Saturday, March 22, 2008

Colonoscopy: you bet your sweet ass!

Yep, it was that time again. People will tell you that the worst thing is the prep, not the procedure. They're right. Now, I've gone through this a few times before and have had a different purgative each time, but this one was the easiest.

But I'm jumping ahead.

When your doctor schedules you for a colonoscopy, here's what will happen. First, you'll have a preliminary meeting with the internist or whomever is doing the procedure. They'll ask questions and you'll have brought a nice bottle of scotch as a gift so that your pleadings of "don't hurt me" will not go unnoticed. If your internist is a woman, you might think that you should bring a lovely gift basket of assorted fragrant bath products. Don't fall for this obvious trap, bring the scotch.

You'll answer all medical questions truthfully while looking around the office for clues on how to answer those seemingly innocent social queries: see the game last night?

Consider your response carefully while scanning the shelves for Habs memoribilia or a Yankees pennant, that kind of thing.

Apply this to religion, politics, tv shows and popular music as well. And watch out for the weather question, it's loaded.

When you make the appointment for the actual thing with the secretary you'll be given a sheet of instructions to follow. Follow them. It's a list of do's and don'ts for the days leading up to the event.

You'll need to buy a purgative.

In the past this has consisted of a foul tasting brew which may involve gallons, yes gallons, of liquids to clean you out. Lately though many docs are directing Pico-Salax. This is the best. By best I mean the easiest, least foul tasting of the lot. Ask for it by name. See if your doc will allow it, if not beg and plead; maybe you should have brought a better scotch.

This stuff is taken the day before and prepare to spend some time in the little room. Be prepared: books, music, incense, a recording device, diary, or live blog if you will.

I cheat. Sort of. I ease up on heavy foods a couple of days prior. It makes things a lot easier.

You'll be told to drink plenty of clear liquids, soups, broths, jello (but not red.) You're tough, you're strong, you can do it!

You need to be totally cleaned out for the procedure to go well. You do not want to be told: Uh...we have to reschedule, you're not clean enough.

When you start expelling an almost clear fluid, stand up and cheer. You've done it. But stick close to the toilet anyway. Just in case.

You'll also be told that someone will need to pick you up after the procedure. You'll be given a drug that will make you drowsy. Normally you'd have to pay some pimply faced kid on a street corner for this, but here it's free!

When you check in at the hospital or clinic, you get a nifty wrist band to wear. Check to see that it's your name that's been printed on it. You'll then be given a locker and instructed to change into two hospital gowns, open at the back first, then on top of that, open at the front. If you feel like a dork, than it's achieved its purpose. You need to be humbled.

An iv line is put into your arm with a little saline solution to keep it open until you're given the real stuff in the actual room.

When it's your turn, you'll be wheeled into the room and the nurse will administer the dope. At this point you may go hush-a-bye-lulu or you can try to stay awake and watch the whole thing on the plasma screen. Do not ask for a different channel. They've heard this line before. Trust me.

You may feel a little cramping (air has been forced in to expand the colon.)

If you do stay awake, this is what you'll see on the screen.

If you nod off, you'll wake up in about an hour or so, saying: I'm starving, who do I have blow around here to get some food?

It's just the drugs talking. Otherwise you'd have said "whom do I have to blow?"

That's it, you're done. Eat lightly until tomorrow. Do not drive, do not operate heavy equipment. Do not play Scrabulous for money.

If something was spotted during the procedure, like a polyp, they snipped it (bottom half of the above pic) and sent it to the lab for biopsy. You should be able to have the results in about ten days.

If something else was spotted, it was probably caught early enough to do something about.

Oh yeah, no booze for twenty four hours. No matter how much you might need it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How Lucky Am I?

Nephew (he, of the foot from previous posts) was over the other day and mentioned that the real estate prices in my neighborhood had shot up and perhaps I should consider selling and moving. When he recovered from the percussion therapy I administered to his head, I asked: to what end? Where would I go with my new found wealth?

I live in a perfect neighborhood.

