And Sometimes It’s the Wait Staff

I talked about why I hated being a waitress.  I get that one bad table on a busy day can ruin it if you are a waitress, but I also hate bad service when I’m the patron.  I’m not talking about a waitress who forgets ketchup, I’m talking about seriously bad service.

In my early 20s, my parents and I went to see my grandparents in another town about 3 and a half hours from us.  It was an overnight trip we got up in the morning and met my grandparents for breakfast.  My mom and I are both milk drinkers.  My mom always drinks milk with her meals, it doesn’t matter if we are at home or out to eat, mom orders a glass of milk.  Sometimes she’ll get a funny look because she’s an adult ordering a glass of milk with her meal, but normally that’s it.

My grandparents wanted to show off the place they almost always got breakfast from, even my grandfather went, which was amazing, because he didn’t like to eat out.  The place is packed.  We stood waiting for 30 minutes for a table and it’s a small town, so it seemed most of the town was there for breakfast.  The hostess gave us menus to look at while we waited.  Meaning when we got seated we were ready to order.  I ordered bacon, crispy, and waffles with mixed berries.  And a glass of milk.

Mom orders and also asks for milk.  The waitress tells us they don’t have adult sized milks and that she will bring us a kids milk if we want.  I almost never drink a full glass of anything while I eat, so a kids size is fine.  Mom also agrees to the kids size.

My grandparents get coffee, my dad got a soda.  The coffees and soda arrive, but not the milks.  We eventually flag down another waitress because ours is blatantly ignoring us.  We tell her about our milk not arriving, she goes into the back and here comes our waitress carrying those little bitty water cups that you would get from somewhere like Taco Bell with chocolate milk in them.  Um, no.  I don’t like chocolate milk.  I had specifically told her white milk.  She sets my milk down and I remind her I specifically asked for white milk, I don’t want chocolate milk, I don’t like chocolate milk.  She tells me this is the kids milk that I had agreed to.  I tell her I don’t care about the size, I only care about the fact that it’s chocolate and that I don’t want chocolate milk.

While I am arguing with her, I see a waitress bring a large glass of milk to a different table.  It is white milk and it’s the same size glass as the soda.  I point this out to her.  She sets down mom’s milk, but to do so, she reaches over me spilling the chocolate milk I didn’t want all over me.

She doesn’t offer me napkins, she heads into the kitchen.  As I am trying to dry off with my single napkin the manager comes out to ask why I threw milk at the waitress.  What the fuck?!  My grandparents jump in, like I said it’s not a huge town, they know the manager.  My grandfather tells her what really happened and complains about the glasses she brought the milk in and how it is ridiculous for a breakfast restaurant to not have milk glasses for adults and why did the other table get a real milk glass while we got these crappy plastic disposable cups.

The manager apologizes and disappears.  We have now been seated for an hour and haven’t gotten any food.  I just want to get out of my clothes because spilled milk has a smell when it dries and it chocolate milk gets sticky.  Plus, I’m in my Sunday best.  So I want to get the freaking chocolate out of my dress.

Our waitress comes back out with two large glasses of milk.  Both still chocolate.  I point this out to her and she tells me they don’t have white milk.  Um, look, I can see the chocolate syrup in the bottom of the glass, it started out white.  And where is our food?  Eventually a different waitress brings me milk, white milk.

All our food orders are wrong.  My waffle is covered in maple syrup.  I have a lemon on the side of my plate and I haven’t a clue why.  My bacon was practically raw.  It wasn’t even warm to the touch.  The other waitress is working the table right next to us, so I know we are on the dividing line of sections, I get her attention, point to my plate and ask her to please fix it because our waitress won’t come to our table.

She goes and gets the manager instead and there is a huge fight.  The other waitress is pointing to our plates and telling the manager that our waitress is always doing this stuff, turns out she doesn’t like to serve tables with elderly people at them because she says they don’t tip well enough.  WTF?!  I was a waitress and I usually loved the older people that came in, especially the men, because they’d come in and drink coffee for an hour and as long as I kept their cups full, I could make a $5 tip off a $1.50 check.

