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I Think I’ve Narrowed it Down

After months of data collection and very scientific experimentation, I feel that I am finally ready to assure you that our Diet Coke is not being poisoned by terrorists.  Last year, when I began experiencing worse than usual intestinal issues, and no doctor could find anything physically wrong with me, I surmised that terrorists are poisoning our food.  This was supported by the additional symptom of memory loss.  Whenever I mentioned this theory to my husband, he would raise his eyebrow and suggest that I cut back on my Diet Coke.  On second thought, I don’t think he raised his eyebrow.  I’m the eyebrow raiser.  He is the blue-eyed deadpan starer.  It’s very disconcerting.

So, I quit drinking Diet Coke.

Well, that did not help at all.  And, now, I have the added side-effect of being drowsy all of the time.  But, at least I have eliminated the possibility of a Diet Coke Conspiracy – a feat which I think is deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize.  Between refusing to harbor a fugitive immigrant host a foreign exchange student and discovering that Diet Coke is not the cause of my considerable discomfort (thus avoiding an uncomfortable confrontation with suspect enemy nations), I feel that I have done more than my share in promoting peace and goodwill around the world.

Of course, using the process of elimination to root out the precise poison-carrying food in my diet could take a long time.  So, I informed my long-suffering husband, Cap’n Firepants, that I was considering quitting eating altogether.  He huffed, which is what he does when he thinks I have just hatched a ridiculous plan.  He huffs a lot.

Overhearing this one-sided conversation, my daughter chimed in, “You can live quite a long time without food as long as you have water.”   (She just read The Hunger Games.  And watched a Beanie Baby version of it on YouTube because I won’t take her to see the actual movie.  So, I guess this makes her some sort of famine expert.)

Which I already knew of course.  But I also knew that starving myself would not have the desired effect of becoming a National Hero who Was the Normal Mother who Uncovered a Terrorist Plot to Poison our Food (or Drink).

So, I will continue this ridiculously slow procedure of removing one item at a time from my meals in order to discover the offending pabulum.  And yes, I just used the online thesaurus to learn a new word.

I am a Hero, a Scientist, and a Logophile.  This is what they shall proclaim after the Flash Mob performs at my funeral.

Who died from Unnecessary Diet Coke Withdrawal during the Pursuit of Terrorists-Who-Don’t-Kill-But-Just-Irritate-Your-Bowels.

The Terrorists’ Grocery List                                            photo credit: passiveaggressivenotes via photo pin cc


If He Would Just Stop Sleeping on the Job…

I have been recently struggling with gastroenterological problems, and just switched doctors.  This is my perception of my appointment with my new doctor on Monday.

Management said, “You know that Colon?  He’s inefficient.”

“Tell me about it,” I said.  “I don’t understand what that guy’s problem is.  I’ve given him everything he’s wanted, and he’s still not doing his job.  I’m fed up with that guy’s performance.  I think we need to let him go.”

Management shook his head.  “We can’t do that.  It’s better to have someone doing that job badly then no one doing that job at all.”

“We can find someone else.  What about Bladder?  She’s always working overtime.”

“Bladder has a completely different skill set than Colon.  That won’t work.  We need to put Colon on a Growth Plan.”

“A Growth Plan?  I don’t want Colon to get any bigger.  He’s bad enough as it is.”

“To make him better, not bigger.”

“Let me see that Growth Plan….  Wait a second.  Why am I the one making all of the accommodations here when Colon is the one who is the problem?  I already gave up Diet Coke and salads for him.  I think that’s plenty.  Where’s the paper that lists what he’s going to do?”

“Colon has shown that he can’t do the tasks that he has been assigned, and you want to give him a heavier workload?  That hardly seems to make any sense.”

“So, are you suggesting that I lighten his load so that he will do a better job?  That doesn’t make any sense, either.  What about sending Colon to another department?  Let someone else deal with his inefficiency.”

“With Colon’s reputation, no one else is going to take him,” Management said, shaking his head.  “Brain is going to strike if you send her one more problem.  And Heart and Lungs are still threatening to sue after you forced them to participate in that new Exercise Plan.  I’m afraid you are going to have to find a way to work around Colon’s short-comings for the sake of the Company.”

“Fine!” I said.  “But I want it on the record that I am protesting having to work with an inefficient Colon.  And while you’re adding things to my file, put down that Bladder is going to have to work overtime on her own right now if she’s so intent on winning Employee of the Month.  I’m tired of staying up late just because she’s some kind of freak who never needs to sleep.”

“Duly noted,” said Management.  “But I wouldn’t count on that happening.”

“Well, if someone doesn’t start cooperating with me, I’m just going to have to take my complaints to The Top.”

“I’m sure that could be arranged,” Management stated as I turned around to make my leave.

Maybe I should just file for Bankruptcy and start all over.

Colon in the middle of his Performance Evaluation photo credit: slworking2 via photopin cc




There’s No Goin’ Back

I am trying to find a new doctor.  In the course of all of this, I had to have my records released from the office of the former doctor.  In a surprising turn of events, the former doctor’s office received my form on the 20th and, one week later, still had not sent them to the new doctor.  I called the new doctor to find out what the holdup was.  When I asked them if there was something else I needed to do, they said, “Call the other office, and ask them to send the records.”

