Sunday, February 28, 2010

Anything You Can Do...

Rich: We could do that!
Me: Do what? Play polo?
Rich: No, that!
Me: Dig for buried treasure?
Rich: No, that! This show, what we're watching. We'd have fun!
Me: The Amazing Race?
Rich: Yeah, why not?
Me: (glancing at his leg...)
Rich: Well, not now.
Me: Thanks for not making me say it aloud.
Rich: We'd have fun, though, don't you think?
Me: I'd kill you.
Rich: What?
Me: Not literally. Hon, I love you, but under pressure, you get...
Rich: What?
Me: Angry? Frustrated? All yelly with twirly red eyes. And since it's a race, well... I'd kill you. Or you'd kill me. Somehow, trust me, it would end tragically.
Rich: Hmm...
Me: And since you are already using a walker to get around... I'd hate to be known as the guy who killed his partially-disabled, partially-bionic gay partner in a race around the world. We'd be famous, but in a bad way... But I still love you...
Rich: You really don't think we could do it?
Me: Could we do it? Yes. Will we do it? No. Why? It wouldn't be fun, it would be a nightmare. You'd yell, I'd go quiet, you'd get stubborn, I'd will myself to be more stubborn, we'd finally kiss and make up, and by then we'd have been eliminated by Phil, not to mention producers who really only love Type A personalities who are vocal. Not that I'm not all easy going most of the time, and not that you're always angry and stubborn, but when it comes to competition? You remember Clemmark and Scrabble? Clemmark and Pictionary? Clemmark and Pinochle? Clemmark and Apples to Apples? We Hughes's are beyond competitive... Except Cindy. But she doesn't count, she was the UPS man's...
Rich: Well, think about it.
Me: No.
Rich: A little?
Me: No.
Rich: Fine.
Me: Fine.
(Five minutes later.)
Rich: Babe?
Me: Still no.
(Five minutes later.)
Rich: Um--
Me: Still no.
(Five minutes later.)
Rich: I need--
Me: Still no.
(Five minutes later.)
Rich: WATER!
Me: Excuse me?
Rich: I need some water.
Me: Why did you yell it?
Rich: I didn't want to hear you say "Still no."
Me: Oh.
Rich: But--
Me: Still no.
Rich: Fine.

The Third Time is the Charm...

So after being re-re-released from the hospital, one can only hope that silly cliches which we aren't fond of hold true--the third time is the charm. Not that answers have been any clearer, not that diagnosis's have been made, not that there are any sort of hospital staff that would make it even into a very very very bad pornographic video (proving once again that life does not imitate art, QAF), but at least no more female nurses or techs have been barging in at four a.m., and at least the food is homemade... Mostly...

Of course, some of the things you learn over the course of four weeks and three hospital visits include:
  1. Vasovego is not a new hot dance move, but a medical condition. It's actually a form of "passing out" that means "We don't know what's causing it, so we'll blame it on stress." Yeah, I know, I'd rather make it the new Macarana as well...
  2. Doctors have a hard time saying "I don't know..." That's how you end up with a diagnosis that sounds like a dance move instead of an actual medical-sounding term, like "-osis" or "-itis." Perhaps they mispronounced it and it should be called "Vesovegitis"?
  3. Sponge baths aren't nearly as fun as you would imagine them to be. Especially when any male nurse that does happen to exist on your floor and in your wing looks more like Roseanne Barr than even Roseanne does. Quite the libido killer, that. Not to mention no sponge is actually used, simply a thin, white rag that could use a spot of bleach or two...
  4. Don't eat the Chinese in the cafeteria. It only comes in one flavor, despite labels such as "General Tsao" or "Garlic Beef"--that flavor is "Super-Spicy!!!!", and I can think of no other reason than Pepto-Bismol has a share-holder stake in the hospital itself, and it saves insurance companies on having to pay for ambulatory services if the emergency room is just down the hall when you think your chest is on fire and you're about to shit your stomach out your rectum. Needless to say, "unpleasant" is an understatement of magnificent proportions.
  5. There are two types of nurses: "Bubbly-sweet" and "Ice Queen." Both have their up- and down-sides, neither is pleasant to deal with at 2, 4, or 6:00 am (for different reasons), and they all care more about sitting at their desks than answering the nifty little buttons that supposedly mean "Your nurse will rush in to see what you need and to verify you aren't dying," but which actually mean "After I finish this fascinating conversation with my co-worker, I'll meander aimlessly for about half-an-hour and even then may not drop in unless it is time for you to swallow a pill." This system also applies to techs, Doctors, orderlies, the cafeteria staff, and other patients' loved ones. One of the ice-queen nurses was so happy I was leaving she actually smiled--in an "ice queen" kind of way, of course.
  6. I am a bitch. No, I did already know this fact, but I didn't think it actually applied to people who paid more for their schooling than I did... i.e., Doctors, nurses, and techs. However, it seems I have no qualms when it comes to interrupting their stories about their kids with their coworkers, and if you have placed a wheelchair outside of Rich's room to let him leave, but disappear for an hour? I will roll that wheelchair into his room, tell him they said I could, and then start wheeling him down the hall until someone says, "Hey, you!" I also have no qualms about telling them why... It made one of the ice queens smile, if only because it probably gave her a happy thought knowing she could piss me off that one last time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

