Category Archives: Health

What’s Wrong With Me Now!?

Hello, everyone! And welcome to America’s newest show, “What’s Wrong With Me Now!?” The only quiz show game devoted solely to all the weird and awful medical maladies that start afflicting you once you hit the age of 35 and beyond.

Yes, your body is now beginning its slow decline toward death via a dirty bomb of disease and undiagnosed ailments. So, what’s wrong with you now? Let’s find out!

You wake up on Sunday morning and suddenly discover you can’t turn your head to the left. What is wrong with you?

  1. You slept on your pillow wrong.
  2. The fact that your mattress is 17-years-old is finally catching up with you.
  3. Now that you think about it, a hazy memory emerges of you attempting a cartwheel after that third glass of wine last night in a futile attempt to prove you’re still young.
  4. Neck cancer.

Despite having not worked out in a decade, your left knee has become sore and swollen. What is wrong with you?

  1. You have gout. Like an old-timey king.
  2. It’s about to start raining. Which you will always know now. Because congratulations, you have arthritis.
  3. You made the mistake of playing with your kids on the ground for 12 minutes yesterday.
  4. Knee cancer.

A red, itchy, painful rash has developed on your face for no reason whatsoever. What’s wrong with you?

  1. Heat rash. Because you can now be defeated by the sun.
  2. Mystery disease from one of your son’s preschool classmates. Probably the one who sneezed into your eyeball last week at pick-up.
  3. At least five of your Facebook friends think it’s your thyroid.
  4. Face cancer? Is that a thing?

When you go to the bathroom, it’s either constipation or diarrhea. There is no in-between. What is wrong with you?

  1. Nothing. This is your life now.
  2. Your diet. Which is awful. And which you will not be changing.
  3. So help you if you’re pregnant again. You’d murder your husband, ‘ol Mr. I’ll Get A Vasectomy Soon I Promise, if you didn’t so desperately need his help raising all these feral children.
  4. Colon cancer.

You can’t chew on the right side of your face anymore without excruciating pain. What is wrong with you?

  1. You need a root canal. Because all those times you told the dentist you were flossing you were lying through your disgusting unflossed teeth.
  2. TMJ. You don’t even know what that is. But you definitely have it now.
  3. It doesn’t matter because you hate the dentist and will die before going to one.
  4. Jaw cancer.

You feel bad. Just a general badness. All over. What is wrong with you?

  1. Indigestion from your breakfast nachos.
  2. Heart attack.
  3. Panic attack.
  4. All three…plus cancer!

You’ve had a dry cough for six-months now. What is wrong with you?

  1. Chronic bronchitis.
  2. Nothing some essential oils can’t fix, which luckily 14 of your former classmates sell.
  3. Allergies. Or asthma. Or acid reflux. All the A’s, pretty much.  
  4. Lung cancer. From that one cigarette you smoked in 1996 to impress Todd Peterson.

Well, looks like that’s the buzzer. As usual, there are no winners in this game. But you’ll all be going home with some consolation prizes from our sponsors. Tell them what they’ve won, Johnny.

From the makers of Advil, comes Purse Advil. Purse Advil: Like Advil but for your purse because you never not need it now.

And say hello to your very own treadmill! This beauty from NordicTrack has a smart response motor, a 10-inch interactive screen and plenty of places to hang up those clothes you’ve already worn but aren’t quite dirty yet so you don’t want to throw them in the hamper.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow when we try to figure out if that mole on your shoulder has changed shape and/or color and what is the best remedy for acne in your 40’s!

Goodnight, America!

 

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Bad Poetry By A Tired Mom

 

I have two kids

Two beautiful unique souls

Each with a unique illness

Germs, his and hers

 

Simultaneous sickness

But different miseries

Because they couldn’t even

Extend the courtesy

Of having the same goddamn disease

 

How does that even happen?

What did I do wrong?

Is it revenge for when I was bragging

About their immune systems being so strong?

 

Hand, foot and mouth

Fever, cough, sore throat

Luckily, sharing is caring

Which is why every surface of my house

Has been smeared with snot

 

There is so much gross

Just

So much of

The gross

 

Noses dripping

Phlegm flying

Rashes rashing

Or whatever the hell they do

 

Oh, is this awful to read?

