Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Goodness gracious. I just checked out Blogdorf Goodman for the first time and am amazed. One of the bloggers there did a whole series on makeup brushes. A series. On makeup brushes. With photos and a discussion on natural versus synthetic bristles.

I wonder if a series on catheters would grab as much attention.

In Work News, it's Christmas in August. Seems like every third person is opening his or her stocking and finding a wonderful gift: a glioblastoma! On your left temporal lobe! A meningioma! In your occipital lobe! Oh, boy! Lookit this, Mom! It's my very own spinal tumor!

Temporal lobe tumors are generally a bitch because, as you know if you're a disciple of the brain, they can cause seizures. Depending on which side they're on, they can also rob you of speech and understanding, memory, and the ability to make change.

One of my patients this week had the memory-loss and seizure problem. The memory loss is harder on us than it is on him; he keeps forgetting that what he has is a cancer that is going to kill him, nastily, so he keeps asking. And his family has to keep telling him. The seizures he has are manifested in a really weird way--sudden bursts of uncontrollable anxiety. Panic attacks, basically. I'd never seen that before, though I knew theoretically that it could happen. We put him on Keppra (a kinder, gentler anti-seizure drug) and problem solved, but still.

In House News, the bathroom walls are down. And oh my Frog, what a mess it is.

When the bathtub enclosure was built lo these many years ago, the builders installed a cabinet above the tub. Keep in mind that showers weren't standard equipment in the late 1940's, so it made sense. Need a towel? It's right there. Genius!

Except that somebody installed a shower. And did it badly. So badly, in fact, that I have a hard time believing that the thing actually worked for as long as it did.

See, when you install plumbing, it's important to make sure everything matches up. If you have cast-iron supply pipes, as I do, it's a good idea to get the proper connectors to extend piping up a wall (say) rather than jimmying something together with PVC, copper connectors, glue, caulk, and a prayer. What'll happen if you jimmy and pooky everything together is that the created joint will split and leak and take out the backside of the wall it's running up.

This was brought home to Chef Boy and me when I tapped on the wall with a pry bar (okay, banged on the wall) and the wall came down. Except for the bit surrounding the fixtures, which were glued/sweated/caulked on to the supply lines and thus have to be cut off with a hacksaw. I now have a lovely space just above the bathtub that communicates with one of the kitchen cabinets. Chef Boy suggested that we leave it as is and pass crystal decanters of bourbon and Scotch through the hole so that we can drink while bathing. For a minute, that seemed like a really, really good idea.

Today Chef Boy will install cutoffs on the sink supply lines and we'll take out the toilet, and then I'll go to work on the last wall (and probably the floor as well) with the marvelous pry bar. Later on in the week the cement board and tile will go on. The Evil Secrets of Bad Plumbing will be walled up again.

Maybe the bathroom won't smell so strongly of mouse and mold when it's done.


Anonymous said...

Dear Head Nurse,

I am worried -- that house sounds less like a house and more like a candidate for what I believe is called "warm demolition", you know, the kind with petrol and a match.

Although the pass-through hatch to the kitchen is indeed worth some consideration ....


Jo said...

Felix, the idea had occurred to me. But the rest of the place is coming together so nicely now that it's scrubbed, I don't think I could bear to do it.

Perhaps, where the towel cabinet was/is, I'll put a secret compartment for Scotch and bon-bons.

woolywoman said...

Well, I'd do my piece on NG tubes- the sizes, the types,silastic v.dobhoff, taping to avoid the elephant nose look, relative ease of use, chance that it will pop open when they sneeze and spray you with stomach contents....you know, stuff that any reasonable person would find engaing and useful.

As for Mouse & Mold, it sounds like the title for THE home magazine for the fixer upper house. Yessiree, "honey, has the new issue of Mouse & Mold come yet?" "Yeah, it's under the bottle of scotch, next to the crow bar"