Bits and Pieces Of Life.

I’m seriously behind at life right now. Despite the fact that I feel like I’ve been breathlessly working all week to get caught up.

Okay no I lied. I’m too obsessed with outdoors and Springtime and my new hammock to try and put together thoughts anymore.


(But that’s Ali, not me. I can’t take a picture of myself.)

We’re all extremely obsessed with my new investment in happiness – I now want four hammocks so we can quit taking turns already, and I wonder why I didn’t buy one years ago. Also? It’s my new place to be while the kids spend hours playing in the front yard. Because I’m lazy like that. And it’s that easy to put up.

And the children believe a hammock should be used continuously, no matter the weather.


But back to being behind.

I lost an entire week to my tonsils, before that I lost a lot of time to a hurt ankle. I also bought a new computer which I’m only about 10% transferred over to because it’s….my first Mac and I don’t know what I’m doing.

That’s right, I bought a MacBook and an Eno hammock in the same month. I fear my status as non-hipster is in serious peril. If I quit bathing and buy a Subaru, someone please slap me.


However, there have been a lot of intriguing conversations in our family lately, so I decided that during this lapse of ability to compose a coherent blog post, I’d let my children (and husband) do the talking for me.

With regards to talking, I’ve noticed recently that both of my children say pajama as if it rhymes with Llama.This is so disturbing to me as I’m staunchly a pajama-rhymes-with-banana girl, even though the rest of you jeered at me ferociously.

But I’m sorry. Pajama rhyming with Llama makes me feel nervous. I just don’t like it. And I don’t know who taught it to my children. But I’m not happy with them.

Although he’s a pajama-Llama guy, Noah has also been very disturbed by inaccurate language lately, as well.


We were on a walk the other day, and Chris offered him some Gatorade. Noah sneered at him and said, “Uh, Dad, That’s POWERade.”

Then on the way home, we stopped at Starbucks and Chris instructed me to go inside to “buy a Frap.” Noah let it hang in the air for about two seconds until he couldn’t hold it in any longer.


And then last night when he came running in a whiny voice. “Mooooommmyy!! Ali said the word tatttttle!!!”

“Wait a minute. So you’re tattling on your sister for…saying tattle? This is so meta.”

“But tattle is a bad word!”

“No. TATTLING is bad. Which is what you’re doing. But nice try.”

But Noah’s language sometimes leaves a little to be desired, too. Such as his daily scouring of the car floorboard and oft-asked question, “Can I have this candy from the floor? It still has its trash on it!”

And the time that he told me, “Hey Mommy – Bologna is healthier than you.”

(I guess he knows how often I sneak chocolate.)


And the night that we were cuddling in bed and he rubbed my upper arm.

“I can’t feel that you’re married, Mommy.”

“That’s because that’s not where you’re supposed to feel.”

So he started rubbing my boob.

“Is this where I’m supposed to feel that you’re married?”


I held up my ring finger.

“THIS is where you can feel that I’m married.”

“OOOOOH! …..Nope, I don’t think so.”

But despite his rather questionable ideas, he has big aspirations. One night at dinner, he informed us: “When I grow up I’m going to be a doctor because these chopsticks remind me of that.”

Ali was quick to let her opinion be known: “When I grow up I don’t want to be a doctor because I don’t want to see all that gross stuff inside of you.”


But Ali always has been the more logical one. We play an iPad game of Settlers of Catan many nights before bed. One night, I sighed loudly as I got robbed yet again. Which is when she told me calmly,

“It’s just a game, Mom. There’s no trophy.”

Certainly not being a sentiment I’d taught her, I asked where she’d heard that.

“Sunday School. They say it all the time.”

I clearly need to have a talk with her Sunday School teacher.

And then there are the conversations I’ve had with my husband.

Chris and I learned that Apple has very specific Canadian taste in literature – no British or American classics for them.


But my favorite texts with my husband are the ones where I tell him the bizarre stuff that happens to me, expect him to freak out, and he totally doesn’t.


And when he takes my overactive-back-story-creating imagination and turns it right around. Such as the day Ali and I were hiking alone in the woods…

Chris Text

Because it’s a gigantic relief to quit looking around for a dead body and instead, start watching where you step.

On Becoming a Texter.

Using my voice has been a challenging exercise in the past week and a half, and it was at its peak of impossibility last Thursday. Chris had arranged for his Mom to stay with the kids all day so that I could rest quietly upstairs, which worked out well since I ended up getting checked into the hospital that afternoon.

But that morning, I knew I needed a way to communicate with the downstairs world, and since my vocal chords were unwilling, I did something that Ali had desired for a long, long time.

I set her iPad up to be able to text.