A thousand apologies

But imagine a tiny clone of your husband

Sneezing directly into your face

 

Speaking of husbands

He’s busy, off working

Meanwhile, I’m drowning in used tissues

Trying to build a moat

By drinking enough Merlot that I practically float

 

It’s not working

There’s so many leaks

That’s what we call a double entendre

Or something like that

 

Something something insert funny line here

And here

And here

I’m so tired, you guys.

 

What rhymes with “someone, dear god, help me”?

Is poetry still suppose to rhyme?

Omg, when’s the last time I actually read a poem

Not composed by Dr. Seuss?

 

Twin rivers flowing in tandem

Bearing colorful waves of a neverending pour

Tylenol

Ibuprofen

Here to save us all

 

We’ve watched Tangled three times

Just today alone

Take your screen time limits

And shove them

We’re in survival mode

 

But don’t you worry about us

They’ll end up being just fine

Sickness doesn’t last forever

And at least I still have (cough) my health

Oh crap, (sniffle) what the hell was that?

 

Dammit.

 

Disappointing your dentist & other fun grown-up stuff

If you were to grade me on my adulting capabilities, I’m fairly confident I’d receive a solid C average. For instance, I always pay my bills on time. But I’ve also been ignoring my leaking dishwasher for three weeks and can never seem to eat the avocados in my kitchen before they go bad. Mostly because they’re avocados and, as such, taste like avocados. I pretty much just buy them so when other adults come over to my house, they look at the avocados and think “wow, she has avocados, she must really have her life together.”

And then there’s the whole dentist thing. Rumor has it that as an adult you’re supposed to go to the dentist on a fairly regular basis. Fairly regular basis, of course, meaning “at some point.”

Oh, so when’s the last time I went to the dentist, you ask? Well, that depends. Do you want the answer I tell the dentist, the one I tell my mom, or the truth? Either way, the answer is always wrong.

I know this. I am an adult, afterall. I have the I.D. to prove it and everything. That’s another aspect of adulting I’ve mastered. I always renew my driver’s license on time. On time, of course, meaning “within six months after it expires.”

So, yeah, I’d been meaning to make a dentist appointment. It’s just life got in the way, as it so often does. There was work and then I had kids and then there was all the time and energy I had to spend on ignoring my dishwasher.

Also I was scared. Super scared. Just a Scaredy McScarepants.

Not for any good reason, mind you. Dentists don’t deserve their reputation. They are kind and hardworking people. They are highly-trained professionals. They provide an invaluable service to society. Think about the last time you had a toothache. How awful it was. Most of us would run over our own mothers just to get to a dentist to make that pain stop.

And there are plenty of people who have far more evil occupations. Serial killers, for one. Investment bankers. Those people who keep calling me from my alma mater asking me for money.

Why do we hate going to the dentist so much? Well, for one, you never leave there with good news. And if you have ever left the dentist with good news, if your dentist has ever told “wow, great job, your mouth is perfect,” then what are you doing even reading this? You clearly are a responsible, respectable member of society and are not my target audience. How about you go floss some more, nerd.

As for the rest of us, there’s a root canal or lengthy flossing tutorial or partial jaw removal in our immediate future.

Besides, I’m one of those people who just assumed that if I brushed twice a day, used mouth wash, and randomly remembered to floss every few weeks, everything would be fine. Teeth are one of those things, like cars and dishwashers and trendy vegetables, that I expect to last forever and ever until the end of time without any interference from me.

But you know what’s coming next, don’t you? Of course you do. Because no one just wakes up one day magically wiser and goes “ok, I’ll finally do that awful thing I’ve been putting off for far too long.” Oh no. No, something FORCES you to do that.

In my case, I woke up with mysteriously painful and swollen gums. So, like the C average adult that I am, I walked around and complained about the pain for a week. And then I screwed up my courage and finally made a dentist appointment.

More importantly, I actually showed up to the appointment. Where I was politely shamed about my dental history. That’s the other reason why we hate going to the dentist. They’re always disappointed in us. Don’t get me wrong. He was very pleasant and kind about it. But I knew I let him down.

Imagine how upset he’d be if I actually told the truth about the date of my last dental appointment.

But the bigger lesson here is that whatever it is you’ve been putting off, whatever it is that’s been on your undone to-to list for months or years, it’s never as bad as you imagine.

I’m kidding. It was exactly as bad as I imagined. Possibly worse.

But I survived.

And you’ll survive whatever your metaphorical dentist is too. Even if it is the actual dentist.

