Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Meet Betty

Part of the point of a personal blog is to get to know the author, right? And let me tell you, there's a lot you guys probably don't know about me, starting with the charming little fact that my father owns a sailboat that is actually named "The Betty Pepper."

Surprisingly, despite its rather ridiculous name, The Betty Pepper actually floats. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't strike out for Japan in the thing, but it does just fine lazing its way around Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, ID (which is, incidently, the birthplace of Sarah Palin as well as the loaction of my parent's lakehouse). The Betty Pepper and I have spent a lot of time doing truly ridiculous things, like fishing for trout using bubble gum as bait. Don't ask.

Anyway, the point of this story isn't actually boats, because to be honest, the only really interesting fact about this rusty little sailboat is the fact that it's actually named after me. Well, kinda. See, when I was born the nurse couldn't believe anyone would be so crazy as to name their child Piper, so she inverted my first and last name (and butchered both, I might add) to come up with the only slightly less weird name: Betty Pepper. And apparently not too much has changed in the last 27 years, because the other day I received a phone call from my transplant team informing Ms. Betty Piper that she has a cardiac cath scheduled for next week. If I see her, I'll be sure to pass on the message.

How people get "Betty" out of "Beatty" I'll never really understand. What word in the English language has a silent A? Seriously, I can't think of one. And even if one does exist (I'm fairly certain it doesn't), who spells Betty with an extra A thrown in for kicks? Would any parents ever really subject their child to a lifetime of mispronounced names just to satisfy their desire to stand out from the crowd in the spelling department? Is Betty by itself so totally boring that we have to start adding random letters just to jazz it up a little?

Even more perplexing is the fact that throughout my life this mistake has been made about 50 times, and probably 49.5 of those times the culprit was an employee of a hospital. The hospitals have changed, the nurses have changed, but the overwhelming urge to call me Betty is apparently universal. Maybe Piper is such an odd name that "Beatty" actually seems LESS ridiculous. Maybe all the nurses in the world got together and decided to play history's largest and longest-running practical joke for 27 years. Maybe I just really look like a Betty. Who knows?

The thing is, the medical context is probably the one place I really don't want my name to be incorrectly recorded. Everytime this happens I'm secretly worried that, somewhere in the collective insanity that is Manhattan, the real Betty Piper lies waiting, wondering when the dotors are finally going to schedule that cardiac cath she's been needing. And God forbid Betty take a trip uptown to visit the hospital, because she'll probably be very surprised when they try to hit her with a lung transplant.

In fact, I'll bet Betty doesn't even know that today she went to the doctor, that her PFTs were down to 33%, and that her doctor put her on oral Cipro to try and stave off what might be the start of yet another cruddy CF exacerbation. And since she doesn't know she has CF, she probably won't be all that pleased to learn that she's gained 6 pounds since her hospital admission in April (she probably won't even remember the hospital, come to think of it). She may or may not know enough about antibiotics to be excited by the fact that she's no longer on TOBI at all -- instead she'll be doing one month of Azli alternating with one month of Colistin. She also probably won't know that Colistin used to cause her to have really f-ing annoying coughing fits, but I'm sure she'll learn.

Of course she also gets to do TWO Great Strides walks in the next couple of weeks, and she gets to meet some of my wonderful CF friends, so I guess its not all bad. I just hope she likes walking with O2, because her sats really haven't been that great lately. Luckily she's been kicking ass on the treadmill (and STILL gaining weight - GO BETTY!) for the past couple of weeks since her discharge, so she should be in great shape to raise some money and walk her newly fattened ass off!

Poor, unsuspecting Betty. She has no idea what a crazy, tough, beautiful world she's stumbled into, but I'm sure she'll update . . . just as soon as she gets her footing.


  1. First of all, CONGRATS on bulking up, especially while exercising so hardcore!
    Second, I know this just adds another jewel in my smartass crown, and so I apologize, but I couldn't help but take it as a challenge to find words with a silent "a." And ironically enough, "boat" was the first to come to mind, followed by "team." ;o)

    But I still get your point. It'd be different if you were still down south and they thought it was just a more phonetic take on Beaa-tty." :oD

    Hope the Cipro works its magic for you!

  2. Great post Betty!! When Piper gets back you should see if you guys could collaborate more often.

    I'm glad you're kicking butt on the treadmill! And hooray for weight gain! Keep it up!!!


  3. Great post!! Congrats on the weight gain and continous exercise on the treadmill! I hope the Cipro kicks in and you feel much better!

    On a side note...My name is Kathryn Marie, but my parents decided to call me Katey. Somehow, in the last 3 years at my transplant/cf hospital, my middle name has become Katie. So my name is Kathryn Katie...which would seem a little ridiculous! I never know what name to tell people at the hospital (like registration people): Kathryn or Katie. If I say Kathryn, then they can't find it and vice-versa. I'm worried now that this name is on all official stuff and one day it's not going to match my real name and something bad is going to happen. Hahah..I know it's not as dramatic as Betty...but I kind of know what you mean :)

  4. Hey, my inlaws live in Sandpoint!

    I feel your pain when it comes to people butchering your name. I don't think my name it all too hard to pronounce, but it gets destroyed daily. My personal favorite? I received something in the mail a few weeks ago for "Carlos Durkin". Wow!

    Congrats on the weight gain!

  5. Ironically Piper has always been one of my favorite names!!!! Paige is first and Piper is second LOL (yes I know I have a Charmed addiction).

    I get Wilcox instead of Silcox a lot...even when it clearly says SILCOX!!! Like WTF?!?!? HAHA! My only thought is the w and s are close to each other ;)

    I can't WAIT to see you Saturday! And we can talk about the 17th too! So super exciting!

    And SOOOOOOO glad you put on some poundage! Hope the Cipro does the trick and holds off that pesky infection a few more weeks!


  6. Congrats!!!

    Betty will catch on quite quick im sure ;)

    People always call me Keylee.
    My dads names is lee so my mom was all creative and crsp and spelled my name Kellee instead of the simple Kelly...I thank her daily.

  7. Whoah Fatty boombah latty!
    Names, great fun. My maiden name is Braid and every new place I went I got.."Tina Beard" and if I had a nickel for every time I said, "No, Braid...like the hair."

  8. In a similar but completely different vein (haha) I always point out to the person who spells my last name wrong. 'Clark' can easily be mixed with 'Clarke' so I would always scribble out the 'e' on the end, given half a chance.
    I have had people call me Meagan (with a silent first 'a' but an elgongated 'e').

    And as for the weight gain, congrats! I'm in need of some extra pounds myself, and there's only so many McDonalds milkshakes I can stomach. Xx

  9. When I got married I took my husbands very generic last name. Would you believe that I'm one of 4 at my CF clinic with both my same first and last names!?!? When I got a printout if someone else's PFTs and a returned phone call from a nurse for a call I never made, I got them to add back my ├╝ber-unique maiden name.