That Rare Five Percent...

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

Or so the saying goes. I'm not much for a good cliche--come to think of it, I'm not much for a bad one, either. However, sometimes it just sums it all up so perfectly, so wonderfully, so... cliche-y. And really, aren't cliches just the stereotyping of situations? "Oh, I know just what you're going through." No, you don't, so stop trying to identify.

I know--I'm just in "one of those moods." Or so I've been told. I know I am, but sometimes I like disagreeing just to disagree--the bonus being pissing you off. Sometimes making you feel bad makes me feel better. Of course, then the angel and the demon pop up on my shoulders:

Angel: Now, now, you know you need to go apologize.
Demon: Come on, they had it coming!
Angel: That's no reason to be mean...
Demon: The hell it isn't! Did you see that smirk? That 'Haha! He's finally getting his'!
Angel: I think you may be misinterpreting there...
Demon: Go in for the kill!
Angel: Back off, be the sweetie everyone thinks you are!
Demon: Sweet sucks! Kill, kill, kill!
Angel: Lay off! Treat others how you would like to be treated!
And so on... Truth be told, Angel wins most of the time. Make that 90 percent of the time. Okay, okay, 95 percent of the time. What can I say? Perhaps I am nothing more than a big, fat, smoochie-smoochie, hippie-love type of guy.

Be assured, however--it's NOT what I'm thinking, but what I think you want to hear that you hear. 95 percent of the time...

It's a funk. I haven't had quality alone-time in at least 3 weeks, I have yet to work through all the emotions I roller-coasted through the last 10 days (Is he dying? Doe she know I love him? Is this normal? Why does this human being have more tubes and wires hooked up to him then my receiver? What did his mom mean by that? Will he remember this? Will he be the same after this? Medical malpractice or just "shit happens"? and so on...), and I miss normal. As in, not this right now. As in, the way it was two weeks ago. As in, This. Fucking. Sucks.

When it's all said and done, I know we'll share a good chuckle over these events. In ten years it will be a fading memory, a speed bump in the road of life that could have easily been a "Dead End" in other situations.

Is this the part where you suggest I seek out therapy? Having never had therapy ("Ah," you're thinking, "no therapy ever--that's his issue..."), the only thing I would think to expect is a leather couch, a heavy German accent, and questions about my childhood ("Mostly happy" I would reply, my eyes rolling up and back toward the direction of the heavy German accent behind me...).

Of course, I think too many people already rely on therapy and some of them just need a good swift kick in the ass and a "Get the fuck over it already!" shouted in their general vicinity. But that may be just me and my need for therapy. Or the fact that I let Angel win too many of the across-the-shoulder fights.

I'm not even that fond of lemonade... Especially when it's pink.

Just tell me to get the fuck over it already. (Maybe you'll get lucky and catch me during that rare 5 percent...)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Life: That annoying time of consciousness between naps...

Tonight I will be sleeping in a bed... (Er, not the one pictured, FYI. That'd be too much of a good thing...) I never thought I would miss a bed so much... I pride myself on being pretty much able to sleep anywhere at any time. In fact, it was in the military that I first learned how to sleep while standing at attention... (It's more an art form then an actual way to catch a few Zs, but I digress...)

Richie is once again home from the hospital--long story (much longer than Cher's farewell tour!)--and after 10 days of sleeping hospital, eating hospital, and being awoken every few hours by nurses built like tanks with only their current mission in mind in hospityal (how can it possibly be a healing environment when they wake you up every few hours??), once my head hits that pillow...

