Friday, March 6, 2015

Judge Alex, My Touched Mother, Dirty Laundry, and Other Equally Weighty Matters

not my own laundry, by the way; I don't have a clothesline, and it would take three of me to fill up those granny panties or boys' briefs or whatever they are


I have what my mom considers a very obnoxious tendency of airing dirty laundry -- my own and everyone else's -- in public. In this particular case, i sent pictures of myself to Judge Alex for the sole purpose of showing him that I am getting fatter. you may think I'm a typical girl with typical-girl body image issues, and I think i'm too fat, and I'm lamenting the idea that I'm gaining weight. almost nothing could be further from the truth. My dad sometimes refers to me as an albino Somalian refugee, and he's not all that far off the mark. Such is particularly the case when he references one of the pictures of me from a year or two ago wearing a swimsuit.




One of the pictures I sent to Judge Alex was one of me wearing a swimsuit. Thie knowledge of my having done this very nearly sent my mother directly to the nearest psych ward. (All it take in California is , I think, two doctors signing an order to that effect, and the person may be placed in such a facility even against his or her will.  i'm not sure which two doctors in the family would have risked my mother's wrath by signing papers to have her temporarily committed (she's quite lucky my brother and I are not yet licensed to do so) but there was just cause from her reaction to my having sent photos of myself to Judge Alex.

"What in the hell are you try to do to the poor man? Break up his marriage?" she demanded

Let us be real for just a moment. If photos of skinny little me, looking all of seventeen on a good day even if I am actually twenty, were enough to break up any marriage, that marriage was destined for Divorce Court  just as much as if a voluptuous woman had sent nude selfies to the man.9(I'm neither voluptuous nor did I send nude selfies, just to clarify matters.)

I would like to think Mrs. Ferrer has more confidence in herself and more faith in her husband (who was, after all, once voted the most trustworthy man on television)  than to be threatened in the least by photos of a pale skinny little girl who looks like she's maybe but not for certain recovering from some life-threatening illness.  She is from all accounts a beautiful, intelligent, articulate, talented woman in her own right. What about photos of someone who is younger than her younger child and looks even younger than that, in addition to looking somewhat malnourished, would ever make her doubt her husband? We must face facts here: my own mother is touched in the head. (This is one of  my favorite Okeyisms.) 

possibly where my mother belings


I'm not going to post what I sent to the judge, but I'll post another one, and you tell me whether you would look at it and think the sender was trying to be a seductress or more likely begging for alms for the poor because of her state of thinness.


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This pretty much sums up how I ended up with the name Anorexis.

Returning to the topic of Judge Ferrer, however . . . I have a possible career idea for him. I think he would make a great judge on one of the Law & Order genres. I haven't had time to pay much attention, so if they're all ending shortly, he could be a judge on another Dick Wolfe series such as Chicago PD or Chicago Fire, both of which surely need judges from time to time,  He could portray a judge realistically even if he had no acting ability, and I suspect he has some actual ability in that area. when I finish studying and have time to come up for air, I shall start a grassroots movement to persuade Dick Wolfe to cast Judge Ferrer as a judge n one of his procedural shows.








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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bathtub Drownings, DMV Inefficiency, Phone Companies (chirp, chirp,) That I Now Hate, and Other Rantings

Perhaps this is the safest way to go; it's advertised as something called an "air bath." I haven't a clue as to how it differs from conventional sleep.
I do not wish to become the next Whitney Houston. I'd have no problem if I woke up tomorrow morning with, instead of  a voice that sounds like a moderately talented fourth-grader when I sing, something that sounded more like what the late Ms. Houston sounded like in her prime. What I mean is that I don't want to drown in a bathtub. In actuality, I don't want to drown anywhere, but  bathtub drowning is the current topic for reasons that will become apparent in the following paragraphs.




Today immediately following my two hours of E.R./clinic duty, I traveled to a nearby city so that I could stand in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles to pick up my temporary Handicapped Parking placard. In theory, I had an appointment. In real life, having an appointment at one of California's typical Department of Motor Vehicles offices means you wait for two hours instead of four. I suppose I am overstating it when I say that I stood in line. I stood in a random location waiting for my number to  be called, as opposed to standing in an actual line. Before my number was called, an elderly man offered me his seat, but I declined, as he seemed more in need of the seat than I. I don't know what the able-bodied people in chairs thought when they saw that the man, who must have been eighty-five if he was a day old, offered me his seat, but his offer certainly didn't shame any of them into giving up their own comfortable seats.

There's a certain demographic segment of our population that cannot travel anywhere for any sort of business without taking an entire extended family, including at least four minor children, two adults who appear to be the parents of the at-least four minor children, and usually at least one older adult who may or may not be a grandparent to the minor children. Three groups fitting this demographic description took up at least twenty-two of the DMV office's available chairs. (This was similar to my recent experience in the E.R. ) I wish offices and other places of business would set and post limits on the number of seats one party is allowed to occupy when the transaction doesn't require the presence of all of the individuals occupying seats. I'm going to suggest this to my relatives who have their own practices or other places of business. A pediatrics appointment may be an exception, as sometimes both parents want to be present for a given appointment, and it may involve bringing other children in the family along to the appointment. Even in those cases, though, each parent could hold at least one child in his or her lap if the waiting room happened to be crowded.

