Archive for 2017

May 15 – May 21


As I’ve been enjoying old “Hee Haw” episodes on DVD, I’m becoming obsessed with the tragic story of comic banjo player “Stringbean.”  I always remember liking String when I would watch the show with my folks as a kid.  He was very “cartoony” and funny.  Check out his story on-line.  it’s a shame that all the guy wanted to do was make people laugh and entertain them, and a couple of idiots ruined it all.

Until recently, this amazing song by the Kinks wasn’t on my radar.  But now I LOVE “Sunny Afternoon!”

Monday the 15th – GOTG:V2…ME TOO! – Just after 2 I was at my ENT surgeon’s office for a pre-op briefing. She wanted to catch me up to date on everything that was going to happen at Friday’s surgery, and what I should and shouldn’t do before, during and after.  On the way home I hit McDonald’s for some quick lunch, stopped by the post office to mail some items, stopped by Michael’s crafts to drop off a framed piece that needed some UV glass installed so the sketch inside wouldn’t fade, and I went to my auxiliary garage to swap out the Torino for my Mustang.  I got home and relaxed a bit before a bunch of friends and I met at the theatre to see “Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2.”  The movie was really terrific, and like I had heard from so many friends, my buddy Elliot’s song “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” was all throughout the movie!  I loved it!  The rest of the soundtrack was amazing as well, and I really like how they utilize the songs from the 60’s and 70’s and tie it thematically to the action.  But throughout the movie I was getting a bit sad.  With the beard and grayish hair, Kurt Russell was reminding me a lot of my late pal Terry Crisp.  There had always been a slight resemblance, but now that Kurt’s older he really reminded me of Terry.  After the movie I came home to nap a bit, and then got up for auditions.  I fed and walked Roxy, typed out Wally’s Week, and then made soup and a sandwich and watched another episode of “Barnaby Jones.”  It’s a fairly laid back week in anticipation of Friday’s surgery.

Tuesday the 16th – CO-PAY…OKAY! – Upon waking up I found that I had a message from the hospital I’d be visiting on Friday regarding a co-pay that was due.  I don’t usually like to give credit card info over the phone, so I headed over to the hospital (which is just a short jaunt from my house) and settled everything.  I needed to get the Mustang washed anyway, so while I was out I got that taken care of.  I went over to Michael’s to get my framed piece with the new UV glass. Then I came home to do some work and grab a nap.  Later I got up to do a bunch of auditions, I fed and walked Roxy, made a pot pie and watched another “Barnaby Jones.”

Wednesday the 17th – PHAREWELL PHARMACY! – When I got up mid-afternoon I headed over to my local pharmacy to get my meds for the upcoming surgery.  Thinking confidently, I said a fond farewell to all of the ladies behind the pharmacy counter.  Over the past four months of dealing with this sinus infection/infected tooth/root canal/sinus surgery issue I’ve gotten to know each of them by name, and vice versa.  And hoping that this surgery will solve all of the aforementioned problems, I probably won’t be seeing them for hopefully quite a while.  But they said they’ll miss me because I’m their favorite customer.  I always make them laugh when I go in. While I waited for my prescriptions to be filled I walked over to the bank to deposit some money, got some lunch at Chipotle, and chilled out in my car talking on the phone. I got back home and did some work, napped on the couch for a bit, then got up and went to bed.  I think the new pain meds they have me on make me more tired than usual.  Later I got up and did my auditions, did some work around the house, and fed and walked Roxy.  Then I headed to Denny’s to get some food to go.  I enjoyed my dinner while watching another “Barnaby Jones” episode.  Just as I was turning in early Thursday morning I learned that Chris Cornell died.  What a great voice!  Too bad. Too sad.