 

Cover your mouths, you animals

It’s been a long, hard winter. A long, hard winter that is barely a third of the way over. And yet, if I’m doing my math correctly, my family has already been sick 1,376 times since November.

I’ve seen things, man. Things not even a mom should have to see. Every shade of vomit. Every consistency of mucus. Pure liquid evil coming out tiny terrified tushies. All of which I cleaned up while dealing with my own vomit, mucus and terrified tushie.

An experience like that changes a person. It hardens you. These illnesses have taken away my family’s health and sanity and our entire NyQuil budget for the whole year already.

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But no more. I’m not letting them take anything else.

Which is why I have a message for all the people out there who have passed their germs onto my family…

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I also don’t have are skills, particular or otherwise. Unless you count writing as a skill and even then, these skills I have acquired over a very long career are still mediocre at best. Still, I will find a way to make myself a nightmare for people like you. I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you.

Ok, Ok, I won’t kill you. That’s pretty illegal, I think. But I will tie you up and waterboard you with Purell until you’ve learned your lesson.

So you, yeah you, on the subway. The one hacking into his hands and then TOUCHING THE POLE. I’m coming for you. And I will hurl cough drops at your face until you learn how to do the vampire cough, you animal. You know, where you cough into the crook of your elbow so your germs don’t INVADE EVERYONE ELSE WITHIN A 20 FOOT RADIUS OF YOUR DISEASED FACE.  

And to all you parents and nannies and caretakers coming to library storytime with your leaky charges, I get it. I do. You need out of the house. You need to entertain the kid. You need basic human interaction. However, if your child puked that morning but now “feels, like, so much better!” that doesn’t mean they are, like, magically healed. They are still contagious. Go home before I dump buckets of bleach mixed with Emergen-C over both your heads.

Also, to literally everyone who works in my husband’s office…dammit, guys. Come on. I don’t know if there is an office pool or something for who can bring in the most devastating domestic illness but we are done participating. Don’t make me come there and spray you all down with a Nerf gun I filled with Lysol.

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Oh, and Sophia P.? I know the cold that I just got over was from when you coughed in my mouth at preschool. Which is particularly egregious since we are not even related. You seemed so innocent. Your tiny hand tapping my arm, to gain my attention, only for me to bend down and then have you immediately cough directly into my face hole. I never saw it coming. A weapon of individual destruction. But still, I’mma give you a free pass, sweetheart. Even I draw the line at harming 4-year-olds. (But like, just barely. The line is drawn in a pale shade of pastel chalk. So watch yourself.)

There’s still a lot of winter left. Technically two more months, calendar-wise. Reality-wise, however, we have two more months followed by a month of just pure sleet, and then a surprise snowstorm and then a week of beautiful weather and then three more weeks of sleet before BOOM, it’s 90 degrees.

So, let’s all work together to try and keep ourselves and, by extension, everyone else, as healthy as we can for the remainder of the season.

Besides, I think all my other solutions might be in a murky gray area of legality and jail will just mean a whole new slew of germs I have to battle.

 

Maybe technology is cyclical

There are a lot of theories out there about the best way to raise children. These mostly come from people without kids, but a shocking amount of parents manage to form strong opinions about this subject too. Which they must do in-between chugging Merlot and crying in the shower, I imagine.

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I’ll admit I used to be one of those parents. With lofty ideals about proper nutrition and preschool STEM activities and basic human hygiene.

Pffft.

But that was before. Before the machine. Before…THE GAME.

Now none of it matters. Nothing matters. Nothing except…THE GAME.

Well, I mean, and my children and my husband and our collective health and world peace and our extended families and our beloved dog and protecting the environment and Jeff Goldblum because he’s a national treasure and all our friends.

But NOTHING ELSE.

It started innocently enough, like most of these scenarios that end up spiraling into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. I bought my husband one of those Nintendo Classic consoles for Christmas. You know, the ones with all the games from our childhood? PacMan. Donkey Kong. Super Mario Bros., ONE, TWO AND THREE.

And it quickly became clear once we turned it on that my family is unlikely to do anything for the next 15 years other than play Nintendo.

Like moths to a super pixelated light, my husband and I pressed our noses to the screen, that oh-so-unforgettable music filling our ears. The music of the angels, if angels sported mullets and Jordache jeans and oversized, unflattering eyeglasses.