I gulped.

I was hoping to avoid talking to anyone in the former office.  First, because I am a wimp who hates confrontation.  And secondly… well, the first pretty much covers it.

So, I called the office of the doctor who I was spurning.

The records lady was very pleasant, asked me who I was, date of birth, etc…  Finally, she said she would send it right over.  I decided not to ask why she hadn’t already done this.  I mean, if all she needed was a voice on the phone (who could have been an imperfect stranger asking for my colonoscopy records to be transferred), then what was the point of the release?  And, if the release was necessary for legal reasons, then why did she need my voice?

But, I didn’t say any of that. It’s just whatimeant2say.

Before I hung up, she said, “You do realize, don’t you, that once I transfer these records, it would be very difficult for you to come back here again?”

I am, according to my mother, descended from a mafioso, so I know a threat when I hear it.

“Uh, okay,” I said, and hung up.

whatimeant2say was, “You do realize, don’t you, that there is a reason that I requested those records to be transferred, and it’s not because I want to have two friggin’ doctors on my payroll?  You do realize, don’t you, that this is a direct reflection of the kind of treatment I feel I received at your facility?  You do realize, don’t you, that I can do a mean Tae Bo roundhouse kick (as long as it is in front of a t.v. in my bedroom, and there is no one else around)?”

This next doctor better be good, that’s allihave2say.

I tried to find a funnier picture, but this is all I got.

photo credit: jaxxon via photopin cc

Snow White Drank Grumpy’s Diet Coke

Giving up Diet Coke has not been fun.

In all fairness, I should tell you that I haven’t given it up completely, yet.  Since we still had some in the house, and I am the only one who drinks it, I figured I would finish up our current stock.  So, I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of it instead of going cold turkey.

I finished up the caffeinated Diet Coke on Thursday.  I had reduced it to one a day (from about 4 a day).

Friday was not a pretty day.  Headaches, unsympathetic first graders, That Time of the Month, and a cold front did not improve my mood.  I know.  T.M.I.  You don’t care about a cold front.

Saturday was not much better.  Despite the fact that there were no first graders (sympathetic or unsympathetic) or headaches, the other factors remained.

I was cranky and depressed.  I’ve had to give up salad because it attacks my stomach, and now Diet Coke.

And I know people suffer far worse problems and I am being narcissistic. Which makes me even more depressed.

And I hate drinking water.

We went to my favorite pizza place on Friday and I had to watch Dimples and the Cap’n eat salad while I drank a glass of wine instead.  It was small consolation.  Two glasses of wine might have changed my outlook on things, but I was driving.

Dimples did ask me if it was okay if they ate the salad.  Of course I said that it wouldn’t bother me.  Because I never say whatimeant2say.

And I would really like to talk to the people who did the study that concluded that diet drinks were making people gain weight because I’ve gained three pounds since I started reducing them.  And no, Smarty Pants, I haven’t replaced every single soda with a glass of wine.  The wine replaces the salads, not the sodas.

So, basically, I am not seeing the value in this little experiment.  Other than showing my daughter how important it is to me to try to be as healthy as I can for her sake.

But, really, how big is the impact of this lesson going to be on her?  Aren’t I really just teaching her that trying to be healthy makes people grumpy?

I think the underlying cause of all of this depression is that I am not walking down a red carpet in a Vera Wang dress at the Academy Awards tonight.

No, actually, it is that, if I were invited to the Academy Awards I would probably pop the zipper on my Vera Wang dress right when I was exiting the limo and I would be on the cover of STAR magazine tomorrow with the headline, “Mrs. Cap’n Firepants Needs a Bigger Size!”

Wow.  Even more depressing than the mental image of me embarrassing myself in front of millions of people is the lame headline I just concocted.

I’m turning into “Fun Bobby”, Monica’s boyfriend on Friends, who gave up alcohol and became a complete dud.

On the up side, I heard a story on NPR today in which the speaker stated that clinically depressed people actually see life in a more realistic way than other people.

Yep.  That’s my silver lining, right there.

The Physical Changes of Diet Coke Withdrawal Have Been the Worse

photo credit: .m for matthijs via photopin cc

This Ain’t Gonna Be Pretty

“Everyone’s gotta die sometime.”

This was my mother’s lackadaisical response whenever, after being bombarded at school with pictures of blackened lungs, I would beg her to stop smoking.

As far as I know, she’s still going strong; we haven’t spoken in years.  But I’ve always thought if Someone Up There really has a twisted sense of humor, I would probably die first – in some ridiculous manner, like “Being Struck By A Flying Model Lawnmower At A New York Jets Halftime Show” or, probably more likely in my neck of the woods, “Being Crushed In Your Car By A Rolling Bale Of Hay.”

Recently, I have been struggling with IBS (Irritated B—– Screaming because no one can diagnose what’s wrong with her stomach).  Cap’n Firepants and many of my friends have cautiously asked me if this could be in any way, shape, or form related to my Diet Coke Addiction.

