Monthly Archives: January 2013

Vet Woes

There is one thing Bandit and I both agree on and that is going to the vet sucks.

Eleven days ago I took Bandit to the vet to be neutered for various reasons. I’m renting the condo we live in and don’t want him marking everywhere. He will be our dog and we have no interest in breeding him. The last thing I want if he ever did escape is for him to start fighting over females, or end up getting another dog pregnant then be expected to help take care of the puppy vet bills and find homes for them.

Still I felt guilty of robbing him of his fertility. And the sad look he gave me as they dragged him back, whining and straining to leave with me instead of them, nearly broke my heart. Several hours later he was delighted to see me. Microchip in place. A fixed hernia where his birth mother chewed the umbilical cord too close causing the hernia to form. And 2 testicles removed that finally dropped only the week before. He came out wearing the cone of shame to keep him from biting his sutures. Considering all this he was still one happy puppy to see me.

What did you bastards do to me?

What did you bastards do to me?

We received instructions and some pain medication hoping this would be the last we saw of the vet for a while.

Houston we have a problem. The crate we were directed to buy several months ago is just big enough for Bandit to stand up and turn around. This is to simulate the comfort of a den. Bandit loves his crate. He sleeps peacefully all night long in it. But the cone won’t fit through the crate door. And even if he did get in the door, there is no way he would be able to turn around. For some reason, Bandit thinks our bed is an acceptable place to relieve his bladder, so letting him sleep with us is out of the question.  Gating him in the bathroom makes him feel abandoned and he just whines and barks all night long.

Finally we figured out how to back Bandit into the crate. I’m surprised how quickly he picked this up. Now he starts backing up before I even have a chance to line his butt up with the door.

Two days later the after effects of the surgery hit and Bandit walked out of the crate that morning with his entire hind end brown. While I carefully tried to clean Bandit (since he wasn’t supposed to have a bath until two weeks after the surgery, but I figured leaving the area covered in feces would be worse than a bath), the wife cleaned the crate and then rushed Bandit to the Vet since the instructions said to bring him back if this occurred.  They returned with more pills for Bandit to take. The pills worked and we went about keeping him as happy as a dog could be with a cone on his head.

Throw the ball again!

Throw the ball again!

Lately he’s been begging for our help scratching his head. He’ll walk up to me then start whining and bumping his cone against me until I start scratching. (Who’s training who here?) Yesterday we figured it was time to take the cone off hoping he wouldn’t start licking his wounds. That way he could scratch his own head. It started out fine. Only a few times did we need to correct him from licking his sutures.

He’d scratch one side then the other, play some ball, lay in the corner…typical Bandit behavior. His next flea treatment is due in a couple of days, so I figured maybe he collected a couple from somewhere and a bath along with the treatment would take care of those pesky critters.

Then he kept scratching, and scratching. Soon chunks of black hair were all over the carpet. I called him over for his last outside break before bed and noticed the skin on the left side of his head was red, and there was a deep scratch over his left eyebrow that was a little swollen. Normally I can’t even see through his fur to the skin except during his bath. I checked the right side and although not nearly as bad as the left, the fur was thinner and showing some damage. To stop the guy from ripping his face off, I put the cone back on and put him to bed for the night.

This morning, his left eye was swollen halfway shut and we could both tell he was miserable. I took the morning off work and rushed him to the vet. As always Bandit steals the show. Everyone can’t get enough of Bandit’s cuteness, despite looking like he’d just woken up the morning after a bar fight.

You should see the other guy!

You should see the other guy!

You're blocking my reception.

You’re blocking my reception.

The vet walked in sporting a nice round baby bump. I’ll admit to having a fleeting “Are you fucking kidding me!” moment, but this quickly passed and I found myself feeling indifferent. My main concern was getting Bandit better. I hate seeing him suffer like this.

Turns out he has a yeast infection in both ears causing the itching discomfort. Most likely due to the cone holding his ears against his head locking in the moisture for the yeast to grow. Plus his sutures are showing signs of an infection starting. We left the vet with ear drops, eye drops, and an antibiotic and two more appointments. They want to check his eyes again in a couple days and it will be a couple weeks before they can check if the medication helped his ears.

I sure hope my little buddy gets better soon so I can take him to the beach again!