The manager tells the other waitress to take us over, but I’m just done.  I have chocolate syrup on my dress and I really need to get it soaking in water so it doesn’t stain and I don’t even want to eat anymore.  My grandfather gives the new waitress a $10 tip and tells her to hunt down our check we’ll just go somewhere else.

We get the bill, the other waitress apologizing profusely, we tell her it isn’t her fault.  She obviously feels bad.  She starts putting things into the register and we hear her say “oh no.”  Well that’s not good.  Our bill for 5 was over $100 at a little breakfast dinner where the most expensive meal was steak and eggs at $8.99.  She asks us to hold on and goes to the back.  The manager comes out and just zeros out our ticket.  Apologizes again.  Then offers us a gift certificate to make up for it.  My grandfather just looks at her, and then tears into her about how we had traveled for blah blah and now our breakfast was ruined and possibly my dress, and a gift certificate isn’t going to make up for it.

My dress was ruined by the chocolate, nothing mom and I tried got the stain out.  Worst waitress ever in my opinion.  I get that shit happens and sometimes orders come out wrong, usually it’s because during busy times, cooks just expect to see certain things and don’t realize there are special changes to the items.  And everyone makes mistakes, normally when my food is wrong, I just go with it.  No need to hassle anyone over a sandwich that was supposed to not have tomato and does, I can pick it off.  However, you can’t drain maple syrup from a waffle and maple syrup tends to give me a stomach ache, just like chocolate milk.  My stomach can’t handle sweets first thing in the morning, I have to have food in it before I can even consider chocolate, any type of syrup, or even donuts.  Although, even with food, maple syrup gives me a stomach ache, so I don’t eat it.

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The Dysfunctional Mob

This is not a post about the novella I wrote, well novel really, but about the mob itself in our society or rather, all organized crime groups, because the dysfunctional niche they fit into blew my mind the other day.

In preparation for surgery on the 17th, I bought a physical book from a historical society.  The title is Crazy Cults and Secret Societies. Yep, sounds like my kind of book.  I was on chapter 6 when I was taken back for surgery.  Since I was the one going under the scalpel, I decided against my tablet and took an actual book instead.

However, it was chapter 4 when I made the stunning and startling revelation.  The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following definition for a cult:  A relatively small group of people having beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange.  We almost always think of cults in terms of religious beliefs, but shared beliefs is really the thing, shared beliefs considered weird by mainstream society that causes people to bond together is all that is required.

The Italian Mafia, the Russian Mafia, and even drug cartels in Mexico are in fact cults.  These groups have their own code of conduct and morality that it strictly enforces among those within the groups.  And even though today, most organized crime syndicates are no longer made up of members from a single family, they are still referred to as families, by both outside influences and the members, as a technique to make members feel obligated to follow the rules of the group.

Even as non-religious cults, organized crime does utilize brain manipulation techniques… what we would consider brain washing, to ensure that members remain loyal to them.  It is part of the reason I have always had some difficulty discussing and explaining the Russian mob in the Dysfunctional Chronicles.  The Russian Mafia is even less likely to be made up of family members and is even more fractured than the Italian mafia, which is the mafia group Americans are most familiar with.

Thinking about them as a cult, makes them easier to understand, and explain.  And to some degree, those that leave mob families do have to be deprogrammed, just like someone that leaves a religious cult.  This also explains why people don’t betray mob bosses more often.  It isn’t the fear of what might happen to them so much as an ingrained sense of loyalty created using the same brain washing techniques religious leaders use to keep their followers, following without question.

Next time you watch Goodfellas, keep this in mind and watch for the signs that they are indeed a cult.

Ketamine is not my friend

Ketamine during surgery Monday was necessary and I hope to never need it again. It is not my friend.

I awoke sick from surgery. They gave me two doses of nausea medicine before I left the hospital and when I described my symptoms the nurse said “oh yeah, that’s the ketamine.” Well dandy.

At 2:30 am the morning after my surgery, I found myself wide awake with the urge to do something. I thought at first it was my pain levels, but once I got the urge to get up and do something, I realized that wasn’t pain talking.

