Is that a monkey on your back, or are you just Quasimodo?

Two scoops or one? Salty caramel you say? Make mine a triple!

As I have often chronicled in this strange little experiment in self expression, I have what we might call a fondness for sugary treats. I like to bake ’em, I like to buy ’em, but mostly I like to eat ’em. Ever a fan of the eggy/creamy dessert, I have lately become laser focused on the vanilla/salty caramel flavor combination. It haunts my dreams and consumes my waking hours, and as the taste sensation of the minute, it’s everywhere. Mostly I find it in horrifically overpriced, “artisanal” ice cream, but it also pops up on nearly every restaurant menu in New York City. One day soon I fully expect to happen upon a box of Salti-Mellow Mini Wheats or a Seaside Toffee Streusel Swirl cake mix in the low-budget “traditional groceries” aisle at Fairway.

$12 a pint? Half a dozen, please!

In any case, I cannot get enough of the salty sweet combination, and my copious consumption has finally caught up with me. According to Dr. Feelbad (the rather unpleasant “rehabilitative nutritionist” I have consulted to find a solution to this craving madness and get me safely back to single digit sizes), it will take a truckload of expensive dietary supplements, a concerted campaign of all-around abstemiousness and frequent lengthy gym visits to undo what Jeni and her Splendid Ice Cream hath wrought. As a result, I am bidding a wistful sayonara to all things sweet, in a last ditch effort to shake the sugar monkey off my rapidly expanding back.

Now, I’ll bet you’re wondering how I came to this crisis point, and even if you’re not, I’ll tell you.  About a week ago, I woke up feeling a bit off, with a nasty burning pain in my chest and shooting pains down my left arm and shoulder blade. This, I felt, was not good, so I consulted several authoritative health websites —,, and the always helpful — and all suggested a trip to the Emergency Room was in order. So Mr. Slattern flagged a cab and checked me in, only to endure 36 hours of excruciating boredom broken only by occasional requests for blood and rounds of tests requiring sticky electrodes, the adhesive for which I am still trying to get off my torso.

“If you don’t want to wear your gown, I’m sure we can arrange to wrap you up in a filthy, staff-riddled bed sheet.”

To make matters worse, Nurse Ratched insisted I change into a hospital gown upon arrival and frequently made me walk around in it outside the relative privacy of my little ER home-away-from-home. My visit culminated with a trip down to the radiation bunker where I was injected with some kind of nuclear byproduct and told to walk on a treadmill until I was “tired.” This workout was to be conducted in said hospital johnny and hospital socks, since the stylish platform wedges I had worn to the hospital that morning were deemed unsuitable.

Preparatory to shooting me up and harnessing me to the wheel of pain, the duo of crazy Russians running the joint asked about a million questions, all of which I had already answered a hundred times, except possibly what size brassiere I wore, which in retrospect I believe had more to do with an office pool than my health. The icing on the cake, however, was the moment Igor told me that I could put said brassiere back on if I wanted to as it would not interfere with the tests. Of course I was wearing one, which really took the wind out of the sails of the good ship Self Esteem.

Long story short, by about 6 pm it was apparent to even the meanest intelligence, namely mine, that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, and that I should be released immediately. Nurse Ratched, however, had other ideas and suggested that I stay over, helpfully pointing out that I was free to leave at any time “against medical advice,” which would clearly get my insurance company off the hook for the charges and me on it. So I stayed.

“Call us if you get an infection or if the incision opens up and your guts start spilling out all over the floor of your house. Bye bye!”

I was eventually escorted to some lovely semiprivate accommodations with a magnificent view of the air shaft and a 95 year old roommate who was most certainly not there for a spa day. There was no drink service; at no point did anyone offer me a meal; and the shower backed up as soon as I turned it on, forcing me to take a whore’s bath in the middle of the bathroom to avoid standing in the ebola puddle that was collecting in the shower stall. All through the night and into the next morning, the staff attempted to give me a variety of needless shots and pills, but no food, which was probably for the best. If the radiation and bacteria didn’t kill me, the cuisine probably would.