© copyright 2011-2013

Please cut my arms off!

Last week began the start of my new weightlifting routine. Having lifted weights in high school I’m not a novice, however I probably would have been better off if I were.

I remembered much of what I learned in my class years ago. Starting with weights that weren’t too heavy. Focusing on my form and breathing during the exercise routines. Surprised myself by finding that my abs are still in good shape. Worked my right and left obliques, crunches and crunch leg raise combos, all together about 120 reps total and still wasn’t pushing very hard to avoid injury. (A gift from my gymnastics and tae kwon do instructors, the evil bastards.) Anyway, if I can eliminate this spare tire I know there is a nice set of abs underneath just waiting to be shown off.

The next day I felt pretty good. A little sore as I expected, but nothing too uncomfortable and the slight soreness reminded me the muscles were busy repairing themselves. I could feel my body burning energy instead of storing it as fat.

When I woke up the 2nd morning, that’s when the DOMS hit. What are DOMS? It stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. OW! No, that’s not good enough…


I couldn’t hold my arms straight. Reaching for a coffee cup was near impossible. I had no choice but to walk around for two days holding my arms at an angle like a gorilla. It was painful driving to work, putting on my shoes…anything that required extending my arm was torture!

I searched for the heating pad only to find and remember Bandit had chewed the cord as a puppy. Finally I found an almost empty tube of IcyHot that brought some relief. Coupled with ibuprofen I was finally able to go to sleep that night.

I don’t recall going through this much pain when I started lifting weights in high school. Maybe the instructor had started us on a lower weight than I remembered to avoid this situation. Luckily I’m reading that once you’ve broken the muscle in again, the likelihood of dealing with DOMS after future workouts is far less.

Now I’m feeling pretty good. Surprisingly I’m excited about exercising and for once I don’t dread doing it. Having a workout partner is a big help.

So far I’ve lost 3.5 pounds between diet and exercise. I’m not expecting those results every week, but I am encouraged by it. More exciting is I’m down a belt loop and I’m no longer teetering on the brink of requiring a bigger belt.

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I’ve got a long road ahead of me, but I’m confident I can get where I’d like to be.


© copyright 2011-2013

Reviewing “Untold History of the United States”

This weekend brought the conclusion of the Showtime series, “Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States.” A series I encourage anyone who has the opportunity to watch. I would also encourage anyone who does watch the series to maintain a healthy skepticism while viewing.

The series focuses on the darker side of presidential politics starting at the end of FDR’s term in office as the U.S. was avoiding involvement in WWII up to the modern day policies of Barack Obama. While touching on some domestic issues, the majority of the time is spent focused on U.S. foreign policy. Each episodes title confirms this fact.

Episode 1: World War II
Episode 2: Roosevelt, Truman & Wallace
Episode 3: The Bomb
Episode 4: The Cold War: 1945-1950
Episode 5: The 50’s Eisenhower, the Bomb & the Third World
Episode 6: JFK: To the Brink
Episode 7: Johnson, Nixon & Vietnam: Reversal of Fortune
Episode 8: Reagan, Gorbachev & Third World: Revival of Fortune
Episode 9: Bush & Clinton: Squandered Peace – New World Order
Episode 10: Bush & Obama: Age of Terror

Oliver Stone succeeds in telling an alternative view of American history that challenges the conventional view Americans perceive as our history. Where the series fails is by showing clear biases towards a progressive agenda, while implying it’s exposing the whole truth. Also disturbing is Stone’s need to portray Heroes and Villains while the show is criticizing presidents and the media of doing the very same thing. Far too often I felt when contrary evidence was presented, it was whitewashed and incomplete. However, there is a fairness in that party affiliation doesn’t protect anyone against Stone’s microscope. Despite his obvious dislike for President Reagan and President G.W. Bush, there is a balanced contempt for President Truman and President Johnson.

The first area I felt this bias conflict was in painting Henry Wallace as a progressive visionary who’s ideas were ahead of his time. A man who’s integrity didn’t allow himself to waver from his ideals. And Wallace was a forward thinking individual in the areas of agriculture and civil rights. But repeatedly Stone refers to Wallace’s stance on trusting and peacefully coexisting with the Soviet Union, communism and Joseph Stalin. Implying that if Wallace hadn’t been replaced by Truman as Vice President on Roosevelt’s final election, the Truman Doctrine to stop communism before it spreads further would have been avoided. Thus erasing Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War from our history. Stone hides behind narration claiming we can’t know what the world would look like today had Wallace took over the Presidency when Roosevelt died, but the message is clear that he feels the alternative couldn’t have been any worse.

