Archive | April, 2012

The Marty Chronicles …Episode 3 – Do NOT call me at work

14 Apr
It’s 1994.  Marty and I have been living together for about a year & a half.  I’m the supervisor/trainer at an answering service with 120% staff turnover every year and some of the lowest wages around.  I work 10-12 hour days, 5-6 days a week and usually have a trainee plugged in to my headset so they can listen and learn call-control and how to use the system.
Marty works at a lumber mill – usually graveyard or swing shift and he works overtime on a regular basis too – so we come and go and different times and often went 24 hours or more without seeing each other awake.  When he woke up in the afternoon or evening, he had a habit of calling me at work and just blurting things out that I would rather he not share with my trainee/co-worker – especially after I’d explained the strict policy against taking personal calls at your workstation and warned them that we tracked this kind of thing.  This was before cell phones and caller ID – the phone rang and you didn’t know who was calling until they spoke (scary to think about that now huh?)  He always called on my supervisor line which was supposed to be for clients who either needed to make account changes or complain about something.  After explaining to him several times that he should only call me for something urgent and he needed to ask me if I had a trainee listening before saying anything other than “hello” – and him subsequently “forgetting” and doing it anyway – I finally told him he was not allowed to call me at work anymore unless it was a dire emergency – like blood, fire, or earthquake.  Wanting me to pick up McNuggets for him (my work was next to a McDonald’s) was not considered an emergency.  Nor was asking me where things are – especially things he doesn’t necessarily want/need to use at the time, or things that were not appropriate to talk about in front of others.  He said he understood.
He didn’t.

Beep, Beep (at the answering service we had over 1000 different lines coming in – the phones didn’t ring – they beeped).

Me :     “Thank you for calling (company name), this is Kim, how may I help you?”

Marty : “Hi Snuggly (which is the pet name he came up with to try and make up for calling me a fuzzy kitty – he decided snuggly bunny worked better – which it totally didn’t)…..but I digress. ….

“Hi Snuggly – where’d you hide the stash?”

Me :  Frantically grabbing for the Y-connector that hooks my headset to my trainee’s headset and yanking it apart – I cringe and hiss “Marty!! I told you not to call me at work!!” I smile weakly and make an apologetic face to my trainee while turning toward the divider “WHAT do you want?!”

Marty :  brilliantly attempting to speak in “code”   “Uh I want to uhhhhh….make some toast, so I thought I’d ask you where you hid the bread – because uh I need to toast it………..cuz I like toast”

Me : “It’s just us on the line now.  You CANNOT call me about this at work!!  I’ve told you 100 times – and you know where things are because you are the one who used things last.”

Marty : “Oh – sorry – I forgot where it was……..oh yeah – I put it in the closet….sorry, Snuggly”  “Well, since I’m already talkin to ya – can you bring me home a 20 piece chicken nugget and a large fry?”

Me : “I’m going to kill you”

Marty : “And a couple of apple pies………yeah – hot apple pie”



13 Apr

My Grandpa had a heart attack sometime in the past week or so – he isn’t sure exactly when – all he knows is it was hard to breathe for several days and he was really tired.  We finally convinced him to go to the hospital and they admitted him. 
The following are things grandpa said in the hospital – most of these were during the admit process which literally involves more than 200 questions about every illness/problem he has ever had and his current condition/living situation.  People who know me wonder where I get my sick sense of humor and the tendency to make wisecracks……….after reading this you will know.

Nurse : “Are you able to make a fist? Can you touch the tips of your fingers together? Can you rotate your arms for me? etc…..”
Grandpa :  “I can scratch my pecker – does that count?”

Nurse : “Do you have any religious needs we can help you with?”
Grandpa :  “huh?” (looks at me for a translation)
Me : “She wants to know if you want to find Jesus, Grandpa”
Grandpa :  “No but I think I’m part jewish if you want to check” (lifts the blanket and gestures toward his crotch)

Nurse : “Do you wear hearing aids?”
Grandpa : “What?”
Nurse :  (louder) “Do you wear hearing aids?”
Grandpa : “What?” (smirking)
Me : “Grandpa! Knock it off! No – he doesn’t wear hearing aids”

Nurse :  “Have you ever had an STD?”
Grandpa : “Huh?” (looks at me)
Me :  “Have you ever had VD?”
Grandpa : “No but if you want to give me some I’ll take it – make it a redhead”