I won’t tell you my less than polite response to this ridiculous suggestion, but I will say that, in desperation, I have mentioned this possibility to all of my doctors – who have pooh-poohed it immediately.

Trying to Get the Diet Coke Monkey off My Back

Of course, these are the same doctors who have no idea what is wrong with me.

Since my doctors have not only been unable to identify the cause of my issues nor to successfully treat the symptoms, I am beginning to have a little less faith in their advice.

I’ve decided to crowd-source my treatment, and the Crowd seems to think I need to give up Diet Coke.  The good news is, this treatment will cost me nothing.

The bad news is that I will most likely murder someone during my withdrawal.

I pretty much drink Diet Coke like most people drink water.  In fact, when I do drink water, my stomach churns and rebels as though I have just ingested arsenic-laced tea.

I’ve given D.C. up a few times in the last twenty years – most notably when I was pregnant with Dimples.  But, to me, it’s always rated as a not-so-horrible-as-snorting-coke Addiction, so I return to it with a vengeance.

When reports started coming out that diet soda drinkers were actually fatter than their counterparts, I dismissed this as another one of those studies that was missing some key data – until my jeans started getting too tight a few weeks ago.

And then there is my own daughter.

When she asked if she could have a sip of my Diet Coke, all of my maternal instincts instantly screamed, “No, don’t let her start down this road of addiction to caffeine and artificial sweeteners!”

However, it’s a little difficult to justify restricting her from the same vile stuff I pour down my own throat on an hourly basis.

So, as a noble sacrifice for the sake of Dimples, I am going to make an attempt to break this vicious cycle.

Of course, I wouldn’t be upset if my jeans started fitting again.

Plus, I want to prove my doctors wrong.

And, quite frankly, although I am fairly certain I will “die sometime,” I really don’t want my obituary to read, “Diet Coke Ate up Her Internal Organs.”

In the meantime, at the risk of getting myself thrown in the slammer for insider trading, I highly recommend you start selling any stock you might have in Diet Coke.  Their profits are about to suffer a severe downtick.

photo credit: <a href=””>The Rocketeer</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a> 

IBS = I’m Being Snubbed

I was recently diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  As far as I’m concerned, this is not a diagnosis.  To me, IBS means “I Be Stumped”, meaning the doctor has no idea what is causing my intestinal discomforts and just wants to start throwing some pills at me to shut me up.

The fact that I have not actually talked to my doctor except for a brief introduction right before my colonoscopy may have something to do with my lack of faith in her advice.  When I was first referred to this doctor she had no available appointments for the next 20 years, so I settled for meeting with the Nurse Practitioner instead.

The Nurse Practitioner was very nice, and seemed very knowledgeable, but I was the one that recommended I get tested for Celiac Disease after X-rays showed nothing unusual.  Me recommending a test for myself seemed to me to be a reverse of the way these things are supposed to go.

She also recommended that I Google high fiber diets, which was further proof, as far as I was concerned, that the need to pay someone for professional medical advice is becoming obsolete.

Considering that I had to go somewhere else for all of my tests, and then was told that I should Google what I should be eating, I don’t really feel like my insurance company and I got our money’s worth for these office visits.

The nurse seemed surprised when I asked if it would actually be the doctor to whom I was referred that would be performing my colonoscopy.  Considering I had never met her, I thought that was a fair question.  For all I knew, the procedure was going to be done by a plumber.  “Of course!” she responded, apparently offended by the question.

After the colonoscopy, the doctor apparently told my husband that I should call the office to schedule a “follow-up” in 4 weeks.  I dutifully did this, suspecting the worthlessness in pursuing the matter any further.

“O.K., Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, you are all set for your follow-up.”

I was about to hang up when I had a thought.

“Uh, this appointment is with the doctor, right?”

“Well, uh, no.  It’s with the Nurse Practitioner.  The doctor is only available every other Friday and the fifth Thursday of the month during Leap Years.”

“I just called and said, ‘I need to schedule my follow up with the doctor,’ and you didn’t feel like it was worth telling me that I wouldn’t actually be WITH THE DOCTOR?” I said.

“Would you like to see the doctor?”

“I believe that’s what I meant when I asked to schedule an appointment with her, yes.”

Oh, great.  I realize that I have probably been a little too sarcastic, and now I picture the receptionist labeling my chart, like poor Elaine on Seinfeld.

Elaine: I was looking at my chart [at the doctor’s office], and it said that I was difficult. Why would they write that?

Jerry: They’ve gotten to know you.

She finds that every doctor in the city has her chart, and tries to get Kramer to steal it for her.

ELAINE: Where’s my chart? Did you get it? 


ELAINE: What? What happened?

KRAMER: I don’t know. But now they got a chart on me.

Thanks to for the image - which I am sure they created in their own studio with a stunt double.

The receptionist miraculously finds a date on which I can meet with the doctor and I enthusiastically put it on my calendar despite the 20 other things with which it conflicts.

“Thank you so much!” I say, hoping to erase both the memory of my earlier sarcasm from her memory and the black mark from my chart.

“You’re welcome,” she says, and hangs up.

I’m screwed.

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