By this time last week, I had assembled a lot of research on presidential pardons and what a president can and cannot do. Then I left it all on the computer beside my desk and happily jaunted off to the lake for some R&R.
Perhaps my creator didn’t want me to post that blog. On Sunday morning, I awoke to the nauseous feeling in my stomach that generally signals a blockage in my colon. It’s a feeling you never want to have. Off we zoomed to Sanford’s emergency room.
When you’re in the condition I was, every little dip and bump in the road feels like someone punching you in the gut — i.e., the right side of my back was not very comfortable.
Well, my guardian-angel wife may have slightly exceeded the speed limit, but she got me there in one piece. I’ve been in that emergency room so often that I think they all know me on sight. They rushed me into an exam room, where the physicians and nurses went through the whole “what the hell is wrong with him this time” process.
All during this time, I was hoping I wouldn’t throw up. I am what is known as a “power puker.” That means my range of fire is a good 10 feet. Those professionals chanced it; my mechanism just threatened but didn’t fire.
The MRI showed, to my surprise, it wasn’t a colon blockage. Instead, it turned out to be a kidney stone — one for sure and what appeared to be a second. The stones were not in “Charlie,” my little friend, but were higher up, causing swelling and other problems that caused me to be prepped for surgery the next morning.
Not that I’m a chicken — but those orders caused me some concern. Was it worse than I thought?
The doctors told me they wanted me moved right away to Sanford’s new hospital, which was due to open the next morning. I was taken to the emergency garage, where an ambulance and some great attendants welcomed me. Down onto the cot I went, and off we headed to the new medical Taj Mahal. Boy, those ambulances may be equipped like a hospital room, but someone forgot to put shock absorbers in the darn thing.
The ride back from the lake had been bouncy — but it was a luxury ride compared to the suspension (or lack thereof) in the ambulance. When we reached to the new hospital, I asked the driver whether he was a dirt-track driver in his other life. He just laughed.
Up we went to my new digs, and I settled in … or, more accurately, was settled in by the nighty-night pills. When I awoke, the staff wheeled me into surgery. The anesthetist smiled and told me he was going to put me right back to sleep.
I kept cracking jokes, and they were laughing, so they must have been pretty good. He finally put the mask over my mouth and told me he was going to put me to sleep. Right in the middle of one of my smart-ass remarks, he did just that, and I was out like a light.
When I woke up, I learned the doctors had removed not two but three kidney stones by laser. I think if the physician’s laser had missed the target inside me, he’d have blown out a wall in the operating room. My innards are what are known as complicated. That dimwitted clone of POTUS 45 who heads North Korea would be well-advised to not mess with our military. They have lasers, too.
What I’d expected to be an in-and-out ended up taking a more serious turn, and they kept me for a whole week before they sent me home feeling fine. My primary nurse may have been one of the most caring people I have ever met. I also had a couple of traveling nurses who kept my giggle machine going. One, a young man, could do a perfect imitation of Matthew McConaughey, that guy in the Lincoln commercials. He could also carry a tune as well as any singer I’ve ever heard.
Some dimwit is bound to say now that they took such good care of me because I’m supposedly well-known in these parts. Not true. The staff had no idea who I was — they just did what they were trained to do, and did it very well.
OK, since I’ve shared this much of my medical escapade, I might as well divulge the most embarrassing medical encounter of my entire life
J. Gary Zespy and I were born on the same day in the same hospital, and we never lost touch. After we both ended up living in Fargo, we decided to join the senior men’s hockey league. Teams were picked at random, but we generally played for the original team.
Either there were no rules, or no one knew what in hell they were. People were slamming into each other, sometimes by accident, sometimes not. Some of the players were really conditioned guys, and others were more like me — not so conditioned, shall we say.
We were having a great time one night when we got into a five-man battle for the puck. All of a sudden, I felt something like a bee sting on my lip, and blood began flowing all over the place. We all stopped playing. Foolish me yowled, “J.C., who the hell is spraying us with that damned blood?” It was me.
Now, it didn’t hurt, but it scared my behind off. J. Gary drove me straight to the emergency room. They placed me on the table and covered my face, with just one eye-opening so I could see. By the time the doctor came in, my lip was so swollen that it was hard to enunciate. He asked when I’d had my last tetanus shot. I asked, “What they give you a shot like that for?” He told me it would be for cuts, surgery and so on.
I remembered surgery on my deviated septum to allow me to breathe better, so I told him, “The last time I had the shot was my episiotomy.” The doctor, who spoke English as a second language, already had his needle in my mouth, doing the closure on my lip. He started laughing. The nurses started laughing. My friend Gary was laughing so hard that he nearly had a cow. In the meantime, I had to remind the doctor that his laughing was causing him to jerk my tender tissue all over the place.
Remember, this was many years ago. When he’d finished up, the female emergency nurse told me, “If you lawyers wouldn’t try to talk in medical terms, people would stop thinking you’re a know it all.” No, I didn’t hit her… but I wanted to. I truly thought they all had lost their minds. Gary was still laughing when we left, so I asked him what was so funny. He looked at me with a big grin and said, “Damned if I know.”
When I got home, I told my wife that I’d been with some people with the craziest sense of humor. She asked what happened. When I told her, she too started laughing. Finally she composed herself enough to explain what an episiotomy is, and how it’s not performed on your nose. Gary’s wife was a nurse. I’d have like to have been a fly on the wall when he told her the story. Amen.