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It was all so familiar, and yet somehow new, considering it had been close to three decades since either one of us had felt those comforting buttons beneath our fingers. Almost immediately we fell into that old trance, eyes glazed and fingers moving like lightning, murdering everything in our path with glee.

Our children, curious as to why we were refusing to feed them or take them for walks or generally acknowledging their existence in any form, eventually wandered over and were also immediately dragged under the spell of the Nintendo. All too soon, requests of “can I play next?” started pouring forth from their lips, eventually escalating into shouts of “IT’S MY TURN NOW!” Which, as their parents, we very maturely responded back “NO, IT’S STILL MY TURN!”

We haven’t cleaned in weeks. Empty pizza boxes are stacked like fortresses around our living room, with discarded juice boxes and wine bottles acting as moats around them. All of our hair has started to resemble the characters on those TV shows about Vikings.

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Sometimes, in those brief moments where I blink and remember there is a life outside of rescuing the princess, I wonder if I should be worried about what kind of damage this is doing to us. Especially the kids. Everyone is always yelling about the importance of limiting screen time and how video games are bad for developing brains and that Cheetos apparently don’t contain all the nutrients a body needs.  

But then, happily, it’s my turn again and those silly thoughts shoot right out of my head with the speed of a jumped-upon turtle shell in Super Mario Bros.

Besides, I choose to think of this whole thing as more like how families of yore used to sit around the fireplace, reading classic literature out loud to each other and bonding or whatever. Only instead of a fire we have a magic box that makes little Italian men run and jump and squish evil mushrooms sporting heavy eyebrows. And is there truly any more of a bonding experience than witnessing your 2-year-old finally learning how to run AND jump at the same time as opposed to just walking into a wall for eight minutes straight? I mean…

There is only one thing truly missing from my life right now. So if someone could just leave Doritos and Jolt Cola on my front porch, I’d really appreciate it.  

 

Honest Christmas Letter

Greetings, friends and family and people I barely know anymore but still have your addresses saved so what the hell!

I hope this year has been good to you (she types like she hasn’t stalked over half of you on social media late at night with a glass of wine in her hand…definitely-not-creepy haha!).

It’s been a wonderful year here at the Brandon-Huddle household. At least I think it has. If I’m being completely honest, I can’t remember what it was like before the Vague Plague swept through our house, reducing all of us to coughing, feverish, snotty shells of our former selves. You know, that mysterious illness that hits one family member and then passes through all the rest until the first one finally gets better right as the last one is coming down with it, thus passing it back onto the first one, on and on and on until none of you can remember what it is like to breathe through one nostril anymore, let alone two. It has no name but is somewhere in-between a cold and the flu. Unless, of course, the man of the house gets it, in which case it is a Very Serious Case of Almost Certain Death.

But although our collective health is currently drowning in a tsunami of snot, everything else is a fantastic mixed bag of tragicomedy.

Ryan is working hard as usual. Some would say too hard. And by some I mean me. Awkward haha! Because I reach a certain point in the evening where I simply cannot “mom” for one more minute. But at least he’s smart enough to know that if he walks through that door past six he is to have a bottle of wine tucked under his arm for me. Maybe also a cheeseburger. And a taco.

But it’s not entirely his fault. You gotta make a living, right? Kids are expensive. And he’s really good at what he does. Plus, during those brief twelve minutes we have together in-between the kids going down and us passing out on the couch after watching the opening credits of “Sabrina” on Netflix, we are reminded how much we love each other as we grunt and stare vacant-eyed into the other’s rapidly aging face.

As for myself, I completed a half marathon this year, which has been a dream of mine ever since my friend Emily texted me “wanna do a half-marathon?” and I drunkenly texted back “hellz yesh!” The race was awful. Just truly awful. Why do people like to do this? What is wrong with them?

But the point remains that I did it. Which I now tell anyone standing within earshot.

I’ve also been keeping up with my writing. I’m even trying my hand at writing a book. Which means I rapidly swing from “I can do this, I can totally do this” to “I’m an idiot. What is a plot? Whet r werds?” on a daily basis. I definitely think I need new hobbies.

This has also been a big year for our oldest, Riker, who started preschool this year. He loves it. Now. In the first few weeks there was some atomic-level leg clinging during drop-off but now he can’t stop talking about school. At least I think he’s talking about school. His stories aren’t always coherent. They pretty much start somewhere at the ¾ mark and then jump backward toward the middle with a brief glance at the beginning while the ending has apparently escaped through some window, never to be heard of again.  

