Thursday, September 27, 2012


I would like to show you a photograph of a beautiful pony. Gather the children and scroll down to experience the wonderment that is shortly to befall you.


Yep almost there.

Here it is.

Not quite. It’s still a bit lower.

Ok, Now!


That's the enormous gaping gash sliced into my leg compliments of half a shower wall and the metal lath backing employed by builders in the 1960s. I was demolishing my bathroom wearing shorts.

That was a mistake.

I know that now. At the time, it didn't feel like a mistake to be wearing shorts; it felt cool and refreshing. There are many things in life that start that way and end up in ruin, and, as near as I can figure, life is about figuring out what those things are just a little bit too late.

At some point in the demolition, I channeled my Grandfather's spirit and achieved furious liftoff and managed to pull the entire shower wall down on myself, which was actually part of my broader plan. Unfortunately, I neglected to consider the finest points of that plan, such as the various implications of sharp metal pieces hurtling at me backed by several hundred pounds of mortar and such.

Under the circumstances, most people would have called 911. I called Tyler, who called Dad. They followed the blood trail into the bathroom where they found me splayed out on the floor trying my best to run cool water through my shin muscle and assess my situation  (which is the first step to take if you forget who or what you are, or cut yourself badly).

I wanted Dad to superglue it. He anticipated that and had superglue in his pocket. He took one look at the size of the gash and said “no”.

Me: But its bleeding pretty bad and all pooched out. Glue it on up.

Dad: Sorry Charlie. This one is too bad. To the hospital with you.

Me: I don’t want to PAY for someone to sew up my leg. I’m already hurt. That’s bad. Hurt and out $300 is worse. Why do you want me to be worse?

Dad: Tyler, take care of this please.

We headed to the “urgent care” center down the road at 10:30PM on a Thursday night. Guess when they close? Before 10:30 PM; which is ridiculous because only about 2% of every bad thing that happens actually happens before 9:00PM. They should call it the "If It's After Dinner We Don't Care" Center.

I talked Tyler into going in to CVS and buying butterfly bandages instead of driving all the way to Northside Hospital. It was one of my better sales jobs.

I hobbled in with her hoping to show the pharmacist and any passers-by my gaping wound and, somewhere around aisle 2, became separated from my medic. I tried to show my leg to someone between my aisle and the aisle Tyler's head was on, but when I approached the woman she ran off like a rabbit. I mean: clear out of the store. 

I am finally convinced America is in a state of social decline. In my opinion, if you can't say "hey lady come look at this" to a stranger in a drugstore and at least make a new friend - you've definitely slid into a state of social decay.

I finally caught up to Tylerpants on aisle 3, hobbling and moaning. She was not on the "bandages" aisle or even on the very interesting "contraception" aisle; which I could have understood might be tantalizing regardless of the backdrop of pain and agony coursing through a close family member only a few aisles away. She was on the hair products aisle. 

Me: I am pumping blood in a public building. What are you doing?
Tyler: Getting hairgel.
Me: Hairgel? What? Why?
Tyler: We’re out.
Me. My hair isn't bleeding. This isn't a hair emergency. My leg is bleeding. I can see grainy fat and meat down in there.
Tyler: I know, but we’re here. So I thought I’d get some.
Me: (holding my leg up by the knee) You see my leg, right?
Tyler: Don’t be so dramatic. I’m getting the bandages now. Go out to the car before somebody sees you.

She came outside a few minutes later and plunked a bag full of emergency supplies (and hairgel) down on the floor at my feet. It rattled. I looked inside and found a box of bulk chewing gum.

Me: After I left - you went to the candy aisle and got Wintergreen gum.
Tyler: Yeah. You want some? This kind is really good. 
Me: No, I mean, you know how we talked about the hairgel and all. And here I am bleeding and so forth, and right this minute I can see stuff down in my leg meat that normally is hidden from view by skin that should be together-skin, not apart-skin: but you had time to go get wintergreen gum?

Tyler: Don’t you like wintergreen? They were out of peppermint.

Somehow I feel like she was missing the point.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Sleep Apnea and Other Ways to Entertain Your Mate

Sleep apnea is the last thing I needed. 