Anyway, following standing on crutches in a DMV waiting room, not to mention having to walk nearly two city blocks on crutches to the DMV because a business located adjacent to the DMV chose to have some sort of promotion where they were blasting loud music (which was so loud inside the DMV office that the employees and customers or whatever we were called were having to shout at one another to be heard) and handing out free nachos in vain attempt to entice customers into their place of business and took up at least twelve parking slots with their little impromptu fiesta/promotional event, I was exhausted. By the time I reached home. I'm not naming names, but, because of the headache I incurred as a result of the music of roughly the same decibel level of that one would encounter at a rock concert, I will never as long as I live, even if it's free or if the company pays me for the privilege, own a phone or use a phone plan from the company named for an insect that hops wildly and says "chirp, chirp" at night.


I'll never purchase a phone or sign up for a plan from these people because I HATE them.

When I got home, I wanted nothing more than to take a warm bath and then to crawl into bed for a nap. I went through the tedious process of wrapping my casted leg in a garbage sack and sealing it with rubber bands, then  awkwardly easing my body into the tub of water. As it worked out,  the nap happened before I made it to bed. I fell asleep in the bathtub. I'm not sure how long I slept, but I woke up when I turned my head sideways and got a nose full of water. It seemed  wise at that point to vacate the bathtub. I went through the laborous process of getting myself out of the tub with one leg hanging over the edge, unwrapping my leg, drying off and getting into pjs, and eventually made it to my bed. I took a pain pill and had a semi-decent nap. At least the headache went away.

I would like to note that I deliberately delayed taking the narcotic until after I was safely out of the water. If I learned nothing else from Whitney Houston's experience, I learned that consciousness-altering drugs and baths can be a dangerous combination, even if the single lousy Norco I took paled in comparison with what was found in Ms. Houston's system in post mortem lab tests.

But what I would like to know is this: is it inherently dangerous to take a bath when one is a bit tired? Is drowning in the bathtub when not under the influence of any sleep-inducing drugs a common occurrence, or will the body typically wake a person up as soon as he or she gets a nose full of water, as happened to me.? I could ask this question in class tomorrow, but I'm embarrassed to ask it in person. Behind the cloak of  relative anonymity of this blog, I feel free to ask just about anything that wouldn't draw my blog into the direct headlights of homeland security.

What do y'all think? Are un-stoned people at high risk of drowning in bathtubs?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Your Last Meal

The Many Banes of My Existence by Alexis: Your Last Meal: Knotty's post and my most recent blog, along with Becca's reply, have me thinking about last meals.  Most of us -- and I suppos...

Your Last Meal



Knotty's post and my most recent blog, along with Becca's reply, have me thinking about last meals.  Most of us -- and I suppose it's a good thing -- will not have the luxury of choosing a last meal.  A "last meal" situation is usually a "death row" type of thing or, I suppose if you stretched your imagination a bit, maybe you could have been kidnapped by the mob or some other nefarious force who planned to off you but benevolently decided you should have your choice of culinary delights before your execution-style shooting, hanging, or whatever manner of death was chosen for you. (Isn't this a most uplifting conversational topic?)

For the most part, however, God or some prophet or doctor doesn't appear in front of you and say, "Guess what? You're dying in 90 minutes! Now what would you like to eat?" And even if it did happen that way, you probably wouldn't waste your remaining ninety minutes eating. 

Actually, I think a death sort of happened in that way once on House, MD.  And we all know that House, MD, bomb ass series though it might have been, was the ultimate  
[ note:sarcasm font] realistic TV drama. House, MD was almost as true-to-life as any TV show featuring the Kardashians and Bruce Jenner. At least House, MD categorized itself as fiction, and the actors and writing were good.

a still photo from the actual episode "Wilson's Heart"

Anyway, Wilson's girlfriend, Amber  -- the one House hated with a passion and called "Cuttthroat Bitch"  throughout the reality series competition within the actual series that he held for the purpose of determining which doctors he would hire to replace Foreman, Chase, and Cameron on his team of fellows  --  was dying of some ailment brought on by a bus wreck, I think. Wilson had the choice of letting her die in peace or using drugs to bring her out of her coma so that she could say goodbye to everyone. Of course he woke her up; where would the drama have been if he'd just let her quietly die?

Anyway, she stayed awake as long as she could, bidding both friends and enemies fond farewells, before spending her final moments embracing Wilson until she could maintain consciousness no longer. Then she drifted off into sleep and death. The point here is that at no point did anyone ask Cutthroat Bitch what she wanted to eat or even if she wanted a final meal.  It's not a reality-based concept.  It's just something some states (not all, apparently) offer their condemned prisoners, maybe to somehow make themselves feel better about what it is they're about to do to the person.
My dad suggested it also hydrates the person, making veins easier to access if lethal injection is the means of execution. My dad is a cynic, as am I. We look for ulterior motives everywhere.

Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand: what would be your choice of a last meal?

