Thursday, March 22, 2012

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. - Shakespeare

Remember when we used to say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me!” That’s a lie.

We said that because it was like a magic incantation that would take away the sting of the words that were thrown at us. We pretended like we believed it. The truth is, we didn’t really believe it. Those words hurt as much and maybe more than the sticks and stones would have.

So, a week or so ago, my son came home with a paragraph that he had to write five times for some misbehavior. As a former Communication Arts teacher, the use of writing as a punishment is the ultimate sin. It didn't help matters that the paragraph had numerous grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors in it.

I fell into a state of righteous indignation. There were mitigating factors that led to this state, but the bottom line is, I fell right into it.

Shamefully, my response was to post the paragraph to my Facebook page and ask for input. I received over 30 comments; all in favor of me "getting" this teacher for daring to assign writing as a punishment and for her errors. They, too, disagreed with writing as a punishment. They, too, felt sympathy toward my son.

I would like to say that they, too, felt a bit superior to the teacher who'd committed this sin. I don't know that they felt that way, but I did. It's not something I'm proud of and it's not something I would ever want to make a habit.

I did all the wrong things in handling this. Yes, I'm still 100% certain that using writing as a punishment is harmful. Yes, I'm still in favor of good grammar, spelling and punctuation. Yes, I still have feelings of sympathy toward my son. Still, my handling of the situation was wrong and did not change a thing. As a matter of fact, the only thing it did was cause me more guilt and possibly cause some humiliation for that teacher.

It seems that I'd forgotten what it was like to be publicly vilified. I used to become enraged when people would write their anonymous comments about me in SpeakOut. Even though the vast majority of those comments didn't contain a shred of truth to them, I felt shame and embarrassment. I was convinced that everyone in town was looking at me and judging me.

I imagine that's how I made this teacher feel. I did to her the very thing I hated most. And, I regret it.

I posted a simple apology on my Facebook page and I’ve emailed the teacher, the principal and a few others as a first step in atonement. This is the next step in the act of contrition that I feel compelled to perform.

If at all possible, I will learn from this experience. I know better than to use public humiliation as a response. I simply let my ego get in the way of my rational self. I hope others will read this and learn from it too.

Sticks and stones can be thrown aside and destroyed. Words linger and are not so
easily removed. The sting of them comes back days, months and even years after they’ve been said and they come back from out of the blue.

I truly hope those whom I’ve offended in word and deed can find it in their hearts to forgive me.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Doctor Visit

I made it home and I made it to the doctor. By the time I was put in a room, I was running a 102.2 fever and I had serious thoughts about just staying in that little room for the rest of the day and night.
The thought of leaving was exhausting and I was extremely tired and worn out. It happens that the nurse of our doctor is a friend. She immediately said, "Hmmm, I bet you have the flu." She smiled at me for a moment and then told me to go down the hall to get a "flu swab."
I thought I'd had them before and I KNEW they were uncomfortable. Evidently, all the other flu swabs I'd had before were incorrectly and inefficiently done. This lab tech person, now after referred to as Satan's Mistress, took that fourteen foot long Q-tip from its sterile package. She told me to "have a seat" in one of the bench seats with the seatbelts and the arms that come down around you. I complied and even said, "I hope I don't infect you." She smiled and said, "I don't think you will. Now, hold real still." I swear I saw a bit of red flame behind her eyes as she said that and I KNOW I smelled sulfur.
She grabbed that Q-tip and began the ascent up my nasal cavity. The first half of a second was "uncomfortable," the next few howeverlongitwas was one of the most painful things I've ever had happen to me.
God as my witness, that Q-tip poked the back side of my left eyeball! I watched, cross-eyed, as she kept shoving that thing up further and further into my brain. Right at the point I thought I would pass out, she slowly withdrew her arm from inside my left nostril and removed the rest of that fourteen foot long Q-tip. "All done," she quipped, handing me a single-ply tissue from the standard sandpaper tissue box that sits in every doctor's office.
I looked at her, then down at the tissue. I wanted to cuss her out, but I decided instead to take my single-ply tissue and dab at my nose with it. I couldn't have punched her because she'd temporarily blinded me by applying pressure on the optic nerve with that damn Q-tip!
There's a time and a place for revenge. When you have a 102.2 fever, are blinded in one eye, and left holding a single-ply tissue while the person across from you has red flames licking up behind her eyes and has a fourteen foot long Q-tip with your mucus on it, that is not the right place or time!
I remember giving her "the look" that The Spouse gives me when she's not happy and wants me to know it without saying anything. Then I walked back to my room with my tissue in hand. It was me and that tissue against the world at that moment. I was squinting my left eye, praying to God that my vision would return, squeezing that tissue like it was the neck of the lab tech and I was muttering curses on her and her whole family all the way back to my room.
I sat in that little room waiting for the doctor to return. Slowly, my vision came back. By the time he came in the room, I'd texted no less than 85 people telling them that I'd been blinded by a maniac wielding a fourteen foot long Q-tip in the lab at my doctor's office. I was amassing my army in case I had to go back in there.
The doctor came in and said, "Well, the good news is you tested negative for the flu! I could have sworn you would be positive but you aren't."
I looked at him and I was P-I-S-S-E-D O-F-F! I had just been attacked and blinded by Satan's Mistress in the lab and BY GOD I DESERVED TO HAVE THE FLU!!!
He must have thought the fever was having an effect on me because he just ignored the look I gave him and began telling me that I had "the crud." That's my official diagnosis. I have "the crud." I sat there, not saying a thing. I had my tissue clutched in my hand and I just sat there looking at him. He looked at me a bit longer and then said, "Here are some prescriptions for you to help you get over this. That cough medicine is new and it may make you groggy. Call me if you aren't better in a few days." I gathered up my iPad, iPhone, my keys, my prescriptions and my tissue and I shuffled out the door and down the hallway.
One day, one day very soon, I will return to that place and I will have my revenge on that lab tech. Until then, I'll clutch that tissue and remember!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The World's Worst Patient

