Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You Can’t Keep a Good Bell Down!

It amazes me on an almost-daily basis, that I am as normal as possible, given my upbringing. We are a family of dichotomy on the best of days. We have varying degrees of maturity, salaries and expenses, political stances and musical tastes. We also have what most Americans would view as a rather “reactive” stance when it comes to health care.

Which is amazing considering my father worked in health care his entire life and retired from Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.

We as a family don’t really embrace the medical profession, as most people should. We typically wait until we are upon death’s door before seeking medical help. I am trying to do better in my personal healthcare life, but I admittedly have some way to go. Having had a gall bladder removed will go a long way in quickly putting to rest some essential fears (i.e. needles, anesthesia) I have found that my derision for the healthcare world must come from my maternal unit.

Today the Mom had an appointment with a new-to-her doctor. She has seen this doctor a couple of times. The first time she saw him was for a knee problem that ultimately resulted in knee surgery for her. A not-so-great experience that I felt may have rung the death knoll for future medical procedures for the Mom. At her next appointment with this doctor, she was advised that she need to have a physical and that her cholesterol was up. This young doctor (everyone is young to my almost 75 year old mother) suggested that she begin taking medication to keep her cholesterol down; however, the Mom didn’t want to take a medication and felt that a daily regimen of oatmeal for breakfast would work wonders, since that is what the commercials promise (and they never lie in advertising). She was given a six-month prescription for a daily mediation she takes and was instructed to return for another visit after six months.

Six months ended today. The Mom went back to the doctor today. The Mom may never return!!

The young doctor examined the Mom and told her that her heart sounds good, her lungs sound clear, her eyes are bright and the runny nose is something everyone else is dealing with right now, so just suck up that snot and move on. He wrote her an 12-month prescription for her daily meds and then came the kicker.

“Mrs. Bell, you owe me.”

“Okay. I’ll be happy to pay the bill once you give it to me.”

“No… you owe me a bone density scan, a Pap Test, a mammogram, an EKG, a tetnus shot and you need a booster for Typhoid and Smallpox. And oh yes, a colonoscopy.”

He may as well have asked for a Partridge in a Pear Tree and Ten Lords-A-Leaping while he was at it.

“Why do I need a smallpox booster? I am never around that disease”

“You are behind on your booster. It is always a good idea to keep up with those”

“I don’t have a lot of time to do all these things.”

“I tell you what, just make an appointment on your way out for one or two of them. You can pick which ones.” (What?! Are you kidding me? You never give the MOM that kind of option!)

The Mom makes her way to the appointment desk.

Receptionist: “Now, Mrs. Bell, you are supposed to make an appointment for some tests.”

“I’ll call you when I get home”

At which point the Mom escaped via the front door and with her 12-month prescription in hand and can breathe relatively easy… except for that runny nose.

New update in approximately 12 months! Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Circle of Life

I have learned many things in my lifetime and the newest tidbit o'wisdom I am going to share is to never, EVER visit with your friend right before surgery.

Why? Because if you do... you will be cursed!

Case in point: remember my friend who had knee surgery back in the spring? Remember how a few weeks later I was having my gall bladder removed? Well, it appears that we (the friends who were at Requelle's surgery in the spring) have been somehow tied together with medical conditions that are freakishly similar.

Our friend Jon had his knee operated on just about a month ago. His wife Suzanne had her gall bladder removed a few weeks later. The connection? We were ALL at Requelle's bedside to give her support during her knee surgery.

Coincidence? I think not!

Jon had what were termed as artifacts floating in his knee. It makes me think of Indiana Jones... except that Jon doesn't look much like Harrison Ford (no pierced ear... yet). I see a fedora and whip dangling and Jon running before a huge boulder. But, since the surgery, Jon isn't really up for running as yet.

Suz has been dealing with pain for some time now and sure enough... that old gall bladder struck again and out it came! Suz was at Requelle's bedside with me too! Suz actually helped to nurse Req back to health! It was only a matter of time before Suz fell prey to the Circle of Surgery that befell Jon and I.

We think it may have been that Requelle had surgery cooties that we were not prepped for! Darn the luck.

So, my word to the wise... careful of who you visit and support in a medical crisis! Get that cootie shot!

Quite Thankful

We had a house full of people at the Bell homestead for Thanksgiving this year. It was the annual family gathering, and this time the Arkansas contingent had to travel to us! My cousin finally understood what it means when I say that I-40 from Nashville to Little Rock is the LONGEST STRETCH OF ROAD IN THE WORLD!!! I'm pretty certain that I am right about this.

The family began arriving Wednesday night with a Honey-Baked Ham in tow. We enjoyed that ham almost as much as Mom's turkey and other fixins'!

Our home is not truly serviceable for seven adults and two children to reside in. Mostly because we have a rinky-dink hot water heater and if someone takes a shower (a true necessity with that many people) it will be about an hour before the next person can shower. Since the YMCA was closed on Thanksgiving... I drove over to a friend's house and showered there.

There was sooooo much food eaten! Great discussions to be had. Lots of football to watch and those brain-damaged members of my family were planning their Black Friday shopping strategery with the same passion I am sure General George Patton planned his WWII tactics! Ads and coupons and lists were strewn about and my three brain-damaged nieces decided to stay at our house AND stay awake all night for fear they would fall asleep and not wake up in time to be at a retail outfit at 4:00. AM. In.the.morning. What is wrong with this picture?

At any rate, we had a great time. Took loads of pictures. Watched a lot of football - Darn that 4th OT Kentucky loss to UT. Man. and were thankful beyond measure!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's Only a Flesh Wound

The sisters are continuing to enjoy the sights and sounds of the tropics and Hawaii has not moved to secede from the Union... so all is well. Relatively speaking.

The sisters have not stopped their antics since they arrived in Hawaii. No, indeed. They go from tour bus to tour bus, stopping and enjoying the scenery, only to reload said tour bus and start again. They have traveled the island far and wide. They have gone to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona. They have island hopped to the Big Island and toured the volcanoes. They have attended luaus... and they have eaten flowers.

They don't taste like chicken, by the way.

I did receive a phone call on Saturday evening as I was walking into my nephew's football game. It was my mother and she was laughing so hard, she could barely speak. This always bodes for some new and exciting adventure... and some sort of upset as well. This time was no different.

Apparently the sisters were headed to some sort of show they had paid good money to see. One of those floating boat shows where the hula dancers move gracefully over the water and the men twirl flaming batons about. It was something to behold.

My aunt hates water. Have I ever mentioned that before? She does. She has a less than healthy fear of the water and I'm not exactly sure where the fear originates, but it is there. Can she swim? Yes. But she would rather not. She doesn't mind being near and in the water, as long as it is no deeper than her ankles.

Saturday night the sisters were instructed by a well-meaning gentleman that if they crossed a small body of water (via stepping stones) they would have better seats with which to see the show. He did not instruct that said stones would be slippery and of course, who would fall in the water and fear drowning? My aunt.

Before you berate me for my lack of sympathy here at my aunt's fear and her worry of drowning, let me advise you that the water was about two feet deep. Once her baby sister's demise was less than imminent, my mother began laughing her fool head off, took said baby sister to a first aid room to see to the scrapes and swelling of her knee, and promptly called me to explain what had happened... except she was laughing so hard I couldn't understand anything that was being said and she cut off the connection anyway.

I am certain that I do not have all the details of the story right... as it was difficult to understand between the gasps of laughter that were exploding from both sisters. But, all is seemingly well. They will not be stopped. They have since purchased an Ace bandage for my aunt's knee and hopefully some Ibuprofen to help with the swelling... and they march magnificently onward...

... laughing all the way.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

So Far So Good...

Thelma and Louise have been officially in Hawaii for two days now and nothing catostrophic has occurred. At least, nothing that has been reported via cell phone or made the national headlines. I am certain that many things have occurred, but the island is still safe for habitation and it appears the plant life is still in tact.

They left Little Rock at the crack of dawn (literrally) to take a puddle jumper to Chicago where there was... surprise, surprise... an almost two hour delay. It appears that the original plane was having maintenance issues and they were sent to another gate to board a second plane. The sisters had to move quickly as the seating was on a first come-first serve basis... and they were not the only people headed to Hawaii.

There was a gentleman who had taken their picture whilst waiting in line at the first gate and so the sisters thought to follow him, assuming he knew where he was going. He did know where he was going, and thanks to Janelle, my mother did not follow the man into the men's room. As she started to walk in, Janelle grabbed the back of her shirt and kept her from scaring the pants off any number of men who were in the business of doing their business.

As it seems, their 9:15 plane finally took off at about 11:05 and they were on their way to paradise. The flight took close to nine hours and they were appalled and dismayed that there was no food service on the flight. Oh, don't mistake... there was food... you just had to pay for it and the sisters dished out $10 for two turkey sandwiches during their flight.

Papa Bear and I kept an eye on their whereabouts via http://www.flightstats.com/ which allow us to see where they were located, their altitude, and other wondrous information that was meaningless to us. The sisters did not sleep on the plane and when they landed, it was 3:00 in the afternoon. They were quite hungry and managed to get themselves in to the hotel and get some dinner... at which point they both crashed and burned and slept the rest of the day/night away.