Thursday the 18th – PRE-OP PREP! – My maids were due to come and clean Planet Wallywood between 1 and 3.  Normally they come every other Friday, but since I’d be in surgery this Friday, I had them come a day early.  While I waited for their arrival, I got a call from my surgeon to discuss a few last-minute things before Friday’s surgery.  An editor for a magazine in my hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota called to get a few quotes for an article she’s working on.  My ENT’s office called to schedule a follow-up appointment for next week, and the hospital called to ask some last-minute questions before I check in at 6:45 am Friday morning. Busy day!  The maids arrived and cleaned up, and then I got ready and headed over to a Notary Public to get some documents signed and notarized.  When you’re going under anesthesia you just never know, so it’s good to have all your affairs in order just in case.  If, God forbid,  anything happens to me…the last thing I would want is for my “estate” to go to the state of California. Pearls before swine, that kind of thing.  On the way home I picked up a new black light bulb for the Tranquility Zone, and then went home to nap for a bit.  Later I got up to enjoy some spaghetti at Little Toni’s with my assistant Sara, who would be staying with me for several days during and after the surgery to make sure everything gets taken care of.  On the way home I got some grocery items I’d need for the recovery period.  I had to stop eating at midnight, but just before 12am I was still hungry.  So I had a bowl of Cap’n Crunch Christmas Crunch that I still had left.  I took my medications and then spent a few hours reading the news on-line.  I fed and walked Roxy and then hit the hay around 3am.  My goal was to get up at 6am and be at the hospital at 6:45. Sara would be driving me over and staying with me until I went into surgery.  I didn’t want to get too much sleep and be too rested, because I think it’s always good to go into these things a little tired.  If I’m too rested I’ll be too hyper and excited, but if I’m a bit tired I’ll be more mellow.

Friday the 19th – “SINUS” IN FOR SURGERY! – I sprang from bed at 6 and walked Roxy. I threw on my loose-fitting hospital clothes and Sara and I hit the road about 6:20.  I got checked in and ushered into Room 13, my lucky number!  Right then I knew I’d be alright!  I put on my paper gown, socks and little mesh hat.  Sara came in to hang out for a while and the anesthesiologist stopped by to chat and ask questions. I told her I was a Voice-Over artist and that I heard they have a special vocal cord “mask” they can put over the vocal cords to avoid damage when snaking the breathing tube down the throat.  She said she’s use a smaller tube than normal to accommodate me.  Then the nurse came in for a brief conference and to tell me that I would be going in early, just as soon as Dr. Jill arrived.  Soon after that, Dr. Jill strolled in to say hi.  I told her before I went under I wanted to visit the bathroom.  Sara and I started talking about Kurt Russell in the movie “GOTG:V2” whistling “Brandy” while his character Ego was taking a leak in the woods. Dr. Jill hadn’t seen the movie so we explained it to her. As I’m being wheeled into the OR, I’m cracking all sorts of pre-written jokes I had prepared for this moment.  After all, you want the people who will have your very life in their hands to feel happy.  “This is the weirdest colonoscopy I’ve ever had!” “I tried to do my own once, and it was weird.” “If I throw you an extra 20 bucks under the table would you make my nose look like George Clooney’s?” “If you find hemorrhoids, you’re in the wrong end!”  They were all laughing and the mood was very festive.  They were surprised that I was in such a good mood. Then Dr. Jill pulled up “Brandy” on her phone and brought it over to me and put it next to my ear.  I said, “Oh no, now I’ve gotta sing!”  As I sang along the anesthesiologist put the mask over my nose and mouth and said, “This is just oxygen.” I kept singing along. I got to the part where I sang, “My life, my lover, my lady…is the sea.”  Then BOOM!  I’m out! Last thing I remember!  TOO FUNNY! Just think…if I would have died on the table…those would have been my last words!!!  I woke up feeling pretty good with a nurse asking me if I wanted some ice chips to suck on.  I went in and out of consciousness, but I was fighting it because I wanted to get home.  I knew the sooner I came out of it, the sooner I could leave.  They brought my clothes in and contacted Sara to let her know I would soon be ready to leave.  Dr. Jill called Sara and told her the root canals I had DID work and that it got rid of all the infection that had been there. Good to hear!  When I stood up to go to the bathroom my right nostril started bleeding a bit; which was weird, because the main surgery was done in my left nostril.  Not only did I have a deviated septum fixed in my left nostril, she cleaned out a lot of the leftover schmutz from my sinus infection and resulting inflammation. They don’t put packing in your sinus cavity any more, thank God!  They’ve found it’s best to just let it bleed, but they gave me some gauze pieces and some tape to show me how to make a sling under my nostrils.  My surgeon told me that the only time she ever had to pack a patient’s sinus was because he kept taking Aspirin and Ibuprofen (drugs that interfere with the natural clotting process) before the surgery.  But I followed the rules and hadn’t touched any of that for a month or so. I was clotting pretty well apparently.  I got dressed and was moving around pretty well, albeit a tad wobbly.   The wheeled me outside and I got into Sara’s car and we headed home.  Not only had I put clean sheets on the bed, but the AC was on and the house was clean. I was at total ease.  But I had to sleep sitting up because of the drainage.  I put about four pillows under me and slept as much as I could.  I kept waking up though to use the bathroom and change my sling.  By 7pm I got up to get something to eat.  The pain meds they gave me in my IV had worn off and I felt like I had gone 12 rounds with Clubber Lang.  After all, when they fix a deviated septum it does take some hammering and chiseling, so I wasn’t shocked that I felt like that.  As expected I rested all evening.  Sara went to get subs and brought them home.  Then it was back to bed.  But it was getting harder and harder to breathe through my nose as the inflammation and swelling commenced.  I had to sleep with a bottle of water by my bed so when I woke up mouth-breathing every 20 minutes, I could moisturize my mouth, lips and tongue.  It wasn’t very good, quality sleep-time.  I got up later to feed and walk Roxy (gently).  I made some soup and a sandwich and watched “Barnaby Jones.” There was bound to be lots of bleeding the first couple of days, but that’s what the slings are for.