I am a five minute (or under) walk to the library, the hospital, David & Wanda (my wonderful pharmacists at Trinity,) the Caldense bakery (garlic bread, Portuguese custard tarts) and various and sundry coffee/fast food mongers (Tim's, Coffee Time, Starbucks, McD as well as local dineries: Musa, Caribbean Fish Shak and Yu-Shan's heavenly dumplings) and all the trendy College St restaurants.

I am a ten minute (or under) walk to my dentist, my doctor, my lawyer, computer stores, movie theatres, Kensington Market, Chinatown and Queen Street.

I am a fifteen minute walk to the Art Gallery of Ontario or Honest Ed's.

I am a twenty minute walk to hospital row on University Ave, to U of T and its lectures, more movie theatres, to the Eaton Centre and shopping, to the ROM and trendy Yorkville, chic Bloor Street and even Whole Foods or Fiesta Farms.

And this isn't power walking, this is leisurely listening to podcasts and smelling the roses walking.

Doesn't do anything to get my heart rate up, 'cos I'd rather pay to do that at the Y (I mean the JCC, but I grew up with it as the "Y", so "Y" it remains -- a twelve minute walk.)

That's just during clement winter weather. In summer I'm on the bike for anything more than a five minute walk.

I'm lazy that way.

So in order not to antagonize the lucky gods: It's a shitty neighborhood, there's never anywhere to park, too many of the wrong people are moving into the neighborhood (people with money, they're going to, you know, expect things...I'll be getting notes in my mailbox that I'd better paint 'cos I'm bring down the real estate prices...) it's too close to trendy College St.

I hate my neighborhood (*turns head away and spits three times, peh, peh, peh*.)

How lucky am I?

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Best Hamburger in North America

GQ's food guy, Alan Richman says this is the best 'burger in North America. So does Oprah. Me too.

The Le Tub Saloon is located on North Ocean drive in Hollywood, Florida and while not tough to find, it doesn't jump out at you either. We had to do a couple of u-turns.

There's a parking lot which makes things easy and it's free. There's an attendant who helps guide you through a couple of tight turns and eases you back onto the highway when you're done. He works for tips.

The joint was crowded on the Saturday afternoon we went and a nice young couple asked if we wanted to join them. He, Jeffery, an affable type-a workaholic and his bride of three years live in Ft Lauderdale and come often. Sorry, I've forgotten her name but she's a third gen native. They live in the house that she grew up in; she attended the same school her grandmother went to and Jeffery is a German immigrant who arrived with his family when he was nineteen.

They knew the ropes and that made it a very pleasant afternoon; this is important since we were there for close to two hours.

The Le Tub Saloon is decorated in early junkyard with a water theme. Plants grow out of toilet bowls and the outdoor tables are planks laid on bathtubs. And the usual nautical bric-a-brac and definitely not done by a designer.

Since it's located on the Intracoastal there's mooring available for the pleasure boats that frequently pull up.

Sitting outside we were shaded by the rubber trees and palms filled with birds; beware the birds. They clean the crumbs from your table and have been known pick up the tips.

We got to order as soon as we sat down but were told it was probably going to take an hour before the order was filled. It did.

And well worth it.

The burger is huge, ten ounces of ground sirloin. While P and I split one, I probably would have been able to handle it myself. Sorry, I can't describe what makes this thing so good, but it was.

Simple burger, with or without cheese, just lettuce, tomato and onion.

Table condiments are ketchup, mustard and red and green tobasco. That's it.

You don't need anything else.

With a side of fries, also terrific.

This is what the Palm Beach Post had to say a couple of years ago:


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Alan Richman, GQ's food dude, called Le Tub "a dream of a dump" that serves a "magnificent" char-grilled sirloin burger. "I don't understand how this spot came to have the best burger in America, but it does," he wrote.

The price of fame is ruin. Show up at Le Tub during lunch hour, and you'll wait up to an hour before seeing a menu. Fugeddaboudit on weekends. Whine about the wait, and you'll be shown the door (if they had a door).

Most people wouldn't wait 90 minutes for Le Cirque's braised rabbit in Riesling with spaetzle, fava beans and wild mushrooms. But at Le Tub, they wait. (Go off-hours. We showed up at 3 p.m. and had the pick of the house.)