I thought when I initially saw this photo that bobby might actually be eating some of his famous fried chicken, but a close look reveals a sesame seed bun. Doesn't Bobby Flay bear an uncanny resemblance to that Alfred E. Newman character from Mad Magazine.?


I told Becca that I would want four strips of crisp bacon, one very small chicken breast fried according to Bobby Flay's recipe, and one cherry-limeade from Sonic. If I could get one more thing down, it would be this: I would eat one teaspoon of vanilla butter cream frosting. My mom stopped asking me what kind of birthday cake I wanted a long time ago. She makes whatever cake Matthew wants, since we share a birthday. She either makes a batch or buys a can of white frosting - not that gawdawful whipped cream stuff, but real butter cream -- for me. Then everyone is happy.

colloid of the Gods


My mom can relate to my love of frosting because she likes 
it, too. She likes sugary stuff in general. When she was pregnant, she took a glucose tolerance test in which she had to drink a bottle of really sugary drink, then have a blood test right after, then a few hours later. Most people practically gag when they drink the stuff, apparently, and have a tough time getting the fluid down. Some don't get it down. My mom asked for an extra bottle of the glucose tolerance test substance and wanted to know if there was a place where she could buy it or from which she could order it.  We also eat brown sugar straight out of the box. Fortunately for both of us, our blood sugar readings are on the very low end of normal.  If either of us ever developed diabetes in any form, we'd probably last a week at best.

my mom's libation of choice except that she doesn't know where to buy it


Anyway I've shared my ideal last meal with you. Tell me what yours is if you have the time. Respond in the comments section here, email me at aleximerc@aol.com, or tweet me at
Alexis A. Rousseau @theangelalexis. I'm most curious as to what your answers might be.

Burger King, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Elvis Impersonators [Is the correct plural actually Elvi?], and the Justice System Hard at Work



He's for sure a hunk, but I never  ever applied to Emory University for him or for any other reason.
Note: with thanks to Knotty for inspiration


I admit to being a bit of a novice/moron when it comes to true crime and all the protocol surrounding it. My latest question in this regard is just one more piece of evidence that I'm not exactly the younger female counterpart of F. Lee Bailey, although I have a great-uncle who looks so much like the man that it's honest-to-God eerie. 

I do have a bit of experience with the legal system, as I've worked as a paralegal on a few trials. Paralegal certification isn't necessary in many states. As long as an attorney instructs the "paralegal" in proper courtroom protocol to the extent the the "paralegal" doesn't commit some sort of  faux pas to get himself or herself tossed out of the courtroom, the person can go right on being a paralegal to his or her heart's content until the trial ends one way another.

But I'm seriously digressing here. It's a particular case on which I'm obsessing at the moment. Kelly Renee Gissendaner was convicted in the death-for-hire murder and subsequent body burning of her husband and was condemned to death. The big date was finally set for Wednesday, as in three days ago, some eighteen odd years after the original crime. If the photos accompanying the article were any indication of the manner of execution, lethal injection was the method of choice. Then, mere hours before the execution was to take place, it was postponed until Monday, March 2. The reason given for the postponement was, of all things,  inclement weather.

Other than perhaps something like Hurricane Andrew occurring along an extremely low-lying coastal area (like maybe the Zuyderzee) where the execution was to take place, thus endangering the lives of the executioner(s) and/or legally necessary witnesses, precisely why would an execution need to be postponed due to inclement weather? Perhaps the bad weather might make it difficult for either the condemned's choice of witnesses or the victim's advocates to be there. Tough shit in my opinion. They could hear about it later. For that matter, such things are usually, as morbid as it seems to me,  recorded. Anyone that interested could actually see  the state-ordered  killing  later.

Ma. Gissendaner had ordered up quite the proverbial last meal, which included but was not limited to two Burger King Whoppers with cheese  (geez; if it's your last meal; at least request Red Robin or TGI Friday's) with all  customary condiments (which in Georgia may very well include pickled pigs' feet and crawdads; I've never been to a Burger King in Georgia), two large orders of fries, popcorn, cornbread, a side of buttermilk (I'd rather face execution, and I'm not even exaggerating in the least here, than be forced to drink a glass of buttermilk), a salad with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, cheese, onions, boiled eggs, carrots and Newman's Own Buttermilk (yuck once again) dressing. Also requested was a glass of lemonade. Ms. Gissendaner would need something to ease down all that hogwash. And, to top it off, she actually requested dessert, which was, I believe, cherry vanilla ice cream. Seriously, if I eat fries with my child's plate hamburger, I have no room for dessert. This woman is in a whole different gastronomic league than I could be in even if I tried.







Before this woman is executed, it needs to be determined for certain that some sort of eating contest hasn't been chosen by the host country as an event for the next winter or summer Olympics. Assuming Ms. Gissendaner actually ate all of this garbage -- and I never read anything to the contrary -- I question whether  there's anyone in the world who could possibly  compete with her with regard to the sheer volume of food [and I apply the term food loosely here]  the woman is capable of consuming.  We all know how the U.S. feels about athletics, Olympics, and its medal tallies. This woman might be worth more to us alive than dead. Crimes of equal or greater gravity than the one of which Ms. Gissendaner was convicted of committing (I'm not intending to make light of the gruesome manner of death of Douglas Gissendaner; I'm merely making an observation regarding justice when it comes to  athletes in this nation)  have probably been swept under rugs in the name of maintaining athletes' eligibility for competitions.