Not the last thing I needed. Second-to-last. The last thing I needed is the big face contraption they’ve insisted I wear to bed to help me not die so soon.

I found out last year I have sleep apnea. I know. I should have mentioned it earlier. Sorry. Now I’m an ex-homeschooled kid who sleeps in a snorkel.....I have officially peaked and am now hurtling downhill at breakneck speed.

Fortunately, I’m married - so I don’t really care about anything anymore and my wife doesn’t mind because it means now: I don’t have to die so soon; which means: I can continue to generate capital for "us". Everybody wins. 

The interesting thing about sleep apnea is that I actually felt fine before I knew I had it. I had no idea I felt terrible; in fact – I’ve always had the excess energy of an 8yr old.

The warning signs are subtle. I started getting a bit sleepy in the afternoons. That was odd. I nodded off a bit at a stoplight once, which struck me as also a tiny bit odd – so I figured I’d better curtail my sleep-driving before I got myself in trouble. Enter Mr. CPAP (that’s continuous positive airway pressure) Machine.

More on that later. First, I had to go in for a sleep study. This is the seamy underbelly of preventative medicine. If there ever was a medical field ripe for the establishment of a prostitution ring – this is it. 

Lucy was my sleep tech. She came into my hotel-like hospital room and spent 45 minutes gluing electrodes to all my parts including my eyelids. She did not want me to take off my boxers. I offered. She said "no." About halfway through the gluing process I stood up and tugged the back of my boxers down to about half-mast. She went into hysterics.  

Ohhh Mr. Ewing now you know I don’t need your undies to come off. 

(Twitter. Buzz. Giggle.)

Oh now mr Ewing please sit down.

But Lucy don’t you want to glue one of those things right back here on my cheeks? I bet we’ll get some interesting data!

Oh Mr. Ewing!  Hee hee Mr. Ewing, you are so bad! Hee hee! (twitter)

She wrapped up the process and helped me gently settle into the bed before trailing out with instructions to “just call out “Luuucyy!” if I needed anything”. Boy did she have the wrong guy.

I tested the sound system about 15 minutes later.


YES MR EWING? boomed a god-like voice from literally every corner of the room.
Just checking.

A few minutes later

Lucy? (quietly)


Come scratch me.

Heehee oh Mr. Ewing you are bad! Now go on to sleep.

No, I'm serious. Come scratch me.

Oh Mr. Ewing where do you have an itch?

I can't tell you. I have to show you.


You know you have a snoring problem when the sleep study technicians, sitting blearily over their cups of coffee, gawk and laugh at you when you emerge the next morning. Apparently, it was "bad." At one point I held my breath for 65 seconds and their was some discussion among the staff regarding CPR.  That accounts for the last ten years of drowning dreams. I had wondered about that.

So, now I have this little snorkel thing that blows air up my nose and keeps my airway open. If you fight it – you feel like you’re drowning inside a water-less, airless, vacuum of horror, which is terrible. Otherwise, it’s a miracle machine. 

I thought I had plenty of energy already. Now I wake up in the morning absolutely FREAKING OUT over all the things that immediately crowd into my mind to get done.  Between 6:47 and 6:49 AM I have spontaneously thought of a way to use every second of my life until I'm 89, and by 6:52 I am frustrated that the image in my head of the amazing things I intend to accomplish isn't at least 14% complete.

So, there's that.

Mr. CPAP is also good for my marriage. If Tyler annoys me during the night, which she does regularly by being all hot and clingy and refusing to observe even the simplest of bed-sharing guidelines and basic human rights – I can lift my little blower thing off and blow it all in her face until she rolls over, then blow on her face from the other side until she rolls back. That’s good for several hours of entertainment on a slow night.
What's bothering me is this: this CPAP thing is ok, and I guess not having to die as soon is good, but do I really want to cut down on the chances I’ll die in my sleep? Because that's really all I'm doing. I'm at least 50% sure I'm eventually going to die, but with this CPAP business - now I'm pretty sure that, when I do, it's not as likely to be peaceful.

What if I cheat death with the CPAP, but I end up falling down under a tractor instead? In a man as innately curious about tractors as I am – that could be a real problem.

Sleep well.