Which was a good thing since they were up again at the crack of dawn to load onto a tour bus for a day-long sightseeing trip that took them all over the island of Oahu. They called in the evening and let me know they had seen some surfers and to remind me that I really do need to go to the island at my earliest convenience. Yeah. I'm all about that!

Today they plan to tour the USS Arizona and Pearl Harbor. So far, they have fought the desire to eat any of the plant life... but there is plenty of time for that!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Is that a Tsunami? No... It's the Sisters!

Watch out Pacific coast! Hang on to your surfboards all you North Shore-ers... the Lovitt Sisters are headed to Hawaii for their next great adventure. The natives will be restless until they leave the islands in tact... and it is doubtful there will be much tact once these two hit the south pacific!

After a weekend roller coaster of emotions, Papa Bear was proclaimed in good health and so Thelma and Louise did not have to cancel their vacation after all and will be leaving out tomorrow morning bright and early to start their newest journey.

So far it has been pretty good. KT and I took Nana to Memphis on Sunday to meet up with the other side of the family.
KT regaled us with her own brand of "KT Science", namely the fact that when she gets goose bumps, or chill bumps, the hairs on her legs grow at an astronomical rate. Nana and I laughed so hard as to almost have to pull over, but we made it on to Memphis where we joined up with Little Sister and my cousin for some shopping (I mean, come on... there's a MALL there) and eating out at Chili's. KT was appalled to know that Nana can fit everything she will need for 10 days in Hawaii in a carry-on bag with only two pair of shoes. KT needs a different pair of shoes for each day she will be on vacation. Little did she know that Nana packed and repacked her bag so often she may end up in the Guiness Book of World Records. Word has it on good authority today that they have repacked four more times... though Lil Sister repacked six, because twice she picked up her bag without closing it and had to put everything that was dumped out back in. Nothing but good times ahead.

Not to think that Thelma and Louise would be outdone by KT's Science, their minds have worked their own type of knowledge... namely dealing with my mother's lack of sense of smell. That's right... Ma Bell can't smell nuthin'. I always told her that was why she could eat cooked cabbage... because she couldn't smell it.

Lil Sis hates that Big Sis will not fully enjoy the magic of the islands... that is, the floral smells that permeate the air. They have, therefore, deduced that since my mother's taste is not affected by her sense of smell... perhaps she would appreciate the scent of the island if she were to taste the flowers there... instead of sniffing away at nothing at all.

Of course, you can't plan to experiment with science of this magnitude without testing it first... so once they returned from running errands today, Mom sat down and munched on a magnolia blossom.

I am praying they will not be arrested for chowing down on the Hawaiian state flower.
There is nothing like a dame... unless it is these two!

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, Back to the ER We Go...

Ahh... the joys of the ER. I must say, I have seen the inside of the ER at Stone Crest Medical Center more this year than I have EVER seen in my life. Katy was there once. I was there once and now my father has been there twice. We love the ER there... and the personnel. They are fabulous and we couldn't be happier.

Well... I guess we'd be happier if we weren't going to the ER every so often.

That's right, girls and boys... the Bell family made their way back to the ER on Saturday night with Papa Bell to make sure that a little problem he was having wasn't a BIG problem.

After the maternal unit forced me to see the Jungle Book version that Cirque brought to Nashville (pretty costumes and sets... but honestly how many times does that little Mongolian girl have to turn herself into a pretzel before I'm heading towards the door?) we returned home to find Papa Bear in the recliner and waiting to tell us "THE NEWS." I won't fill you in on the details, but suffice it to say, THE NEWS was enough for us to take him back to the ER with a piece of toilet paper in a Ziploc baggie. 'Nuff said? I sure hope so.

We arrived much the same way we did the first time... me paving the way and requesting the assistance of a wheelchair and this time the nurse who arrived was taller and bigger than me (no small feat... get it?! Ha. I crack myself up) and she whisked Dad into the admitting area again where the same little nurse took his vitals, etc. and he was settled into a room.

The eldest of the Bell offspring was with me this time and we waited in the waiting room for them to get Dad settled and then we hung out in Room 20 to get our groove on and the party started whilst waiting for the doctor.

And guess what!? The doctor was the same ER physician that I saw when I had my gall bladder removed. (Insert song: It's a Small World After All) We reintroduced ourselves and I told him he had seen me back in April, and he was pleased to know I was still living. He took the Bear's history and listened and when Dad said he was eating Pepto Bismal tablets (a fact I didn't know at the time) (because the GI doctor told him too) he stopped us right there and called me over to see his chart.

"Can you read?"

"Um... yes..."

"Come here and read what I have written on my chart."

Looks at the chart and tries to make out the doctor's hand-writing.

"Pepto Bismal."

"That's right. When you take a lot of Pepto, the acids in your stomach turn it black, and it makes your poop black too."

Dad: "Do you mean, I came to the ER because of Pepto Bismal?"

"Pretty much."

Because of Dad's previous issues, they went ahead and did lab work and the doctor tested the poopy toilet tissue... all the lab work was normal and no blood in the poopy... which means Mom gets to go to Hawaii on Tuesday after all.

Dad got to go home and eat a cheeseburger. All is well again in the world.

... as far as we know.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Only in my Family...

Friday morning was a bit of a scare here at the Bell house. Upon awakening, I found that my father had been sick during the evening and had thrown up. You must know that I can remember no time in recent history that my father had been ill enough to actually worship the procelain god... but he was doing so in the wee morning hours of the day.

This is not a typical cause for concern, except that my father has been on blood thinners for 12 years because of previous blood clots, and what he was throwing up bore a striking resemblence to old blood. We'd rather not think that my father is bleeding internally, and therefore after much cajoling, and a second round at the procelain altar, my father conceded to go to the ER here in Smyrna.

I paved the way. I left right before they did so that I could arrive at the hospital and have a wheelchair to assist my father in through the hospital waiting area. I also knew that if he were in a wheelchair, he would be seen quicker. I was right... and I wheeled him right in to the ER admitting area where the RN took his vitals, history and asked why we were here.

Once all the paperwork was underway our RN took over wheelchair operating duties and Mom and I stood to follow her down the hall. And we waited. And waited. And waited some more as our RN slllloooooowly made her way pushing my father. I wondered why she was moving so slow. At first, I thought she was just being very sensitive to my father's nausea and didn't want to jar him. I was a bit chagrined knowing that I acted like Dale Earnhart, Jr. whilst I was wheeling him about, not thinking of his upset tummy at all... but just wanting him to get medical care as quickly as possible.

But then I realized we were moving so slowing because our RN walked with a fairly noticeable limp. And, upon closer examination, it almost appeared as if the wheelchair were holding her up and doing her as much good as my father. I don't mean to belittle her at all, because she was wonderful... albeit, my father could have walked on his own to the room quicker than our nurse was pushing him.

But, we got in the room and got Dad settled and into a hospital gown and waited for the doctor to appear. Mom made a joke about not having her camera to commemorate this moment, and since I had the technology, Dad insisted that I take a picture of him with my camera phone. Yep... we live to make memories here in the Bell home. Once finished, I stepped outside to make various and assundry phone calls and when I returned, the rather young physician had already been in and talked with the parental units, performed a rectal exam (OUCH!) and declared there was no bleeding in that portion of the anatomy, for which we were very grateful. Dad's nausea had calmed by this time (mine would too if a doctor had put his finger you-know-where) and we were watching the Today show when two new RNs appeared. One male, one female.

They came to draw blood and start an IV solution of saline, which is standard operating procedure in a hospital (I know this because I have been in the hospital now and I lived to tell about the IV experience) What we didn't know was that apparently the girl was a newbie... as she asked a question to the guy about something as simple as "do I wipe the vein before the stick" (an answer I could have provided would be something like "YES!!! And get those gloves on!"), he answered her... and I realized that it all made sense to have a fresh-out-of-school nurse, since we had still-in-school doctors when Mom was at the Vandy ER a couple of years ago after her knee surgery.

The IV issue was pain free and Jack & Jill RN left the room and left the door open so we could be heard in the event that we broke into song and dance, or Dad got sick again... and thankfully neither happened. Now that Dad was hooked up to the IV, it was time to break out the camera phone again and snap another shot. He insisted. I complied.

Dad, by the way, is completely in his element in a hospital situation. That makes sense since he worked in one all his adult life. When the nurse asked questions, my father proudly rattled off protime numbers that could have been lottery winners, for all I knew... and the nursing and doctor staff were adequately impressed with him, which made everyone happy.

Since the door was open, we got a clear shot of people walking up and down the hallway. An immigrant was running a mopping sweeper machine, doctors and nurses were going to and fro... and then out of nowhere, there was a little guy in a motorized wheelchair who paused at the door and said Good Morning to us. We replied Good Morning back and he moved on... wearing his SECURITY ball cap and we began to hope and pray that no gang related shootings appeared in the ER forcing us on lock down with a crack security staffer such as that at our beck and call.