Gastronomy notwithstanding,  let's return to the topic of inclement weather as it pertains to executions. I suppose I would understand if the planned method of execution were electrocution and there were concerns of possible storms and power outages, and generators were not sufficient to deliver the voltage necessary to give a person his or her final jolt.  In such a case, perhaps postponement would be warranted. Then again, why not just anchor the prisoner to a tall metal pole outside and let Mother Nature take care of the job herself? A little common sense and southern ingenuity was all that was really needed here. Are they worried the power will go out during the lethal injection?   According to the last I saw in my "Practice of Medicine " course, injections and even intravenous drips can be and usually are delivered manually, not that my "Practice of Medicine" course specializes in any way in how to most efficaciously administer executions. Perhaps it should if it would prevent something such as this current fiasco happening in Georgia. 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta teaches and practices in Georgia. why isn't Dr. Gupta out there at that prison facility telling the Department of Corrections how executions really aren't dependent upon 70-degree weather with light and variable winds, low humidity, and cloudless blue skies.  Dr. Gupta is all over the world telling everyone else all about medical issues that don't necessarily connect in any way  to his specialty of neurosurgery. Why can he not tackle this one happening practically in his backyard?



On an unrelated note, no matter what my dad says, it is not true that  I applied to Emory School of Medicine because I have a serious case on  Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Yes, I'll admit Dr. Gupta is a pleasing man at whom to look, but A) he's married, and B)  I cannot spend even one week, much less four years, in a place where people routinely eat rabbit kidneys on toast.  If I do any time whatsoever in the state of Georgia, it will be because I'm attempting to reach either Florida or South Carolina by car, and from certain directions, it's impossible to reach either by car without passing through Georgia. I will not trust the food supply in Georgia and will eat only what I've purchased in the last state I departed before entering Georgia. I'll set foot in the state only if I need to use their facilities. Even World of Coca Cola cannot entice me there.

Anyway, even if the power goes out while a person is being killed by lethal injection and a prison lacks back-up emergency generators, there's this revolutionary invention called the flashlight. One employee could shine it upon the extremity containing the vain into which the lethal substance was to be injected while another performed the actual injection. It's neither rocket science nor even Dr. Sanjay Gupta's beloved brain surgery. It's something they've even talked about having to do  in my "Practice of Medicine" class. (To clarify, in our class we weren't being taught how to execute a patient by having one staff member hold a flashlight on some poor Berkeley Rep guinea pig while another injected him or her with a lethal cocktail, but the same principal applies.)  Anyway, the bottom line is that I fail to see what in the world inclement has to do with one's date of executions.

And, going back to the topic of the  last meal, does the Georgia Department of Corrections plan to starve Ms. Gissendaner until her execution on Monday? She had her last meal, after all.  Or are they going to keep her alive on bread and water or corn flakes until her next scheduled date with destiny? Or does she get another Last Meal? i think it's only fair that, since they're dragging out the process, they give the woman another Last Meal. 

What could she possibly request that would top the last one? Let's help her out a bit here. burger king for two Last meals from a Burger Kung is a bit redundant. I think she should go for Carl Jr's this time, except I think maybe they call it Hardee's in the South.  She should request for two double western bacon cheeseburgers with extra barbecue sauce. And Carl Jr's (or Hardees') fries aren't all that great, so assuming there's a Sonic within transporting range, she should get her fries from there. Better still,, since it's Sonic, take advantage of the Okie variety and order tater tots either in place of fries or in addition to the fries, both with fry sauce (another one of those foods I wouldn't eat even if I were in the Donner Party). I wouldn't expect that eating both would be a major problem for Ms. Gissendaner. Sonic also has the best drinks. I'd recommend a cherry limeade. One of Sonic's hot fudge sundaes would probably be preferable to plain old cherry vanilla ice cream any day of the week., and if she were all that set on cherries, she could request that an entire jar of cherries be dumped upon her giant-sized hot-fudge sundae. Since Ms. Gissendaner has an apparent interest in nutrition and in taking care of her body, as evidenced by the healthy chef's style salad she ordered, I would have for her a salad specially  hand-crafted  by Georgia's own Paula Deen, complete with all the ingredients requested in the earlier salad, plus real bacon bits - made from bacon fried and chopped by Ms. Deen herself, and, instead of Newman's Own Buttermilk Syrup of Ipecac or whatever that vile pseudo- salad dressing made under the late actor's label is called, since it's a Paula Deen Salad, just drench it with a cube or so of melted butter.





I would say we've just about covered Ms. Gissendaner's final meal . . . unless this one, too, fails to become her actual final meal. Perhaps Georgia's Department of Corrections will change it's mind again. Maybe an Elvis impersonator -- a really good Elvis impersonator --- will offer to perform at the facility at the precise time on Monday for which the execution has been scheduled.  Why should the personnel charged with carrying out the execution of Ms. Gissendaner, have to miss out on a performance from a really good Elvis impersonator just because of someone's lousy execution date? Executioners have as much right to attend  Elvis impersonator performances as do the next  people, including Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who probably wants to be at both the execution and at the Elvis impersonator performance.


