Monthly Archives: September 2013

The day the Mother of All Embarrassments came to visit

spiral of embarrassmentRemember, growing up, there were certain things that the mere thought of doing them – or getting caught doing them – made you cringe in terror?

Pulling a wedgie out in public. Putting sanitary pads or tampons in the grocery cart (I always quickly covered them up with a cereal box or whatever was in there and could never understand why Mom thought that was so weird). Scratching your nose in a purely innocent Jerry Seinfeld-esque manner but having someone confuse it with a pick (It was a scratch!).

As adults we eventually get over them, or learn how to maneuver around them. I’m more tolerant of wedgies now, so the urgent need to pull has been replaced by a quick search for a bathroom to do it in private. Not only do I not hide the box of tampons when I go to the store, I sometimes will just boldly hold it in my hands from the shelf to the checkout if it’s the only thing I’m buying. As for the nose, I still worry someone will think I’m picking, so I try to leave that alone in public as much as humanly possible.

But there’s one thing – that one mortifying, horrendous, incredibly embarrassing thing – that will forever be unacceptable for females to do in public. The one thing I am mortified of doing in front of my boyfriend, the man I’ve been dating for 18 months.

The audible fart.

There, I said it. And I not only said it, I did it. But not in a grocery store or department store or crowded room where it could be blamed on anyone else. Oh, no. I did it in grand look-at-me-I-just-made-THAT-sound fashion. In a small room during physical therapy. Just me and my pretty good looking male physical therapist.

It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t intentional – it wasn’t even one of those where you know something bad is coming because you feel the bubbles in your stomach moving all around. This one was completely and totally unannounced.

It was a good morning, a great morning. I got to work early, had my bagel and banana for breakfast along with my half pot of coffee (don’t judge me – it was early). I got a few things done before I needed to leave for my 8:30 a.m. PT appointment – one of the benefits of working in a hospital is that every one of your health care needs are virtually at your doorstep.

Got to PT and had to wait a bit; still, nothing wrong, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Went into the patient room and we talked about the improvement in my knee, the therapist apologized for being late and even told me I was the highlight of his day when I suggested I reschedule to put his schedule back in order.

He had me get up on the table and lie on my back so I could bend my knee – no problem. Much improvement. Then he told to roll over onto my side so he could test my hip strength – again, no problem. I rolled back onto my back and we did a few more exercises and then … he reached for my hand to help me sit up.

I sat up, swung my leg off the bed and … it happened.

I could have said it was my shoe on the vinyl. I could have pretended nothing happened. I could have done a lot of things. What I did to, however, was throw my hand up to my mouth, exclaim, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” and move over to my chair. I could feel the heat of humiliation rise up my neck and spill over my face.

And then it was out there. My appointment wasn’t over. I had to sit in my chair, five feet from where he was sitting in his chair, and have a serious discussion about my knee.

I have no idea what he said. When he was explaining the next steps in exercise, I was thinking, “Dear God, is he sitting there in a green cloud and just being too nice to say anything?” When he started pointing to the sheet of instructions, my thoughts were, “He’s very subtly using the paper as a fan to get some fresh air.” When he got up to show me out, I though, “OH GOD, the cloud has floated to the top of the room and now he’s standing in it!”

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. And the only thought that crossed my mind the entire walk back to my office?

“Why couldn’t I have just gotten caught buying a box of tampons?”

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Karma is an unforgiving wench

imagesYou ever have one of those days where you wake up and just know something is going to be a little off about this day? The ones where you really, really want to just crawl back under the covers and wait for the storm – whatever it is – to pass?

Today was one of those days.

The morning itself was fine. I almost literally jumped out of bed, turned off the alarm and felt refreshed and energized, ready to face the day. No hitting snooze and snuggling with my pillows this morning – no, I was up and ready to face the day. I turned off the alarm, turned on the lights and started my ritualistic walk toward the kitchen where, thanks to the wonderful designers at Mr. Coffee who put automatic timers on their machines, my cup of hot morning necessity would be waiting.

Halfway down the hall it hit me: This is not how morning is supposed to be. And since this good morning isn’t how it’s normally supposed to be, something is going to balance it out later in the day. Something …

It nagged me for a little bit, but then I put the music from my phone on and proceeded about my morning routine. All went well.

