So here’s a crazy thing. GC had to have a medical test a couple of weeks ago as a follow-up to an earlier test a few months ago. The doctor was 99.9% sure everything was okay, but he just wanted to guide a camera through GC’s urinary tract to make sure. (Don’t worry, the graphic images aren’t of that.)
GC was tempted to call the whole thing off a couple of days before the procedure, since everything seemed fine and nobody really wants a camera inserted into their penis. But he’s a much better patient than I am, and he rarely cancels or even reschedules anything, so he went through with it. He even said okay when the doctor asked if his resident could perform the procedure, since his resident needed the practice.
The procedure seemed to go okay, but there were complications. Something got nicked. GC was bleeding more than is normal after such a procedure, and by early evening he couldn’t pee anymore because there was a blockage. We headed over to Emergency.
You know how Emergency is. Everybody acts like your personal emergency is just another mundane, insignificant event in an endless series of mundane, insignificant events. Your penis is bleeding? Ho hum.
We did see a slight flicker of interest while GC was being triaged. A young couple came up to the triage window and the man said that it was his pregnant wife’s due date and she was acting strange and Telehealth thought she might be having a stroke. The triage nurse looked ever-so-slightly more interested in that than he did in GC’s penis.
Eventually GC was examined by a urology resident, who said a catheter and an hour of irrigation should clear things up. It didn’t, so they admitted him overnight and said he should be fine in the morning after being irrigated overnight. The next morning he still wasn’t okay. They kept him till 4:30 in the afternoon, at which point he was declared cured and discharged.
An hour earlier, at 3:30 in the afternoon, while sitting in his hospital bed, he suddenly got this weird thing with his foot. It was itchy and tight and it felt like something was tugging on it or like there was a magnet in it, pulling. I took a look. It was on the side of his foot. A red patch about two inches long, with a bunch of tiny blisters.
We called the nurse. She washed his feet in warm soapy water and called the doctor, who changed his antibiotic prescription just in case it was an allergy. They thought it might be contact dermatitis. They said he could go home, but if it got worse to come back.
We got home, ate, fed the animals and then took another look at the foot. All the little blisters had joined together and become one big fat blister. And there was a second area, near the heel, that had become inflamed. I sent a picture to Mudmama who said it looked like cellulitis, which can be dangerous.
We went back to Emergency, and waited for hours. This doctor didn’t know what kind of infection it was (she said it might possibly be cellulitis) and she broke the blister and sent us home, with instructions to come back if it got worse, and a prescription for another antibiotic.
He has since gone to his own doctor, who also doesn’t know what it is but who says it might take awhile to clear up. It has been 12 days, and this is what it looks like now.
GC and I marched in the Pride parade last weekend! First time for both of us. I was working there and GC volunteered to pitch in. It was a terrific event for people-watching. The people lining the streets to watch the parade were, I think, more entertaining than your average spectators. We were behind the Bruce House hootenanny float, so heehaw!
After the parade, we worked at an information booth for a few hours. We were giving away flashing red ribbons and key drives in exchange for people sharing their tips about health and happiness.
As you might expect, a lot of people talked about eating healthy and getting enough exercise. But there were some unique answers too, like eat mangoes, and spend time with rabbits, and drink booze.
At one point three women came by and I struck up a conversation with them. It turned out that two of the women were the mothers of the other woman. And the mother who had actually given birth to that daughter has four children and nine grandchildren. She didn’t look old enough to be a grandmother. (Really she didn’t; I wasn’t just saying that.) They laughed and told me that when they arrived at the Pride Info Fair earlier in the day, the three of them went to buy drink tickets, and the ticket-seller asked only one of them for ID – the grandmother of the nine children! Her daughter didn’t even get carded, just her.
I have to say I was pretty eager to see what she wrote on her healthy/happy living card, because this woman seemed to have discovered the proverbial fountain of youth. Turns out her age-defying secret is lots of sleep and plenty of water.
So what do you think? Which one is the daughter, and which one is the grandmother who has to carry ID if she’s hoping to drink?
Ernie here. This is my third and final honeymoon post. Then I’ll turn the blog back over to Zoom, and I’ll go back to sitting on the shelf with Bert. Ho hum.
First thing we did in St. John’s was check into our new home. (We found it through Airbnb, which is very cool and which you should consider if you are traveling anywhere in the world.)
We stayed at Cory’s house. Cory teaches folklore at the university and does research on the queer underground economy in Havana, Cuba. His house was very nice. This is a picture of me, Cory and one of Cory’s two cats.
