Saturday, October 1, 2016

Don't go breakin' my heart

I'm watching the US elections from up here in Canada and man oh man, I must say it's quite entertaining! (Notice how I went from dog shit to the elections.)

Editor's note: The following views are meant in jest and used for entertainment purposes only. They are not the actual views of the writer,, or any other sane human being

I swear it's almost like watching some sort of demented reality show. I'm waiting for Ashton Kutcher to pop out on election day and point to the cameras screaming that we've all been punk'd and then introduce the real candidates: Joe Biden and someone whose last name is Bush. (There seems to be a good dozen of them, I think, so pick one.)

It's like choosing between the liar and the sociopath. And you know what's interesting about what I just said? The labels are interchangeable. They apply to both candidates.

George Carlin, the comedian for all you young folks, had it right. “In America, anyone can become president. That's the problem.”

Trump scares me. He's full of little asides, conspiracies and catch-phrases, but I've yet to hear about a coherent policy that lasted longer then 5 minutes before he changed his mind. I honestly think he wants to get elected so he can re-brand the White House to be Trump Mansion and Casino and offer free cases of wine to visiting heads of state.

Hilary scares me. Every time I watch her, I feel like she's petting me on the head and there-thereing me. "Awwww, don't be scared of the taxes and the big, bad, email scandal. It's all ok. I'll take care of it. You just keep your head down and pretend to be happy."

Ultimately, when I'm voting in an election -- a Canadian election, thank goodness -- the question I ask myself is: Who do I want sitting at the table across from other leaders during a G20 summit? It's 'easy' to govern at home. You can say whatever shit you want and people will agree or disagree with you but otherwise go abouts their business.

But you can't do that around foreign leaders. You can't tell off a country. You cannot tell a leader to go fuck themselves. Well, I mean, you can, and if they're hot and all, maybe you join them in some kinky "international trade".

If you tell off the wrong guy, suddenly all the electronics being shipped into the country triple in price or suddenly oil seems to stop being shipped over, or someone decides to 'oops' a missile launch that slams into the U.S. I mean if it lands in West Virginia, who cares, but beyond that...

Speaking of Russians... (watch the segue here) ... I was visiting a cardiologist's clinic the other day and damn if I wasn't accosted by three large Russian technicians. Now in some circles that might be exciting, but I'm more of a square kinda guy.

I had to get an ultrasound of my heart, followed by a heart stress test, followed by them attaching a monitor to measure my heart rate for 48 hours. (If you want to know why I needed this done, have your people contact my people.)

The ultrasound was annoying as the Russian lady jammed the ultrasound device against my chest in order to get a clear picture (or 5) of my heart. She spent a good 20 minutes really leaning into it while I winced in pain. She continuously asked me to take slow, small breaths. Apparently she didn't hear my blood curdling screams. (I'm a hypnotist, not a masochist.) I'm waiting for the bruises to form.

At the end, I smiled and asked her if she could indeed confirm I had a heart. There was a small pause and she said "Yes, ok, please get dressed now." Ouch. Joke-fail. Russian judge gives me a 3.6 out of 10 on technical merit and a 4 on artistic impression.

The stress test was slightly more entertaining. I had to 'walk' in a treadmill with various electrodes attached to me measuring my heart rate. The treadmill would speed up incrementally every 3 minutes until my heart rate reached a certain limit at which point it would stop.

So after being wired up, the technician started the machine and told me the exercise was meant to get me tired quickly. I could walk -- not run -- and I could stop it at any time if I got too tired.

I asked how long people normally last and she said 6 to 8 minutes. Instantly, being the manly man that I am, I proclaimed I'll be on there for a good 10 minutes and he might as well go get a coffee while I break some records. The pace of the machine was brisk, but nothing I couldn't handle.

After 3 minutes, the machine kicked it up a notch. I started to lightly jog and I was admonished sharply by the technician. Jogging bad! But the machine was going so fast, walking was very difficult. I looked like some sort of drunken speed walker. My heart rate was picking up. Must. Get. To. 10. Minutes.

