Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Day in the Life of Poker Chick

Some of you might have noticed Poker Chick is a bit testy lately. She apologizes for this annoyance but hopes you will understand that she has been very busy getting her @ss kicked from all sides. BAM! Take that, Poker Chick. Down she goes again. There's no easier way to explain this than to document a typical day this week.

I am sound asleep.
2am: I wake up wheezing.
2:15am: I realize I can take my inhaler and do so.
2:30am: Air! I go to sleep.
4:15am: I wake up and toss and turn for the next 2 1/2 hours, depsite the fact I've barely slept in two days. Yay, benzodiazepine withdrawal! Not.
7:00am: Finally drag my @ss into the shower. Somehow manage to shave this morning. (I know you all wanted to know that detail.)
7:30am: Cough. Wheeze. Take inhaler again.
7:55am: Out the door 10 minutes later than I needed to be. But I have makeup on, so it least it's for good reason.
8:30am: Arrive breathless at my accountant's office, right on the dot. Amazing considering I forgot that the E train didn't stop at 59th street, so had to take the N and walk two boulevards to 8th avenue. With my laptop and taxes in tow and wheezing the whole time. Such a pretty sight I must be.
9:30am: Participate in a conference call from work. (Thanks for your office, Larry!)
10:07am: Call ends 7 minutes late. I run over to work.
10:12am: Buy breakfast sandwich and water.
10:15am: Devour egg sandwich on the subway with whatever finger is not holding something while everyone on the E train stares at me as if I'm a homeless person. I feel nostalgic for the 6. The E is so much ickier.
10:42am: Make it into work. Right in time for a redo of all the boards we "completed" last night. Oy vey.
10:43am: Go to boss' office for call with Client.
12:48pm: Finally back at my desk. Have two minutes to check messages (6 voicemails to return alone), grab some papers, and get a sip of water before going back into boss' office for another call.
12:49pm: Phone rings. Outside line. Probably Client. I pick up and get my father. He's got a bad tooth and a computer virus. I sympathize, but he does not understand the concept of "can't talk now". I hang up the phone in frustration.
1:41pm: 7 minute break. Grab yogurt parfait from cafeteria. Bring to boss' office to eat during yet another Client call. They had re-writes. Yay. (Yay, it's my birthday, yay....yes, that's an inside joke.)
4:01pm: Finally get to pee. That's just wrong.
4:04pm: Still not breathing. Speak to doctor. She calls in more meds and refers me to a pulmonologist. Of course now I can't remember where I wrote that number down. Where's Kramer when you need him?
4:05pm: Final Client call of the day.
6:00pm: At my desk. Think I can get work done until I realize what time it is. Assess dizziness and breathing and take inhaler again. Start to think maybe asthma's not my problem at all. Maybe I just have no time to breathe.
6:20pm: Leave work to go to pharmacy. Pharmacist says that new dose of asthma meds are not covered by insurance for a couple more weeks. My options are to pay or not get the meds. No big deal, not like it's life or death medication, right? Oh, wait. Anyway. I cough up $317.19 and continue wheezing. $317.19!!!! Now I feel like a breathless sucker. I don't know what hurts more, my lungs or my wallet.
6:55pm: Spend the next 10 minutes trying to figure out if current hyperventilation is a true medical emergency or just raging anger.
7:01pm: Yep. It's anger, all right. With a little bit of medical emergency peppered in.
7:25pm: Begin the process of trying to put Poker Chick Junior to bed.
11:01pm: Lie awake in bed, exhausted, wondering why I still can't sleep. I am truly pathetic.
11:58pm: Visions of sugarplums dance in my head.
12:00am: A new day is finally here. Thank goodness.

Now, if I sound irritable to you, please don't take it personally. It just means I hate you right now.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Words you never want to hear....

I've just come home from 4 hours in the ER.

