Tag Archives: Internet

Equations with the Stubbly Good Witch

“Think about what things mean.” This was my advice to my son as I drove him to his little slice of hell — school.  That particular day would be more hellish than usual as he had both his Geometry and Science final exams.   Like me, he would almost rather have a colonoscopy, including the dreaded prep, than be forced to learn math or science.  I felt for him, so I offered him the words of advice that got me through high school math.  Mr. Scott said them almost daily.  Whenever he would write a super long equation on the board and look out at sea of confused dog looks, he would simply say, “Think about what things mean.”  This simple philosophy has gotten me through a lot more than math.

 Mr. Scott was my favorite teacher even though he taught my most hated subject – math.  I had him for Algebra in ninth grade, and again for Integrated Math my senior year.  As a teacher, he was the perfect combination of firm, professional, and funny.  He knew his subject, but he didn’t just stand there and drone on and on about variables and the order of operations.  No.  He always kept our attention, even if he had to wear a dress.

 Yes, I said a dress.  No. Mr. Scott was not a drag queen, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  He was a Vietnam veteran with a permanent five o’clock shadow who usually dressed like a gas station attendant.  I’m serious.  He had a bunch of gas station attendant shirts with his name, Frank, on the front.  They were from all different stations.  I used to sit there and try to imagine where he got them.  He couldn’t have just ordered them on Amazon because it was 1987 and Amazon, or the Internet, or laptops, or iPhones, didn’t exist yet.  No.  He would have had to work at all of the gas stations to get a shirt. Either that or he toured the country finding gas station attendants named Frank who needed some extra cash.  No matter how he got them, I wasn’t sure why he wore them.  Maybe it was to remind himself that no matter how horrible high school students were, teaching was still better than pumping gas.  (Young people, gas station attendants used to pump people’s gas for them.) Whatever the reason, he wore them almost daily, except, as I mentioned, when he wore dresses.

 One particular Halloween (See, I told you he wasn’t a drag queen.), I remember walking into his class on the second floor of the old 600 hall at South Broward High School and almost walking right into his magic wand.  That’s right.  Mr. Scott, Frank from the Shell station, was dressed as Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz.  I couldn’t help but laugh all the way to my seat.  He just stood there and looked at me like, “What?”  I took my seat expecting an easy day of not really doing math.  I was wrong. 

 Mr. Scott began class by walking carefully across the classroom in his sparkly shoes and shiny dress, and pointing to the board with his wand.  He called on me, of course, and said, “Lisa, what is the quadratic formula?”  I looked at him like he was nuts, but he insisted that I say the formula out loud while he grabbed a piece of chalk with his wandless hand.  I’m happy to say that I got it ALMOST right.  I forgot to say “the opposite of” before I said “B.”  I’m sure at age 41 I still know MOST of the quadratic formula because of this experience. 

I never grew to love math, but I sure remembered it better after watching a man with a five o’clock shadow in a dress teach it.  Over the years, Mr. Scott donned many costumes, some of them dresses and some of them more masculine, like when he was Vince Fontaine in the school’s production of Grease.  No matter how he was dressed, he always took the time to slow down and show us HOW to think about what things mean.

 I kept that in my head during the SAT and I actually scored higher in Math than in English.  (Note: I ended up becoming an English professor.) I kept thinking about what things meant through college, marriage, caring for a baby, a divorce, a new marriage, moving across the country, and a host of other experiences.  Basically, whenever I was getting frustrated or taking things too seriously, I would stop and think about what things really meant.   Usually, they weren’t as bad, or as serious as I thought, once I really THOUGHT about them.  Sometimes, all I needed to do was put on a sparkly dress and laugh.  That always helps.  Thank you, Mr. Scott, wherever you are.

 

Equations with the Stubbly Good Witch

“Think about what things mean.” This was my advice to my son as I drove him to his little slice of hell — school.  That particular day would be more hellish than usual as he had both his Geometry and Science final exams.   Like me, he would almost rather have a colonoscopy, including the dreaded prep, than be forced to learn math or science.  I felt for him, so I offered him the words of advice that got me through high school math.  Mr. Scott said them almost daily.  Whenever he would write a super long equation on the board and look out at sea of confused dog looks, he would simply say, “Think about what things mean.”  This simple philosophy has gotten me through a lot more than math.

 Mr. Scott was my favorite teacher even though he taught my most hated subject – math.  I had him for Algebra in ninth grade, and again for Integrated Math my senior year.  As a teacher, he was the perfect combination of firm, professional, and funny.  He knew his subject, but he didn’t just stand there and drone on and on about variables and the order of operations.  No.  He always kept our attention, even if he had to wear a dress.

 Yes, I said a dress.  No. Mr. Scott was not a drag queen, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  He was a Vietnam veteran with a permanent five o’clock shadow who usually dressed like a gas station attendant.  I’m serious.  He had a bunch of gas station attendant shirts with his name, Frank, on the front.  They were from all different stations.  I used to sit there and try to imagine where he got them.  He couldn’t have just ordered them on Amazon because it was 1987 and Amazon, or the Internet, or laptops, or iPhones, didn’t exist yet.  No.  He would have had to work at all of the gas stations to get a shirt. Either that, or he toured the country finding gas station attendants named Frank who needed some extra cash.  No matter how he got them, I wasn’t sure why he wore them.  Maybe it was to remind himself that no matter how horrible high school students were, teaching was still better than pumping gas.  (Young people, gas station attendants used to pump people’s gas for them.) Whatever the reason, he wore them almost daily, except, as I mentioned, when he wore dresses.