At the 6-minute mark, the speed went up again. No human can walk this fast. I tried as I desperately held onto the rail while my legs were flinging out behind me. The technician smiled. I smiled. I looked over at the clock. Seven minutes! Must. Hang. On.

At 7 minutes, 32 seconds, I reached the heart rate I needed to be at. I looked over at the monitor and the graphs were all lover the place. Rather than this lovely rhythm one normally sees, they looked more like some sort of earth quake monitor. I wasn't sure if I reached 150 beats per minute, or 4.7 on the Richter Scale. Regardless, the treadmill instantly slowed and I almost flung myself forward off the treadmill.

He brought up a 'comments' section on the monitor and noted that my heart had been at sinus rhythm (apparently at the beginning, because no way it was that at the end), and that I was suffering from 'shortness of breath'.

Well no shit! You just had me doing a spasmic version of the chicken dance for 7 minutes, so yeah, I'm going to have a bit of a breathing problem after that. Luckily, that rarely happens to me in real life, so let's not worry about it too much, alright?

And now? Now I'm wearing a heart monitor until tomorrow morning to see that my heart is normal. The technician, as she attached the electrodes to me, told me that I should "lead my normal life for the next 48 hours" as the machine records my heart rate.

So I went home and masturbated furiously. I'm waiting to get the report back: "We have some concerns. The entire measurement period you had an elevated heart rate followed by this sudden spike and then a drop in rate for about 20 minutes. Then it would start all over again....this happened 10 times."

Damn right! I'm a manly man.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

You're getting verrrrrry sleeeeeepy

Editor’s note:  Jeff is a little tired and grumpy this morning after his sleep study, so he will not put up with bullshit.  He expects you to find every joke funny and to leave plenty of comments.  What an ass.  

I’m back from my latest sleep study and boy am I tired.  The irony isn’t lost on me.
Just to backtrack for a moment, I have sleep apnea and occasionally the various doctors in my life send me to a sleep clinic so they can monitor my sleep and make little notes on my sleep patterns – such as do I breathe while I sleep.  Each visit has been rather interesting and you can read about two of my prior visits here and here.

This was my first visit to a new sleep clinic, so I was looking forward to the lovely amenities the sleep clinic offered.  My previous clinic had free wifi, an ensuite bathroom with shower, a TV, a large bed (though not comfy), and I chose my bed time.  Not quite the Hilton, but better than the Super 8 Motel. 

I should have known I was in trouble right from the beginning.  The nurse arrived in the waiting room to collect my health card.  (For you American folks reading this, that’s because we have socialized medicine and we need a health card to show we’re not American.)  I asked her if there was free wifi and she said yes there was and the password was the phone number to the clinic.  “Oh, and what’s that?” I asked.  “I don’t know,” she said and offered to look it up.  Strike one.  She didn’t know the phone number of the clinic she worked at.  A comforting thought.  I suddenly became proud of her for finding her office each night.

A few minutes later, she returned to the waiting room and called out my name by reading from my health card – but just my middle and last name.  I looked at her and smiled and said she kind of missed the name at the far left of my health card.  She looked puzzled and then realized her mistake.  I hope I taught her a life lesson about how one reads from left to right as opposed to somewhere-in-the-middle-to-right.

Perhaps she was just tired.  Strike two.

As I was being led to my room, she pointed out the communal bathroom/shower --- grrrrr! – and communal sink to get a glass of water -- grrrr! – and my room with no TV – grrrrr! – and then she asked what time I went to bed.  I told her midnight and she said that was great – she’ll come in at 1030pm to
shut off the lights with a wake up time of 6am.  We were getting close to this being *worse* than a Super 8 Motel…

After wandering down the hall to get a drink of water and waiting in line to use the washroom, the same nurse that had greeted me in the waiting room came in and explained she was going to be the one wiring me up.  This is the nurse that didn’t know the phone number and couldn’t read my name on the health card.  Now she was going to attach electrodes to my skull.  Couldn’t wait.