Dad's blood work looked pretty good, and so there was no reason to admit him, but the doctor felt like we needed to see a gastrointerologist to get further results, and so off I went again to pave the way to the new doctor's office. He asked Dad to put on the paper gown... which meant camera phone photo #3, performed the exam (minus the rectal... much to my father's happiness) and scheduled us for an endoscopy on Tuesday.

I can only imagine what memories will be made then. I will keep you posted!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Charred Retinas

How Britney Spears killed my vision

I admit it. I was suckered in by MTVs boast of Britney Spears’ comeback as she was slatted to open this year’s Video Music Awards Show. I figured the Execs at MTV had so much confidence of this comeback that it would be stellar. It would be off the charts! It would be so out-of-this-world it would demand its own moon man trophy for Best Opening Performance By An Almost Sober Single Mom of Two Kids Who Is In Desperate Need of Rehab And/Or Therapy.

Instead, it was lackluster.

And that is being kind.

Britney appeared with bed head and a not figure friendly stage costume and attempted to lip synch her way through her newest single “Gimme More”. The term “attempted” is key here, because she did indeed attempt. I think she was thrown off by her need to count the dance steps instead. Her dancers looked good though. Up until that time toward the end of the number where she fell back into their arms and it appeared as if they were going to lift her… but then thought better about it. That was a bad move and one that should get your favorite choreographer fired, as it looked as if Brit’s extra poundage was the deciding factor in the dancer’s decision not to lift her. Britney herself only moved her body enough to make its jiggly parts jiggle and make me peer at the television set through my fingers. I sat as a deer in the headlights and found I could not turn my head away. It was the classic train wreck scenario where you really don’t want to look, but cannot help but look.

I’m pretty sure that is how I will explain the Britney Spear’s image that is forever imbedded in my brain file entitled Moments I Wish I Had Never Seen Before to my optometrist. The next time they map my eye to check for diseases I fear they will find Britney in her two-piece studded ensemble fondling a male dancer in front of her.

I am hoping the first meeting of the MTV Execs this morning will include a written apology from their Executive Producer to the world… but I am not holding my breath.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friends with Lofty Aspirations

I had a really bad night last night. It was the second night in a row that I was awake at 4:00 a.m. I am not the type of person who enjoys waking up at 4:00 am, and I don’t usually think it is because the Lord had decided He needed to talk with me at that time of day. The Lord knows better than to talk to me at 4 am, because I’m grouchy in the mornings. He being both omnipotent and gracious, allows me to sleep in those early morning hours. For which I am ever grateful.

Night before last I woke up at 4 am because my digestive tract thought it would be a good idea. I did not agree… but woke up anyway for fear of the consequences of remaining abed with your stomach sends sharp messages to the brain that differ with your sleep patterns. I was not a happy girl.

I wasn’t any happier last night when I shot straight up out of the bed yelling, “Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow…” because apparently my sleep-induced brain believed that something had bitten me. I started looking through the bed sheets trying to find the culprit that accosted me, but there was nothing there. I looked at my upper thigh for a bite mark and found none. Somehow I believed that I was going to lose the use of my right leg and be paralyzed for the rest of my life. I am hoping I was in the midst of a dream. However, since I was awake I had to go to the bathroom. Sigh.

I searched for a bite mark again in the glaring bathroom light and found none. I hate my subconscious sometimes.

As I was apparently dreaming of sharp stinging bites on my body, my friend Req was dreaming about me too. Req and I used to work together and there are many people who think we are joined at the hip. Not so. But we let them think it anyway. Maybe they know something we don’t know because here we both are… subconsciously dreaming about things happening to me. Is it a sign? I’m not sure.

Req’s dream involved seeing a large freight plane from China crashing at the Nashville Airport. Where do I come into play? Apparently my old job as special event coordinator at TRBC qualifies me to head up the rescue team at the Nashville Airport in the event of an emergency. Since my younger brother works with TSA at the same airport, I think perhaps I will enjoy running about with a headset on and a clipboard and bossing him around. It has been a while since I’ve done that… but I like to make the most of all bossy situations that I can.

I’m waiting for Req to dream that I head up Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign next. I figure since I met him a few days after 9/11 and put a microphone on the man, I am highly qualified to run a national campaign.

Just give me a 3-ring five inch notebook and I’m good to go.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Viva Viagra?

Growing up as a teenage girl is never easy. I daresay there were days when I wished I were a boy... simply because I felt that girls were getting the short end of the stick when adolescence reared its ugly head.

I remember being HORRIFIED to know that sanitary products were going to play a major part in my life... at least every 28 days or so. I also remembered the first time I saw a television commercial for sanitary products and how mortified I was that one could be in the midst of determining who shot JR when out of nowhere, Tampax began boasting of their super absorbency.

Was nothing sacred?! Did the advertising executives have no couth whatsoever? Are these people INSANE?

Now that I am a mature woman, I realize that marketing and advertising is a lucrative field and one must go the extra mile to capture the mass public's attention. Super Bowl Sunday is not nearly so much about football anymore as it is about the 1.2 million dollar 30 second commercial for Bud Light, or Cadillac, or Coca-Cola. I have learned to embrace the marketing Einsteins who develop new and unique ways to entice me to purchase a particular product.

But I would love to meet the nimrods who developed the latest Viagra commercial.

Viagra is apparently such a wonderful product that men will gather together in an empty bar area and rewrite Elvis Presley tunes to sing its praises. Does anyone else find this unusual at the least and disturbing at best? Not that there is anything wrong with Viagra... I am sure there are millions of men who are overjoyed that such a drug exists.

But, do they really sit around and stare into each other's eyes and sing its praises? Do they grin at each other whilst strumming a guitar, thumping a bass, playing piano or drums and exclaim "Viva Viagra!" To the world?

I believe this is, by far, one of the worst television advertising campaigns I have ever seen. Does it make me want to rush out and purchase the product? No. Does it make me want to gather these men together and have them discuss their feelings with a trained counselor? Yes.

Perhaps their penance will be to watch 24 hours of nonstop Kotex commercials.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Do you ever wonder...

What sort of thoughts simply pop into your head when you least think about it? How long do you ponder said thoughts? If it is a flight of fancy, do you simply dispell the notion as quickly as it forms or do you take it to the Nth degree?

Apparently there are some paleontologists with a lot of time on their hands. Specifically when it comes to the velocity of long dead dinosaurs. But these ladies and gentlemen didn't simply ponder a thought and then dismiss it. No... they spent many hours pondering and probably many dollars to determine that a T-Rex could outrun David Beckham. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,294087,00.html

Wow. There's a no-brainer if I ever heard one.

I am certain that Mr. Beckham is horrified to know his prowess on the field of soccer battle could be easily quashed were he to find himself squaring off against an ancient species. I imagine if I were to bet money on a soccer match between bipeds of the human versus dinosaur type, I would simply place my money in the animal camp... as they will inevitably look upon their opponents as a food source. I imagine poor David has awakened in the dead of night bathed in a cold sweat and turned to Posh Spice in horror of being served up to those prehistoric carnivores, only to fall back upon his pillows with the knowledge that it was only a dream.

Quite an expensive dream those scientists have developed. Good to know their funding is well spent.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Another Milestone

Why is it that milestones make you immediately feel older? Why?

This morning, I went with my middle niece, Katy (or KAITLYN) to have her senior pictures shot. This invariably makes me an old person. This will be the second child of the next generation to go through this ritual. The second child whose diapers I changed, who threw up on me, whose boo-boos I kissed. Graduating. High School. I used to walk this child to get her to go to sleep.

She was the worst to get to sleep, by the way. Having arrived from the womb looking around for a party... she was never EVER one to fall asleep gracefully. No. She fought it. I am certain that my back problems started with the endless walking/bouncing/patting her rear that one does to get infants to sleep. I walked away from the temptation to slip her a little Jack Daniels in her evening bottle... but I was, indeed, tempted.

Katy realized the end of the summer was upon us... and also realized that she had not yet scheduled her senior pictures. So, schedule them she did for this morning. At 7:30 am. A. M.!!! Her friend Emily was going to be in her pictures, as well as big sister Kristin. We matched the perfect outfits with the perfect accessories and were ready to go.

My alarm went off at 5:15 a.m. I got out of the bed at 5:45 a.m. I had to be at the girls' house by 6:15 a.m. in order to oversee the extravaganza that would be Katy's photoshoot. Hair was done. Make-up was applied. Teeth were brushed. Deordorant was applied. We were off!

There is nothing quite so fun as putting three non-morning females in a car together. Two of them being sisters. Grumble, grumble, grumble, gripe. Fun times!

We arrived at our location at about 7:15 a.m. and were seen to immediately by the friendly staff at Michael's Photography in Smyrna. We got Katy's dressing room squared away first and by the time she had taken her formal drape and cap/gown photo, the studio had filled up with other eager seniors.

