Saturday, April 23, 2011


Once again, it's time for tales from Ye Olde ALS clinic. Last time I visited, I endured this trauma. My recent visit was just as entertaining.

The first highlight was weighing my wheelchair. They did this so weighing me will be easier in the future. I'll just drive on to the scale (instead of stepping on it) and they'll subtract the weight of the chair. The chair is 391 pounds. Apparently it is made of lead and concrete. The chair and I combined weigh nearly 600 pounds — and that's why I'm now afraid of driving across wooden bridges. I might fall through.

Highlight number two was meeting with the Speech Pathologist. I haven't seen much of her in past visits, but now my voice is getting noticeably weak. She starts off the testing by having me repeat sounds like "pa pa pa pa" or "tipy, tipy, tipy, tipy." Next, I stick out my tongue and say "la, la, la" a few times.

Then it gets interesting.

The Pathologist puts a little mirror up to my nose and has me repeat the phrase "please put the potatoes in the refrigerator" several times. She's checking a muscle at the back of my pallet — if it's weak, air will pass through my nose and fog up the mirror. Every time she administers this test, I have to fight to not laugh my ass off. I never make it through without cracking up for two reasons.

First, I can't say "please put the potatoes in the refrigerator" without thinking about putting potatoes in the refrigerator. What kind of jackass refrigerates spuds?!? There is no reason whatsoever to keep a potato on ice. If I ever caught someone placing a potato in my fridge, I'd be all like, "You son of a bitch. How'd they get to you? I can not believe the refrigerated potato plot has made it this far. It's time to round up a potato posse. We need to invade Idaho before it's too late!"

The second reason I always laugh during potato time is, she's putting a mirror up to my nose... all I want to do is crack jokes about cocaine. (Crack jokes about cocaine - see what I did there?) What little I know about coke I learned from Rolling Stones songs and watching Blow, but I think I could come up with a few booger sugar punchlines. Last time I took the potato test, I planned on giving the mirror a quizzical look and saying, "Sorry, I'm not used to the mirror being empty." But then I chickened out.

Next time, I'll take a huge sniff just as the mirror reaches my face, then say, "Sorry. Old habits die hard." I may also reference 'disco biscuits' at some point. I think disco biscuits are actually Quaaludes, but I don't care. It's fun as hell to say disco biscuit.

Anyway, as a result of my voice getting weak, the doctors recommended I do something called 'voice banking.' More on that later this week.

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