The payoff: an incredible feast on a paper plate — 10 ounces of charbroiled perfection in an oversized sesame-seed bun. Chomp into it, and the juices begin to flow. The soft bun sops up the sauce so the sandwich doesn't disintegrate in your hands.

The burger itself is infused with smoky charbroiled taste. It is, without a doubt, the best darn burger we've ever sampled.

Burger breakdown

Meat: 10 ounces of hand-shaped sirloin, with cheese, lettuce and tomato. $9.50.

Cooking method: One guy over a stove as big as a closet churns out all the food.

Special sauce/seasoning: No salt. No pepper. No nothing.

Atmosphere: Old-time Florida open-air metal-roof shack, with beachwood serving as the deck and tables and benches.

The view: Astounding, especially at sunset or full moon. While we were there, a 4-foot tarpon lollygagged around in the water.

'Tude factor: Severe. One family asked to be seated in the air-conditioned room. 'Next door,' was the reply. Another inquired about the wine list. 'Does this place look like it has a wine list?' Signs declare no credit cards, no children (they are allowed). Also, no takeout.

Company line: 'People don't get it,' says a waiter named Rob. 'It's a bar, not a restaurant.'


Would I drive for an hour? After tasting this thing, ya, I would. Would I drive four days? I wouldn't rule it out.

Cost about twelve bucks. Add on fries, pie, a couple of ice teas and tip, you're looking at about twenty five. Add on booze and well...

Oh and we took the Key Lime pie to go. That pie, sublime.

I'll be back.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stephen Fry

One of my favorite things (take a moment while the Sound of Music plants its little earwig in your brain) is readin' good 'ritin'. Another is reading about the newest consumer technology.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages:
Stephen Fry's Blog.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Castles in the Air; Castles in the Sand

When we got up this morning and stepped out onto the balcony for our morning view (with high powered binoculars of course), we spotted some activity.

Building sand castles has long been a shore front pastime for kids with little shovels and little pails. And over the years we've seen some pretty spectacular creations often done by pro's who travel the sand castle circuit.

Who knew?

The evening, for our postprandial stroll, we popped down to the beach to get a closer look. The sun had gone down, but the castle was illuminated. And looked even better up close.

Then there was the inscription: Brianne will you marry me?

From the screaming that was going on when we got there, I'm guessing Brianne said yes.

Just 'nother day in paradise.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good to go, thanks Beria

Things were fine. We'd been making decent time, turning off the interstate at any sign that flashed "antiques next exit" until Beria, Kentucky. That's pronounced "berry-ya" (okay "bury ya") a little town with a few antique shops and an artists' slash crafts colony. We pulled in for gas, filled up and... and... nothing! The engine wouldn't turn over. Click click click. So we did what any civilized person would do. Waited two minutes then tried again, because the car came with a self-healing option and those two minutes allowed ample time for repair.

Apparently I'd forgotten to pay for that particular option.

Numerous people offered to help, they're very friendly in Kentucky. One guy actually crawled under the car to whack my starter motor to beat it into submission (this works sometimes, I've done it myself). No go. Called the CAA/AAA and sat for forty minutes waiting for help. I was stalled in a fill up lane, blocking a pump and tried to push the car out of the way. Forget it. The girls inside at the cash desk were very understanding and said not to worry about it.

When Jim arrived with his flat bed, we (he) thought that it might just be the battery and gave me a boost and the engine turned over. Great! Signed the papers, he left, and so did we. Sort of. We got about thirty feet. Okay, back to the phone, and AAA's sending another truck. This time we opted for a tow to the Ford dealership.

Oh did I mention that everyone so far has been toothless.

Stereotypes abound but that includes southern hospitality.

At the dealership I was told that the battery was shot and that alternator would have to be replaced. They'd have to order it, probably get it by tomorrow and they'd drive us to a motel.

So it's Beria for the night. Motel close by with wireless access (but frankly the wireless at the Dealership was a lot better than the motel.)


Next morning I walked over to check on progress and was told that we were good to go. The part had arrived at 4:00 am and the boys installed 'er when they came in at 7:00.

Good to go.