Happy Armistice Day

Part of my blog tradition-a military poem.  This one is by Kipling.  Not the world's greatest poet, in my opinion, and yet when he writes about military subjects, it always strikes a chord with me.  Interesting how problems seen in 1890 are similar to problems seen decades later in another land.

by Rudyard Kipling, 1890

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
    O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
    But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
    But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
    The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
    O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
    Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
    But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
    While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
    But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
    There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
    O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
    But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
    An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
    An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!


Best Wall Street picture I have seen lately

Sorry for the disturbing lack of posts.  A bunch of stuff has happened lately (more on that in other posts).  I got this from my kind spirited and always forgiving mother.  Her sympathy for those troubled CEO's on Wall Street knows no limits.


Fun with gallstones

... or how not to enjoy a business trip.

One morning, about two weeks ago, I woke up in a hotel room with incredible abdominal pain (or at least more than I had ever experienced).  No, I didn't wake up in a tub of ice missing a kidney.  It was about 0230 and I thought my appendix had burst.  I called the front desk to see if they had a doctor or paramedic in the hotel, but of course, that only exists in movies or on TV.  I was told the nearest hospital was more than 20 minutes of driving.  I did not think I could make that drive in my condition, so I opted for the ambulance ride.

The ambulance drivers showed up a while later (seemed like eternity, but my subjective clock was not running correctly at the time).  They were volunteers (their only identification was a t-shirt and a gurney).  They seemed to be capable of putting me on the stretcher and into the ambulance (without dropping me), but that seemed to be where their training stopped.  They had difficulty taking my blood pressure and apparently were not allowed to dispense medications.  Regardless, after a period of time that was less than the infinity but still seemed long, we arrived at the hospital.

The ER folks proceeded to ask me questions.  Silly ones, like "What's your name?"  To which I answered "AaaarrrgggghhhFuckFuckFuckGiveMeDrugsssssss!!!!!"  Eventually, they determined that my abdomen hurt, that it had never hurt like this before, that there was no blood in my stool (don't ask about how they got the sample), and that if they jammed their fingers up under my rib cage on the right side, they could make it hurt more.  They then told me I needed an ultrasound, but that I would have to wait until 0700 (eons in the future).  So they gave me morphine so I would stop scaring the other patients.  Morphine sucks, I can't see how people get addicted to it.  It did, however, knock me out, which meant I wasn't around for the pain.

After 0700, they made me take off my pants (this is part of hospital culture-there is no reason for it most times, I think they just like making people feel uncomfortable) and then wheeled me to the ultrasound tech.  Said technician took lot's of pictures of my belly, but refused to discuss what was observed (apparently I was not cleared to know about my insides-only a strange doctor that I had yet to meet could know what she found).

Eventually, a doctor appeared and told me I had acute cholecystitis (i.e. gallbladder inflamed due to gallstones).  He wanted to get a surgeon and operate that day.  I declined the offer, as I was no longer in pain and wanted to get this done at home.  He seemed convinced that I would die on the way, but gave me some percocet (percocet does not suck) and let me go, with the caution that I should not eat anything until I had surgery.  This proved impossible, so I avoided anything with lots of fat and all greasy foods.  Instead of dying, I drove 50 miles, got on an airplane and flew back home.  Percocet is really good for sleeping on an airplane.  Really good.

Fast forward 2 days:  I met with my personal Doc.  He agreed that this gallbladder was no longer worth the price of keeping it and recommended surgery.  I agreed to meet with a surgeon.  The Doc said stay away from fatty foods, greasy foods, and alcohol.  I told him I was not familiar with that diet and did not realize it would support human life.  I tried it anyway.

Fast forward a week:  I met with the surgeon and he agreed (surprise!) that surgery was the correct solution.  The next available date was about two weeks in the future.  

Fast forward two weeks:  After eating stuff I don't like and not eating stuff I do like, I finally had surgery.  I think I may have lost more than ten pounds, between the change in diet and the gallbladder that was removed.  I am now free to return to killing myself with food and beer.  

After about five days, I was back at work and not really in any pain.  After another couple of weeks, I was cleared to attempt to kill myself with exercise and give myself a hernia by picking up kids again.

Conclusion:  Don't get gallstones, but if your liver and gallbladder will not cooperate, get the surgery and go back to fun food.