If it sounds as though I'm making light at someone's very life, even be it that of a convicted murderer, I'm not. One can make that initial eye-for-an-eye argument, but once a state's Department of Corrections is waiting until within hours of a women's scheduled execution, then is deciding that inclement weather  has forced a postponement of four days, it's crossed the line into cruel and unusual punishment in my view. Yes, she was convicted of an unspeakable crime., Lock her up in a stark cell and put the key in a very secure place in which she cannot reach it.

The State of Georgia, however, would do well to consider the last woman -- the only woman they ever executed, seventy years ago,  Sixty years later, it was concluded that she was indeed acting in self defense hen she struck and killed with a metal bar a man who had been holding her against her will and threatening her life. She was pardoned!  A lot of good it did her after she was already dead. Chances are that old age would have taken her life by that time, anyway, but society and the Georgia Department of Corrections would have had a lot less blood on its hands had they collectively allowed Mother Nature to be the executioner rather than so willingly taking the task  upon themselves.

Perhaps there are cases in which capital punishment is fitting and even necessary, but such instances are few and far between.  And does capital punishment really say more about us as a society than it does about the person on whom the penalty is being inflicted?  I really don't know. It's just that death is so incredibly final.  No act of rectitude is possible if it's later determined that it was human  error that ultimately resulted in the placing of that final form of justice upon a person's head.

And if capital punishment must be done, pick a damned date and stick with it come hell, high water, or Elvis impersonator performances.




Disclaimer: I in no way condone nor excuse any evil act Kelly Renee Gissendaner has committed, and, if guilty as charged, may she rot in a dank prison cell.


Friday, February 27, 2015

It's alive!

Surgeons aren't necessarily pleased when their victims survive surgery in all cases.


I survived the surgery, as you may have heard if you read my twin brother Matthew's update. As far as that rainbow and pot of gold nonsense is concerned, I think they're all making every bit of it up. I don't remember one single thing about seeing any rainbows on the walls, ceiling, or anywhere else.

Regarding the rest of Matthew's post, it was most sweet and touching, and in it he revealed feelings I didn't know he had. We had our times growing up together as has probably every set of siblings since the time of Cain and Abel, but I think we've emerged from the typical childhood sibling rivalries relatively unscathed. If we're lucky enough to end up with spouses who get along with each of us and with each other, we'll be home free.

My dad is going home in the morning. If I'm able, I will move back into my upstairs bedroom. It may be up a flight of stairs, and it may be technically not quite as nice as the downstairs master suite in which I'm presently staying, but it's my room even though it's still a bit sparse and sterile and not very homey. My aunt has agreed to come and decorate it the first chance she gets, which she believes will be at some point in mid-March.

I "skyped" class today, though I ended up sleeping through most of Human Health and Disease and Immunology.  I managed to remain awake for Neurobiology. Sleeping through the earlier two classes wasn't a problem because I recorded them and went over them, and the material wasn't new to me anyway, although the professors may have taken my inability to remain awake personally. I  sat in on a few lectures on some of this quarter's classes last quarter when I had unexpected breaks, so I got a bit of a jump start on the curriculum.

Tomorrow  I will actually attend classes in the flesh. It's a shorter day - ending at 3:00 or so,  and one of the classes is "Practice of Medicine." In the practicum portion I'll probably just be observing or possibly answering the odd question or two, as I don't think the Powers That Be want to have me on my feet prodding fake patients on fake examination tables. I might fall on one of the patients and injure him or her, and then Berkeley Rep would either sue us, charge us more for their "actors' " services, or cancel their contract with us.

I haven't been able to figure out how the actors are being compensated. Surely they're not showing up on an almost daily basis to feign injury or illness out of the goodness of their hearts. It's not as though they're getting any real drugs out of the deal. I don't know if each one is paid union scale wages per hour, or of the theatre company itself is paid, or if the actors get free medical care when needed (none of them look like people who actually have medical insurance from any other source) for showing up and pretending to be fake patients at our clinic. 

I'm actually going to buy a ticket and attend one of their productions when I find out that one of our frequent flyer fake patients has a prominent role in the production. I'm going to sit somewhere very close to the front of the theatre so that the actors on the stage can see me clearly, and I intend to do everything in my power to get them to break character and laugh just as I successfully do every time I "diagnose" one of them with their pretend illnesses or injuries in "Practice of Medicine" class. It's a gift I have, apparently. God knows I'm no actress, but I can make real actors and actresses, if that's what you would call these people showing up in our fake ER and clinic, lose the ability to themselves act, if they ever indeed possessed the anility in the first place. The skills of a few of them I find a bit dubious, and wonder just how they conduct themselves on stage.

I could, in theory, drive myself to class tomorrow, as it's my left foot that has the fractures and cast, but I'm going to ride with my brother to class tomorrow  since our schedules are identical.  Despite the collective amount of time I've spent on crutches, I still feel shaky on them. I'm just as happy to have someone accompanying me from the car to the buildings and back. 