Ahhhhhhh.... Just me, a mattress, some plump pillows, and a conjugal visit or two from a plethora of dream men who have missed my company... (Hey, there my dreams, I'll decide if they miss my company or not!) And seeing as how Rich is recuperating at his parents house with a very broken leg... Well, let's just say my dreams are all I'm getting for a while... Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Such is life, eh? And while tonight I float on a cloud of springs and foam and dream the dreams that I have been robbed of these last ten days, it will be the most grateful I've been in a long time to avoid that thing called Life, also known as that annoying time of consciousness between naps...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Don’t ask… ahh… too late.

Hello, my friends. Rich is doing much better, thanks, and well on the road to recovery (give or take 8 weeks to 6 months for recovery), and Near the Beginning will be on a short hiatus until we get some type of schedule down in which I get back to personal computer time, but in the meantime...

Normally I get a lot of posts asking for me to advertise this, that, and the other thing on my blog (being the oh-so-popular, must-read-blog that I have here...), but this request struck a very personal note, having served in the military. Michael Anthony recently sent me an email asking if he could submit an article here on Life & Otherwise. He has served his country proudly and with honor as a medic in the Army, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, and numerous older siblings, as well as having written a book on his tours of duty. Michael's short yet concise post to this blog follows herewith, and I do hope you will take the time to visit his web site here, and share here and with him, your thoughts and feelings.

Don’t ask... ahh... too late.

My name is Michael Anthony, I am an Iraq war veteran and having spent six years in the Army, at the age of twenty-three, I have spent more than a quarter of my life in service to this country. I have four older brothers and an older sister, all of whom have been in the military: Air Force, Marines and Army. My father and both my grandfathers were in the military.

Hailing originally for a small sheltered town just south of Boston Massachusetts, I say this in all earnestness: the only gay people I know have all been in the military. This is not a joke or some talking point, it’s literal. Generals, Commanders and Civilians can talk all they want, but the fact of the matter is, the only gay friends I've had have all been in the military, in fact, my only experience of gay people(outside of the military) is when I once watched and episode of the TV show Will and Grace (it was kind of funny).

For the policy known as DADT, there is one thing people often forget. People forget that the policy doesn’t preclude gay people from entering the military it just precludes them from talking about their homosexuality. In short, someone can be gay in the military; they just can’t talk about being gay in the military.

If people are already in the military and gay—from my former unit alone I know close to a dozen—what is it that people are afraid will happen with the repeal of DADT? Are people afraid that the day after DADT is rescinded; gay soldiers are going to walk in wearing a feather boa and buttless fatigues? The uniform policy will still be in effect so we can cross that option out. Are people afraid that it’s going to hurt troop morale? The Military suicide rate is at a thirty year high having consistently risen for the past five years, with eighteen veterans killing themselves everyday (according to the VA) so it seems like it can’t get any worse.

With everything said, there is a negative aspect to repealing DADT. Having been in the military all my adult years, my peer group is filled with Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Several of these war veterans having done two or three tours, have sworn that they will never go back to Iraq or Afghanistan. Upon further questioning on how they plan to get out deployment if called, their answer is simple: “don’t ask, don’t tell,” expounding further, they say that if they’re called up, they will simply kiss a member of the same sex—in front of their commander. So how is repealing DADT going to affect the military? The answer is simple…my friends who jokingly suggested using DADT as a way to get out of a deployment are now stuck going to Iraq or Afghanistan.

And please don’t even get me started on the escapades that go on overseas. But hey, what happens in Iraq stays in Iraq... ahh not quite.

Michael Anthony is the author of MASS CASUALTIES: A Young Medic’s True Story of Death, Deception and Dishonor in Iraq (Adams Media, October 2009). The book is drawn from the personal journals of Anthony during the 1st year he spent serving in Iraq. It is a non-partisan look at some of the escapades that go on behind the scenes in Iraq.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Hey evryone--as some of you know and some of you don't, Rich has a simple out-patient operation on Thursday and has snowballed into a double-broken leg, heart arythmia, and a swollen throat which won't allow him to be awoken from his aneasthicia (sp?) although he will be just fine they can't bring him out and awake until the swelling goes down, so he is in intensive care at the LV Hospital where I have been spending every waking moment with him. HE WILL BE FINE, but please know (and I know you will all understand) that I'm not ignoring anyone or anything and haven't fallen off the face of the earth :) but my cell is dying and haven't been home to get my charger yet although I may late Monday depending... I will send out updates through my Facebook as I have time and access to a computer, but for now, he will be okay and they expect to wake him up smetime Tuesday, then start therapy for his broken leg shortly thereafter... Sorry this is so brief, I'm tired as all get out, but love you all and thank you for your thoughts and love and support... We can't thank you all enough for being the wonderful friends and family that you are...