Stone completely glosses over the fact that Wallace published a book in 1952 titled “Where I Was Wrong” in which Wallace recants this very position regarding the Soviet Union. Claiming his previous position was made from inadequate information regarding Stalin and the threat he represented. Maybe the series writers feel Wallace only published this book as a means to protect himself from the McCarthy witch hunt taking place at the time against those sympathetic to communism. The fact is Truman shoulders little responsibility for spreading the fear of communism. For that fear was already spreading throughout all levels of government. Wallace may have had a softer approach than Truman, but if Wallace had pursued what Stone feels would have been the “correct” course of action, Wallace likely would have been facing impeachment charges.

Repeatedly I felt Stone was cherry picking facts, which he claims are true and vetted by several groups, to point out what presidents did know and in hindsight made the wrong decision. It’s easy to look back and pick out the intelligence that happened to be correct. Not so easy when you’re faced with several conflicting reports being forced to make a decision.

Stone also offers little room for presidential politics, unfairly criticizing presidents over them. Pulling presidential soundbites to support Stone’s position. What would Mr. Stone expect President Obama to say to troops returning from the Iraq conflict? “Sorry you went over there under false pretenses and watched several of your friends killed for nothing?” Also entirely unfair was the soundbite of President G.W. Bush saying “you’ve covered your ass” claiming the context was about Arabs training to fly planes into buildings prior to 9-11. Was supplying the actual context to which Bush was responding to too difficult for us to hear for ourselves Mr. Stone?

Despite these and many other flaws in logic and hypocrisy, the series does a good job of presenting evidence on how much of what we felt was aggression from the USSR was often simply a response to an action we already took, for they feared we would strike first. How often from the rest of the world, it is the United States that’s viewed as the aggressor. That we now know many of the numbers on USSR arms during the cold war turned out to be far fewer in reality.  Once again I was left disappointed in Mr. Stone for not following up with why our numbers on USSR armaments were so far off.

Whether intentional or not, the series masterfully shows how often candidates running for the presidency end up involved in the very activities they ran against. That it is impossible to make a clear choice on who one should vote for. The promises spoken on the campaign trail doesn’t correspond to the actions taken in office. How even the best of intentions are warped and corrupted by outside influences once seated in the oval office. Then the series trips over itself implying the likes of Wallace or Gore would have been better presidents, based on their campaign platform. As if somehow they would have been immune from these pressures.

“Untold History of the United States” made me think and reexamine what I thought I knew about our history. For that reason alone I think the series was worthwhile and applaud Mr. Stone’s effort. However, in hindsight, the series would have had a much more powerful message highlighting what is wrong with America had Mr. Stone restrained his progressive bias, stopped trying to flip the tables claiming America is the evil empire, and just presented the facts fairly highlighting the sympathies and faults on all sides. Then let the viewer decide for themselves.

The world we live in is gray Mr. Stone. If you want others to recognize past mistakes to avoid making them in the future, it doesn’t help if you are still painting the past in black and white.

© copyright 2011-2013

Beach Bandit

Can we go play in the Tennis courts?

Can we go play ball in the tennis courts?

Sorry Bandit. Tennis courts are now off limits.



Some control freak who likes to suck the joy out of life would rather see the tennis courts remain empty and unused than allow pets inside to play.

How about we go to the beach?

What can we do at the beach?

What can we do at the beach?

Let’s go and find out.

We're what?

We’re here…now what?

You can play in the sand.

How do I get this crap off my nose?

How do I get this crap off my nose?

You can dig holes until your heart is content.

How about I dig a hole so Mom can fall in it?

How about I dig a hole so Mom can fall in it?

You can chase after people.

I'm coming to get you!

I’m coming after you!

You can enjoy the ocean view.

That's nice.

That’s nice.

You can play in the water.

I don't think so!

I don’t think so!

You can collect seashells.

People actually collect these?

People actually collect these?

You can scout the babes.

