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Aiming High by Bending Low

Before losing my mind, my virginity and my dignity (not necessarily in that order) and populating this corner of the world with my own special brand of mini-me's, I never spent much time in a hospital.

There were the obligatory trips to the hospital as a small child to visit to the elderly and infirm alongside my parents. A trip to the hospital back then meant spending time staring at the bed pan sitting in the corner of the room, wondering just what it was for, while searching for abandoned wheelchairs to race down the hallway with my brother when my parents weren't looking.

There was a childhood trauma where I discovered, up close and personal, how much damage the business end of a horse's hoof can do; how flesh sews up surprisingly similar to the polyester fabrics folded in my mother's sewing room and how it may take well over eight weeks for a nose to return to normal after being smashed by said hoof, a class filled with 11 year old hyena's will make it seem like forever as they point and laugh along the way.

There may have even been an incident as a teenager involving an ankle, an aluminum cheese tin lid, a pool hall and an artery which culminated in an annoyed father, a grumpy emergency room resident and me whining 'ow, ow, ow' each time I received a stitch.

But it wasn't until I tested my womanly organs and pushed forth life out of my loins that I started spending more time under a hospital's roof than my own.

Yet another reason to be thankful I was horny and dumb in my early twenties. Rewarded with children and the inside knowledge of how to steal free jell-o when the nurses aren't looking.

Sadly, the knowledge of how to steal free jello is not near as thrilling when one is a patient in the hospital being encouraged to eat the jiggly gelatin. I learned this myself as I shuffled slowly down the hospital hallway in search of non-jello related food items while my butt cheeks peeked out from behind my hospital gown.

*Side note: When one's back has recently been filleted to correct spinal damage, one could care less who see's what part of her anatomy and more about where they keep the good drugs. Another lesson learned this past week.

I can officially add survivor of back surgery to my resume. Because future employers will be duly impressed with my bionic spine and my complete inability to touch my toes. It'll distract them from my finger pecking typing skills and from noticing the only thing professional about my resume is the quality of the paper it's printed on.

Surgery went fine. I think. I mean, I was there, but I was rather drugged up and drooling onto the floor as my ass cheeks saluted God Himself. My surgeon tells me all went well and he seemed quite pleased with his handiwork when he was telling me about it. Of course, he could have been bold-faced lying. Let's face it, if he's smart enough to pass medical school you'd think he'd be smart enough to not to tell me if he forgot a sponge in my spine or some other mishap.

However, all signs point to Go! and I'm recovering as well as can be expected after one's back is slit open by a pimply faced doctor who looks young enough to be dating your daughter, who then roots around and rips out your spine and replaces it with popsicle sticks and staples.

My first and most favourite tattoo, however, did not fare as well.

I don't know how bad exactly the tat held up after being attacked with a scalpel but I think it's safe to presume it isn't going to look the same once the bandages come off if my doctor and his resident's peels of laughter are any indication. Not only did they laugh when I asked them how my ink looked but they then tried to distract me with promises of Jell-o.

What can I say? Jell-O. It's a party in my mouth and I can't resist it.

One thing I discovered I could resist while I was laying flat on my back and listening to the moans of the other residents on the neurology ward: the power of the BedPan.

Listen, I understand the usefulness of the bedpan. I'm a big believer in the theory of the bedpan. However, in practicum I'd have much rather they inserted a catheter into any orifice that required future draining. However, since that didn't happen to be my fate, I had to make friends with the dreaded bedpan.

I tried. Really. But when one's dignity is already shattered, one's back is sliced open and one's bladder is about to burst, it is not the optimum time to make nice with new toileting tools.

It was a complete and total bedpan fail that had my nurse shaking her head and my husband wondering how he could have married someone who couldn't figure out how to pee in a pan. I'm telling y'all, it's not as simple as just sliding that baby under your bum and letting loose. There is a science to it, one I never managed to figure out.

What turned out to be a bedpan fail turned into a mobility victory when I managed to stand and shuffle myself to the washroom all by myself just hours after surgery. I couldn't help but feel a little smug about my accomplishment.

So smug about peeing in the potty I had to commemorate the moment for posterity.

I mean, I had just failed to piss in a pot. At this point, I'd see a victory in just about anything.

I've since discovered peeing in a bedpan is much easier than having a bowel movement post operatively. I was drowning myself in fibre and worrying I would never make nice with number two again when my dad dropped by my house with a box of suppositories. Take it from me people, nothing will scare the crap out of you faster than the thought of having your arthritic grumpy old father cram a sliver of glycerin up where the sun don't shine and smile while he does it.


