Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hospital Terminology

After having just spent a week in the hospital with Isaiah as he recovered from his most recent surgery, I've decided to compile a short list of terms that you'll need to know if you ever have to spend time in one either for yourself or with a loved one.

"About ten minutes" - Definition: 30 minutes to 5 hours.  This is usually in reference to when the doctor will be coming to see you, and once you finally do see him or her, it'll be for about 90 seconds.

"The resident" - This is the doctor who is in residence who'll swing by for about 90 seconds, usually at 4:45am.  You've most likely never met him or her before, and he or she most likely has only skimmed your chart.  The resident's visit is usually made even more awkward by the fact that he or she shows up while you're asleep in a chair, with rancid coffee breath, wearing sweatpants, a stained t-shirt and hair all a-frizzle.  You're in a sleep-deprived stupor and he's already finished his morning ten-mile run, is working on his third cup of coffee and is dropping hemoglobin levels on you as you rub sleep from your eyes.

"Dietary" - When the nurse tells you that "dietary is sending _________ up." this is a fancy way of saying "The cafeteria is getting your tuna surprise ready along with a side salad, roll and tiny can of Pepsi."  

"Draw some labs" - No, your not about to play Pictionary for dog lovers.  You're about to get stuck with a needle, perhaps multiple times.  Sorry.

"Nurse Practitioner" - I really like NP's because in many ways they have the power of a doctor and you'll usually get to spend a lot more time with them.  They're probably the most accessible member of the medical profession with advanced degrees.

"Maintenance"  - The lady who comes in at 2AM to change out the garbage bags and flush the toilet.

"CC's" - This means "milliliters" and is how they measure liquids in the hospital.  Not sure why, but in the US, the medical world is a strange mix of both metric and imperial measurements.  Liquids seem to be done in metric, but temperatures in imperial.  Don't get confused.

"DC" - No, not the capital.  If something get's "DC'd" it means they're not doing it to you anymore.  I'm assuming it's an abbreviation for "discontinued", but it could also mean "DON'T get CRAZY!!!"   That seems to have a little more pizzaz.

"Discharged" - This is the word that everyone waits to hear.  It means that you're going home.  The only problem is that it usually seems that a hospital is never in any hurry to let you go home once they have you.  On the day you're supposed to be "discharged" the resident will usually show up at 4:45am and tell you "We're going to get you out of here this morning."  See the next definition.

"Morning" - Anywhere from 4:45am when the first resident shows up until 7:30PM.  "Morning" is relative, because it's always morning somewhere.  So if the resident tells you "We're going to get you discharged this morning" it may not be for another 12 hours.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tominthebox News Network Revived!

After about two years, I've decided to revive the old TBNN blog. You can read it at


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ensuring Your Pastor Isn't "Cool"

True and serious believers know that a real pastor isn't remotely cool, or even overly likable for that matter. Over the course of the last ten years the Church has seen a swath of young, articulate, personable, and even "cool" pastors in the pulpit, and that is one thing that is definitely not needed. A pastor who is thought of as "cool" and likable will ultimately lead to the demise of all things holy. So it's important for believers out there to be aware of the dangers. That's why I've written this guide to help you recognize the signs of potential hipness in your pastor.

Warning Sign 1: Your pastor wears narrow-rimmed glasses - There is no debate on this one. Everyone knows that large, stop-sign-shaped eyeglass frames simply radiate piety, while narrow lenses scream "I prepared this sermon at Starbucks and probably listen to U2 occasionally." The minute your pastor shows up in the pulpit with narrow frames it's time to convene a congregational meeting because the situation has already gone too far.

Warning Sign 2: Your pastor doesn't like to wear ties - This happens long before he actually attempts to not wear a tie in the pulpit. He begins grumbling about how "ties are uncomfortable" and how "if I could get away with it, I'd never wear one again." Of course, all good believers know that one of the clearest fruits of sanctification is finding joy in a silken noose tied around your neck. Nothing is more conducive to a clear exposition of the gospel on a toasty summer day than standing in front of a group of people dressed in an undershirt, dress shirt, a rope around your neck, and a coat on. Beware of any pastor who questions this!

Warning Sign 3: Your pastor actually doesn't wear a tie - By the time you've reached this stage it's pretty much over. The minute he stands in the pulpit and tries to preach without a tie it's only a matter of time before he writes a new best-seller or sells the organ and brings in a worship leader. Once he takes this step, there's little hope.

Warning Sign 4: He writes a book and it sells more than 5000 copies - Speaking of writing books, it's not necessarily a bad thing to write a book, but be very wary of any pastor who writes a book that becomes "popular". The last thing we'd want to see is hundreds of thousands of people buying a book that exposits the gospel that has been written by a man who wears narrow-frame glasses. Obviously such a book is compromising somewhere.

Warning Sign 5: Your pastor makes reference to music written after 1916 - This tends to be the cutoff year when the last "good songs" were written. There's little positive that happened after that date by and large. If he goes so far as to reference anything contemporary (1947 or later) you can expect the Starbucks to be in your church lobby the following weekend.

Warning Sign 6: Your pastor is seen wearing t-shirts in public - While this isn't necessarily a serious offense, it can lead to tie grumbling if one is not careful. Polo shirts are definitely more sanctified as we all know. A t-shirt can be forgiven on a number of occasions, like little league games or even a quick Saturday morning dash to the store for milk, but be careful that he's not pushing the limits. Too much t-shirt wearing can lead to "coolness."