The only babe I see is Mom.

The only babe I see is Mom.

You can stalk the birds.

If you unhook this leash I might be able to catch one.

If you unhook this leash I might be able to catch one.

So what do you think?

Alright. I'll admit the beach is pretty fun.

Alright. I’ll admit the beach is pretty fun.

Let’s go home.


That was fun, when can we go again?

We’ll go again soon, but now we must clean you up.



Don’t worry, all the sand in your fur will soon be gone.

Must you photograph me in the tub?

Must you photograph me in the tub?

All done buddy. Let’s get you dried off.

About time!

About time!

Glad Mom has this old hair dryer.

Are you seriously going to leave my hair looking like this?

Are you seriously going to leave my hair looking like this?

Sorry, Mom’s the hairdresser, not I.

© copyright 2011-2013

240 Oh No!

Back when I went to the urgent care clinic over the holidays, I received some bad news having nothing to do with why I was at the clinic. I stepped on the scale to be weighed, fully expecting to have gained back all the weight I had lost. I’d lost control of my eating habits and I just didn’t care anymore. I still ate whole grain, used lean beef, avoided potatoes, so I hadn’t completely lost control. By my willpower to say no like I could before was gone.

Sure I made goodies once in a while, but it wasn’t like I was baking a pan a brownies every other day. Maybe once a month I would make a homemade treat. The problem was portions and snacking. I was eating like an alcoholic drinks beer to forget.

Then there were the goodies other people would bring into work. Since the cube opposite me is empty, guess where they like to put all the cookies, cupcakes, brownies and donuts? All day I watch people enter the cube across from me and walk out with something delicious in their hands. With my willpower gone, knowing what was going to happen if I fell for the temptation, I’d try one. Just like an alcoholic, I couldn’t eat just one. It’s not like anyone would notice me sneaking another treat 5 minutes later; since the only person who could notice sits across the hall and just happens to be me.

While everyone else may have only had 1 or 2 treats, I would end up having 4 or 5 before I started kicking myself for eating one in the first place.

So I stood on the scale and heard the nurse announce “Weight 240”.

What? Crap! That is 5 pounds heavier than I’ve ever been. Son of a BITCH! That’s 100 pounds heavier than I was 15 years ago before starting a desk job.

I avoided making weight loss a New Years resolution. Not only would that be completely cliche, but just giving it that label seems like I’m expecting to fail. My goal for now is to get under 200. I hardly ever eat fast food. My diet is healthier than most of the people I know. (Except my father who is a health nut.) I already eat a lot of chicken breast and veggies. Other than cutting back on sweets, which I will be doing, there isn’t much more I can do besides counting calories. I like math, but trying to figure out how many points my homemade meal costs me just adds to my frustration. So to accomplish this goal I’m focusing on exercise, which I hate.

Whenever I exercise on my own, I just end up watching the clock waiting for it to be over. If I can establish a routine, I’m better at sticking with exercise…until the day comes along forcing me to break my routine. There always seems to be some need to travel out of town, or I come down sick which means I can’t exercise. Getting back on the horse for some reason is always hard after being forced off.

To help combat my laziness and make exercise more than something I dread doing. I’m teaming up with a friend to lift weights. Hopefully this buddy system will keep me committed to exercising. This way I’m talking to someone rather than just watching the clock. We can push each other to finish just one more rep. And since he has a pretty nice set up at his house, I’m not going to a gym feeling like everyone is looking at the big guy huffing it on the treadmill.

Also the wife and I are planning more morning walks with Bandit.


I have to. I’m tired of being the big guy. I’m tired of having a closet full of perfectly good clothes that I can’t fit into, hoping I would lose the weight one day.

This weight is going bye-bye.

I promise to have a Bandit post soon. Time just hasn’t been on my side this week. 🙂

© copyright 2011-2013

Rat or Radio?

There I am standing next to door belonging to my vampire Psychiatry doctor. I call him a vampire because his office hours don’t start until 9pm. (Technically they start when he arrives, so it could be 9pm or 10:30pm.) He has weird hours and is flaky about arriving on time, but he really knows what he’s doing. The kind that actually cares what you’re dealing with and will work with you to find a solution without automatically reaching for the prescription pad. Talking to him you feel like a person and not just a patient. And for that reason, I and many others overlook the odd hours and lack of punctuality.