I'd been having a pretty bad asthma attack for the past few days, but was living in stubborn denial until that familiar barking cough came back to remind me to ask for help. So I went to the hospital. And prepared myself for a several-hour wait and lots of laughter from the staff. After all, this is an ER. People come in for actual emergencies. Gunshot wounds. 104+ fevers. Life-threatening dehydration. Broken limbs. I didn't even need to get to the waiting room to know that the people waiting there were really sick, hurt, or in pain. Here I am walking in on my own, no one with me, talking, walking. Of course I'd be at the bottom of the triage list.

Only I couldn't breathe.

Still, I waited for them to tell me I was being a baby and it wasn't all that bad. So imagine my surprise when I immediately jumped to the top of the triage list. Didn't wait for a second. No forms. Wasn't even asked for my insurance card! Before you could say "asthma" I was sitting on a reclining chair inhaling oxygen like a pro* (man, does that oxygen stuff feel good. I want me one of those at home.) Still, I waited for them to tell me I was fine and didn't really need to be there. I was certain of it.

Only they didn't. Instead I heard "well, the good news is, we don't have to intubate you..."

Um, excwheeze-me**? Whoever said anything about intubate? Since when was that even a consideration?

Definitely, definitely words you never want to hear.

Little Miss Alabama models the latest fashion nebulizer.

*"Pro": 80 year-old professional hospital patient
** Gimme some credit here people, that was funny!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Left Behind

Some of you are familiar with hearing Poker Chick say "I'm going to die young one day." Well, now we have proof for you non-believers! Studies have now shown that left-handed people are more likely to die young than the rest of the population. Why? According to experts, it's because we're "accident prone". While Poker Chick will not dispute her own lack of grace, it's unfair to stereotype the entire left-handed population this way. "Accident prone," my ass. Lack of grace is not to blame; society is. Poker Chick feels compelled to educate others about this discrimination.

Flanders is one of roughly 8% who are left hand-diddly-anded. The majority of the left-handed population is male (making us lefty chicks rare and valuable!) Lefties are also more likely to be gay, schizophrenic, and disease-prone. Mmmm....disease.

You right-handers mocking us yet? Well, check out the history. Many of you are familiar with the term "Southpaw," but did you know that the Irish word for us "Southpaws" can also mean "strange person"? In English, the word "sinister" is actually derived from "left". And in Latin, the word for "Right-handed" is "dexter," as in "dexterity." So society thinks we have no dexterity, huh? Well foo on you. The atrocious handwriting us left-handed souls have is only a result of trying to use a right-handed person's instrument, er...pen..

Many key historical figures were left-handed, including 7 US presidents.

Now, Poker Chick has always known this sign of genius was a cross to bear, but it hadn't hit her just how oppressive society was until she learned of the root of this discrimination, and all the subtle ways it's translated into modern society. Since it's impossible to list it all, she'll just go through a few random examples:

  1. Electronics. We know about the computer mouse, but 'twas the "crackberry" finally hit this home for Poker Chick. She tried to type one-handed on it and realized her finger was not long enough to reach all the way to the right of the device to click "send".
  2. Shopping. When you buy something with a credit card, what side of the machine is that electronic pen on? Is the cord long enough to reach around for that John Hancock? (I'll give you a hint: the answer is "no")
  3. Business. When you shake hands, what hand do you use? Everyone knows, the right. But most people don't know why. Poker Chick would tell you, but the answer is so insulting, she'll leave it alone.
  4. Education. Writing in English is particularly difficult to learn for a left-handed child if the teacher refuses to teach left-handed children in a way that is easy for them.* This explains why the only "D" Poker Chick received in grade school was in handwriting. And why cursive is still elusive to her. And while her colleagues have names for her chicken scratch.
  5. Work. Power tools!** Think about power tools. Picture a lefty using a skill saw, which is clearly meant for a right-handed person. Injury ensues.
Indeed, it is therefore not surprising to find that many left-handed people actually consider themselves opressed. So call me a Jew-girl. Call me a princess. Call me a wimp. Call me a nut job. But don't ever, ever call me a Southpaw.

*Source: and every left-handed person you'll ever meet
** Stop laughing. Poker Chick does, in fact, know what a power tool is.