And so I found myself prepping vegetables and meat for a soup I was going to make on Tuesday. And writing a blog post. And then surfing the net looking for info on the definition of a cult (cool blog post coming at a later date on that).

And then I searched for Ketamine side effects because I have experience with everything they gave me at the hospital except the Ketamine and it can cause insomnia and manic episodes… hence the meal prep at 2:30 in the morning.

Somewhere between 4:30 and 5:30 am, I fell asleep. I awoke feeling refreshed. No clock in the room and my phone was in the kitchen. I got up and walked into the kitchen and found a clock that told me it was 7:30 am. Good grief. That’s a lot less sleep than I normally get.

I had expected to sleep until late afternoon, but nope. I was wide awake after just 2 1/2 hours of sleep.

But oh man, my incisions hurt, but my hip doesn’t. I had talked to a few of my fellow CRPS sufferers and some of them said a single dose of ketamine can bring their pain down for a few months at a time, no week long clinic infusions necessary. It will take more than a single day to know for sure, but I have my fingers crossed that maybe the same is true for me. That would be awesome.

So why not try Ketamine before now? Because no one knows why ketamine helps with CRPS pain, mostly because we don’t understand CRPS, not really.

Meaning while Ketamine side effects might suck, they go away and if it will bring my pain down for even a week, I’m willing to deal with the side effects and we might have another pain management option, which would be amazing.

The Best Laid Plans

My surgeon set my surgery 13 days out so that she could get everything set up to go smoothly.  I had multiple calls from her staff who were coordinating with my pain management doctor.  And the stars were aligned…

And then a comet broke up the alignment and yesterday definitely did not go as planned.  I am blogging because I am in agony and can’t get comfortable enough to sleep.  Almost all positions hurt my body except one, and that one allows me to type on my computer, so I am.

The anesthesiologist walked in and told me my requests were going to be ignored.  I would be getting a normal surgical routine of propofol and nothing else.  A few minutes later, my surgeon enters and tells them to hold off on the IV.   She sits down and tells me the anesthesiologist she had set up to do my surgery had taken the day off due to a family emergency.  She had spoken to the anesthesiologist on duty and he didn’t believe in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, so he wasn’t going to do anything special to prevent it and I had a couple of options…

She had been studying up and a therapeutic dose of Ketamine via IV was enough to prevent the spread of CRPS during surgery.  We could do the therapeutic dose of 6mgs via IV injection or we could reschedule.  And no nerve block because Anesthesiologist All Mighty was refusing.  Wow.  Well.  What now?  She did tell me if the CRPS spread as a result of my agreeing to the surgery, she would back me in a malpractice suit against the anesthesiologist at a later date since both her and I had informed him that I had CRPS and she had even brought literature to the surgery that said a Ketamine drip was the recommended way to proceed with surgery on a patient with CRPS.  As were nerve blocks.

I went ahead with the surgery simply because this month has been torture when it comes to my daily pain levels and my pain management doctor thinks this could be because of the gallbladder dysfunction.  And I was already pretty sure the nerve block wasn’t going to work anyway.  And she was willing to do the therapeutic Ketamine dose that has proven to be helpful in preventing the spread of CRPS.  She gave a touch more, since most therapeutic doses are 2-4mgs.

I awoke in agony.  My own moans and groans of pain penetrated by brain before it wrapped itself around the fact that I was in a ton of pain.  The nurse rushes over and asks me if I would prefer Fentanyl or Dilaudid.  Well that’s easy, I can’t take Fentanyl… I hate dilaudid too, but I don’t have the side effects to dilaudid as I do to Fentanyl.  I manage to tell her dilaudid and she asks if I am sure?  Yep.  I hold up an allergy bracelet to her, in it are the words Fentanyl and ALL METALS – the metals really was in all capitals.

I also feel sick.  Really sick.  She tells me that most people who receive therapeutic Ketamine wake up sick.  She pushes a does of nausea medication.  Then we have to do another dose of dilaudid, because my blood pressure is still rising after the first dose.