This is “fast track” night. The night the receptionist has off, so no new patients. Just those patients he is comfortable our treatment is working and basically only need prescription refills. Making the whole operation a first come first serve system. It’s important to arrive early, or you may end up driving home at 2 in the morning.

To the chagrin of the stranger walking towards the door, I’m first tonight. He appears to be in his mid 40’s and we start up a conversation. He’s a guitar player who’s looking to start another band. (Sorry Bub, Jingle Bells on the keyboard is all I know.) He’s also a hairdresser and originally from New York. Moved to the area several years ago to help take care of his father and lives with his brother for now until he can save enough to move back to New York.

I found this conversation interesting and amusing even though my ADD was screaming this was utterly pointless and would rather get back to playing the game on my phone. Then he said, “My Brother and his wife live in a huge 4 bedroom house and I don’t understand why they don’t have any kids.”

Before I had a chance to respond his phone rang. He rushes off to have a private phone conversation leaving me standing there with the revelation that his brother and wife’s childlessness is probably not by choice dangling off the tip of my tongue. I waited, hoping to continue the conversation upon his return when a disturbing thought struck me, forcing me to swallow my words.

Would his brother thank me or hate me for revealing this information? Am I a radio broadcasting the word of infertility to this guitar playing hairdresser? Or am I a rat revealing a secret this gentleman’s brother didn’t feel comfortable talking about to his own sibling? There is a small possibility his brother likes big houses and doesn’t want kids, but I’m finding that to be more the exception rather than the rule. I stood there like Holden Caulfield feeling dumb for not knowing what I should do or how I should act.

This gentlemen returned holding a new issue of Guitar Player magazine and was now more interested in it than talking, so I went back to playing on my phone. I wasn’t ready to start outing another persons infertility. Not without at least attempting to explain the sensitive nature of the topic and why this information would be kept even from those family members closest to them.

Infertility is so much more than simply being unable to have a child. There is a huge emotional and social baggage that we carry with us. To be told we aren’t capable of preforming a task that everyone on the outside simply takes for granted. We in the infertile community took it for granted ourselves up until that one doctor’s visit when we found out a miracle or science would be needed in order to reproduce.

I think I may look into having some cards printed for this blog. So next time I can hand one to someone who questions why their loved one isn’t having children. Thereby spreading the word about infertility, and hopefully, providing them with knowledge allowing them to approach the topic with the sensitivity it deserves.

I’m open to suggestions.

© copyright 2011-2013

Dear Ivfmale, Santa Claus Black Gay?

With the holidays, I postponed the Dear Ivfmale segment. Let’s take a look over the last couple weeks regarding what folks are desperately needing answers too and hoped that my blog held the treasures they were seeking.

— can my wife force me to do ivf

Legally? I don’t think so. I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t see how an insurance company can avoid paying for ivf while a wife can force you into the procedure. But stranger laws have been on the books before. Who knows.

That being said, I’m not sure refusing is the best for your relationship. I really would need to know why you’re resistant to trying ivf before going any further. Financial and religious reasons are sure obstacles a couple must consider carefully. However if you simply don’t “want to” then I see divorce papers in the near future.

— men don’t care ivf

Most of us do care. We just get confused sometimes when you need us to be rock and when you need to see our softer side. Sometimes we appear as if we “don’t care” as a coping mechanism to keep ourselves in check. If you need to see more emotion out of your male partner, let him know seeing a little emotion from him would actually help you and it’s safe for him to lower his guard a bit.

— mimic brownie box mix recipe

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHY?!? This is so wrong on so many levels. I’m not completely anti box mix. Box mix brownies are quick, easy, and certainly better than store bought brownies. But if you’re making homemade brownies…MAKE HOMEMADE BROWNIES! Sorry but a ruined homemade brownie is still better than a box mix one.

— santa claus black gay

The primary influences for the legend of Santa Claus are Saint Nicholas who was Greek, and the dutch legend of Sinterklaas. Both of whom are not black. Does the race of Santa Claus really matter? Isn’t the message of loving all children regardless of skin color more important than the color of Santa’s skin?

