Totally Tubular Troublemaker

Nov 19, 2017 | 1 comment

The IV Drip Bags

The annoying BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! from one of Nyel’s IV drip bags (probably not a technical term) brought a gaggle of nurses to the door about five o’clock this morning,  “Troublemaker!” said the Charge Nurse, popping her head in, and everyone laughed.

If you know Nyel, even slightly, you know him to be a low-key, non-complainer to the max.  “Troublemaker” is about the least descriptive word imaginable for him and the Charge Nurse’s playful teasing was the perfect tension dissipater.  “It’s just that you’re totally tubular right now,” said his Night Nurse.  More laughter.

Nyel is, quite literally, a mass of tubes – to the point that there is only one area, on his left forearm, with enough space for a blood pressure cuff.  So, getting a kink or a crossed wire or something else to cause the alarm bells to sound, is an imminent and constant possibility.  Even so, the nurses come running when they hear that annoying distress signal and we are ever-grateful for their attentive watching and listening.

More Connections for Nyel

Almost as importantly as their attentiveness – they are fun.  As soon as the kink in his picc-line was straightened out, they got into a guessing game about the origin ‘totally tubular.’  “It’s from California in the eighties,” said one.  “Yeah.  I think it’s one of those Valley Girls expressions,” said another.  “I’m thinking it’s a surfer term,” said the Night Nurse.

According to Google, there was merit to all of their explanations but the one no one thought of was the one I liked best:   tubular is an old term meaning awesome. That I know. It originates from vacuum tube amplifiers sounding better than other amps, so a “tubular” sound was preferred. Eventually tubular came to mean anything cool or awesome.  And more recently, it is used to mean “lame” or “nerdy.”

Tubular Bells

The surfing explanation came up most often:  Surfing Pipeline. When the wave closed over itself it was “Totally Tubular”, the perfect wave.  And, according to some, the term goes clear back to the Mike Oldfield’s 1973 recording of  Tubular Bells, the most famous progrock “symphony” of them all—and a bit of a “love it or hate it” affair amongst music snobs—but in actual fact, most of the instruments played on the album are played by Oldfield himself, layered during the recording process.

And… here endeth the first lesson for this Sunday, November 19th at Legacy Emanuel, room 5305!

1 Comment

  1. Nora

    Hi Sydney, My prayers are continuing for Nyel and for you as well. I loved the music created by Oldfield. Tubular Bells was the theme in the movie “The Exorcist.” While as I said, I like the music, the movie itself freaked me out.

    Reply

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