I'll spend the weekend ensuring that I didn't miss anything or fall behind. The quiet guy whose parents are from India and are doctors  -- my new, or former, running buddy; I won't be doing a whole lot of running for awhile  -- is coming over Saturday morning to study with me. He's staying to watch college basketball with Matthew and some other guys in the afternoon. 

I like seeing that my new running buddy is capable of socializing even though he's quiet. He reminds me somewhat of a young version of Dr. Kutner -- the Indian-American doctor from House who offed himself. In the TV series, it ended up after the fact that even though they all worked side by side almost every day, none of the other characters really knew Kutner. They thought they knew him, but there was a great deal to his life and to himself about which they had absolutely no clue.  Just because my new friend physically resembles and shares an ethnicity with a TV character who committed suicide is no reason for me to suspect he's at risk of offing himself, but just the same, I feel better about things if I think he has friends in our cohort.
Kal Penn, talented actor and underrated human being who happens to resemble my running buddy

Incidentally, Kal Penn, who portrayed Dr. Kutner, also played the part of   Kumar in  Harold and Kumar  movie series. His undergraduate degrees were in both theatre and sociology, and he has worked in the Obama administration as, among other positions,  Associate Director of Public Engagement. He's been a visiting professor for the University of Pennsylvania. I don't know if he's completed his program or is still working on it or has put the project on hold, but he was studying for some sort of certification in International Security at a university very near the place where I study. Perhaps I'll run into him (not literally, I hope, as he's larger than I, and I'd surely wind up on the losing end of the collision and end up with more fractured bones) some day when I venture over to the main campus. Or, more interestingly, perhaps my classmate and friend will run into him. It would be interesting if they noticed the resemblance between one another.

On Sunday both of my study groups plus Matthew's are meeting together for a session, then watching a movie together.  A bit of frivolity, or even alleged frivolity, is a necessity at times whether or not one actually enjoys it. Fortunately for me, the cleaning service will come on Monday.

Jared is visiting next weekend.

One of my professors allegedly covered one of my pet peeves while I was out. This is a mistake that might [barely] understandably have been made by a lay person, particularly one with extremely limited knowledge --  of medical terminology, as in the sort of person who might think a scapula is something you use to flip pancakes. Not everyone without a medical background would know that a scapula is one of two bones that form the back portion of the shoulders, but most intelligent people, when confronted with the term, would, if it was important, look it up rather than assuming it was synonymous with spatula.

Anyway, one of my less astute classmates asked a professor of my "Practice of Medicine" if my foot or leg had been broken or merely fractured. "Exactly what do you think a fracture is?"  the professor queried the student, who was not, incidentally, Bimbo of of the recent kleptomania/hemophilia confusion fame.

"A fracture is a crack, " the student answered with [misplaced]  confidence.

"No," the professor corrected the errant student. "A fracture is a break of the bone. A cracked bone is frequently referred to as a hairline fracture. A fracture, however, is a break."  The professor went on to review last quarter's Human Anatomy I curriculum, differentiating the types of fractures, much to the pococurantism [translation: tedium; lack of interest] of the rest of the class. 

I hope the cohort blamed the slacker and not me for the less than pertinent lecture, as I know that a fractured bone is not necessarily synonymous with a cracked one.  When one starts to add up just how much we're paying for our medical school educations, then one does the arithmetic to calculate the financial output on our parts for a mere three-minute digression in instructional time, one starts to resent those digressions just a bit. We could be learning something during that time, dammit! 

The only exception to that is if the digression is truly funny, in which case it is forgiven and is considered a necessary part of medical education. Without humor, what is medical school, or what is life, even, when you really get right down to it?


one of those things, along with running, that I took for granted but am not going to be doing much of in the immediate future





Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Big brother Matthew's Update on Baby Lexus

 note: this was written last night when I was on guard duty to keep Alexis from chasing the pot of gold from the imaginary rainbows Dilaudid was causing her to see off the walls and the ceiling.when my mom's shift came, I went to sleep before publishing. what you're reading was a middle-of-the-night work, so please read it through that filter.
Despite anything my mom may say to the contrary, I'm not so delusional as to believe that any physical resemblance between myself and the late JFK Jr. exists anywhere other than in the mind of my mom.


My little sister is offering proof that not only is she beautiful and intelligent, but she can also bake. Some guy will be very lucky someday,


   I'm writing this to the various anonymouses who read Alexis' blog, but also to some of her more regular readers and online friends, who include Knotty, Catherine, Aunt Jillian, Becca, primary literary agent Jaci, Jaci, Judge Alex, Marianne, Jono, OzDoc, Donna, Lil Gamble, Laperla, Eponine, Michael, Matt from back in the day, notamormon, catnip, fluhis, literary agent Uncle Scott,Amelia, and anyone else i may have inadverntently missed. I apologize if i mised you. It's a risk anytime one begins to specify name. Alexis appreciates all of her readers, anonymous and otherwise.

    Alexis would bristle at my having referred to myself as her big brother because she emerged from the womb maybe thirty seconds before I did. But since I have roughly twice the mass she does, I claim the title of big brother if not older brother. I also claim the privilege of using this space not only to alert readers t my ister's status following surgery and  tell of my sister in general, but to demonstrate that I sometimes get the shaft in her descriptions of me. Her friend Becca once commented something to the effect of, "The way you describe your brother, it's surprising that he can dress himself." I'd like to show that I'm not quite so doltish as Alexis would sometimes lead you to believe.