Katy's indoor photos where taken by a nice girl who played really good music in the background (Bruce Springsteen... nice) and then we hit the door for our outdoor shots. Dave was the name of our outdoor photographer and he was a very nice and likable fellow. He complimented Katy on her modeling ability (much to the chagrin of Emily, Kristin and I, who feared there would be no living with her after such accolades). We traveled the first outdoor session with some teen we'd never seen before, and found that Michael's boasts of at least five or six photographers... all roaming the same area... all taking pictures at the same time.

We headed down to a dock area where there was a man-made watering hole (too big for a creek, too small for a lake). The water was spring-fed, according to Dave, and made for a pretty nice backdrop. After those sets of photos were completed... we were on our way back to the house for a costume change.

A side note: The SHS cheerleaders were having their group photos done while we were there. It reminded me why I hate cheerleaders. Enough said.

Photo session number two was taken by some floral areas and back to the spring-fed watering hole... but a different location of said hole. We had picked up a surly teenage girl photog assistant, who had such an attitude, I really wanted to throw her in the water myself. She was constantly rolling her eyes at the comments the photographer made and complained about how long she had to hold the sun shield. HELLLOOOO... this is your JOOOOOBBBB.... I'm thinking she needs another line of work. Preferably nothing that requires her to have contact with the general public.

Side note number two: I was completely affirmed in the selection of both the shoes and the accessories for the brown polka dotted dress by a mother who was on the scene with her daughter. She fawned appropriately over Katy's ensemble and agreed that the shoes and the jewelry were just perfect.

I. Rock!

Katy posed with her feet in the water and posed on a swing and probably other assundry positions I can't recall and then it was back to the big house for the last costume change and to pick up Emily and Kristin (who decided it was too warm to traipse about the grounds watching Katy have her picture made).

We trekked back out to Ye Olde Watering Hole with Dave, Emily, Kristin, and Surly Girl the assistant. The girls sat on very uncomfortable rocks and Dave was kind enough to remove a rather large snakeskin that was in the area, regaling us with stories of the rather large snake that had been removed from the premises the day before. Surly Girl was quickly frightened and therefore surlier and my girls began darting looks back and forth between each other and looking into said watering hole for any snakes who were certainly scanning the area for lost family members.

Alas, none were found.

By the time we left the studio, the temperatures had begun to rise, and I found myself grateful that Katy had taken the earliest time frame for her shoot. Even a half hour later would have made a big difference with the heat.

Heat didn't use to bother me as much... then again... I am getting older by the day!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What's in a Word?

Pronunciation: 'min-y&n
Function: noun
1 : a servile dependent, follower, or underling
2 : one highly favored : IDOL
3 : a subordinate or petty official

I’ve spent the past couple of weeks pondering the word “minion”. It is not a word that one generally uses in everyday language; however, circumstances beyond my control have made this word appropriate.

Minions come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They range from powerful dictators (i.e. Hitler) to cartoon characters. I like to think positively for the most part… so I’d rather focus on cartoon/fictional minions.

Take Dr. Evil for instance. Here is a man whose neglected childhood led him to a life of debauchery and wastelessness… only finding his purpose by attempting to bribe the United States for one million dollars and stealing Austin Powers’ mojo. The minions who are in my circumstances right now are essentially following the Dr.-Evil-Plan-to-hold-hostage-that-which- we-hold-dear by holding clandestine meetings and attempting to overthrow the church. Darn those minions! Whatever will we do? Oh wait… we are not minions. We follow a higher calling. Not to worry.

Probably my favorite minion is The Brain. He is cute, cuddly and easily likeable. He is sarcastic and has a quick wit, which is probably why I like him so much. He has a faithful (and therefore blinded by the charisma of The Brain) sidekick who lives to do nothing more than follow along in his happy minion-ess ways. The Brain has a plan. The Brain intends to take over the world. The Brain is pondering what I am pondering… how to rid the church of other less-than-effective minions. Hmmm… I suppose I could call upon Acme Company for a guidebook (or a life-sized rubber band with which to catapult the minions from my presence… but Acme’s equipment has failed the Road Runner in the past, so I may need to rethink that course of action).

I think Webster’s definition is telling in and of the minions themselves. Minions are not the brightest bulbs in the box… they are followers. Their bread don’t rise… their dogs don’t bark… their elevators don’t reach the top floor. They have the ability (and some have the desire) to be weak-willed subjects of a charismatic leader. But a leader of minions is… well… still just a minion, isn’t he?

Petty. Underling. Idol. I think these terms apply to minions in general. They are full of self-righteousness that is cloaked in deception. This is a strong statement for me to make as I am not a perfect human and I have had occasion to fall into deception as well. There will be some who tell me that I am following along my church leader blindly... that I am a fool. I take issue with that. Instead, I am simply submitting to the authority the Lord has placed over me… and TRUSTING that authority (i.e. an omnipotent God who can see to His work without my dirty hands getting in the mix, thankyouverymuch) to do His work in His church. I know who has authority in my church body… and as importantly… I. Know. Who. Does. NOT.

Here’s a warning though… I think that when the minions attempt to attack the church… they had best be prepared. There is only one authority in the church and no minions will prevail against Him… no matter how many specially called meetings they attend nor how many signatures they get on a piece of paper.

Underlings. I like that word. I may start using it now.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I have apparently been TAGGED...

Mary tagged me to compile a list of 8 random things about myself. So, here you have it:

The rules:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

8 Random Facts about me

1. The very first concert I attended was an Elvis Presley concert. That’s right. The King of Rock and Roll (though I am told Chuck Berry takes issue with that statement) I saw Elvis just as he was beginning to put some weight on… but our seats were far enough away that I couldn’t really tell. I was a young girl… probably around 11 or 12 years old and I thought Elvis was THE MAN!!! I was old enough to think he was a hottie… while still being young enough to ask my parents why women were throwing their underwear onstage at him. I was appalled, I tell you… appalled! Why would anyone want to give up her perfectly nice cotton underwear (which had, no doubt, the day of the week embroidered in them) to a singer? I figured out what those women were doing as I got older, but I can honestly say that no musical artist has ever found himself in possession of my panties… or any other part of my lingerie.

2. My father insisted on a few things before I could get my driver’s license. First, I had to learn to drive a manual transmission (stick) before I could climb behind the wheel of a car with automatic transmission. I did pretty well my first time out. I was driving through our yard in my Dad’s 196? VW Bug. There was no power steering at the time. I was making my third pass when Dad started telling me to park the car and end my drive. I swung a little wide and was headed straight for one of the bushes in our yard. In my panic, I forgot which pedal was the brake and which was the clutch. I remembered just about halfway over the bush, when I came to a complete stop. My mother was not happy with me, as it was a newly planted bush that she had hoped would flower soon. I don’t remember if it ever did or not. The second thing I had to learn was how to change a flat and check the fluids. I am happy to admit that I can do those things… and am very grateful that there exists AAA so that I don’t have to.

3. I had a special relationship with both my grandmothers. Gran (Mom’s side) was a force to be reckoned with for the older generation. I learned this early on as Gran was ALWAYS home base! I knew if I were borderline getting in trouble she would stick up for me. I also knew that if I had already crossed the border and was in danger of a spanking that she would not let her daughter or son-in-law lay a finger on me. I am happy to say that I abused this privilege. I knew that as long as I could get to my Gran before the parents got to me… they would get a tongue-lashing whilst my Gran let me climb on her lap (the good hip side) and she would waggle her finger in their faces and tell them not to bother me anymore. Then… while they were fuming over the outrageousness that was Gran’s supreme authority, she would turn to me and tell me to come to her and let her know if they tried to punish me later in the day… and she would take care of them. My Grandmother (Dad’s side) was quite the opposite, but just as special. She had no problem with discipline (having spent her life as a teacher) and there was more than one time that I had to bring in my own “switch” for the spankings she meted out. But I never once thought she didn’t love me. After Granddaddy died, whenever we would visit, I would sleep in the room with her (twin beds) and she would tell and/or read bedtime stories. As I got older, we read chapters out of the Bible together. I always took a week in the summer and spent at her house, just the two of us. In the afternoons we would take walks around the quiet neighborhood and even down to the Ben Franklin Five & Dime, where I could usually buy a Nancy Drew book. We would come back to the house just as it was getting dark and I would catch lightning bugs and we’d sit under the two apple trees in the backyard. Life was much simpler then.

4. My first job was at Sears. I was 16 and my high school had just announced a trip to London, England for anyone who wanted to go. It was going to be $1,500. I wanted to go. I came home and announced this to my parents and my father laughed at me. $1,500 was a steep amount in the Bell home and the only way I was going was if I got a job and paid for it myself. So… the next day I came home from school, borrowed my mother’s car, drove to Hickory Hollow Mall (now known as Gangsta Central) and put in an application at all three major department stores. Sears called me back for an interview and after taking a test, they hired me. I was soooo excited! I came home and told Dad that I had a job now and I was going to put in for the trip to London. He stared at me like I had grown another head. “What are you talking about? Who said you could get a job?” Duh… you did! He didn’t think I would really do it, but I did and that spring I was jetting off to London, England with about 20 other students. That taught my Dad to be careful of what he challenged me with in the future.