Saturday the 20th – BREATHING (AND SLEEP) IS NOT OVERRATED! – At 2 I was due to take a steroid called Prednisone, which tells the body not to engage its normal defense mechanism of swelling.  But I was still waking up literally every 15 minutes with dry mouth, unable to breathe through my nose.  I turned on my cool mist humidifier to help, and kept the water handy.  But I realized that if I wasn’t able to get good quality sleep, I wasn’t going to heal well.  And the sinus rinses I was prescribed were doing no good whatsoever because of the swelling.  Shooting the water into my nostrils was like firing at a brick wall; there was intense pressure in my ears and the water shot back out the same nostril.  This wasn’t working.  I did take a few minutes to walk Roxy outside briefly, and it had been a really hot day.  It reminded me a lot of Palm Springs.  Keeping an upcoming Palm Springs trip in the forefront of my mind was keeping me positive about getting this surgery thing behind me. I lazed around all day and took it easy.  Sara was at an all-day video shoot, so when she returned in the evening we ordered pizza and chilled out.  She was exhausted from the shoot, so she headed to the Puppet Room to pass out.  I had nothing to do, so I looked through some of the old photos Sara scanned into my photo computer recently.  Ahhh the good old days!  I slept for a few hours, and then got up to feed and walk Roxy.  I made my traditional Saturday night Super Salad and watched an episode of “Hee Haw” before bedtime.  When I went outside to walk Roxy at 9am it was already getting warm.  I came back inside and started the AC.  But I still wasn’t able to breathe well, so I figured what the heck…I’d use a little Sinex nasal spray. It saved me!!  I could breathe, and best of all, the all-important sinus rinses will get where they need to go!

Sunday the 21st – DAY THREE; YAY ME! – It was more meds at 2, then a quick walk for Roxy, and then more sleep.  I was sleeping very well because I could finally breathe through my nose, thanks to the Sinex!  My surgeon had told me a few weeks ago that if it took a while for the swelling to recede she could put something in my sinus rinses to assist in that. I’m thinking I’ll ask her for that at the follow-up appointment. Later it was back up to take meds, eat, sleep, take more meds, lather, rinse and repeat.  I have a gig on Wednesday morning, so I hope the healing continues going well!

And how was YOUR week??!!



My last meal before surgery? Why, Cap’n Crunch, of course!

I replaced my nose sling and when I looked in the mirror, the irony of the beanie I was wearing made me laugh!

Not only was my room lucky number 13, but I felt that an old friend was watching over me as well!