I am probably the world's worst patient. I have very little tolerance for illness and the side effects thereof. I began feeling cruddy on a Wednesday afternoon. I moaned and posted about my impending doom on Facebook repeatedly that evening. I begged for "chickie noodle soup" and I accused my family of ignoring me while I lanquished away. (I know for a fact The Spouse tuned me out because I mentioned money several different times and she didn't even respond. She ALWAYS responds when I mention money!)
I felt better later that evening and even attended our first homeowner's association meeting. (There's enough fodder from that meeting for multiple posts.)
On Thursday morning, I awoke feeling "yucky" but not bad enough to cancel my two appointments. So, I drank my coffee, dropped the kids off at school, hit the Starbucks and jumped on the interstate. I made it about 60 miles up the road before I pulled over at the rest area. I was starting to feel pretty crappy. As I sat in my truck, it struck me that I was getting worse by the minute. I was exhausted just from driving 60 miles and I really just wanted to recline my seat and go to sleep.
You know you are truly ill when you begin to believe that sleeping at the rest area south of St. Louis, MO is a really good idea. I think approximately 200,000 people have been assaulted, murdered, mugged, beaten or otherwise abused there in the past few years.
Instead of caving and trying to nap in Hell's Parking Lot, I called my doctor's office and asked about an appointment. They could get me in at 1:20p.m. Next, I called my two appointments and cancelled. Then, I drove to the next exit and jumped onto the southbound lanes. As with the rest of my life, the most common and mundane of tasks had to be all jacked up.
As I headed south, I saw the dark clouds ahead and watched as streaks of thick lightening shot from the sky and blasted the earth. The roar of the thunder ahead was loud enough to make me have to turn up the radio. As I drew closer to the storm, the lightening strikes got bigger, more frequent, and very, very close. The skies opened up and torrential rain fell. No natural calamity would be complete without some wind. And, as if according to plan, the wind began to blow so hard that I had a difficult time keeping my truck on the road. Finally, just to make things exciting, I drove into a hail storm.
It was at this point that I said a few things that would have made an entire Navy fleet blush. I refused to surrender and I dang sure wasn't going to stop. I was determined to drive through this and get home as quickly as possible.
I made it home, safe and sound. The trip to the doctor was an adventure in and of itself. I'll post about it soon. I promise!

Things, Things and More Things

It's been a long time since I updated. My intentions were to be a bit more intentional about updating this blog but that hasn't worked out. Here is a list of reasons/excuses:

1. Life.

2. This is the busiest time of year for my work. I'm traveling more and I'm constantly on my work laptop.

3. Life.

So, there you have it. My reasons/excuses for not updating. I promise to do better. I really do. Of course, we all know how that's worked out in the past.

In the meantime, here's picture of me looking kinda Unabomberish. I was actually on a Sunday morning donut run. The truth is always stranger than fiction.