The worst is finally over; all systems are a go and the pain is finally manageable thanks to my friendly neighbourhood pharmacist. In fact, at this rate, it won't be long before my husband posts video of me on Youtube walking across the kitchen floor using only my bum cheeks.

I am one day closer to making my dream come true and bringing back the bendy in my life.

Sometimes in order to aim high enough to reach your goals you need to learn to bend low.


In other news, I learned almost as soon as I was wheeled out of recovery that my blog was named as a finalist for a Bloggie in the Best Canadian Blog category in the tenth annual Weblog awards. If I were politically correct, I'd tell you to wander over there and peruse the finalists because there is some fabulous blogs from all over the world nominated for an award. If I were politically correct, I'd tell you that it didn't matter to me if you voted for me or not, just that you voted at all. But I'm not politically correct. See this post for proof from last year. I want to win because my self worth is based soley on the acceptance and approval of my internet peers.  I want to win for every person who ever felt like they never fit in, that they weren't cool, that they were destined to never rise beyond the mantle of geekdom that some jerk in junior high shrouded them with.

Plus, I want to win because a sandwich blogger beat me last year.

And that just hurts.

So go, look, and vote. A vote for me is a vote for freedom. Er...too much? A vote for me is a vote well wasted. Closer to the truth but not quite right. A vote for me, is a vote for the YOU you always wanted to be.

I give up. Obviously I don't write slogans for a reason. Just go vote.


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Reader Comments (63)

Snort. Funny while on pain pills and without spelling and grammatical errors?? I don't believe it. ;)

Get well soon!

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVDog

I also have that bedpan problem which turned into a catastrophe when a tumor broke two vertebra in my back. I was up and out of bed as soon as they allowed me too. In the meantime, nasty medical interventions were necessary. Everything did turn out okay and although I am not bendy, I can tie my shoes and walk around!

I wish you a quick recovery and hope there isn't too much damage to your ink. Take care of yourself and let other folks take care of you!

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaureen

Can anyone really pee in a bedpan? I don't know why they even bother to make you try. Better to catheterize until you're mobile. (BTW, you're mobile WAY sooner than I was. Many moons ago I was in the hospital begging for the nurses to kill me while attempting a bed pan, for 11 days. Yes, it was a loooong 11 days.)

I can't wait to see "after" pictures (assuming that you're going to share). ;D

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris

I am so glad you are feeling better Tanis, I hope your back heals really quickly! The bedpan thing is sooo me too! We are trained our whole lives not too pee in our beds and the nurses are surprised when we can't do it on command with a salad bowl under our bum... I'll never understand that one. Still, good that it got you on your feet. Hope you are not in too much pain..

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

My worst fear is being required to use a bed pan not for peeing but for the big one. I think I will just end up holding it all in for the length of any hospital stay and lie when they ask if I've gone. Hopefully I will get some slacker who doesn't want proof.

Glad to hear you are doing so well, I can guarantee I would be a whingy mess.

Oh, and the sponge left in? Before they went digital at the hospital where I work I dropped off an xray and there on the light thingermajinger on the wall was an Xray with a pair of scissors left in someone's thigh. Totally freaked me out. When I had a c-section later that year I made sure to ask that they had taken everything out before they stapled me all up.

January 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

My heart is sad for your tattoo. My heart is also sad for the thought of your Dad sticking anything up your ass!

Here's to hoping you have some happy drugs or a lot of wine!

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLovingDanger

I am so glad to hear that you are ok. There are several females I care for that have been in the hospital this week. You are the second to be on the road to recovery.
My Wife may soon follow you into back surgery. She had three discs fused two years ago and appears to have injured another. Soon an MRI will tell the tale. Osteoporosis is an ugly thing...

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMax Drive

Already voted. My favourite Redneck got a look-in!

And bedpans... after three complete knee reconstructions (the 'posterior' not the whimpy anterior versions) - I can safely say that bedpans and fibre are horrid necessities in life. But soooo not fun.


January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBush Babe

TOTALLY just went and voted. Wouldn't have otherwise, so there you go. One vote TOTALLY based on the picture of you after having just used the potty. With PRIDE.

loveyameanit, and freakin LISTEN to them when they say SLOW DOWN. Just once or twice, in the beginning, OK? THEN you can start fussing around and bossing people and doing your thing. Just.. OK? Once or twice. Because I love you.



