There were a few times this past month where I cracked open ye old blog editor, started typing nonsense and then got distracted. This led to a total of 1000 words that got lost to the ether, never to be seen by this blog. I'll try to make up for it in June. 

Let's talk about doctors.

Now that Isabella successfully had her surgery and has recovered quite nicely from it (you go girl), I felt that it was my time to shine in the medical mystery spotlight. For the past few months I had been having interesting digestive symptoms that felt a heck of a lot like getting "glutened" when I know darn well I had not ingested any of it. 

Now, for those of you that are new or may not remember, I sincerely wish that I was one of those people who did the gluten free thing because of a diet or because it "made me slightly gassy", unfortunately I am full on diagnosed celiac. This disease, if you're not aware yet, is an auto-immune disorder where my body has decided that it hates anything made with "delicious". So much so, that when I do eat any of this delicious, it just decides to beat the crap out itself. That is, my white blood cells attack the villi in my small intestine. 

You know... because... genetics. Yay!

Anyway, gluten free diet but having symptoms as though I wasn't. This evolved into a pressure under my left rib cage that manifested itself after eating "certain" things. I tried pro-biotics, I tried diet alteration, I tried antacids, I tried a lot of things. Why?! 

Because I hate doctors. 

I don't hate the people... I hate what they represent. Doctors represent the fragility of my body. I hate being fragile.

After trying many natural things to fix this pain issue, I finally broke down and visited my local doctor. After explaining these symptoms to him I got a "sounds like heart burn"... hrm... well, ok it may sound like heartburn, but I can tell you it's not. But, you're the doctor - so give me some heart burn meds (because the OTC stuff wasn't good enough) and lets call it a day.

2 weeks later, still pain, no change. Sitting in my office, holding my left hand side, I said screw it and went into a walk-in clinic at the behest of my wife. I walk in (like the clinic told me to), explain the pressure I've been having after eating, and she immediately says, "well, I'll have to talk with the doctor down here because I'm not sure we want to take a heart issue... we might walk you up to the emergency room". 

Wut? I said "digestive"... not heart... I'm not having a heart att...aaand here we go up to the emergency room. 

Upon arriving in the emergency room, I was told to get in a gown, lay down, had an IV jammed in and 6 viles of blood taken, all with nurses scrambling around me. Whoa whoa whoa whoa... what the crap?! I went from having some pressure in my lower chest to hard core emergency patient. 

After a bit of panicking and the emergency doc finally chilling everyone out, I was free to go with a referral to a gastroenterologist (couldn't they have done that in the walk-in?).

Let's talk about bacteria.

Most bacteria is actually really good for your body. We have billions of bacteria chilling in our flesh bags in a pretty symbiotic relationship. From our mouths, to our skin, to our insides... it's everywhere. 

Sometimes bad bacteria gets in there and needs to be killed, which a fever and some white blood cells take pretty quick action on. 

Sometimes bacteria growth just gets out of hand. 

When this happens in your intestines, specifically your small intestine, this is a bad thing. A newly discovered diagnosis called Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth, or SIBO, has been found to effect a lot of people. Turns out, in celiacs, it's really common. I would have never known this had I not gotten the referral to the quite amazing GI doctor. 

SIBO presents itself most commonly when you have any sort of damage to your small intestine which would prohibit the normal muscular contractions that keep the large intestine's bacteria out. Also, and I write this with a whole crap ton of disdain towards the other doctor, stomach acid is another huge player in keeping your small intestine overgrowth free. 

Being on an acid inhibitor was one of the worst things that I could have done. Way to go, doofus.

Further reading about SIBO also leads to some recent studies that show that this whole "gluten intolerance" thing might be a load of garbage (remember, gluten intolerance is nothing like being a celiac) and that, in fact, it might be people suffering from SIBO. One of the things that plays to comfort with SIBO is a low FODMAP diet. Which, ironically enough, includes eating lots of gluten free stuff.

Let's talk about future updates.