5. I have a passion for horses, though I have never owned one. They are the most beautiful of animals as far as I am concerned. They are proud creatures and they have great charisma. I love them all… though not as fond of the miniatures as the larger breeds. Thoroughbreds are sooo graceful and I cried buckets when Barbaro was put down after a long journey of health issues. And yes… I followed that journey constantly. I took horse-riding lessons when I was in my early 30s and enjoyed it so much. I don’t have the opportunity to ride as much as I would like, but I have a friend with horses and I can visit him whenever I want.

6. As far as I am concerned, the Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I’ll fight that position with those naysayers who think it is just a big hole in the ground. I scoff at them. I stood amazed at the edge of the southern rim. I hiked the southern rim and I could have stayed there for days! Days! There is now a walkway that has a clear bottom that allows you to feel as if you are suspended over the canyon. I want to do that some day. I want to stand amazed again!

7. My parents led me to a saving knowledge of Jesus as my Savior. It was after a Wednesday night prayer meeting. I can be such a literal person and during the service, we sang the hymn “I Love to Tell the Story”. I came to a point of conviction with that song because my mother always told me never to tell “stories” (i.e. lies) and I was rather concerned for the souls of all our congregation as we BLATANTLY went against my mother’s dire warning. So, as we were driving home that night, I confronted both my parents about the sinful desires of the body of Christ who would “LOVE” to tell a “STORY”… a big no-no in our household. My mother gently explained the difference, which led her and my father to be able to share the gospel with me, and that evening I prayed to receive Christ. My parents have blessed me with many material things over the years… but nothing is more precious than this gift.

8. I hated my first kiss. Hated it. HATED it. I could not, for the LIFE of me, figure out why soooooo many people were sooooo into kissing. I was a sophomore in high school and the guy I kissed was a junior. (Okay… he was also a dweeb… but he was a junior and I was trying to play my cards right to get a date for Homecoming. After the kiss I learned he was not just a dweeb… but went to a church where dancing was evil and he would not take me to the dance. We broke up the next day) Anyway, the kiss was awful. He was at our house and we were watching TV in the den. Mom had popped popcorn for us (the old fashioned way, because we didn’t have a microwave yet) and the kissing was soooo bad, that I used my hunger for popcorn to keep from having to do it over and over again… which is what my date wanted to do. It was soooo bad that the next guy I dated was ready to kiss me and I tried to talk him out of it. I told him I had tried the kissing thing, but it just was not something I enjoyed or wanted to do again. He promised me that if I let him kiss me, he could change my mind about kissing in general. I was very skeptical, but then he kissed me. He was right.

Kristin, Requelle, John, Kaylie, Katy, Allison, Missy and Mike

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bell Family Vacation - part one!

Yes... I know it has been awhile. So sorry. I did not have internet access whilst I was lounging on the beach. (sigh) I wish I were still there. But alas, my pirate did not locate me and sweep me off my feet to his 85 foot yacht. I did not stand on the bow and wave goodbye to the cruel world of the work force. No. I returned to work like the good girl I am.

The Bell family arrived at various times through the weekend to the beach. I left town on Friday, so I could visit with the Dean family for a few days before hooking up with my blood relatives. My car was LOADED down too! You see... the parental units were taking their van but also had a sister-in-law and teenage niece in tow. This meant six pieces of luggage in their minivan. SIX!!! Apparently Allison is following in Kristin's footsteps and must pack every item of clothing she owns. So I had to drop the back seat of my car to carry my luggage, my parents' luggage, enough snack food to feed the Bell Army and games and prizes galore! (more about that later)

The Mom and Dad left with the Sisinlaw and Niece at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. The baby brother and his brood didn't leave until after lunch on Saturday... because they were not as prepared as I and had to get oil changes, tires rotated, new tire because of a nail, etc. before they could hit the road to fun and frivolity.

Due to circumstances beyond my control (the death of BFF Mary's grandmother) I was a little late getting out of dodge myself... which meant I hit Friday afternoon rush hour in Birmingham. It is not as bad as Nashville traffic... but I was still stuck for over an hour. Not fun. I didn't get to the Dean house before 11:30pm, but the early birds were kind enough to have waited up for me.We had a wonderfully relaxing time there on Saturday. The Deans are in great form... my childrens are all growing so tall and are looking less and less like childrens all the time. But they still like to snuggle on the couch and that is just fine by me!

The newest member of the family... Corban... is quite his own little man. He is well loved (of course) and has many helpers in the house when he has a need. I told C&A that he really has his own style, look, etc., which is amazing since you would think he'd resemble at least ONE of his siblings. Alas... he's just another handsome Dean young'un.

We grilled out by the pool on Saturday and really just lounged about. Watched "Night at the Museum" and got to bed early so as to wake up early for church the next morning. Church at Rocky Bayou is wonderful. A great worship leader (yes, I'm biased there) and a strong pastor. I loved it.

Of course, my worship leader friend asked if I wanted to sing with the choir... told me I would know the songs... and I figured that it would be simple to do, if I rehearsed it once before the service. We did run both of the choir numbers... and I was confident that with the words provided on the big screen at the back of the church, I would do fine.

We march out like good little worship leaders and I look up to see announcements running on the big screen at the back of the auditorium. Carey gets up to start the call to worship and the screen goes black. The production manager that is dormant in me wanted to run up and find out what the problem was. I looked at the other choir members to see if they were as panic-stricken as I. Everyone appeared to be very calm. Everyone but me.

Realization slowly dawned on me... they don't have words to their choir songs on the back of the auditorium. I am about to sing down the rafters by repeating "watermelon, watermelon" for the next three minutes. Thankfully it was not that difficult and I made my way through the call to worship making mental notes to smack my worship leader friend at my earliest convenience for "forgetting" to mention this minor detail.

We had a lovely lunch at the Dean homestead (Amy wins best friend award for grilling a piece of chicken for my lunch, since I am not eating red meat and she had a roast on the table) and at 2:00pm, I received a call from Katy Bell asking me when I was going to arrive at the beach, as they were all anxiously awaiting my appearance.

I said cheerful goodbyes to the Deans and began my trek to PCBeach...

... to be continued...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Get Ready Florida...

Here come the Bells!!!

Yes, dear friends, the Bell family is descending en masse to the Sunshine State in just a couple of days.

The.Entire.Bell.Family. Except for my eldest of brothers, who has to stay here and work. For which I am very sad. Because I wanted him to be there too.

What does this mean for you, dear readers? Most likely it means daily blog listings about the joys of living with ten people in a four bedroom/three bath condo on the beach. Because there is nothing that will bring a family closer together than having to share that little amount of space with that great amount of people.

It is not like it was the last time we made this family trek. Kristin, Katy & Allison were barely out of toddler stage. Joey was not even on the horizon. Now the girls are 19, 17 and 17 respectively and Joey just turned 12.

So part of the TEN consists of three teen girls. I took two teen girls to FLA last year after graduation and couldn't see out my back window for all the luggage. I drive an SUV. These girls do NOT pack light.

Which is amazing, when you see the size of their bathing suits.

So get ready... the blogging will most likely begin either Sunday night or sometime Monday.

Working on my tan...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gentle Basic Step

So... I went back to the YMCA for my first exercise class since the surgery. I started going back to the Y last week just to begin using the treadmill and getting back to some sort of exercise post-surgery. While I was there, I saw the summer schedule and I scanned the classes to see if there was anything that would be fun without death involved. There is a class that meets on Tuesday nights at 7:30 that was called Gentle Basic Step. I thought this was an encouraging class. The two significant words being "Gentle" and "Basic".

So last night I went to watch the girls play softball and after the first game I head to the Y. I arrived a little earlier than the class starts, so I walked the track as a warm-up. I enter the workout room and select the lowest of the steps (not being an idiot and thinking I could do anything higher) and placed myself in the center of the room hoping to just blend in.

The "basic" part of this class is pretty accurate. There were no step sequences that were too complicated and I wasn't trying to mambo my way out the door. However... GENTLE may be a bit misleading. Knowing this was only a 30 minute class, I was fairly confident that I would be able to make it to the end without fear of collapsing. However, the first time I looked at my watch thinking that I was near the end of the class, we were actually only ten minutes into it.

Ten minutes. I had 20 minutes left and I was looking for the oxygen masks to fall from the ceiling. I then remembered that I was not on a plane. Nor was I dreaming. And I apparently was there on a volunteer basis. I know this because I looked around for the man who had the pistol to my head, and he was nowhere to be found.

I did make it through the entire 30 minutes. I only had to rest once and I considered that a great feat since this was my first real exertion since the Best.Surgeon.Ever. removed an internal organ. I am also excited about the loss of some 20 pounds since the surgery and the fact that I can wear clothes that have not been on my body in over a year.

We'll see if I make a return visit next week.

Monday, June 11, 2007


There is just something fabulous about a girl beating out all the boys. It is, undoubtedly, my pride speaking... but it is wonderful nonetheless. I enjoyed being on the winning tug-of-war team in elementary school and was smart enough not to face those same boys after they had reached puberty and could beat me. A girl's gotta use her brains to win too!