When I whispered what I was going to do, she leapt with excitement. My eight-year-old turned into a tween in front of my eyes, and she couldn’t wait to get to it.

I gave her the ability to text me, Chris, my mom and dad, and at her request, my friend Ashley – who is her best friend AJ’s mom.

She and I began texting first, and she didn’t mind at all paying the price of being my maid for the day in exchange for her new privileges.

texts with ali 7

I was struck with how very adult-like her texts were – and how normal her spelling was, although I assumed the iPad was helping her with that.

texts with ali 6

But a few hours later, my friend Ashley sent me the texts that had been going on between Ali and AJ. They were every bit as adorable as one would want texts between eight-year-olds to be.

AJ Texts copy

We are headed toward a hieroglyphic society, people. Parents only thought it was weird when kids quit talking on the phone and started exclusively texting. The next generation is quit using words and only use emoji.

Such as this intricate conversation that took place between Ali and her Father:

texts with ali 3

Ali and Noah ended up spending the night with my parents after I went to the hospital, and the informative and not-so-informative texts to Chris continued coming.



Ali even figured out how to text photos (yes, she was utilizing the dreaded art of iPad Photography) to let Chris see what exactly was going on at my parent’s house:


My Mom noticed Ali’s new obsession, and made sure to mention it to me…


It’s true. My Mom is known for her depressed-sounding responses…

But my favorite text exchange happened when Ali found out that I was getting out of the hospital a day early. All of her feigned worry about my well-being was stripped away, and her true feelings became evident.

texts with ali 4

But she had forgotten that we had grand plans on Saturday. So Chris reminded her…

texts with ali

And that’s how I got my new answer to everything that I’m not okay with.

Acholy no.

The Epic Battle Of Tonsil Hill.

I’m running out of optional body parts. I’ve had a foot bone removed, my gall bladder removed, and now my tonsils are on the docket.

I mean, what’s left? My appendix, my uterus, and my teeth?

(I always did think that dentures would be easier.)

But my tonsils.

It all started out like any other sickness – except that it was late. Noah had gotten a “bacterial tonsillar infection” two weeks earlier, so my fate was sealed and I’d been waiting for those mucous guys from the Mucinex commercial to tackle me from behind and beat my throat in.

Because Noah and I have a special relationship – we toss disease back and forth like a phlegm-covered game of catch football.

(Turns out that he has the same immunodeficiency issues that I do, except thankfully way milder.)

(Genetics are such a lovely thing. Except when they’re not.)

Sunday night, I started feeling a sore throat. It was coming. Noah’s had been pretty rough (He didn’t eat for four days), but I irrationally hoped that I would get the lighter version.

I never get the lighter version.

I woke up on Monday morning with a burning throat and a rapidly swelling tonsil. Mine and Chris’ anniversary was the next day and I had planned an Easter party for Ali on Wednesday, so I knew I needed to get on antibiotics as soon as possible. This was not a “Wait and See” kind of week. Plus, it was Spring Break! The children needed an energetic and healthy mother!

At the doctor, I started feeling worse. Chills, aches, lymph node pain. The Mucous Guys were not playing around. He took one look in my throat and gave me heavy-duty antibiotics.

On Tuesday, my fever intensified, and my tonsil began turning an ulcerish shade of white. I hardly sat up all day, repeatedly thanking my children for feeling especially kind and self-entertained.

On Wednesday morning, I knew I was dying. Chris took the kids to work with him, and I showed up at the doctor’s office, no appointment, before they opened. My tonsil was now a gaping white wound, and my aches, pains, fever, and misery had intensified to Level Unimaginable. His best guesses were that I either had Mono (“So you’ll feel like this for a few weeks!”) or an abscessed tonsil (“They’ll need to drain it with a needle and possibly do surgery!”), then took bloodwork to see which it was, gave me a steroid shot and a prescription for pain pills, and promised to call me that afternoon with the results.

I went home to die for a few hours. He called back and said that the bloodwork had disproved both his theories, and that I needed to go see an ENT to find out what he thought the magnificently disgusting camp inside my throat could be.

I peeled myself off the couch and drove to another doctor, sweating through my clothes with fever and praying that I wouldn’t see anyone I knew – I could not have possibly looked any worse than that moment.

I arrived at the ENT’s office, and the receptionist pulled my file and said, “Oh my! It’s been a while since you’ve been here. We’re going to need to update your patient photo.”

Which is why I will forever be known as “That Crazy Disheveled Lady Who Looks Like She’s Been Crying All Day” at my ENT’s office.

I got back to a room, which is where I remembered that an ENT’s office is the most medieval, frightening, Frankenstein-esque doctor’s office in all of modern times.