Cory’s house was just up the hill from downtown, so we walked everywhere. We celebrated GC’s birthday at Portobello’s. I spent the whole meal in Zoom’s bag, so I didn’t get to eat. But it sounded good.
The next day we went for a very, very long walk. We walked up Signal Hill, down through The Battery, then all around downtown for hours. I was pooped! My pedometer said we walked over 30,000 steps!
Here I am at the top of Signal Hill.
This is me looking out the window in Cabot Tower.
Here’s a picture of me hanging out with a new friend.
We did a little window shopping and we all agreed I’d look smashing in that little tweed jacket.
Screeching-In is a ceremony by which you become an Honorary Newfoundlander. At first the bartender at Trapper John’s said she wasn’t going to screech in a doll. Zoom told her I wasn’t a doll, I was ERNIE, from Sesame Street, and she said yeah, yeah, I know who he is. And then GC and Zoom and I all looked at her beseechingly, and she relented and said OK. So we had to say stuff and drink Newfoundland Screech and kiss a Puffin’s butt, and now we’re certified honorary Newfoundlanders!
(I’m a little embarrassed to tell you this, but I can’t really hold my booze. Zoom and GC drank me right under the table, and then they had to carry me home.)
One of our favourite places in St. John’s was the Rocket. We went there all the time for coffee and oatmeal and just to hang out. Cookie Monster would love it there. I’m hiding in this picture, which was taken at the Rocket. Can you see me?
Here I am at the Rocket with some new friends. That’s Misty Blue on the left and Tom Mulcair (Leader of the Official Opposition and the next Prime Minister of Canada) on the right. (He wanted to get his picture taken with me because I’m orange and orange is his favourite colour.)
We were only in St. John’s for two days. It was a whirlwind trip and then it was time to go home. Here I am checking in at the airport. I love Porter Airlines, and I think they love me too.
Even the pilot loves me.
I’ll be back in Newfoundland someday. There are still so many things I want to do there, like ride a whale and toboggan on an iceberg and get my picture taken with a moose and Rick Mercer.
Hi, it’s me, Ernie, with Part II of our honeymoon.
After our five blissful days in Trinity East, we headed back to St. John’s for a couple of days. Along the way we took a little detour to the village of Dildo, just because it’s called Dildo. Here I am at the Post Office. This might actually be the most photographed post office sign in the world.
Other towns in Newfoundland have changed their names over the years: Famish Gut is now Fair Haven, Gayside is now Baytona, and Silly Cove is now Winterton. Zoom and GC and me, we all like the old names better.
When we were in the tiny museum we asked the question that every single tourist in the whole history of Dildo tourism asks:
“How did Dildo get its name?”
And Benjamin, the nice teenager who works at the museum of Dildo and who was born and raised in Dildo and who hopes to study French in Quebec after he finishes high school, told us that there are many theories. This is a picture of Benjamin and me, which Zoom took while he explained some of the many theories. Benjamin thinks Dildo was supposed to be named Dilbo, but the captain was dyslexic.
Another possibility is that Captain Cook and his assistant, who mapped Newfoundland in the 1760s, got a chuckle out of giving towns funny names. Newfoundland has a lot of towns with funny names. For example: Blow Me Down, Whitless Bay, Nameless Cove, Heart’s Desire, Come-by-Chance and Conception Bay. Internationally, Dildo holds its own with Fucking, Austria; Anus, France; Nob End, England; Effin, Ireland; Twatt, Scotland; Intercourse, Pennsylvania; Bald Knob, Arkansas; and Wankum, Germany.
The name might be the primary tourist draw, but there’s more to Dildo than its name. Here I am riding a whale in Dildo!
Stay tuned for the third and final instalment of our Newfoundland honeymoon!
Today’s post is brought to you by the letter H and the number 3.
The license plate of the car we rented was HZG, which stands for Honeymoon Zoom GC. (They forgot the E for Ernie.)
Here are some Highlights from my Honeymoon.
We stayed in a pink boathouse in Trinity East! It was cozy and comfortable and very romantic. We had a big balcony looking out over the village and Trinity Bay. The kitchen, living room, dining room, bedroom and office were all in the same room! We had a fireplace and lots of windows and 21 lights and a bed that folded out of the wall! (One day I slept in and I got folded up into the wall. I’m not even kidding!)
Newfoundland Vacation Homes has the perfect place for everybody. From teeny tiny room for one little wee person to whole houses for big families. Someday maybe I’ll rent Devil’s Cove for a Sesame Street reunion. (The Shipping News was filmed in Devil’s Cove. It rained one day so me and GC and Zoom watched the Shipping News.)