January 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjust-beth

Welcome back!

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGrandeMocha

When I had my second back surgery I knew the routine. But when i woke in the recovery room with the worst case of cramps and just HAD to take a dump, yes, bedpan, come here buddy. Poor nurses aid, that job sucks. I didnt give a rats ass what I had where. But the hierarchy at hospitasl where doctos do smart stuff, nurses only do nice stuff and aids do well, chit LOL.

Welcome back

now, touch your toes and give me 20!

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlarrylily

I voted!!

I am so happy that you are on the other side of your surgery, and that it went well. I hope that you are back to a happy level of bendy-ness soon. Take care of yourself until then (ie. take it easy in recovery!).

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

Placed the vote yesterday for guess who? It was tough because I like sandwiches.

Get better, and enjoy the time off from doing the jobs you can't stand.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Glad to hear the surgery went well! And yes, I'd be happy to vote for another Canadian bloggy. I'll head right over there now . . .

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Only Girl

"....complete and total bedpan fail..." I'm going to be haunted all day by scary images conjured up by that statement.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephen

Voted! Good luck!

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Nice to hear you are up and about and all went well. One week is way too long without a Redneck update.

Going to vote now.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatootes

Does this mean you won't be at BlissDom? Say it ain't so!!!

p.s. Sad for your tat; happy for your back; eat a couple of pears every day and you'll shit like a goose.

n.b. I'm off to vote. Thanks for not calling and leaving a message on my voice mail. Because everyone else is. (Fucking primaries!)

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPoppy Buxom

God, I feel pain for you - I had a nightmare of an experience getting my epidural with my second pregnancy, so much so that it took the dude 45 minutes to get the stupid needle in my back... at one point, he came around to face me, blood all over his hands, asking me if I had scoliosis. "NO YOU IDIOT, you just can't do your fucking job!" I yelled at him, in between contractions. Sigh. Anyway, I love your tattoo. Please tell us if it is okay? Or post a pic so we can cry with you? You're brave and I'm glad you're doing better.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

Done! Feel better.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

glad to vote for you, sister.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermuskrat

I feel ya girl. I had major back surgery 3 years ago. 8 hour surgery. You should have seen how swollen MY face was from being face down so long. Wish I had a picture. Wouldn't ya know, it was "that time of the month" great. At least they let me wear those weird "panties" to surgery. So only more complications. I ended up with an 8 inch butt crack all the way up my back and a huge horizontal scar in the front below my panty line. Fun times. I had to get a blood transfusion the next day because I lost so much blood. But they got my butt out of bed and got me into that bathroom. No rest for the weary! Hardcore I tell ya. Good think I didn't have a tattoo. I would certainly have cried.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShari

I voted...now I'm everything I've always wanted to be!

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCalamity Anne

I'm sure your sister will be pleased that her partial likeness was used to illustrate Miller girl bendiness. To you and your dad may the trauma of the suppository incident pass. To the kids keep up the good work mama WILL remember

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhabanerogal

Many hugs honey. Darn that bedpan(I used to unplug and escape to the bathroom too)

I voted :)

Get well fast~

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLili

my dad had back surgery a few years ago. his room is in the basement of my house. (no, i don't make my father live in my basement, we just don't have a very large home. it was that room or the one i occupy. neither are a very good choice.) he told me if the surgery didn't work and he was left paralyzed, i was to just toss him downstairs and let him be. i said i couldn't do that, he would make the house smell before too long. it's all about the love. i'm glad your surgery went well and that you're able to be up and around. :D

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterzeghsy

Hope you are up and about soon. My husband has had more than one spinal surgery so I know how hard recovery is. Love you blog and I did vote for you!

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWeekend Cowgirl

Maybe you should go get another tat to make yourself feel better? You could get together with one of your BFF's and BOTH go get them...it would be so much fun and awesomeness.

I guess the only problem would be trying to find someone who has the talent and the time to draw one for each of you. Waaaaaaaait a minute.

You got my vote. :)

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Get thee to Houston. I will nurse you back to health. I'll even wear something really naughty if it makes you feel better.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMr Lady

...i'm from CHICAGO... we vote EARLY and OFTEN ! !

Did my best to get you elected.... wanna be our Governor???? There is an opening!

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMad Max

congrats on being nominated for the bloggies...off to vote.

Heal up quick & I can't wait to see you next week at Blissdom!