There was one special girl that went up against the guys over the weekend... and beat them all. I'm talking about the 139th running of the Belmont Stakes. The final jewel in the Triple Crown. Even though I was heart broken that Street Sense lost to Curlin in the Preakness, I was very excited to find a filly in the mix at the Belmont Stakes. (Street Sense, by the way, decided to take a break and prepare for the fall racing season, so he was not there to face Curlin again)

So, my eyes were drawn, naturally, to the one girl in the ranks of these powerful stallions. And I wanted her to win. Rags to Riches is her name and she's a pretty filly. She kept her head throughout the race. She stayed with those boys in this longest of the three races, and she didn't even appear to be sweating too much. Or should I say glistening? I am from the south. She stayed to the outside of the big boys so she wouldn't get her pretty face flecked with mud and when it came time to turn on the charm, that is exactly what this girl did.

She went neck and neck with Curlin, the favored horse, and in the end I have a feeling she just took a look to her left and snorted at him... while flicking her tail in triumph! She is the first filly to win since 1905. Her brother Jazil won this race last year and her father won the race back in the 80s. Racing is in her blood and she went down in the history books for her effort.

That's the way to show those boys!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Awww Maaannnn...

I can now officially whine for another year. As if I really ever need an official reason to whine. But I at least can pull this as a reason for whining, if anyone asks.

My horse lost the Preakness Stakes. Yes... I thought Street Sense was going to win. Yes, I was screaming at the top of my lungs and bouncing up and down in front of my large screen TV. Yes, my horse lost by a nose.


By. A. Nose.

No Triple Crown winner again. Sigh.

Now, I just sit back and wait for the new basketball coach at Kentucky to do his thing.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

One Down and Two to Go

My friends know not to plan a cookout, birthday bash for anyone, or generally to ask me to leave the confines of my home... and my 51 inch HDTV on the first Saturday in May. Why?

The Run for the Roses.

On the first Saturday in May, the Kentucky Derby does its best to live up to its tradition of being the most exciting two minutes in sports! This year it did not fail.

With a field of 20 horses, many of whom had the talent to pull off this great feat... the world sat on the edge of their respective seats and waited for the bugles to blare, the drunken crowd to sing "My Old Kentucky Home" and ponder just what Larry Birkhead may be up to in the midst of all the hoopla.

The Queen was in attendance as well. I wonder if she sang the familiar refrain? She may not have known the melody... but once she has experienced it live and in person, I daresay, she's wondering why it has taken her this long to arrive and witness the extravaganza! I wonder if Larry Birkhead spoke to the Queen and asked for advice in raising a child.

The morning favorite was a spunky Curlin, but I wouldn't have put money on him. Not that he isn't a fine horse... he finished third... but he had only raced three times and in none of those races, were there 19 other horses competing for the finish line. I wonder if the bell clanged, the gates opened, Curlin hit the field and thought "who the heck are all these guys?"

Street Sense didn't appear to be worried. He and his more-than-capable jockey hung back in the pack for much of the first part of the race. They let everyone push and bump each other and Calvin edged Street Sense over towards the rail... a spot well-favored by both the horse and jockey... and waited for the Red Sea of Horseflesh to part.

And part it did.

Calvin motored Street Sense through the pack like James Bond would drive his Asti Martin through snow-covered Alps. Gracefully and with a sure hand. And then... rider nor horse ever looked back.

Street Sense must have had an idea he had won by the exuberance of Calvin, who pumped his fists in the air and threw the crowd a smile bright enough to be seen in Dubai.

As the most exciting two minutes in sports came to a close, America found a new favorite horse and embraced a jockey with a thirst for life and the Triple Crown. Onward and upward Street Sense!

One down and two to go!!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Was that a gall bladder, or a Toyota?

I just got the bill for my surgery/hospital stay the other day. Wow. I mean it. Wow! I could have purchased a car for the amount of money it took for the Best Surgeon Ever to have spent a couple of hours removing a little used organ from my body. Laproscopically. He didn't hardly have to cut into me.

For which I am eternally grateful.

But sheesh... $20K so far, and that is only the beginning. I have not received the bill from the Best Surgeon Ever. Or the Best Anesthesiologist Ever.

But I can tell you they think a lot about their sterile supplies there at the hospital. If I had know they were going to cost that much, I would have stopped by Walgreen's on my way in and picked up a few things... and then asked for a discount.

Alas... I am in the wrong business.

And I have been to see the Best Surgeon Ever for my post-op follow-up appointment. This really only consisted of me sitting in a waiting room for an hour and having my blood pressure and temperature taken by the nurse.

I saw the Best Surgeon Ever for only a few minutes. Maybe seven total... but he is a busy man, being the Best Surgeon Ever. He looked at my incisions and said they looked fine. He asked me if I ever went to a tanning bed and I said no. Then he asked if I ever lay out in the sun... and I almost laughed at him beause even if I did... I don't expose this flab to the sunlight. I told him I am going to Florida in June, and he warned me to keep my incisions covered if I am going to spend much time in the sunlight, or they will turn purple.

We don't want that. So I will be careful.

Then he told me that I should wait another week to do strenuous exercises... but I could start swimming if I want to. I can also eat anything I want. Anything. I want.

That's only one of the reasons he is the Best Surgeon Ever.

He told me to call if there was a problem. I asked if these little bandages would come off on their own, and he assured me they would in a couple more weeks. Which means I probably should not have peeled the first three off on my own. Oh well. Live and learn.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Congratulations Miss Bell!!...

It's a gall bladder!!!

Yep! I have safely labored and delivered a six pound gall bladder! Much to the amazement of myself and my family, friends, and a few doctors!

It all started last Wednesday morning at 4:00 a.m. when I woke up feeling unwell. I wasn't particularly sick... I just hurt. I could not get comfortable to save my life. I attributed it to a pulled muscle, because my back was hurting so much and I've been a good girl lately and have been faithful to go to the YMCA! I just KNEW that was the problem.

I got in my car to go to work and never made it to the interstate. The pain was pretty intense. So, I got back home and lay down on a heating pad hoping for some relief. None. Nada. PAIN. At 10 a.m. it was time to see Dr. Brad... my fix-it doc!

I drove myself to Brad's office in Brentwood and wanted to die. Driving, it seems, was more painful than lying about in pain. When he saw me I told him I thought I had really outdone myself at the gym and he said he really didn't think I had. (Does Brad know me that well? Or did I just look that bad?) Anyway, he had me lay on the table and he started poking and prodding around (like doctors are want to do) when all of a sudden he hit a really tender spot.

"Hey... hey.., hey... that's tender right there. You should stop doing that now."


"No really. Tender. Stop now."

"That's your gall bladder"

"That's not at all what I want you to say"

"Still... it could be something else, but all your symptoms say gall bladder."

"Can we change my symptoms?"

"I don't think so"

Still... because Brad knows what a chicken I am (no needles... no hospitals... please) he gave me a prescription for something and then told me that I needed to go THAT AFTERNOON for an ultrasound if the pain did not lessen at all.

It didn't.

At 4:oo pm (12 hours after the beginning of my little drama) I was headed to the ER at our new and fancy hospital here in Smyrna (which I will go to again... because it is verra, verrra nice)

The ER doc was a fun guy and he poked and prodded on me too. However, his poking was not as severe as Brad's and so when he asked about pain, it wasn't as bad. So... he didn't think it was my gall bladder, since I hadn't been throwing up and I wasn't screaming in pain. He told me we would run tests and rule out all possibilities.

That's when the nurse arrived. Yep. Time for the IV.

"Do I really have to have an IV?"

"It really helps us to give you medicine"

"Can't I take a pill?"

"The medicine will work faster through an IV"

"I'm a big chicken. Don't you hear the clucking sounds"

"I wondered what that was" (still preparing her miles of tubing)

"I hate needles. I really do"

"Let me see your arm... GIRL! If I can't hit that vein, I should hang up my stethoscope right now"

In goes the IV with little to no pain. THEN... in goes the shot of demerol... and now the hospital people are my BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!

"Do whatever you people want to do to me... I just don't care"

A trip to the x-rays came and went and then I went for the ultrasound at about 8:00pm. That lady was nice too... until she got to the area of my gall bladder, which was very painful. I should have kept that to myself, though, because when I told her it hurt, she took more pictures at that point. Sheesh.

Back to my little exam room I go... and about 30 minutes later my ER doc comes in and says "Boy, was I wrong! You have one of the ugliest gall bladders I have ever seen". I bet he tells that to all the girls! We could let you go, but I think you should just go ahead and be admitted and let us take that out. It is really ugly. So... I get another shot of demoral (Thanks new nurse) and sign a bunch of papers and off to room 311 I go.

It is probably close to 11pm by the time I get there and my floor nurse is THE BEST EVER... because she is nice and she gets me a demoral pump! Pain meds all the time now! Whoo Hoo! As I am drifting in and out of pain free sleep I wake up to see an unusal face staring down at me. This was about 12:45 a.m.

