“Hey Marge … look … there’s some drunk guy playing hide and seek in the parking lot.”
Once I got into the car, put on my sunglasses, and pulled down the sun visors, I was better. Not back to normal, but better. Then I decided that since I was already in that part of town, I would take care of a couple of errands. I was near the auto shop and the new tires I ordered for my Tesla had come in. So I stopped by to get the tires replaced. I walked into the store, but could not take off the sunglasses because it was still too bright inside there. The guy at the counter kept looking at me like I was weird. He told me that the tires will be replaced in about 20 minutes. So I went to sit in the waiting room. There were two other women sitting there. I sat down on the couch next to one of them. She looked at me a couple of times, then got up and went to the bathroom. When she came back, she sat across the room from me. Both of the women kept looking at me. I thought “It’s not like I’m a dope fiend or something. Do you smell anything on my breath?” Heck with them. I started watching the news on the television. Actually, I was listening to the news on the television. I was having some difficulty seeing it because the sunglasses made it too dark to see. So I tried cupping my hands around my eyes and picking up the sunglasses to see if that would help. It didn’t. Then I tried just picking up the glasses a couple of times and comparing vision with the sunglasses and without the sunglasses. Probably better with the sunglasses because it didn’t cause as much pain in my eyes. But I still wanted to watch the television. So I took one of the magazines, poked six or eight holes in it with a pen, and looked at the television through the pinholes. It was too dark. Then I took off the glasses and looked at the TV through the holes. Hurt my eyes a little bit, but it worked.
A few minutes later, one of the men at the garage says “Ummm … Mr. WhiteCoat, are you okay?” I looked over and both women and two garage employees are all staring at me like I’ve been dropping acid or something.
“Yes, I am fine. I just had an eye exam and my pupils are dilated.”
The whole dropping acid look didn’t change on any of them.
“Well … your car is ready.”
So I donned the sunglasses and walked out to the car. I was tempted to act like I was smoking a joint and drive up on the curb, but then I figured one of them would call the police on me.
Then I drove to the pharmacy to get some reading glasses. The only problem was that I couldn’t tell how strong the reading glasses were because I couldn’t see the numbers on the packaging. So I grabbed a random pair of glasses and put them on my eyes. That worked pretty well. How sad is it that you have to put on the glasses in the store in order to see what pair of glasses you want to buy? One of the other things I didn’t know is that when you turn your head, the un-magnified view in the peripheral vision suddenly becomes much larger when it comes into the field of view with the glasses. This induces nausea. I can’t take riding a merry-go-round without getting sick to my stomach, so within a relatively short time, I was close to puking on the eyeglass display. So I held up my hands to block my peripheral vision while I was looking at the other glasses. Then I look over and the pharmacist is now eyeballing me. I can picture her making a call to security. “Some pasty-looking weirdo is messing with the eyeglasses, can you come and check him out?” So I get a pair of the +1.50 cheaters and left before I hurled.
I was going to pick up Mrs. WhiteCoat’s dry cleaning, but I figured that I had inflicted enough pain on the general public for the day, so I just went home. Besides, I’d probably grab the garbage bag by mistake and bring that home instead. With my luck it would have contained old Orbeez.
It took a good four or five hours for that stuff to wear off, too.
So someone mails me a copy of this newspaper article that has apparently been floating around for about 50 years. Should women be spanked? I forwarded the article to Mrs. WhiteCoat. She looks at me furrows her brow and says “try it.” I replied “is that an invitation or a threat?” At least I got her to smile.
And finally … the WhiteCoat kids have now been giggling about this shower prank video for the past week or so. They’re still laughing about it tonight. “It’s not goiiiing!”