I don’t know a whole lot about boats, because I grew up on Sesame Street, which is landlocked. All I knew about boats is that they start with the letter B. But here’s a picture of me driving an actual boat. It’s not so hard – I could probably do it standing on my head!
One day we drove to Elliston, which is the Root Cellar Capital of the World! This is me in a root cellar. Root cellars are dug into little hills and they have little hobbit doors. People keep food in them. Elliston is all about the root cellars and the puffins. The puffins and I sat on the edges of opposite cliffs and watched each other for awhile.
On the way to Bonavista we came to a place called Dungeon, and a flock of sheep crossed the road right in front of us! We got out of the car and Zoom wanted to take a picture of me riding a sheep, but the sheep thought it was a baaaaaad idea.
Zoom and GC have what you might call a morbid fascination with graveyards. Every time they see an old graveyard they want to stop and go in and read all the tombstones and imagine how the people lived and died in the olden days. Whenever they go into a graveyard, I wait outside, thank you very much.
I picked a daisy for Zoom since it was our honeymoon. She kissed my nose.
GC picked some blueberries for me, because it was our honeymoon. In Newfoundland, blueberries grow in your front yard, instead of grass.
Here I am in Bruce the Skipper’s stage. That’s the shack where they clean the fish. It was a bit smelly in there. Oscar would have liked it.
Oh, here’s another new-found friend. I called him Slugger.
That’s Part I of my Newfoundland honeymoon guest post! Part II will be about my visit to Dildo, and Part III will be about going to St. John’s. I had some pretty wild adventures in Newfoundland, and shook hands with some famous people. Stay tuned!
GC has been violating the neighbours this week.
Two doors down from me is a woman with four dogs.
For three evenings last week, two dogs barked incessantly in her postage-stamp back yard. On the third evening I went over and talked to the dogs. They settled down, but started crying again when I left. I rang her doorbell but she didn’t answer, so I left a note (with my name and address) in her mailbox. It said “Your dogs have been crying the last few evenings. It’s annoying, but I also feel sorry for them since they seem so anxious.”
The next day we came home and heard a different dog barking at the same place. I peeked through the gate and saw an adorable puppy on a very short chain. He had little room to move, and he was unhappy. I opened the gate and went in and sat with him. He stopped crying right away and started licking my hand. GC brought him a margarine container full of water, and he had a drink. He was the sweetest puppy. GC wrote a note and left it on the neighbour’s windshield. It said “Your dogs have been barking a lot lately. Is there anything you can do about it?”
The next day GC ran into her. She said she puts the puppy out there to pee and he’s not allowed back in until he pees, but he won’t pee. She gives him a short chain so he won’t eat her flowers. She was concerned when she saw the margarine container of water because now neighbours were involved, and she has four dogs instead of the legal three. She hoped GC wasn’t going to call By-law on her. GC said no, he just wanted her dogs not to bark so much.
The next day the margarine container was at our back door. There were no dogs barking. We figured things were resolved…
Private Garbage Neighbour
Monday was garbage day. When GC got home from walking Rosie, he saw that the recycling truck had already done our side of the street but not the other side. He hadn’t gotten our recycling out in time, so he took it across the street and left it on a neighbour’s curb.
The neighbour then moved the bins and left a note:
“Dear sneaky person, Please do not bring your garbage to my property. I really don’t appreciate it. If you had asked me, maybe we could have worked something out. But this has left me feeling very violated, especially because you wait until I am gone. I expect this to stop.”
GC went and introduced himself and talked to her and they worked things out. (She’s from Toronto and I guess they have different rules there.)
On his way back from sorting that out, Four-Dog Neighbour confronted GC again. She said she’d been thinking about our notes and the margarine container, and she feels violated because we went into her back yard. That’s why she returned the margarine container – so we’d know how it felt to have someone come into our back yard. She wanted us to feel as violated as she had felt. (Which we didn’t.)
Anyway, what’s with everybody feeling violated over minor things like giving their dog water or putting our garbage on their curb? For that matter, what do people even mean when they say they feel violated?
I saw this sign on Percy Street today:
WTF? Last seen on washing line in our
I totally get where they’re coming from. My son had a cherished bunny named Bunny when he was a little guy. It was a gift from his Auntie Flo when he was born. He loved that bunny to pieces. He couldn’t leave home without it, couldn’t go to sleep without it. (And we managed just fine without a car, by the way.)
More than once we had to get off a bus when we were halfway to wherever we were going and go back home for Bunny because we’d forgotten him and he was Absolutely Essential to Jamie’s happiness.
One night at bedtime, when he was about two years old, Jamie said Bunny was gone. I looked everywhere. Eventually I found him in the vegetable crisper. (You know you’ve looked everywhere when you start looking for stuffed animals in the fridge.)