"Hello there. Can I help you?"

"I'm Dr. Larsen. I'll be your surgeon. How are you feeling?"

"Fine. Just fine. Pull up a seat and let's have a chat."

"Is this your mother over here?"

"Hmm? Oh yeah. Mom... meet the doc. He's the surgeon"

My mother already knew that because she was probably awake before I was. (Mom would not leave my side, by the way. She's a great mom)

"So... you're having a gall bladder problem?"

"That's what they tell me"

"Tell me what happened." And so I fill him in on my details, including my misdiagnosis of a pulled muscle and my recent trips to the Y, and he nods a lot and stares at me, and I wonder if I have a booger or something and then he asks me what I do for a living.

"I work for an attorney."

Silence. I mean, you could hear crickets. I think surgeons hate those of us to work in the legal field. But he recovered pretty well when I told him I didn't know anything about medical malpractice, but that I was certain that my boss did. He laughed nervously and then proceeded to draw a picture of the digestive tract and included the gall bladder and explained the procedure. He was a really funny guy. He has a dry sense of humor that connected with me right off! He gave me the option of treating this by drugs and going home, but he told me that I would just end up back here... and since he already knew I worked for an attorney, I figured I would keep him instead of having to break in another surgeon. So... they were going to fit me into the surgical rotation for the next day and it would be mid-day before my surgery started... and they would let me know as it got closer. Dr. Larsen left... I hit my "happy" button and went back to sleep.

To be awakened at 4:00 so the nurse could take blood and be told I was two points off on my potassium levels, so I would get potassium with lidocaine through an IV. Ok. Whatever.

I met the anesthesiologist about 10:30 who had a bunch of questions to ask and wanted my signature on a consent form. I had to look over a list of "possibilities" whilst I was "under".

"I'd like you to keep away from esophagial laceration, if you don't mind"

"That shouldn't be a problem."

"Also Death. Stay away from death, please."


"But most importantly... even more than death... this one here about waking up while the procedure is occurring... please don't let that happen."

"Not to worry. Just sign here."

"You do know I work for an attorney, right?"

So, at 11:30 they come and take me away... much to my mother's chagrin... but she's holding on while I am there. She doesn't want me to know how scared she is... and I get wheeled down to the surgical area where I meet anesthiesiologist number two and a surgical nurse.

"Do I have to be catheterized?"

"Yes hon, I'm afraid so. But I won't do it until you are under and I will remove it before we wake you up. You won't ever know it."

They explain they will give me something in the IV and then put a mask over my face and tell me to breathe and I will go right now. "You guys know I work for an attorney, right?"

My surgeon walks up. He's a hoot. He asks how I'm feeling and I told him I was fine.

"But I forgot to bring that picture you drew for me last night. You do remember where my gall bladder is, right?"

Without breaking a smile... "I thought I would just go over to this computer and google it and see what I find out. I figure if anything goes wrong, I'll just hit the reset button"

"Don't forget Control-Alternate-Delete if things go really bad" He laughs... they wheel me to another room... I see a blue mask and then NOTHING ELSE. I don't remember them moving me to a surgical table... I don't hear nothing and I don't see nothing and I like it that way.

The next thing I know, I am in recovery and life is fine. No pain and people keep asking me the same questions... what is my name, date of birth.... why am I here? You'd think they would be able to tell this from my arm bands, but no... they keep asking.

And then I am back in room 311 with my family and my friend Melissa Leaver, who has brought me 15 different types of ChapStick...because she is a real friend... and the rest of my day/night blurs into moments of consciousness/unconsciousness as I hit my happy button... wake myself up snoring... and make my first trip to the potty.

Of course... having not known I was going to be operated on... I had on my fancy panties. Purple with bright red hearts and wings and words that say "Wild at Heart" or something stupid like that. I can only imagine the surgical team's words when they took those off me. I know they took them off me, because a nurse brought them back to me.

Only after they tried to give them to a 70 year old woman who was still in the recovery room after I'd left. She swore they were not hers. I am grateful they made their way home to me.

Now, it is just about the recovery. My boss says he will see me in six weeks. I will lose my mind if it takes that long. I am hoping for a couple of weeks. Saturday was a really good day, and I stayed out of bed for the most part.

Sunday was a set back and I spent the day in bed. I am trying to be a little more careful now.... so it is back off to bed I go!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hey... nifty hair net!

Only a true friend would restrain herself from taking a quick photo of another friend while she was doped up on pain meds and being prepped for surgery.

I. Am. A. True. Friend.

I wanted so badly to photograph my friend Requelle earlier this week as she was preparing for outpatient knee surgery. But I restrained myself. Yes, I did. I'm not sure why I felt the need to restrain... perhaps it was the early morning hours and my lack of focus.

I typically wake up early now... but usually just in time to jump in the shower, throw on some clothes and make it in to work. NEVER to drive through early morning Nashville traffic on my way DOWNTOWN to a surgical center. There should not be traffic at 5:00 AM... but alas, we live in Nashville, so of course some bonehead had an accident and made me late. I would not be thwarted however, because again... I am a friend, right?

Maybe I restrained myself because I was fearful of the rather large, bearded, sweat-shirted man sitting to our right. He was apparently semi-famous (as many people in Nashville are) because a nurse spoke to him later that morning, shook his hand, and they talked about music and how she had seem him perform at (fill in the blank--------). Music City USA... go figure.

Perhaps I restrained myself because I fear that one day the tables will be turned and I expect my friend to show me the same sort of respect. Hmm. That must be it. I am typically well motivated by thoughts of fear.

But, restrain myself I did. I didn't even bring in a bottle of water or go across the street where the "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign at the Krispy Kreme was shining for all the masses to see. I wanted the Krispy Kremes sooooo badly... but what sort of torture would that be since Req couldn't eat anything past 8pm the night before. I am cruel on occasion, but that would have just been hateful. The sugar high would have to wait!

We enjoyed our early morning conclave with Suz (The Winner of the "WHERE IS REQ STAYING CONTEST"... I'm not bitter) and Sam, our prayer guru whilst sitting in the waiting room and awaiting the call to start our engines! A nurse with a very, very bad hairdo (think Swiffer dust mop) called Req to sign papers swearing upon a blood oath that no matter what should happen to her on the surgery table, she would be responsible for paying the $13,000 surgery center bill. Wow. That's a stinkin' big amount of money for hanging out in a building for three hours. Maybe I should rent a room out at that cost. If I jack up the prices enough, maybe J.Lo will want to hang at my crib!

Maybe not. (Blind poodle not included in price of stay)

But for that kind of money, you'd hope the coffee would at least be drinkable... and not so much like dark water.

They took Req back through the swooshing door at about 7am and the conclave just continued to move along with Sam the Prayer Man, Suz the Winner and I (still not bitter) until they let us make our way to visit by her bedside. Req was a lovely vision in a pale surgical gown that was offset by the word "yes" on her right knee and the word "no" on her left.

For $13,000 you only get printed words. I bet cursive words would have run into the $18-$20K range.

Req was wearing un-color coordinated arm bands that gave us her name, rank and serial number, and let us know that she is allergic to apples, pears and plums. How is that possible? Three members of an entire food group shot down the proverbial garbage disposal of life. So sad.

Req's final surgical accessory was a lovely blue hair net. It was not the appropriate Kentucky blue color, but closer to a North Carolina blue. I would have refused that color... but that's just me. This is where my restraint REALLY showed itself. I felt my hand creeping into my purse to wrap around my camera phone... but then I chose the high road... again for fear that it may one day be me with the surgical gown on. Sam the prayer man led us in prayer over our girl and then we left her in the capable hands of Dr. Rosen.

Whose hands apparently are not only capable... but fast. No! Not like THAT! He was just quick on the draw and about 35 minutes later was telling us how well everything went and that we'd be seeing her in a few minutes. Suz the Winner couldn't even drink her entire soft drink before we were heading back to see a bandaged and awake Req smiling up at us... hair net in hand.

Req's biggest complaint? She didn't get to count backwards or quote scripture before she was out like a light. For $13K you'd like to think she could at least get "Jesus wept" out before she was under the knife, but no...

Req has done remarkably well. She was actually up and walking to the bathroom before we left the surgical center and made a couple more potty trips before I left the Grand Champion Rushing home... where she has elected to stay. She'll be heading to PT tomorrow and hopes to be back to work next week.

So... for 13 grand, you get a couple of small incisions, your knee scraped and proded, home healthcare from Suz the Winner and a lovely blue hair net (which I made sure to tuck away for Req to keep as a memento)

But you can't shower for three days. Now I'm thinking maybe I'm the winner after all!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen... Zach Johnson!!!

What I know about the sport of golf, one can fit into a thimble. Really. I only understand what a par is because I do okay at miniature golf. As far as I know, a birdie is a fowl that flies on air currents or that spongy badmitton thing I miss every time I play badmitton. An eagle is our treasured national emblem and a boogey is a term I learned from all those wonderful "Top Gun" moments.