Then she tells me a secret that I didn’t know before, people with CRPS usually have trouble getting their surgical pain under control because our central nervous system is already overloaded from the disease, adding to it, doesn’t help.

As I prepare to leave, the nurses, two of them, remind me that I must stay on top of my pain, regardless of the fact that I feel sick and the dilaudid is already starting to give me a headache.  What happens if I don’t stay on top of my pain?  This…. Blogging at 1 am because I hurt too badly to fall asleep.

Here’s where I screwed up.  The Ketamine/Dilaudid mix made me heave my guts up when I got home from surgery.  I did make it home thankfully before it happened, but after tossing my cookies, I might as well have not received the dilaudid.  At that point, I should have started taking the pain pills they sent me home with.  Instead, I decided to go to bed and sleep some of the side effects off.  I took a partial dose and slept until 4ish pm.  After that, I got up ate a sandwich and took a full dose of medication.

Oh H!  Why?!  I’m in quite a bit of pain, completely my fault of course.   Why would you do something so stupid?!  …I have this terrible fear that I am going to accidentally kill myself with medications.  I have a lot of medication sensitivities and I don’t actually have much narcotic tolerance.  Adding hydrocodone or oxycodone to lots of Dilaudid worries me.  So I tried not to take them.  Eventually I had to give in and take the full recommended dose, but it worried me.

Which contributed to my inability to sleep.  And my writing of this blog post.

Despite the plan going awry, I feel my surgeon had my best interests at heart and wouldn’t have agreed to do it at all if she hadn’t found a way to limit the possibility of spreading the CRPS.  I think if she had not found research that a therapeutic dose works, she would have walked in and said “I am so sorry, we are going to have to reschedule your surgery because Dr. Asshole All Mighty refuses to listen to reason and I can’t take any precautions against this disease spreading as a result, so we need to do it when I can offer protections to you.”  

The surgeon was a general surgeon, meaning she does a variety of them.  If I ever have to have surgery again, I’m going to try setting it up with her.  She put me at ease, even when the plan went all to Hell.  More impressively, she was willing to let me walk out yesterday morning and reset up the surgery with her.  I don’t feel most surgeons would have offered that.

Recovery time wasn’t really given to me.  I was told it would be slow and it could take a week just to recover from the surgical incisions.  And my pain management doctor said he would be surprised if I was fully healed in 3 weeks.  I meet with the surgeon in a week to discuss the surgery and after effects and my daily pain levels at the sites.  I have four holes, three of them seem to be in weird spots.  I knew they were going in through my belly button with the camera, and they did, but there is a hole about four inches from my belly button on the right side, as well as two nearer to my gallbladder, and one that is slightly left of my stomach.

But since I didn’t get to talk to the surgeon afterwards and for some reason my mom is no longer listed as someone that can talk about my medical procedures (need to redo paperwork).  I don’t actually know what they found during surgery yet.  I suspect in the month leading up to surgery, I did develop a gall stone, but I don’t have confirmation of that…  I am looking forward to my meeting with her in a week.

Surgery Day

Hi, everyone! I’m Krissy, Hadena’s editor.

I have heard from her and her surgery went well. She did have a reaction to the ketamine and the nerve block didn’t work, but she is now minus one extremely dysfunctional body part. (The ketamine reaction and the nerve block not working seem like perfect fodder for something we’ll have to utilize in a future Dysfunctional Chronicle, just saying.)

She is home resting now, and my fingers are crossed that she’ll get to eat her fajitas tomorrow. (Crap. Now I want fajitas.) If I hear anything else, I will keep y’all posted. For now, just continue to send her all your healing prayers.

Surgery Update Info

I expect to be zonked on Monday since I’ll be getting a dose of ketamine with my anesthesia.

I’ve never had ketamine, so it could be interesting.  As a result, I’m setting up a way to update my readers.  My editor will post in the Book Discussion Group, where she has admin rights after I text her my condition.