But Santa’s not gay! I’m not saying there is anything wrong if Santa were gay, I just don’t see anything to indicate that he is. Why would Mrs. Claus agree to be a beard for someone who spends most of his life in hiding anyway? Would a gay man really wear a red suit with white fur trim? Santa may be infertile, but definitely not gay.

The Easter Bunny, he’s totally gay! Snazzy button vest. Can’t help decorating plain objects in pretty pastel colors. Hops around carrying decorated baskets from house to house. Then there is always that one Easter egg hidden in the closet. And given the fertility prowess of rabbits, the most likely reason the bunny has time to do all this and isn’t busy taking care of hundreds of little ones is the Easter Bunny is attracted to male bunnies over female ones. I’m not judging Mr. Bunny. Personally I think he’s awesome and could care less about his sexual preference. (But I still think he’s a gay.)

© copyright 2011-2013

Hiding in Plain Site.

I’m still amazed by how many of us there are struggling with infertility. I have a friend at work I’ve known for several years. He’s married with no children, and both he and his wife are some of the nicest folks you’ll ever be lucky to meet.

Most probably think this couple have chosen not to have kids. I remember being one of them years ago. Since finding out about my own fertility problems, I have wondered if maybe he and his wife being childless might be more than simply a lifestyle choice. But how to bring up the topic in conversation?

“Dude, you shooting blanks too?” Seems a little too brash.

“Wife have a bum oven?” That won’t work. My nuts may be worthless, but they can still cause me pain when struck with a foot.

I didn’t want to bring up the topic of children, knowing how much I regret it when someone forces that topic on me. So we end up only discussing safe topics. Video games, movies, sports, heck even politics and religion turned out to be safe topics compared to discussing fertility.

Today at lunch the topic of diet and exercise was brought up. Considering it’s the New Year and we both struggle with our weight, not a surprising January 2nd conversation.

“Our diet got thrown off track when we started fertility treatments.” I blurted out of the clear blue. The initial horror of what I had said hung in the air. I first noticed the room was in fact empty, thank goodness. But the elephant I just laid still made me hold my breath, waiting for a response.

Maybe he didn’t notice or would ignore what was just spoken and continue with the conversation we were having?

“Been there.”

Breathe, breathe, wait…what?

In an instant the connection was made. I knew what he had been suffering and he knew my own.

I wonder if my subconscious knew what it was doing blurting out those words. I sure hope that is the case, because I may have to become a hermit if I start shouting about infertility in a crowded restaurant. I may be open and honest on this blog and I certainly have told my closest friends and family about my situation. But as far as the general population is concerned, like all of you, I’m still hiding in plain site.

© copyright 2011-2013

A New Year

As one year ends and the new one begins, everyone is thinking about how they would like to set new goals to make the year better. Sadly many of these resolutions take the form of saving money, exercising, or losing weight, and most of them are forgotten by January 5th.

An infertile would like more than anything to resolve to be pregnant this next year, while we may strive for this goal, there isn’t any guarantee. If it were just in our control to make it so, we would all be happy parents already.

Why not combine some of these goals with infertility to make 2013 a little better for all of us. Asking an infertile to save money is nearly impossible when there is always a new test the Doctor wants us to take, but we can still curb our infertility costs.

1. I, the infertile female, resolve to only pee on 2 pregnancy tests per cycle.

Asking an infertile woman to limit herself to one test a cycle is unreasonable. However, a limit of 2 could be a resolution which may be kept. Save the 3rd one in the three pack for next month. You can use the savings on your next office copay.

2. I, the infertile male, resolve to shorten the time it takes to provide a semen sample.

The longer I sit in the little room knowing someone is waiting on me nearby, the more anxious I become worried I won’t be able to perform. No one has written a book to help someone with self performance anxiety. So I say practice makes perfect. Plop that folding chair in the closet and get to work. Maybe have the wife waiting on you to finish for some additional fun. You can put this activity in as exercise and you’ll be thankful for the shorter office visits of awkwardness.

3. Develop a poker face.

We are all surprised once in a while by a pregnancy causing us to struggle with our demon. We do have to power to contain the little monster and we’ll feel better about ourselves for doing so. Practice your poker face and limit the number of dirty looks given to those evil fertiles.

Anyone else have any infertile resolutions which us infertiles have a chance of keeping?

© copyright 2011-2013