I am so glad that you are doing well. I'm not a fan of the whole bedpan thing myself. SO glad that I didn't have to do that after c-section.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeannie

GAH! Sweetie!!!! My boobs are aching in empathy for you. (Yes. Boobs are where I feel empathy for pain. Plus, it's boobs. Who doesn't like to talk about THEM?!)

P.S. Bedpans SUCK.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoralee

I think I mentioned before, that I had the same surgery just this past July. What I didn't mention (because I didn't want to scare you) was my bedpan issue and my need for assistance on Day 7 (or 9?) with the bowel emptying.

I am just so glad that I am not the only one who cannot use a bedpan and impressed the nurses by getting up and shuffling to the bathroom just hours after surgery because of said bedpan failures. It may have been crazy or dangerous, but I just couldn't sit on a bedpan while I peed all over the bed again.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVixen

I'm a first time reader & big fan already. I've got land for sale in the middle of Midwest nowhere if you want to be my neighbor - Which makes me a fellow redneck - Hail to all those that have hung off the back of a pickup in the middle of the night to pee after drinking a 12 pack - way easier than the bedpan it seems - Here's to a quick recovery.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Voted. Love to you.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJo

Sorry for your tattoo, but glad that your back is on its way to better health. I had wondered about this surgery of yours since you posted it last year.
May you regain bendiness soon. ;)

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAl_Pal

Been there. Done that. Got the scar. (but not the lovely tattoo!)

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret Howe

There's nothing like a blog to bring out the funny side of surgery.

I just found your blog and a.) the title alone is hysterically funny b.) I love your blog and c.) yeah I'll vote for you. I'm not exactly known for political correctness myself.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZen Mom

Glad you're on the mend and congrats about being a finalist!

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaddy Geek Boy

I had back surgery a couple of years ago and when I woke up in recovery I had to pee SOOOO bad and they looked at me like I was insane - like NO ONE has to pee RIGHT after surgery and they handed me a bedpan and walked away. I way overflowed it and spilled it. Pee was all over me. I told the nurse what happened and she didn't believe me or care and just walked away. Of course I was so high I didn't *really* care but by the time I was wheeled back into my room I was like "HEY. THERE'S PEE EVERYWHERE. CAN YOU CLEAN A GIRL UP??"

Again, they looked at me like I was a freaking alien and then realized that yeh, there was pee everywhere and changed me and then the sheets.

so yeh. Bedpans suck. But pain meds are good and allow you to laugh.

Glad surgery went well and sorry about the tattoo. And, well, the need for sugrery at all.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergirlvaughn

I think the only ones who can safely use bedpans are men...cuz they can point the darn things DOWN!!! So incredibly unfair! :)

Glad you're doing betterish...painmeds are a beautiful beautiful thing. I'm so sorry about Shalebugs tat though. Get thee to your artist as soon as you're back to your bendy self :) Don't listen to Boo, new ink is always helpful :P

Lots of lovies to you. Feel better..and stay off the damn ice! Or at least don't come to Calgary anytime soon lol.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoural

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tanis Miller, Tanis Miller, Tanis Miller, Domestic Debacle, Melissa Dimock and others. Melissa Dimock said: RT @redneckmommy: My tale of woe. Written while slightly stoned on pain killers. Go have a chuckle. http://bit.ly/7M9TwM [...]

Hey pal. At least you actually had a pot to piss in. These days, that's something. Good to hear you're OK. Big Hugs. Also, can I have your hospital gown when you're done with it? Don't ask.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOut-Numbered

Do I get extra points if I've already voted for you? 'Cause I totally did, several days ago.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjennielynn

from one back surgery pro to another, show a picture of your scar and we can compare who's bigger ;)

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertierney

my daughter has had 2 back surgeries and is about to have her 3rd. Her only fears from the surgery is the catheter....she hates them with a passion(she is only 10) and I think she would prefer trying a bed pan....too back when they open your spinal cord up you cant move for 24 hours afterwards so catheter it is.
In the US we have Miralax over the counter to help with being bound up...it works miracles...my dtr tried ex lax and suppositories and the miralax was the easiest on her post op.
Happy Recovery!!!and Feel better soon!

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertiffany

good for you!
off to vote

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa b

No worries! Tattoo looks good!

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteradhocmom

Happy Healing, good thing you didn't have to resort to the porta potty, cause everyone hears you pee in that!:P

January 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkyooty

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