I actually have a lot of other stuff I want to write about that happened in May, but will do so later this month. I feel that your attentiveness to this text is dwindling... or is it my dwindling attentiveness to writing... 

Probably both.

  • Posted in:

I hate buying really expensive things. 

I think the reason I hate it so much is because I always feel unprepared and uneducated about what I want to purchase. When I don't know a lot about a certain thing, I either spend way too much time investigating on my own, or I reach out to someone who has more knowledge than me about the item. 

Unfortunately, most of the time the most educated person about a big ticket item happens to be that dreaded sales person.

(that chest hair)

See, I have this natural instinct to believe that everyone at their core is a "good person". But it has always been the sales person that has brought me close to abandoning that belief. They attempt to come off as your best friend, as the source of unbiased knowledge, as a security blanket in the land of dangerous purchases. When really, most of them are out to manipulate you or pressure you into purchasing from them so they get a huge commission. I'm not saying ALL sales people are like this, in fact my brother from another mother is actually a model sales guy, but most are cow poopies.

Especially... the car salesman

Isabella and I are hunting to buy a new car. Something that will be big enough to grow with our family, big enough to haul stuff, but small enough to not be the douche in the H2. You know who I'm talking about...

(yeah yeah, it's an H3, I know...)

The first one that caught our eye was the Ford Edge. We're already happy Ford owners from the Focus purchase last year and thought we'd keep it in the family. We're slowly finding out that the Seattle area Ford sales people are not much like the friendly Waukesha sales people we encountered. 

Sales guy number one would not shut up about they are the "lowest price in the area" and told me there was no need to look around. How everyone else would look at other dealerships but would always come back to them. Then he proceeded to talk crap about a different specific dealer. How they were shady and tried to be sneaky about pricing. After all this talk about giving us the best deal in the area... all he offered us was what they posted on their web site. Look... either tell me straight that the internet price is all I'm going to get, or shut your yap about you "not caring about car prices".

So we went to "the bad dealer" because I had to see for myself. Guess what... they weren't that bad. In fact, the way they handled their customers was about the same only they didn't talk so much crap. They almost got us to purchase a car, until the big boss man pooped on the deal the sales guy was going to give us (we had a Chicago bonding moment)... so we walked out. 

The moral of the story is...

What I've learned is that the sales people play a very specific game and that there is a very specific counter-game you can play to throw them off guard. Car sales people HATE when you are confident, in control, but completely indifferent. Show enough interest to get them begging, but keep enough distance to want to chase you. Get up and walk towards the door a couple times and watch them squirm. Tell them when and what to write down or what paper work to stop or start filling out. Stop them dead in their tracks during their pressure tactics and call them out on it. I think this will become a new hobby for me. 

At least it would if I didn't feel like punching each one in their nose... that might get me in a bit of trouble.

I still find it amazing how connected this world has become. The size of this planet is growing smaller and smaller as the restrictions around communication lessen. I think back to my childhood and all of the ridiculous things we used to do for the sake of communication. 

I remember how many times we had to rush home to make sure that my parents were home to receive a call. We used to have to schedule phone calls on a calendar days in advance. The phrase "I'll call you when I'm on my way" was never muttered because it didn't make sense. 
If you missed a call it could be the end of the world because you probably had no idea where the call was coming from or how to return their number. It's not like you could glance at the caller id, or play back a message on your answering machine - those things just didn't exist.

The number of communication channels used to be 2. 
You had your phone and you had a hand written letter. The former you had to actually be present to even know it happened, and the latter resulted in a 2 day waiting period to get your communication. 
The number of communication channels now is almost infinite. Limited only by the software that we choose to use to do said communication. You can communicate to specific people through email, talk to loved ones through Skype, talk to the world in 140 characters or less, or post stupid pictures of your kids or your pregnant belly with rage-inducing acronyms like DH, SO, LO, etc on Facebook.

Are your "friends" really your friends?

How many followers do you have? How many friends on Facebook? How many people read your Tumblr or subscribe to your blog?
I don't have very many followers or friends because before I follow anyone I like to ask myself:

(hello... my name is twitter follow #178... and I would like to share with you...)