 One particular Halloween (See, I told you he wasn’t a drag queen.), I remember walking into his class on the second floor of the old 600 hall at South Broward High School, and almost walking right into his magic wand.  That’s right.  Mr. Scott, Frank from the Shell station, was dressed as Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz.  I couldn’t help but laugh all the way to my seat.  He just stood there and looked at me like, “What?”  I took my seat expecting an easy day of not really doing math.  I was wrong. 

 Mr. Scott began class by walking carefully across the classroom in his sparkly shoes and shiny dress, and pointing to the board with his wand.  He called on me, of course, and said, “Lisa, what is the quadratic formula?”  I looked at him like he was nuts, but he insisted that I say the formula out loud while he grabbed a piece of chalk with his wandless hand.  I’m happy to say that I got it ALMOST right.  I forgot to say “the opposite of” before I said “B.”  I’m sure at age 41 I still know MOST of the quadratic formula because of this experience. 

I never grew to love math, but I sure remembered it better after watching a man with a five o’clock shadow in a dress teach it.  Over the years, Mr. Scott donned many costumes, some of them dresses and some of them more masculine, like when he was Vince Fontaine in the school’s production of Grease.  No matter how he was dressed, he always took the time to slow down and show us HOW to think about what things mean.

 I kept that in my head during the SAT and I actually scored higher in Math than in English.  (Note: I ended up becoming an English professor.) I kept thinking about what things meant through college, marriage, caring for a baby, a divorce, a new marriage, moving across the country, and a host of other experiences.  Basically, whenever I was getting frustrated or taking things too seriously, I would stop and think about what things really meant.   Usually, they weren’t as bad, or as serious as I thought, once I really THOUGHT about them.  Sometimes, all I needed to do was put on a sparkly dress and laugh.  That always helps.  Thank you, Mr. Scott, wherever you are.

 

The Six Ways I Almost Died this Holiday Season

Until recently, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) was one of the many things that happened to other people.  It never crossed my mind that it could ever happen to me.  I don’t take super long flights.  I’m only 41, but 27 in my own imaginary world.  I’m not thin, but I’m not obese.  Sure, I was always a birth control pill user, but I have never smoked, other than that time in seventh grade in the band practice room, which caused me to vomit.  Anyway, I’m not the most likely candidate for a DVT.  So, when I got calf pain this holiday season, I ignored it.  Now, that I KNOW what was causing the pain, I need two hands to count the ways I almost died.

  1. I ignored the pain for five days.  I first noticed the calf pain on Christmas Eve, a Monday.  It hurt A LOT, bIMG_0841ut I assumed it was due to the walking boot cast.  Plus, we had plans to go to a Christmas Eve party at our good friends’ house.  I really like this family, and I wanted to go. So, I ignored the pain. The next day, Christmas, it hurt so bad that I almost cried.  I thought maybe I should go to the ER, just to get it checked, but we were supposed to leave the next day to visit our parents in Florida.  I didn’t want to ruin our visit.  I was really convinced that it HAD to be muscular.  At this point, blood clots were still on that list of things that happened to other people.
  2. I relied on the Internet instead of seeing a real health professional during those five days.   My well-meaning Facebook friends told me to get Biofreeze or Bengay when I asked for help with muscular leg pain.  Google searches led me to sites detailing how to deal with muscular calf pain after a cast.  Apparently, this is a common issue.  These same sites also told me that my skin would be hot and red if I had a clot.  My skin was never and still isn’t hot or red.
  3. I rubbed my leg.  A lot.  I figured I could massage that knotted muscle back to being normal. My husband and I even considered going to a massage therapist.  Since I didn’t know this before I had a clot, I’m assuming that you don’t know.  RUBBING OR MASSAGING A CLOT CAN KILL YOU. When you have a clot, you don’t want it to move to your heart, lungs or brain.  So, you don’t want to loosen it up and HELP IT MOVE at all.
  4. The doctor’s office took 8 hours to call back. I finally called the orthopedist’s office to ask about the post cast pain at 9:00 AM on Friday.  When they still hadn’t called back when we were about to eat dinner, I was going to turn off my ringer and deal with it when I got home.  When the nurse finally called back and told me to get a DVT test, I panicked, and I almost lied to my husband and told him it was nothing.  After all, I didn’t want to ruin the holidays, and I really didn’t want to face reality.
  5. I was almost given an overdose of a blood thinner. Doctors have messy writing, and ER doctors don’t sleep much.  With this combination, it was no surprise that the pharmacist was confused by the way the doctor wrote my prescription for the Lovenox injections, the first medication for DVT’s.  The doctor wrote it for prefilled syrIMG_0872inges, but needed me to take a lower dose.  So, he wrote unclear instructions about shooting some of the medicine out before injecting it.  Lucky for me, instead of worrying about being politically correct, the pharmacist asked my husband, “Is your wife a big lady?”  My husband said no and told him my height and weight, and the pharmacist was able to decipher the dosage with that information.
  6. I let fear cloud my judgment.  I have taken the birth control pill to regulate my menstrual cycle most of my adult life.  I will spare you the gory details, but I will tell you that my monthly visits are a little slice of hell.  Of course, the ER doctor told me to stop taking the birth control pill immediately.  I didn’t listen. I took it for two IMG_0874more days because I figured since I was taking blood thinners and quitting the pill mid cycle, I was setting myself up for more hell WHILE TRAVELING.  My husband finally talked sense in to me and put my pills in the “sharps” container. Since my husband has to give me the Lovenox shots, we have our very own sharps container.

My son goIMG_0875t me a pink leather bracelet with “Seek Wisdom” on it for my 40th birthday.  I have been wearing that as a reminder to seek out professional help when I need it. As of today, I’m still alive.  I’m following the doctor’s orders, and I hope to be off of all of this blood thinner medication soon.  I hope anyone reading this will share it, just to educate others.  A lot of people have heard of blood clots, but who really thinks they will get one?