Zach Johnson, however, knows all of these terms and his knowledge of them... along with his prowess at the game itself... has earned him a Master's Tournament Championship and a lovely green jacket. Some guy named Phil gave it to him. That was nice of Phil.

My youngest brother is appalled that I don't know who "Phil" is... but that is neither here nor there.

As far as I am concerned, there is not a finer man who could have taken home this jacket other than Zach Johnson on Easter Sunday. He is a man of faith... and I don't know that just because of his post-game statements, but because he and his lovely wife are faithful givers to a ministry that is near and dear to my heart. (www.brentgambrell.com) I am sure that others on the PGA tournament give generously, but when you have been touched by a specific person... you tend to applaud just a little louder and call all your friends to tell them to watch a golf tournament and pray over this young man who looks a lot like Joaquin Phoenix... if you tilt your head in the right direction.
I have never watched a golf tournament in my life. Ever. My friend Requelle was trying to explain certain things to me over the phone... like birds and bees... no wait... boogeys and the boogie-man?... Well, she was getting a kick out of the fact that I was actually getting excited about a golf tournament.

Me. Excited. About golf. I know... it is not like me. There were no linebackers or centers or forwards in this game. There is no physical contact... no tackling or knock-outs. It is generally a group of fairly casually dressed men walking across the grass.

Walking. Across grass. And hitting a little ball with a stick. Into a hole. By a flag. In the grass.

I'd love to see the game changed up where you actually have to defend the hole. Maybe while wearing goggles and flippers.

Or Speedos. You can't go wrong with Speedos.

Okay, actually you can go very wrong with Speedos... but wouldn't that make the award ceremony a little more exciting? Instead of a jacket... you'd get green Speedos. Now that's something for the Masters people to think about in the future.
I am seeing the game of golf in a whole new light now!
Congratulations to Zach!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Perhaps it's a draw

Well... the saga continues, but at least the Bells aren't so ignorant that we cannot understand a modern piece of equipment (my father's inability to turn on the big screen TV notwithstanding).

The problem with our air conditioning system is not the new fangled digital thermostat, but the air conditioning unit itself. It being old as dirt with a freon leak and some sort of coil thing that should be replaced, but it is so old, they don't even know if it is made anymore. But not to worry... for only $3500, we can own a brand new unit and not worry about that silly coil.

And eat Ramen noodles for the entire summer. Hmm... what to do?

Well... the freon has been replaced, and according to the serviceman, may very well last us throughout the hottest months of the year. So, we'll play it by ear and save our pennies and eat Ramen noodles. They aren't so bad.

Of course, right now they would be frozen as the older generation are freezing me out of the house. Good thing I kept the electric blanket on my bed!

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Bells v. The Theromostat... who will win?

Well... it is springtime in middle Tennessee. That means sneezing, sniffling, headaches, pollen covering your car and time for the air conditioner to be turned on.

You will remember that we had a new heating/air system installed during the coldest part of the winter due to a slight case of carbon monoxide gas filling the air... and to my mother's chagrin, a new fangled thermostat.

We are working with a digital thermostat now, which only aggravates my parental units, who cannot understand why things should change after some 40 years of technology. The more interesting occurrence is just beginning as on Saturday, the house was too hot for my mother and just fine for my father and myself. The Mom marched her way to the thermostat and began the inevitable punching of buttons to throw the system into disarray.

I was in the shower when the button-punching extravaganza began. I walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around me only to walk straight into my mother, who apparently had given up on the button-punching operation and stood, hands-on-hips, impatiently waiting for my grooming/hygiene escapade to end. She was none too happy that she had to wait. I know because of the aggravated look on her face and the fact that she had thrust into my hands the small brochure with instructions on how to use the new digital thermostat.

"Fix it," she gritted at me and walked away. She apparently believes that I have a Master's degree in electronic engineering or a technical degree in air conditioning systems, instead of an Associate's degree in office management. Funny. Yeah. Funny.

After donning some clothing, I made my way to the digital appliance that is set to end my parent's 50+ years of marriage and found that the heat was on. The thermostat was set to 70, but the reading was showing 78 degrees in the house. I read the booklet and changed the setting to "cool" and sure enough within a few minutes the air kicked on, and within about an hour, the temperature was down to 75, and it continued to descend through the night.

The next day we had the same heating issue arise... and therefore we think there really may be a problem with the new fangled hellish thermostat. The install company is coming by even as we speak to check out the problem. Fun times.

I can only imagine the arguments that will erupt over things like the temperature settings once my mother actually retires. There are nothing but good times ahead!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Movie Review: 300

Go see this film. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200... unless it will assist in paying for said movie and the outrageously priced snacks that go hand-in-hand with a theatrical experience. The reasons to see it are many... here are a few:

1. Gerard Butler. A fine actor (in both talent and, let's face it... looks) Does a superb job playing the lead as King Leonidas in this film. His portrayal is strong and you get over the fact that he is a Scotsman leading a group of Greeks very quickly. He does not attempt to hide his brogue, and we are better off for it. His character is fierce and courageous and his performance is both fierce and courageous as well.

2. Graphically pleasing. This film is based on the graphic novel (please don't call it a comic book, those graphic novel lovers will turn on you!) of the same name. I scanned through the novel at a local bookstore and the film stays true to its origins. The film is shot in an almost "sepia" color that brings incredible texture to the project. I worried that it would be too grainy or that it would wash everything out and make it boring to watch... nothing could be further from the truth. It added an aged feel to it that was beautiful in its simplicity.

3. Gerard Butler. Oh wait. I think I have mentioned him already. Wow. What a powerful performance. Did I mention that? If I haven't... let me mention it now. Amay---zing.

4. Action! Action! Action! This film never stops. Truly. There are usually moments in a film where you could do without a scene or three. That really isn't the case here. The story starts strong, ends strong, and there is really no time or desire for a potty break in the middle. The script is strong, the acting is strong on ALL accounts (not just Butler's) and the fighting sequences are gruesome and glorious. Oops... I illiterated, and I hate doing that! If you do not have the stomach for blood and guts, you will want to bypass this film, because there are plenty of severed limbs strewn about once the fighting begins. If you don't enjoy hideous-looking creatures, you may have to turn your head a few times, but that will soon pass and the blood and guts fighting will take over.

Even the fighting is filmed with a strong sense of beauty. They have taken battle moves and turned them into an exotic dance. Knowing that these actors worked before a green/blue screen for most of the film (if not all) exhibits another strength from this talented cast. They embrace the surroundings they could not see while filming and you believe without doubt that you are standing amongst the Spartans.
Go. Enjoy. It is worth the full price of the ticket... it is even worth the additional price of an IMAX experience.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Run for the Border!!!

Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door

Get ready all ye tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free! If you have not mastered the English language, you will want to steer clear of the maternal unit which gave life to me!

But why, you ask? Your mother is the very essence of maternal instincts, you say. She has longevity! She has stamina! She has wisdom beyond her years and courage and fortitude! She has been the organist in Baptist churches across the world! She has kicked butt and taken names. She can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan! She is WOman...

However, Mom has very little tolerance for those who live in our country and don't speak the language. Case in point occurred last week when a man not of American descent, and not speaking our language, caused a car accident in which he damaged the first brand-new car my mother has ever owned. The car is not a year old yet.

The man did not have insurance.

The man did not speak English. My mother was not impressed.

The man found a boy to translate to my mother, and tried to get her to move the cars. Mom, an employee of an insurance company... and not a fool... refused to move said vehicles until the police arrived and could determine that our Mexican neighbor was at fault for the accident... he having pulled in front of her vehicle, making a left turn into a parking lot.

My brothers made it to the accident scene before I did, to offer comfort, support, and no doubt, sarcastic wit... because that is what we Bell children are known for... and I arrived to find a bilingual police officer had arrived to fill out the police report and give numerous traffic violation citations to our new south-of-the-border friend... who, my mother is convinced, will return to Mexico before he pays one dime toward the damage to her vehicle.

Thank goodness for uninsured motorist coverage. Don't leave home without it.

The Mom was a little shaken up, but none the worse for wear. Working for an attorney, I advised my mother that we should at least take her to the emergency room... or perhaps a chiropractor... so that she could get some spending money for her upcoming vacation. She refused. She is like George Washington and she cannot tell a lie.

Much to the shock and horror of my brothers when the police officer asked my mother if she were wearing her seatbelt and she steadfastly said no. He didn't give her a ticket because she is so honest. He wouldn't have thought twice about giving anyone else a ticket... but I think my mother may have the Vulcan mind meld thing down and was able to work her mojo on the policeman and walk away unscathed.

Without even a warning from the man. Hmm.

I followed the Mom home because she was a little shaky. I took digital pictures of the damage with my camera so we would have them for the insurance company if they needed it. I encouraged my mother once again to go to the doctor and she once again refused. She promised she was not feeling stiff or sore... even though the next day and pretty significant bruise appeared on her forehead. She swears that she is just fine.

I didn't expect any less.

But I did offer to bring home Mexican food for dinner. Mom was not impressed... apparently having no intention of running for the border anytime soon!