ENT Office

He diagnosed my Throat of Doom as very acute tonsillitis, changed my antibiotic (since my tonsils had been laughing at my other one), insisted that I take the pain pills that my other doctor had prescribed earlier in the day, and told me to let him know if I got worse, at which point I’d probably need to be admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics.

I drove straight to the pharmacy where from my day’s adventures I had four prescriptions from three doctors waiting on me. The perfectly coifed pharmacy tech with her perfectly applied makeup did not try to hide the fact that she was judging my rather meth-like appearance as she handed me my pain pills and other prescriptions. I wanted to unhinge my jaw and show her my infection-infested tonsils. Maybe let a little drip on her. Just for fun.

But I felt much better after I took one of those hard-earned pills. My aches, fever, and intense throat pain started to fade a bit.

Until the next morning. When I couldn’t talk, the white portions of my tonsils were now larger than the tonsils themselves, and the pain was uncontrollable.

I ended up back in Frankenstein’s Lab Thursday afternoon, where we agreed that I needed to be admitted to the hospital to get my tonsils disinfected and get rehydrated, and then they would need to be removed a few weeks later.

(A very thoughtful med tech explained that removing infected tonsils is like “grabbing at raw hamburger meat on the grill with tongs – bits and pieces stay on the grill and you have to really scrape to get them off”, but removing healthy ones is like “picking up a well-done steak with tongs – it just pops right off!”)

They wheeled me down to admissions, where the lady at the front desk rather boredly looked at my handwritten paperwork. She made a phone call and said, “I need a room available for Rachel…ahem…excuse me – is it Rachel Colon?”

“No ma’am. I’m Rachel Callahan.”

“I need a room available for Rachel Colonham.”

She hung up and began asking me questions.

“Have you been out of the country in the past two weeks?”


“Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms: [insert list of every mild to severe symptom any human has ever experienced]”


“Is it because Ebola?”

“Excuse me?”


“No. I do not have Ebola.”

I looked down as she signed off on my “Ebola Screening Exam.”

I’d never felt so well-examined.

At this point, I would tell you about my hospital stay, but I slept most of it and wasn’t exactly lucid the rest of it. Those are 24 hours of my life I’ll have to piece together with my hospital-drunken photography.

There were some delightfully prepared liquid meals,

Hospital Dinner

Including everyone’s favorite, “Crotch Chicken Soup”,

Hospital Lunch

A dirty-windowed view of Quinlan Castle,

Hospital View

A cryptic sign that, during my drug-induced state of paranoia, I wildly hypothesized about its meaning. I was fairly positive that the letter represented the amount of suspicion they had that I was just there for the drugs (that mean little Pharmacy Tech had made me paranoid, after all.)

Weird Hospital Pill Sign

I heavily interrogated one of my nurses as to its meaning, and he said “I dunno – it’s just something dumb.”


And finally, an information board that was lovingly decorated by my husband (with his own dry erase markers that he brought from home. Because he’s nothing if not prepared.)

Hospital Board Decoration

They released me Friday afternoon, at which point I continued my habit of heavy napping at home.

On Saturday, I finally awoke from my near-coma and was shocked that Spring had come while I had been dead. Every tree was green, the birds were everywhere, and my porch had approximately one inch of pollen on it.

I started the day by looking down my throat, like one does, and saw that part of the thick white coating on my right tonsil was sticking straight up.

That’s strange.

I went to the kitchen and fixed myself a cup of water and drank. And I felt something large slide down my throat.

I looked in the mirror again. It was gone.

After a moment of gagging and freaking out over my act of masocannibalism, I began to breathe normally and casually texted Chris, who was at an Easter party with the children.

Tonsil Text

I took his advice and was simultaneously relieved and disgusted by the results.

But the birds were still singing, the sun was shining, and I hadn’t been outside in literally a week. So I set off on a walk.

Then, when I decided I wasn’t going to black out right away, I started running.

I was running from my week, from my pain, from my tonsils, and I felt invincible.

Then the breathing and the jostling began the real process of peeling back the layers of my tonsil.

Let me say that I’m not a running spitter.

But when you have gigantic pieces of infected tissue continually coming loose in your mouth, you become a running spitter.

And it felt fantastic.

I was running, head up, arms out, relishing the moment of freedom from Tonsilitis, proud of myself for running 18 hours after getting out of the hospital, basking in the glory of a normal spring day.

I am literally and metaphorically hacking out infected tonsils! And it feels amaaaaaaaazzzzOOOOMPH.

Which is when I tripped and fell.

And skinned both my knees like a six-year-old.

So the moral of this story is: Acute Tonsilitis can lead to scabby knees on Easter Sunday.

The End.