What would you do if any one of these people showed up at your door?

"Knock Knock" - Um... hi? Hi, I'm Twitter follower #178... I was just in the neighborhood and thought we could hang out cause we're friends. 
I would take a gander that 95% of you reading this blog (which is probably 7/8 people... the actual number, not the fraction... well it's a fraction too, but you get what I'm saying), would look at that person as though they were crazy and you'd tell your kids to go to their rooms and lock the door while you explain to this person that they're a stranger and it's a little weird that they showed up.

But why? Why is that weird? I thought you were "friends".
I think about those who I consider my friends online... I think about @dpringle and @religionbites who I know I need to meet in person someday in life... I think about @Love_Is_A_Place who if she ever moved to the west coast would have a friendly family to have dinner with in person immediately... I think about @Sew_Lin, @HouseofJules, @showmyface, and so many others who (all 239 of them) could show up at my door and, aside from the shock and awe, be immediately welcomed in. Because they wouldn't be strangers. (yes, even @NathanFillion, @ThatKevinSmith, and @neiltyson)

Next time you think about posting something personal online, next time you tweet your pooping preferences, next time you talk about some ailment... ask yourself if it's meant for your "friends" or your friends. Beyond that, are we just feeding our own narcissism?

  • Posted in:

It's been a little heavy lately here and that needs to get remedied; stat. So, today I'm simply going to bitch up a storm about this new fad I'm seeing on web pages. As I'm perusing the internets and coming across various interesting articles I'm noticing a silly trend where the designer thinks it's a good idea to duplicate text in the main article in this huge center aligned font.

A good idea to duplicate
text in the main article

What is the point of this? Are we catering to such a "instant gratification" society that we now don't even expect people to read the article - or maybe put two or three of these huge-o text blocks so that when visitors come to your page they can say they read it even though they only read 3 sentences?

When visitors come
to your page they can
say they read it

I, for one, think this is a crap design choice meant to a) make you look like you have more content than you actually do, and 2) allow people to think they are knowledgeable in whatever topic you're writing about and be a lazy sack of crap at the same time.

Lazy sack of crap

If you do this on your blog or your freelance article, shame on you. How about you add a little more content instead of repeating yourself again and again.

Again and again.

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday!


I feel like blogging. 

You ever get the itch to just start tippytapping away on a keyboard for no other reason then to just be typing frantically? Maybe that's just me as I don't get afforded many opportunities to write copious amounts of text in a streaming coherent fashion. Most of my keyboard usage is limited to sentences equaling 140 characters or less, or interrupted with curly braces, ctrl-tabs, alt-enters, and double semicolons (for that extra boost of speed). 

Making intestinal issues even worse. 

Stress is a funny thing. And by "funny", I mean, stress is a huge asshole. Stress is the person you really don't want to be at your party, but they sneak in anyway, get really drunk, and the start forcing the people you do want there to leave. You know... people like "sanity", "good health", and "sleep". But stress is bigger than you and can be quite violent when provoked... so you just kind of smile it off, crack a joke or two, "Hahaha! Oh look at stress doing his thing again.", and hope to god he either passes out quickly or gets bored and leaves. 

(frosted tips AND spray tan? sign me up)

Given that my digestive system already hates me (yay auto-immune disorders), stress is even more un-welcomed because he and my disorder go together like mentos and coke. 

What stress could you possibly have?

I'm not emotionally strong when it comes to the fragility of my loved ones. Humans are very fragile beings. Sure, we can heal ourselves like a slow Wolverine... but think of what separates you from death... squishy stuff. 

Do you know why the military uses strong and hard elements to create armor and not squishy stuff to protect their assets? Yeah... squishy stuff isn't very good at protecting things. 

It's even worse when someone I love is going through a procedure where a man who I've never met will be cutting open my wife and jamming 5 robot arms into her midsection. I crack jokes about how a stranger will be up in my wife's guts... but I crack jokes because secretly I'm destroying myself inside. 