     Today Alexis underwent a surgical procedure that I actually understood because Alexis drilled anatomy into my head very thoroughly so that she wouldn't have to be embarrassed by her brother having the lowest score in our cohort on an exam. 

     Basically, a couple of screws were put into place because her fourth and fifth metatarsals, the bones extending up from the toes, were unlikely to stay in place to heal properly. This may mean that she sets off airport and courtroom scanners. The screws are small enough that their effect in that regard remains to be seen. Come to think of it, they pale in comparison to what she already has in her leg, so she's already having to go through the pat-down routine.

     She was correct when she blogged that it was never her clumsiness that caused an injury and it was always another person crashing into her space, stepping on her, or whatever. I've actually never seen her do anything clumsy in her life. I don't remember when she learned to walk, though I'm told it was well after I took my first steps, but I'm also told that her first steps were graceful and not those usual Frankenstein-like moves of most newly walking babies including myself.

     Alexis has alluded a few times to the infamous "rooftop gymnastics" bet that got her banned from any form of gymnastics or tumbling until she was eighteen and too old to be restricted from any activity by our parents. At face value, my part in that incident has me  coming across as a terrible brother and a terrible human being in encouraging my sister to risk her life over a stupid and highly dangerous wager. I'll own up to my culpability in the scheme. It was a horrible on my part to have encouraged my sister in any way to have taken part in such a foolhardy maneuver. Yet, and I know this sounds hard to swallow even though I swear it is the gospel truth, I never doubted her ability to pull the stunt off, the cartwheel and something else I don't even know the name of on the high beam of our roof, and I knew as soon as I made the bet that I would be paying up. She says it was five dollars. I say it was ten. There are several things about our childhood in which our memories differ.

     I've pretty much covered everything about her surgery that I know up to this point except to say that the drugs she is being given have made her delusional beyond belief. A video went viral a couple years ago in which a girl who had undergone dental surgery was babbling about unicorns and the land of blueberries. Alexis is now in that girl's league in terms of lucidity. She slept most of the afternoon, so she's now in a wakeful spell, and she's describing the rainbows all over the walls and ceiling of the downstairs bedroom in which she's sleeping. She has tried several times to get up to look for the pot of gold she knows is somewhere in the room. We're taking turns watching her and keeping her in bed. It's my watch now. 

     Her sort of boyfriend in this part of the state somehow convinced my parents that it would be OK for him to spend the night to help take care of her. I'm still not quite sure how he pulled that off. I can't imagine a girlfriend of mine being allowed to spend the night here for any reason when my parents were here. It happens on occasion, I'll admit, but not when my parents are in the condo. It has turned out to be a good thing regardless, as the sort of boyfriend is able to  talk to her and keep her in the bed to some degree so she won't get up to look for the pot of gold she's so sure is hidden in some corner of the room. My mom doesn't want to take any blame for Alexis's drugged-out psychosis, but it's  those Irish genes coming through. If Alexis drank more than the half bottle of guinness she consumes twice a week, I suspect we'd see a lot more of this sort of thing. Maybe it's just as well that she does not drink very much.

Since I've covered her surgery and even if I have  probably written more than I should have, I will take the opportunity to tell you a few things about Alexis that you may not know.

Alexis can do almost anything, and can do it very well. She doesn't play every musical instrument, but that's just because of time constraints. I'm convinced she could master any instrument she attempted. Her piano playing approaches the skill of my mother's even though my mom has a doctorate in piano performance and is a university music professor. Alexis plays violin better than my mom does even though my mom has been playing violin for most of her life. Alexis played low brass instruments to help out the high school band, and still can play any brass instrument, including the very difficult French horn, passably well. She plays a little guitar though her fingers aren't well-suited to it, but she's a hell of a bass player. She doesn't play bass often, but she's filled in for the bass player in my group, Feverish Pitch and the Useless Dominican Infield. We have a gig next week at a bar in Berkeley almost directly across the street from the Cal stadium. Come and bring your friends. Unfortunately, Alexis will not be subbing for our bass player that night, as she's twice the bassist that he is and we actually almost sound good when she's playing with us. Alexis will tell you she can't sing, but that's not entirely true. She just doesn't have my mom's voice, which everyone assumed she'd inherit. She has her own sweet soprano sound and is good enough to solo even if her voice isn't huge.

     Alexis is quite an athlete. She was approaching the elite level of gymnastics when her career was abruptly ended by our parents after the rooftop maneuver. She was a state champion hurdler, and placed at the state level in diving. Despite my much longer legs, I have to work hard to outrun her. I have a temporary reprieve with her broken foot, but she'll come back as fast as ever.
She doesn't have much of a throwing arm, but she can catch, footballs or baseballs, with the best of them. I'm convinced that if she were taller and bulkier, she could have been a Division I receiver. She certainly has the hands for it.