Nurse (on his first night of the hospital stay) :  “If you try to leave us and go to heaven tonight after your granddaughter leaves, do you want us to bring you back? Do you want us to shock your heart or intubate you to help you breathe?”
Grandpa : “Hell no”
Nurse : “Are you sure? Because that’s kind of what we do here at the hospital – we save people and bring them back when we can. What if we only needed to give you a little help breathing short-term?”
Grandpa :  (looks at me)
Me : “Don’t worry grandpa, if you are going to be on life support more than a few days I promise to smother you with a pillow”
Nurse : (gives me a look of alarm)
Grandpa : “OK – that works for me”
Nurse : “Who is your regular Dr.?”
Grandpa :  “I don’t have one”
Nurse : (looks at me for confirmation)
Me : “He doesn’t have one – he doesn’t go to the Dr.”
Nurse :  “When was the last time you saw a Dr.?”
Grandpa :  “About 4 years ago”
Nurse : “Why didn’t you continue to see your Dr? Was it a short-term illness?”
Grandpa :  “Well, I asked if he needed to see me again and he said he felt fine so I never went back.”
Nurse : “Can you give me a list of your current medications?”
Grandpa : “Nothing”
Nurse  : (looks at me for confirmation)
Me :  “He doesn’t take anything – he was prescribed blood pressure meds over 10 years ago and he took them briefly but never got them refilled”
Grandpa : “Threw ’em away – didn’t need ’em”
Nurse : “How is your eyesight? I see you wear glasses – are you able to read a newspaper?”
Grandpa :  “Yeah I can read Ok – but not without my testicles” (this is an old joke – he has always pretended to confuse the word spectacles with testicles to be funny – we thought this was hilarious when we were kids).

When the Dr. came to his room he leaned over to shake grandpa’s hand –                                                                                                                    Grandpa : “Who the hell are you?”
Dr. Stucky (the cardiologist) : “I’m Stucky – I’m your heart Dr., Mr. Pruett”
Grandpa : “Nice to meet you”
Dr. Stucky : “So are you a smoker?”
Grandpa : “Yep – 70 years”
Dr. Stucky :  “Are you thinking it’s time to quit?”
Grandpa : “Hell no. Well, I quit every day – then I start up again in an hour”
Dr. Stucky : “Do smoke cigarettes or cigars?”
Grandpa : “Marijuana”
Me : “Grandpa!! No, he doesn’t smoke marijuana – he doesn’t have the lung capacity – he smokes cigarettes”
Cafeteria delivery worker (young man in his late teens – very timid looking) :  “Here’s the ice cream you ordered, Mr. Pruett” (hands him a little cup of ice cream about the size of a snack-pack pudding cup).
Grandpa :  “You gotta be kidding – that ain’t big enough for a goddamn midget – now go back and bring me some damned ice cream”
Worker :  (speechless – looks shocked/uncomfortable) “Umm…….”
Me : “Thank you very much – we’ll order more if he still wants it later”
Nurse – asking what grandpa would like to drink with his meal : “Mr. Pruett, would you like milk or juice?”
Grandpa : “Milk”
Nurse  : “Do you drink 2% or skim? What’s your preference?”
Grandpa :  “White – from a goddamned cow”
Nurse : “OK, 2% it is”
This one happened at least 10 times during his stay and involved all kinds of staff including the Dr’s who visited – they had been giving Grandpa Lasix on a regular basis to help drain the fluid from his lungs and the rest of his body – his kidney function was very low and he was retaining a lot of fluid which contributed to his shortness of breath …………….
Staff member/Nurse/Dr.  : “How has the Lasix been working for you? Have you been losing a lot of fluids?” (gesturing toward the bedside urinal jug)
Grandpa : “Well, I been drinking lots of apple juice – can you fill this back up for me?” (holding up the urinal jug)  “And make sure it’s cold – I hate warm apple juice – it tastes like piss”
For an 82 year old man with a bad heart and stage 4 renal failure he still has his wits about him – I don’t think he will ever lose his ability to deliver one-liners when the opportunity arises.  I learned how to be a smart ass from him and how to take advantage of people who will believe anything you tell them. He taught me how to tease without being too mean about it, how to make myself and others laugh, how to use humor (yes, sometimes crude and inappropriate, but humor nonetheless) to turn conversations into games.  To use one of his favorite terms, he is one fart smeller (his version of “smart feller”).