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How Gay Would That Be?

Tony Perkins of the "Family Research Council" claimed in a mass email on Thursday, 1/28, that "[Obama] is turning the military into a homosexual playground," among other things. Something tells me he's watched Saving Ryan's Privates too many times (only, of course, so he can let others know how bad gay porn is for American families...). Never minding that we always have been and always will be proud members of the military (as we are, in Tony's words, "militant homosexuals"...), serving with honor and distinction to the highest ranks of the military all the while keeping our personal lives separate and secret, Tony also wants everyone to "sign our new petition and remind Capitol Hill that the military isn't a laboratory for political correctness." As if the military were a democracy... Ha! What's truly hilarious is all the arguments Tony and his ilk are whipping out to "support" their position are the exact same arguments that were used to try to prevent blacks from serving alongside whites in the military. My friend Russ has an excellent post about this here. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Discrimination against homosexuals isn't the same as what African Americans went through (and in many instances still experience), but there are too many similarities to not draw a comparison.

In a semi-related incident, the "American Family Association" has come up with an even more brilliant idea to handle "the homosexuality problem." As they are apparently unaware that this isn't a theocracy (a mistake a lot of fundamentalists make), on the radio the other day one of their people advocated imprisoning us all and putting us through "reparative therapy"! (EVEN THOUGH IT DOESN'T WORK!) As Russ once again posted about, American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer stated on the air:

If you believe that what drug abusers need is to go into an effective detox program, then we should likewise put active homosexuals through an effective reparative therapy program. Secondly, I'm afraid you're simply wrong about the Bible's perspective on the law and homosexuality. Paul lists quite explicitly in 1 Timothy 1:8-11 the actions and behaviors that are the proper concern of the law:
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine...
The bottom line here is that, biblically, those "who practice homosexuality" should come under the purview of the law just as much as those who take people captive in order to sell them into slavery. You express a belief in the Scriptures, and I trust your confidence in Scripture is not selective. If you believe all Scripture is inspired, then you are compelled to accept that legal sanctions may appropriately be applied to those who engage in homosexual behavior.
So not only do you want to round up all the men who have sex with men and lock them up together (rope no longer needed for soap!), but even more unbelievable is this man actually thinks secular laws should be based on the bible! Now, let me think, let me think... Who was it that also advocated rounding people up, jailing them, and, when possible, brain washing them? Oh, that's right: The Nazi's! Again, not exactly the same, but enough similarities to draw a pretty accurate comparison... After all, both the AFA and the FRC support Israel and all Jews, just as long as they aren't gay Jews, secular Jews, or unwilling to fight for the Holy Land Jews...

And, in regards to "Paul's list" in which "homosexuality" is included? As Russ pointed out, and as I've mentioned various times here on this blog and in other forums, the word homosexual didn't even exist back when Paul was writing his letters, and most of today's English translations are very crude paraphrases of the original Greek and Hebrew... See here for my own wonderful expose on Paul's letter to the Romans... (Sorry, Bryan Fischer, but bad paraphrasing of an ancient language can by no means be construed as "quite explicit"...)

As a former soldier in the United States Army (and current homosexual), and knowing many homosexuals who are still in the military, as well as many former military members, I find it shocking that a former Marine (of all people!) DOESN'T realize he had served among many fine and upstanding gay and lesbian soldiers! (Of course, given the climate created under DADT [that's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" for you acronym-challenged folks] and how out-spoken Tony is about his intolerance and fear of all things gay, one can only assume they were smart enough not to let him on the fact...)

Perhaps Tony's biggest fear (other than the fact that a homosexual might have seen his pee-pee in the communal showers during basic training) is the fact that if gay marriage does become recognized throughout the country, Jesus will pop down from heaven and ask for Tony's hand in marriage... Just to prove that he does, indeed, love Jesus that much. How gay would that be?