Allow me to share his latest. It’s so cute. I think…?

“So then Ethan is a bad guy, but a friendly bad guy, and we chased the ghosts on the swings and Mrs. Ferris says, but Momma, it’s always important to share, and remember, Momma, when you first get to the classroom, we have to do our arrival jobs so we walk quietly and carefully to our cubby and put away our things and then sometimes Elena hugs me too hard and I don’t like it but that’s ok and now I’m a big boy, not a baby, which is why the vampires were hiding in the closet.”

Speaking of babies, our baby isn’t a baby anymore. Mae turned 2 in July. She is just turning out to be a fantastic little person, albeit one who drinks what has to be an unhealthy amount of bath water. We are a bit nervous about her arch-villain tendencies but, as they say, raise the children you have, not the children you want. Even if they scare you a bit.

And last, but certainly not least, is our dog Buffy. He’s 13 now! Can you believe it? I certainly can but then again I am constantly reminded thanks to his old man dog farts, which are numerous and aromatic, to put it politely. But the vet says he is in great shape and super healthy and only charged us $600 to tell us that.

All in all, we realize how lucky we are with our beautiful little family and a roof that only leaks sometimes over our heads. Although if anyone is wondering what to get us for Christmas, a nap would just be fantastic.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

 

I ran 13.1 miles & all I got was this lousy self-esteem

People do dumb things. It’s one of the few things you can rely on. You’ve probably heard that old quote that goes “the only constant is change.” But really it should be amended to “the only constants are change and people do dumb things.”

I should know. I am a people and I just did something dumb.

I ran a half marathon on Saturday.

Not dumb enough for you? Just wait, there’s more. I ran a half marathon during a Nor’easter, which is a wicked storm featuring heavy rain and snow and strong winds.

Still not dumb enough for you? Here’s the best part. I paid not-dumb people $80 for this privilege.

If you would have told me 20 years ago that I would one day sign up to run a half marathon, I would have rolled my eyes so hard at you I would have seen my brain. Shoot, if you would have told me just last year that I would sign up to run a half marathon, I…well, I wouldn’t have heard you over my screaming children. But after I asked you to repeat it four times I would have responded by laughing so hard I probably would have woken up the baby and then I would have thrown a pan at your face for making me wake up the baby.

And yet, there I was. On Saturday in Cape Cod. Running 13.1 miles. In a row. On purpose.

Not only that, I trained for it. For months, I was getting up at 4:30 in the morning and strapping on my shoes and running four, five, six miles in the dark. On the weekends, it was seven, eight, nine miles. All on voluntary terms. All without anything chasing me. And all with no other purpose than I needed to run a lot to get ready to run even more.

Like I said, dumb.

On the plus side, it was also hard and painful and exhausting.

But it was transformative.

For some reason in our society we have this idea that people don’t change. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. But I do know we evolve.

We evolve with each trial and tribulation we overcome. We evolve every time we learn something new. With every new experience, every new person we meet, we evolve. We evolve every time we fall in love. We evolve with each heartbreak. We evolve when we hold our children for the first time.

And we evolve every time we conquer what we think is the unconquerable.

That’s why I signed up, dumb as it was. It’s easy to think that the way things are, the way you are, is how it will always be, how you will always be. I was a tired, overwhelmed mom who was getting increasingly frustrated at both herself and the way the world was.

But change is the only constant. And that’s why I ran (limped) for miles in a storm. To prove I could evolve. That I could become the kind of person who crosses the finish line. That I can be whoever I want.

And now that I did, I have a whole list of other unconquerables. I want to write a novel. And a children’s book. To become a decent photographer. To buy a house and foster orphaned pets. To be the best mom and wife and daughter I can. And, lord help me, to run a full marathon.

And there are now fewer doubts in my mind that I can do all these things. Because I evolved. Because through this experience, I became a better version of myself.

And look, this could just be the endorphins talking here, but finishing that half marathon gives me just a little bit more hope for all of us. We can be better. We can make this world better. We can do the impossible because history has shown us that doing the impossible is what humans excel at.

All we have to do is try hard. Forgive ourselves. And try harder.

And yes, I realize how naive this all sounds but hey, we could all stand to be a bit dumber that way.