First, she explained, she needed to use an exfoliant on little patches of my face and scalp to create a better signal for the electrodes.  I jokingly told her she didn’t need to use electrodes because I broadcast in the FM signal band.  She didn’t get it.  I then jokingly said if she’s exfoliating small portions of my face, can she just exfoliate my entire face and maybe she can do my fingers and toes after. 

She didn’t get that either.

After spending a good 5 minutes exfoliating seemingly random patches of skin on my face and scalp, she then took some paste and covered those clean spots and attached electrodes to them.  There were 3 on my scalp, 3 on my chin, a couple under my eyes, and a partridge in a pear tree. 

She then had me stand up and extend my arms to my sides.  Apparently we were about to do some calisthenics before bed time.  A second nurse wandered in explaining she was here to assist the first nurse and hey, that works for me!  Two nurses fawning over me, attaching electrodes to my body?  It’s kinda hot in a way…sort of.

While I was standing there, the first nurse was explaining how she’d be wrapping some bands around my chest.  At the same time, the second nurse was behind me, putting on gloves.  I’ve always found the concept of nurses wearing gloves to be odd.  I’m not sure if they’re doing it for my protection or their own.  “Oh my gosh!  Look at him!  I don’t want to get whatever the fuck he has!  I’m going to put on these gloves and heck, we’ll put on this mask and full body armour just for good measure.”

So, being (semi) kinky guy that I am, I said out loud:  “I’m standing here with my arms extended at my sides and there’s a nurse behind me putting on gloves.  I saw a movie like this once.”  They both laughed.  I also wondered if they were going to spend the night sending shocks to my brain.

The second nurse noticed that the first nurse was putting some of the electrodes in the wrong spot.  Strike three.  They actually had a slight argument in front of me about whether certain electrodes were supposed to be attached to the top of my head or slightly to the side.  I wanted to tell them to flip a coin and get on with it already, but again, I was already nervous about them shocking me all night.

Finally, they were done!  I was wired up with no place to go.  They gently laid me down in bed, wires dangling everywhere.  My feet were totally hanging off the edge of the bed.  Apparently the sleep clinic normally only dealt with small people. 

The pillows were also fun..  As I laid down on them, they felt like they were literally deflating.  I went from having two fluffy pillows beneath my head to these two dimensional, paper-thin wafers.  I’ve seen soft pillows before, but this was ridiculous.  I would’ve had a bigger bump beneath me if I was laying on two saltine crackers!  These pillows were so thin, I could fold them up and take them away with me in my wallet.  They were pocket pillows!

My CPAP mask was on, I was laying down, and that first nurse announced that she was now going to turn on the CPAP machine.  She asked if I was ready.  If I was prepared.  That I should take a deep breath first.  (Note:  I’ve been using a CPAP machine for 5 years and she was aware of this.)  She pushed the button and…

A loud whooshing sound came out of the machine.  Why?  Because she hadn’t attached the air hose from the machine to my mask. 


Strike four. 

Because of how I was laying down, all I saw was some frantic scrambling and mumbling.  The second nurse glided in and calmly told the first nurse to turn off the CPAP machine and attach the hose.  Meanwhile I’m thinking:  “And that’s a wrap, folks!  Can I get this order to go?  I think I’m done here.”

They finally hooked me up – properly – got the machine going, and I spent the next 7+ hours being woken up periodically because of loose wires; my cold feet sliding off the bed and outside of the covers; the oxygen meter on my finger sliding off; and almost choking myself to death everytime I tried to roll over. 

Basically your standard play party.

I was so tired this morning that as I was leaving the clinic, I almost walked into a mirror by the entrance that was a reflection of the parking lot.  And now here I am writing this.

I’m afraid to shower because I fear that the first nurse accidentally left a few wires and electrodes strapped to my body and I’ll be found dead days later in some sort of bizarre post-sleep clinic aftercare accident.

Laugh, dammit!  That was funny.

What an ass.