Writings from Truckin'


Poker Blogs

Monday, September 07, 2009

Eye for an eye, or a turkey dinner

Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" annoys me for some reason; I feel the same way about Lady Gaga herself.

But this "Poker's Gay" parody created for a guy's 25th birthday is funny and inside and shows he has great friends who tolerate his constant online poker playing.

No thanks to Full Tilt's triple points promo (doubled up with Take 2), Labor Day weekend was spent putting a lot of hours at the tables. Began down $700, then down another $600, then made it all back plus some. Big swings for piddly SnGs (made worse by the sorry fact I jump into -EV heads-up cash games after a few too many SnG beats). And the weekend's not over, with one final 3x sprint starting up in a couple hours.

Elated at the miraculous recovery, I texted a friend who responded, "Not gonna quit while you're ahead?"

After a lifetime of gambling, I don't think I can ever be ahead.

I said I'm saving up for a TV.

Which can happen in a few ways. I have enough Full Tilt points to get a 37" LCD or I can save another 2 months' worth of points to get a 50" plasma.

Or I can cash in my Iron Man medals for $75 tournament tokens and try to win enough to buy the TV outright (the same Panasonic Viera G10 50" goes for $1200 on Amazon -- which in 2 months would probably be $1100). If I think I'm any good at SnGs, this shouldn't be that difficult. And I can keep my points.

Or I can just keep playing. I'm not too far away from getting the TV anyway. But really, the TV's the biggest item in the store (not counting the Mini Cooper for just 2.6 million more points)… what else would I use the points for?

2009 has been a brutal year for me in poker. From Aug. 1-19, I deposited 10 times for $2339 (I deposit in odd amounts to be able to keep track). My last deposit was Aug. 19 for $300 and have since made it all back. Hopefully the seed money will keep going, though anytime I get cocky I go on massive downswings and have to use my points for a few tournaments to try to get me above water again. I do think I'm overdue to get my coin flips back up to 50/50 (even though each is still independent at 50/50). I've been tracking my all-in beats for hands like QQ vs. AK, and I'm at 30/70. But that's over a small 200-game sample, along with human error (the losses are more memorable than the wins -- speaking of, my longest loss in a row was 14, which matches my loss record in blackjack). Here's hoping I'll be ahead over the next 200 flips.

I've been without a TV for 3 years now, do I really need one?

Wouldn’t the money better be spent saving up for a car?

Or paying medical bills?

On Aug. 23, my eye had bloated up into something out of a horror movie (I'd say Fulci), with blood, pus, and tears all caked up and conspiring to get rid of the foreign object within, which was seemingly something like a smaller eye growing under my eyelid that was competing to push my eye out of its socket.

The doctors and I don't know how it began except that it started with a gland infection. I was moving the whole weekend (dust particles?) and had what felt like a stye which got progressively worse and then ballooned into what looked like going a few rounds with Mike Tyson (well, one round).

I'm not prone to going to doctors. My last regular one was Dr. Takagi in my early teens. Then one more visit to a Kaiser Permanente doctor through my first full-time job, and since then nothing. In Vegas, I purchased my own health insurance through esurance.com, but in the final months when money was tight I got rid of that.

So I don't take hospital visits lightly, preferring to wait it out.

The pain in my eye was so great that I had no choice not to go.

I had rented a minivan to help with the move (not so much with furniture, which was being delivered, but with buying new stuff), and it worked out being able to drive myself around and stop at the McDonald's drive-thru where I didn't have to deal with people staring (it's my right eye, so I could stay in profile while paying and getting my Angus mushroom burgers).

First stop was the MinuteClinic, a little walk-in clinic inside select CVS drugstores. Much better experience than going to a hospital.

I parked in the lot and dug into my fries, while dabbing at the constant tears coming out of my eye.

A car pulled up in front of me, and he parked and waited. Then another woman pulled up and did the same thing. And a third guy. I was surrounded.

Why were these people just staying in their car and not going into the store?

They probably didn't care, but if they took a look at me, I would've been observed as massively bawling while stuffing myself with McDonald's in a Dodge Grand Caravan.

Making a beeline to the MinuteClinic, I was second on the waiting list. I stood with my right side against an end-of-aisle wall of toilet paper while pretending to concentrate on my iPhone. This took attention away from my Elephant Man impression.

Until a couple came down the aisle, looking at toilet paper sales. I was in their way, even though they could've walked around.

I looked at both of them with my Terminator eye before moving to the waiting room chair. They didn't see where I went, but to add to my sensitivity, as they walked away I heard one say, "Did you see that guy's eye?"

The doctor saw me in a few minutes and said to go straight to the ER, that she suspected orbital cellulitis and didn't want to mess around.

I hopped back in the minivan and went to the ER she recommended, debating whether I should change into clean underwear.

The hospital took me immediately, and suddenly I was in a swarm of doctors and nurses who alternated between poking and prodding, and leaving me alone to a marathon of CSI reruns (which made me realize I don't miss having a TV).

I was given a numbing agent and other things for my eye, a culture of my eye pus was taken, I was wheeled down to the basement for a CT scan (felt like a Disneyland ride in the wheelchair), I was doped up with an IV drip of clindamycin, and I was offered a free turkey dinner.

And you know I'm feeling bad when I turn down a free meal.

And then I waited for 2 hours while they consulted with an eye specialist to see if I should stay the night or go home with drugs (that could include intravenous, the needle of which I couldn't even administer correctly to a diabetic 20-year-old cat when I was petsitting).

I texted grubette about my progress, and she looked up the suspected diagnosis and said they would just give me a bunch of antibiotics and I'd be as good as new.

Looking in the mirror, my eye was pushed toward my nose like a crazy Halloween death mask. I just wanted to grab a spoon and pop out the cursed thing just to make the pain go away. I could scarcely believe I'd bounce back from this.

Sitting in Exam Room #1, I watched patients swoon over a gay Hispanic George Clooney doctor, I heard Mr. Gonzales have a temper tantrum that caused all of security to rush in (the way my mind works, I viewed it as a con's distraction and looked for potential hospital drug thieves), and I saw a hot nurse open a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos and eat them one by one while licking her fingers.

The doctor came in with results of the CAT scan and said, "Unfortunately, the infection spread to the bone area around your eye." The concern was that it had spread to my brain, where it looked like it was headed. But he figured antibiotics would take care of it.

The official diagnosis was indeed orbital cellulitis, a.k.a. infection of the eye socket. My prescription was 1200 mg of clindamycin and 1000 mg of ciprofloxacin per day (pills, thank goodness), plus followup visits with an eye specialist.

And then, 5 hours after admittance, I was let go.

I'm now off the medication, and my eye looks and feels a lot better thanks to the miracle drugs.

The specialist (wearing a red bow-tie) who looked at me in the followup visit said that if they hadn't caught the infection in time, it would've been "lethal."

Conveying that on Facebook, a friend said, "Lethal like you could take out a group of baseball bat wielding teenagers or lethal like you could take out a small city?"

I like to think of my eye shooting lasers at evildoers, but I'll take feeling normal anytime.