Eventually I got out, but here’s the thing. If I had been in there with a real problem that required them to cut me open, mess around with my organs, transfuse blood and sew me back up, they would not have been able to get me out of there fast enough. But having shown up with a fleeting case of indigestion, I was their bitch for a day and a half, despite frequent requests to leave. And so, it is a sincere desire to stay out of the hospital that has led me to embark upon the path of healthful righteousness, via the offices of Dr. Feelbad, MD.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Quasimodo by Antoine Wiertz via wikimedia commons.
Ice cream courtesy Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
Nurse Ratched courtesy
Smiling fool courtesy

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on September 15, 2012, in UGH Healthy Eating and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. I heard stories of hospitals taking advantage of people with non-life threatening cases to rack up the medical bills. Sorry that you had to endure the insanity my friend, but glad that your setting a course never to end up in the same situation again.

    Oh and btw…Liz has know officially given the middle finger to Fairway after an overcharging experience/confrontation with the manager. Thought that might make you smile. 🙂

  2. By the way, I have just nominated you for a brand new, never been seen before, award. You can check it out here:

  3. Just read this post after inhaling a waffle the size of my face. You’re my hero, Wendie! Glad that it wasn’t anything serious.

  4. That sounds delightful. I had to disinfect myself after merely reading about their shower.
    I had one of those treadmill tests done for an arrhythmia and they made me run in one of those gowns, sans bra or shoes. I sprained a boob but they never could get my heart rate up high enough to do a proper stress test. Freaking geniuses.
    I’m glad the salty caramel didn’t kill you, since I just found your blog and I’d have to kick salty caramel’s ass in retaliation.

  5. mjcache (Mel Cope)

    Hey WSW, I’m sorry, but this was hilarious – the brassiere ‘joke’ had me rolling. Hope it turns out to be one of life’s weird, inexplicable episodes and you continue to blog your usual hilarity in fine health.

  6. the curtain raiser

    Glad all is ok apart from the hospital experience. Surrender your control and dignity at the door.

  7. I’m as hospital-phobic as you are, and anything that involves even the tiniest needle sends me sprinting for the nearest fire escape. That having been said, you absolutely did the right thing and went to the right place, air shaft view and all.

    BTW, if a Smart Cow yogurt place happens to open up in your ‘hood, stay away. Their pretzel sea salt caramel is unbelievable. Sin in a cup.

  8. Hey KS, if you’re jonesin’ for your favorite ice cream flavor, make your own. You’ve got a loyal following who will help you on the tech issues; recipe, freezer, how to make the flavor. You and you alone can control calories, sodium content and what you put in it. One thing though if you or any Slatternettes decide to go the salt substitute route get one with sodium chloride (salt) in it. the stuff without it is gross.

  9. Salty and sweet. Totally my weakness. I’m glad to hear you are okay. I lost a bet and am forced to be a Raider’s fan this year. I need to get my Pats fix through you, so take care of yourself this season, you hear?

    • I predict Brady will be back with a vengeance, and no doubt I will have to eat my words. Salty and sweet I hope, but probably more like cold dead crow.

  10. Glad you are OK. By the way it is a myth that if you check out AMA your insurance company won’t pay. A myth that the hospitals are more than happy to maintain.
    A salty caramel doughnut was the best food I had in San Francisco, if I had known how good they were I would have emptied my luggage and brought dozens home.

  11. Scrolling down to smirking Nurse Ratched—that has some impact. Salty Caramel, she is a cruel mistress. But not as cruel as Nurse Ratched. Love this and wish you strong mojo in the fight. But stay slatternly, at least a little, please?

  12. Good to know that you’re okay. I laughed out loud at “!” I hate going to the doctor. If someone said that I would keel over at 60 in exchange for never having to go to the doc, I might consider it.

  13. So glad that you are okay! Love the inclusion of Nurse Ratched, by the way. I think we have all encountered one of those. And, you know what, life is too short to cut out everything you enjoy–salty, sweet combinations included. You could load up on veggies and fruits and get hit by a bus. So indulge yourself once in a while. And look both ways before you cross the street.

    • I’m afraid it’s all or nothing. All it takes is one cookie, and three hours later I’m sitting in front of an I Love Lucy marathon with an empty Oreo bag, a bowl full of Cheetos dregs, six empty beer cans and a bad case of indigestion. ;(

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