I have this thing I do...

I play hypothetical games in my head to prepare myself for any possible outcome. However, never is there a time where I focus mostly on the "everything goes great" outcome. I spend most of my time focusing on what I would do if my entire world collapsed on itself. See... if my wife were to ever be torn away from me... I would die inside. I'd physically stay around because my children need me, but I guess I'm just one of the lucky bastards who got the girl of his dreams and the thought of losing that girl hurts... a lot. 

As I explained to her... she's the Borg nanobots that have assimilated into my flesh... you can't just remove the Borg side of me without killing me in the process. I have been assimilated. 

(I wish I was this handsome)

Surgery day finally arrives...

I'm strong. The 4 males of my family have a theme song... "I am a rock... I am an island... and a rock feels no pain... and an island never cries". My wife needed me to be strong, to be there for her... she, afterall, was going to be the one going into the surgical room. 

She's a smart cookie, though, and picked up on the fact that I would be sitting in a room and waiting... for what the doctor said was going to be 2.5 hours. She laughed and counted herself the lucky one because the whole ordeal for her was just a long nap. She'd go in, fall asleep, and wake up when it was done. I, on the other hand, would be conscious the entire time... slowly counting seconds and hoping to god she'd come out ok.

It didn't take 2.5 hours... 

I got the call from one of the nurses that was assisting in the surgery. "Hi Mr. Bauer. I just wanted to give you a call and let you know that everything is fine but it's going to be about another hour."


(i didn't look anything like this)

What came out of my mouth was an overly cheery and fake, "Ok! Thanks for letting me know!". As if to say, "hahaha! yes my fine dear, I am well aware everything is going to be tip top cheery-o. I will quite simply be over yonder enjoy a relaxing spot of tea."

The next hour dragged on and my stomach started turning against the spinach salad I forced down for lunch. I was feeling gassy... sour stomach... it was horrible. 

But... it didn't take another hour...

I never did get another call. At the 3.5 hour mark I got up repeatedly to check the status board and all it did was mock me with "In Operating Room" next to her code. 

What was happening? Why was she still in there? Why haven't I gotten another call? 

Terrible images of surgeons and nurses scrambling around my wife trying to resussitate her in a serious drama made for TV style as her beep beeps flat-lined, the paddles coming out... "CLEAR!" bzzzzt.

Another 2.5 hours later...

I was getting up one last time to check the board before going for another walk to try to shake my pain... my worry... to try to get rid of the nautious feeling that had taken over. The damn board still said "In Operating Room" when her surgeon ran into me. 

And you know what he had... which he piled RIGHT into my face?!

A smile.

He was smiling and I was torn. I didn't know whether to hug him because I finally knew that my wife was ok, or to punch him because he was so cheery after my body had practically digested itself. 

We talked, he explained why it took so long, told me how it went, things that they found. I think I was there for most of it. Of course I had on my best Sunday game face as if to let him know that nothing could shake me. He said I could see her in an hour.

We shook hands and went our separate ways. He to another case and I to my car. 

... and I cried...

I called my brother... my emotional rock in times of pain... someone who knows fear and uncertainty and fragility of life... and I cried like a little girl who forgot how to cry. The tears didn't want to come at first because I felt I was being weak... that I was failing at being a rock for Isabella... but they came. 

The rollercoaster, all the hypothetical games I played with myself, the stress, the pent up emotions... they just couldn't be contained any longer. 

I sat in the car and I cried. 

She's healing - I'm healing

Her body is bouncing back at an alarming rate. She was up on her feet withing 3 days. It took me about a week to get to the point where every piece of food didn't have to be choked down to avoid barfing it back up immediately. 

My parents did a good job training me to always mask your pain... to put on a mask when in front of other people. To make people think you're the top of the world even though you're more flawed then everyone else. It was a terrible lesson to be taught as a child. I'm hoping there is no "next time", but if there is I'm really going to have to stop trying to be super human on the outside.