Work was busy, but good. While writing is a big part of my job, another part – the media relations-defined part – is to escort members of the media through the hospital when they have interviews with doctors or patients and their families, and to get consent forms signed from or on behalf of the patients (in the case of our pediatric patients). This morning I had a radio personality from Mason City come and get patient and family interviews for an upcoming radiothon for Children’s Miracle network. We walked through different parts of the hospital for four hours, but he got what he needed and left.

Then I started to feel it again. I knew whatever it was hadn’t happened yet. It wasn’t the four-hour media tour. It wasn’t listening to Christmas tunes on the Cambus in September.

I still didn’t know what it was, but I couldn’t shake it.

I was set to do another media escort at 3, so just a few minutes shy of the hour I went down to where I’d agreed to meet the reporter. I waited. And waited. And at 3:20 I tried calling the patient’s room to see if the reporter had gone up without me. No, I was told, that patient was discharged.

There would be no interview. And no one called to let me know.

I knew who was responsible. It was karma, in all her glory, snickering behind the plants in the lobby.

The reporter, as it turns out, was from the station I anonymously mocked on my Facebook page yesterday for having three language/grammatical errors in a 140-character tweet. I didn’t name the station, just posted the tweet.

Karma, you miserable little bitch.


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Confessions of a (new) D&D nerd

That's me, er, Murphy. NO, not that one - the one in the green dress.

That’s me, er, Murphy. NO, not that one – the one in the green dress.

I have a confession: I play Dungeons and Dragons. I have two characters – a human and a half-elf – and I even own my own dice.

What’s worse is, well, I like it. A lot.

And to answer a question one of my friends asked when she found out I started playing, Yes, D&D is very much still around.

Don’t get me wrong, I know what a big deal this confession is.┬áIf anyone would have asked me 30 years ago if I thought I’d ever have an interest in Dungeons and Dragons, I’d have laughed at them. Thirty years ago I was 16, completely self-absorbed, smoking cigarettes with my friends behind the buildings at high school football games. I listened to Motley Crue, Black Sabbath, AC/DC – and Air Supply, Andy Gibb, Duran Duran and Loverboy.

The only thing I played when I was 16 was backgammon or Scrabble with my dad, and even that was becoming a rarity at 16.

That’s not to say I didn’t do role-playing. Oh no, we all play different roles when we’re 16: we’re the badass with our friends, except our best friends, who know who we really are; we’re the rebel (I was the compliant rebel most of the time) with our parents; the good girl with our pastors; the A student with our teachers. I played a variety of roles back then, but never, NEVER did I play a half-elf fighting off hobgoblins and trolls.

To be honest, if anyone had asked me two years ago what I thought of D&D, I’m not sure I would have responded. Most likely I would have given them the, “Are you kidding me right now?” look and moved on, ignoring the question. I mean, really, who still plays Dungeons & Dragons?

Well, it turns out, my boyfriend does. And so do his kids, and their spouses/partners. And, now, so do I.

And it’s fun.

We’ve gotten together one night of almost every weekend the last three months, sat around a big table with our map and die-cast characters and worked on a mission of freeing a group of people who were captured and made into slaves in a giant castle filled with monsters.

I happily played with my first character, a human fighter named Murphy (hey, I was new, I was told to name my character and I gave the first Irish name that came to mind), for a while when I was first introduced to the game last fall, but I didn’t play much. This summer our games took on new life and became a weekly event. After a while, Mark, the boyfriend/Dungeon Master, asked if I wanted a new character, one with some magical powers.

This time I gave some more thought to my name. (Mostly because I was publicly ridiculed for having a character named Murphy. I believe I was told that “Murphy is not a D&D name.”) I searched Irish elf names and came up with Scoithniam, pronounced SKUH nyee uv, which means “shining, radiant blossom.” OK, still not much of name for strength and intimidation, but it’s cool.

I’ll admit it, I initially agreed to play so I could spend time with Mark and see what he found so intriguing about this game. The first night I felt a little self-conscious, but the more I play, the more I like it. We’re not dressing up and flailing real swords and maces and daggers – but we are in our minds, which makes it even more fun.



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