     She's intelligent beyond belief. I read in kindergarten, as in those "Bob" books and a bit of Dr. Seuss. Alexis was already tackling the both the King James and Catholic translations of of the Holy Bible by kindergarten, which we started at barely  4 1/2. 

     Our kindergarten teacher made Alexis do the same work as everyone else, but she finished it in a fraction of time it took the rest of us to do it, then spent the rest of her time authoring a comic book series called Protestant Pup and Catholic Cat. My parents have the entire series saved in a safe deposit box. I don't remember much other than it was poorly drawn, as even then she had no artistic skills whatsoever, but the dog had horns and the cat had a halo. We attended Catholic school that year. Protestant Pup and Catholic Cat traveled all over the nation and the world to the great cathedrals, waging wars of good versus evil. Every volume I recall ended with Protestant Pup lifting his leg to desecrate an altar or something else holy in the cathedral or shrine or whatever until Catholic Cat, who was something like a feline Church Lady from Saturday Night Live, would stop him, evict him in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, from whatever premises he was about to desecrate, then do her own little victory dance. (My personal favorite was when Protestant pup drank every drop of holy water he could find in St. Peter's Basilica, then lay on his back with his male organ extended upward and attempted to extend his stream of pee all the way to the ceiling to desecrate Michealangelo's artwork until Catholic Cat came to the rescue. 

     Alexis would quietly read her finished product each day to our table in the kindergarten classroom. The teacher didn't want her reading her work to the entire class because the teacher found Alexis' writings a bit irreverent for general Catholic school curriculum. I do now that she took each day's copy to the teacher's lounge, where the teachers had a field day with them.  

     Alexis writes with ease, but math and science are really her niche. Things that I have to go over repeatedly are things she reads once, understands, and commits to memory. She speaks of going into radiology, pathology, oncology, and pediatrics. I have know idea what branch of medicine into which she'll end up, but she'll have her pick, and she'll brilliantly succeed at whatever domain of medicine she chooses.  

     The one thing she can't do is draw. No one in our family can. She's no better or worse than the rest of us. We all suck equally and can't even draw stick figures well enough to play Pictionary without screwing up the game for everyone else.

     Twins, while they share a bond in having been womb mates and having spent so much time together in their lives, also share a very natural competitive streak. They compete in the womb for space and nutrients. Then they come out of the womb and cry to compete for who gets mom's attention first when the two babies cry simultaneously. Then they fight over toys. Parents obtain two of many things, and other toys are owned specifically by one twin or the other, but some things are community property, and the competitive edge comes out as twins are forced to learn to share at an earlier age than are most siblings. Alexis and I have been no exception in this regard, although I feel that we have overcome it. We each have things that we do better than the other although she has me beaten in so many areas that it's not a fair competition. 

     My mom is a major Kennedy aficionado. She was fascinated by America's version of royalty as a child, and over the years has collected virtually every book that has been written about or by them. She can provide trivia on the subject of the Kennedys better than can most stalkers of the famous family. While this seems like a digression, my mom compares the two of us as twin versions of John and Caroline Kennedy, although, with no disrespect intended toward to Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, and at the risk of sounding as though "Dueling Banjos" should be playing in the background, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg could never have held a candle to Alexis in the area of physical beauty. Even though, because she is my sister, I can't view Alexis the way other guys see her, I hear their comments, and even I as her brother can see that she's blossoming into a beautiful young woman.

     What my mother meant by her comment comparing the two of us to the Kennedy siblings is that John was one with charisma but who had to take the New York bar exam three times in order to pass, where Caroline was the brilliant sibling who was a bit more comfortable in the background. (In the past Alexis might have been more at ease in the foreground but events that happened in our high school years made her reluctant to seek attention.)  For example, Alexis authored our high school valedictory speech but was not at all comfortable delivering it. I, while not at all confident in my ability to write anything that would hold a large audience's attention for five full minutes, relished the idea of delivering her brilliantly written work. It was hysterically funny without being overly unkind, yet it made its points. It took shots at the school system and at the administration (which is almost expected of a valedictory speech at our alma mater) and was, I've been told,  as good as if not better than not any valedictory speech ever been presented at our high school graduation. I received great praise from classmates, parents, and faculty members for the speech. While (I'm not overly modest) my delivery was probably better than average, the genius was in the writing, all of which came from Alexis. 

     You may have noticed that I used the word brilliant many times. Alexis would have come up with synonyms when writing about someone else. (She would never have described herself as such.) I'm neither so talented as a writer nor so motivated to use a thesaurus. Still, words such as  brilliant and genius, in addition to persistent, relentless, precise to a fault, and even cutthroat at times, fit any description of my little sister. She will stop at nothing to achieve a desired goal, though she's not so uber-competitive as to step directly upon others to get to where she needs to go.

     Too often, we say what we really feel about others when it's too late for them to hear the words and to know how we feel. It seemed an appropriate time to tell my little sister just how inimitable (I actually used a thesaurus for that one) she truly is. Once she's come down from her Dilaudid high, she will read this and probably will  be embarrassed and upset with me for having written it, but I hope someday she will appreciate what I have written just as I so incredibly appreciate everything that she is to me and take pride in the honor of calling her my twin.

I'll conclude with a video of one of her favorite songs.