“What’s Bunny doing in the fridge?” I asked, perplexed. Jamie just grinned at me, and I realized he’d actually hidden him there on purpose, to delay bedtime…his first act of duplicity!
Once in awhile I’d have to wash Bunny because he smelled like someone had been sucking on his ears and peeing on him for years. Jamie would sit by the washing machine until Bunny was done, then they’d have a quick damp snuggle between the washing and the drying. Bunny would then go into the dryer and Jamie would sit by the dryer and wait for him.
Bunny is 31 years old now. Jamie outgrew him, but I never did. He lives on a shelf in my bedroom and I’d still be devastated if someone stole him. He’s my favourite relic from Jamie’s childhood.
I hope those people get their bunny back.
(But what kind of thief steals a stuffed bunny from a clothesline? Drunk kids? A dog?)
I recently discovered that pharmacists can do way more than count pills and warn me not to operate machinery. This newfound knowledge came as a result of two surprisingly positive encounters with pharmacists in the last couple of weeks. (Not that my prior encounters with pharmacists were negative; for the most part they were neutral.)
Positive Pharmacist Encounter #1: A specialist did not respond to several faxed requests to renew a prescription. The pharmacist was able to prescribe a one-month supply of the medication to tide me over until my next appointment with this doctor!
Positive Pharmacist Encounter #2: I was picking up my 6th prescription for migraine prevention pills, and I mentioned to the nice new pharmacist that they didn’t seem to be working: I’ve been taking five pills a day for six months, without any improvement. He suggested I ask the doctor (a neurologist) about a different prevention medication. Yeah, I said, but she’s booked solid until November. Not only that, but I got a letter from my health insurer saying that I’ve hit the limit on the number of Relpax (migraine abortives) they’ll pay for. (I take five migraine prevention pills a day, which don’t work, and I take one $17 Relpax, which does work, whenever I get a migraine, which is about 20 times a month.)
To my surprise, the nice new pharmacist said he’d see what he could do. He said he’d get in touch with the neurologist’s office to let them know the prevention meds weren’t working, and he’d contact my insurer to see if an exception could be made. Less than a week later I received a letter from my insurer, saying they would continue paying for my Relpax!
I was so astonished and happy, I felt like hugging my pharmacist and baking him some cookies!
I didn’t even know pharmacists could intervene in matters like this. I always assumed that doctors have patients and pharmacists have customers…I thought of pharmacists as specialized retailers rather than health care providers. I knew they went to school for a long time and had encyclopedic knowledge about drugs, but I didn’t know they could be of such enormous practical benefit to me. Check out this chart that outlines Pharmacists’ Expanded Scope of Practice Activities by Province. They’ve got some significant powers here in Ontario, and in Alberta they’re practically God-like!
Historically, I think apothecaries had a broader scope of practice than pharmacists. Maybe the pendulum is finally swinging away from increasing specialization and back towards greater diversification of roles. I think it’s terrific for health care consumers, as it will help clear out some of the bottlenecks in the system.
GC and I originally planned on having a very small civil ceremony, maybe one step up from eloping. But during our five-month engagement we kept adding little upgrades. Like family, food, booze, cake, flowers, balloons, photographs, a poem, homemade wedding favours, cupcakes, a candle ceremony and media. And, when we were totally caught up in the spirit, we promoted our witnesses (my sister and GC’s brother) to matron of honour and best man. We even added a wedding procession at literally the last minute.
As we careened towards our wedding day, we were torn between wanting more time to get ready, and wishing it was over already so we could stop obsessing about it. At first we were able to offset each other’s occasional panicky moments, but in the final few days, we found our panic was starting to merge and accelerate. By Saturday morning we just wanted to get it over with.
Fortunately, other people didn’t see it that way. By the end of the day we felt genuinely happy, and grateful to all the people who went out of their way to make this such a special day for us.
After the ceremony, the interviews, the luncheon, the speeches and cake, GC and I went home, kicked off our shoes, put on our comfiest clothes and heaved a big happy sigh. Not only was it over, but it had been good!
That night, we went out for pizza at Za Za Pizza (we had a gift certificate we’d won from Apt. 613 during Fringe Fest), and it was the best pizza ever. I’m not even kidding, it was amazing. Then we went for a little walk in the Glebe and ran into Pat, who is a bartender at Irene’s. She was getting into Dean’s car.
“What are you guys up to?” Pat asked.
“We just got married,” we said.
She and Dean got right out of the car and marched us into Irene’s and bought us shots of tequila, which was the perfect end to a perfect day.
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