Warning Sign 7: Your pastor wears sandals at the church office - When a man commits to the ministry he is never to show his bare feet in public again. This is just an unspoken rule. Only his wife and kids, within the confines of his home, should ever be privy to what a pastor's feet look like. If you ever under any circumstances see your pastor in sandals it's time to call the elders. He's definitely trying to be hip.

Warning Sign 8: Your pastor REALLY likes coffee - Let's face it, no one really likes coffee right? People just tolerate it, normal people that it. But it's become hip and cool to really, seriously like coffee. How can you tell? Well for one you'll perhaps notice that your pastor has his own special mug that he drinks out of. Secondly, you can test him by asking him three basic questions. First, "Hey, do you think I should go for Pikes Place or Cafe Verona?" Second, "What do you think of Via?" And finally, "Ethiopian or Kenyan?" An seemingly intelligent answer to any of those questions is bad news.

Warning Sign 9: Your pastor has anything made by Apple - Apple products are cool and hip to the nth degree. No person of piety in his or her right mind owns anything made by them. Try to get a peek at your pastor's computer. Is there a glowing, partially eaten image of an apple on the back of it? Look at his phone. Is it black with neatly arranged colorful little icons on a touch screen? Has he started bringing something called an "iPad" to church meetings? Beware such a man. He's dangerous. Everyone knows PCs are much better because it takes a real man of faith to use one, and they are by far much more sanctifying.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Yes, It's True

Okay, here's the deal. Hold your comments, shock, worry, horror, like, dislike, etc. until after you've read the explanation below. I figured there was no way I could do this without having to literally write out a small treatise to explain what happened.

Yes, I'm bald. This is not photoshopped. I'm really, completely bald. Here's what happened.

First, this is not some kind of rebellion, make-a-statement kind of thing. I've been pondering this for some time (reasons to be explained below). Also, this is not my way of letting the world know that I'm having a mid-life crisis. Trust me, all who know me know my temptation to all things Macintosh. We're I to be having a mid-life crisis (and I assure you I'm not) it would have almost certainly taken the form of a several new gadgets that no person in his right mind needs.

Also to clarify for my Presbyterian friends, this is not my way of joining the "Mark Driscoll crowd" or going off on some theological tangent, or becoming "emergent." I'm still the same Thomas, just without hair on my head.

So here's the story. It begins actually about three years ago when I began to notice the breeze more and more up top. Looking in a mirror one day I noticed my scalp showing more than normal. I thought nothing of it really, just went about my business and didn't give it a second notice.

Now fast forward another 6 months. Cristy, Isaiah and I were eating at a little cafe in downtown St. Petersburg one afternoon. I excused myself to go to the restroom, and while washing my hands had a chance to look in the mirror. The light was right above the mirror and was shining down on my forehead. This time my scalp was REALLY noticeable. I was a little taken back. When I got back to the table I looked at Cristy and said "Okay, this isn't a trap or a trick question. I want you to tell me honestly. Am I going bald?" She paused for a moment, made that little scrunched-up-face-with-a-pity-smile look and gently nodded up and down in the affirmative. "Has this been going on for a while?" I asked. She replied in the same manner.

After that day I was determined that I wasn't going to let it bother me. I have always had very very thick dark hair as a kid and as a young man. I thought for sure I was going to be one of those guys who would escape it. I was wrong.

Over the last two years I've been losing it slowly, and was starting to develop that little bald "monk spot" as a call it in the back. I've always detested those little monk spots. A receding hairline from the forehead back I think I could have handled better. They don't strike me as ridiculous looking like the monk spots do. So over the course of the last two years as I watched my hair begin to bail like rats on a sinking ship I talked about it with Cristy. We agreed that once the monk spot began to appear that I was just going to avoid the inevitable and make the transition to a whole new look: bald.

Cristy actually quite liked this idea, and I don't think she'd have been disappointed if I had done it a year ago. When we got back to Russia just about 2 weeks ago I was beginning to notice the monk spot more and more. This morning I tried cutting my hair with the guard on like I normally do and noticed it just wasn't looking right. I called Cristy to the bathroom and asked "Do you think it's time to do this?" She got a big smile on her face like a little girl who was just asked "Would you like to open one of your Christmas presents early?" She replied with a lilt in her voice, "If you want to."

So here we are. I'm bald. Not balding. I'm bald. Now there's also a very practical and even sanctifying reason for this. When I first started going bald I thought it wouldn't bother me. "It's part of life. It's no big deal. Who cares?" Was how I planned to deal with it. But I know myself. I know my own heart. It did matter. I did find that I was starting to get bothered and a little self-conscious about the monk spot forming in the back. The last thing I wanted to do was become a combover guy, or be running to the store to by the infamous toupee-in-a-can spray. As I explored the options I considered that the completely bald look is not that bad. Lot's of famous people have been bald. Patrick Steward (a.k.a. Captain Picard), C.J. Mahaney, and from all accounts, the prophet Elisha. I could do worse. So I figured it would be best for me to just go ahead and get it out of the way and not have to worry about going bald ever. It's done. End of subject.

So far I like it. Cristy really seems to like it, and the kids looked at me for two seconds and went back to eating something and watching Mary Poppins. I know this might be strange for some of you who know me, especially for my family who have always known me with hair, but I trust it time you'll become used to it.

So there it is, my explanation. I wanted to give everyone fair warning before you saw some random picture of me on Facebook and a thousand questions followed. So hopefully now this answers those questions. If not, you are free to ask me more. I've got a little more time in my life since I don't have hair to wash anymore.