There is no anticipation of complications.  Not even from the ketamine.  I’m supposed to get a nerve block, but I’m not going to hold my breath that it’s going to work since I’ve never had one work yet.  As a result, I expect to be in pain and exceptionally groggy Monday afternoon and I’m sure I’ll hear my bed call my name quite distinctly.

But every surgery carries some risk and ketamine is a potent drug.  Not to mention the gallbladder seems to be the most finicky organ in the body.  My pain management physician gave me some techniques to speed healing that I wouldn’t have thought of, like wearing form fitting clothing can ease the burden on the stitches while sitting, standing, or moving around.  Ditto with a pillow.  The nurse practitioner told me that they will suggest using it when I get up from bed, but they recommend keeping it with me at all times and hugging it when I have to stand, sit, or move or god forbid, cough.

They also told me to expect to heal a little slower than the average person because of the CRPS and that it wouldn’t be out of character for the initial surgical pain to last as long as 7 to 10 days.  Which will annoy me because J was much better on day 3 and I probably won’t be.

I have some movies, TV shows, and audiobooks lined up for the post surgery recovery.  Like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and several episodes of Elementary, and I’m slowly working my way through all the Clive Barker and Preston & Child books.  And I’m looking forward to the extra sleep I’ll be getting.  I don’t sleep enough as it is, a week of lots of sleep might get my head out of my ass.

I hope that by the time this posts, I’ll be in surgery, but at the time of writing, I don’t even have the time for my surgery, just the date.

Racing the Clock

I felt like I was racing the clock last week.  I already know that people with CRPS don’t heal as fast from surgery as people without it.  So, unlike my husband who was really sore for 3 or 4 days from gallbladder removal, I suspect it will be closer to 5 or 6.

On top of this, I’m in the middle of prepping a book for release.  Since I suspect I will lose a handful of work days after my surgery, it is even more important to get it done as fast as humanly possible.

Someone in one of my support groups told me to use a pillow, placing it lengthwise over my entire abdomen during the time I am sitting up and hug it to me.  Someone else told me to wear form fitting shirts.  They said these things would help with the pain and healing time.  Yet another sufferer told me to expect two weeks to get to the same healing stage my husband was at after just 5 days.

Multiple things are happening next week that are unavoidable.  My league has a tournament that weekend at my in-laws campground at Mark Twain Lake, where our camper sits and I am expecting to have to run it.  It’s the 21st & 22nd.  I’m dreading it.

And I have to have the finalized version of Natural Born Exorcist uploaded to Amazon on the 25th.  However, I was not going to put off this surgery, not even for a day.  I have been awake until 3 am the last several days because food makes me sick.

But it has created an atmosphere of anxiety for me, as I race the clock to get as much done before the surgery as I can.  And the middle of the night misery, has made me lose precious working hours during both the day and night.  One night, I worked until 10 pm, then I spent several hours sick and finally crawled into bed at 3:30 am.  That meant I didn’t get up until nearly noon the following day.

I’ll manage, I always do, but it will be a bit of a struggle.

Oops!

The post that went up today was supposed to go up Monday and today’s post was supposed to be about the dubious honor of being labeled murder capital of the US and the cities that have held the title since 2000.

I guess I’ll schedule that one for this upcoming week.

Surgery

My surgery is this morning.  I have to be there at 6:35 am, which is very early for me, but I’m the first surgery of the day for my surgeon and anesthesiologist.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.  I’m more nervous about the ketamine than the surgery itself.  I’ve never had it and I’m always leery of new medications.  And much of this month hasn’t gone as planned.

I do have some concerns about things like they’ll get in there and my gallbladder will be a disaster and they won’t be able to get it out through the little holes and they’ll have to put a huge hole in me.

 

Changing Things Up

I am considering using DropBox to work with Beta Readers.  Each would have access to their folder where they could download the book and insert the edits into the document then save it back with their changes.

Mostly, it would save me time and some confusion. I find Gmail occasionally sends emails with Word attachments directly into my spam folder or trash.  I know a few beta readers have complained about this too.  I’m a big fan of streamlining things and making them easier.

However, I know not everyone has internet at their house due to rural internet restrictions.

Thoughts?

 

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