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Strove to find a way to punch people in the face by using the Internet.

5/20/2004

DIARY OF INDIGNITIES
Um, Holy Shit
Okay, so Monday night was bad. I got home from kickboxing feeling like someone had shot me in the stomach using a cannon filled with sea urchins. Skipped supper; hit the hay early and tossed and turned all night, unable to sleep because of the gut pain. "Fuck you, turkey sandwich," I thought, assuming the source of my discomfort lay in a hastily constructed snack gobbled down earlier. (Although I wasn't ruling out some sort of long-range magic whammy from the Pale Stabbing Ghoul of Eerie Woods or whatever the hell it was I wrote about earlier this week, deployed as revenge for pooping on the sacred campsite or something.) Around 1 a.m., feeling like Ol' Man Glueguts, I remembered that I didn't have any shame and went to Walgreen's to score my first-ever box of laxatives, thinking I'd flush that cursed turkey right out of my system. Didn't work. Ended up being one of the crappier nights of my life.

Tuesday I felt a little better, but was still in a fair amount of pain. I was also kind of wonky from the interrupted sleep of the night before, so I called in sick to work. A pretty wretched day all in all; lots of pain and boredom. Though late in the evening I forced down some ice cream while watching The Warriors and felt significantly better, so much so that I slept through the night unmolested by belly problems... Can you dig it?! CAN YOU DIIIG IIIT?! CAAAAN YOOOOU DIIIIG IIIIT?!!! (Sorry, The Warriors is a kick-ass movie and I'm going to be working that into a lot of conversations in the near future, inappropriate or not.)

Yesterday I went in to work, still feeling out of sorts but happy just to be out of the damn house and relatively productive. Every once in a while I'd prod my belly and think, "Hmm, tender." After a quick Google of "tender belly," really out of curiosity more than anything else, I came up with a mildly horrifying list of fatal ailments that boast tender belly as a symptom. So I called my doctor to set up an appointment.

After getting shuttled through the requisite 42 secretaries and receptionists, a nurse started asking me questions about my symptoms. She asked if I still had my appendix, and when I told her I did, she disappeared from the phone for ten seconds, came back and said, "The doctor wants you to go to the emergency room. Right now."

Fuuuuck... The emergency room? I don't have anything wrong with me that requires the attention of the fucking emergency room... And if I do, wouldn't it just be easier to die in my sleep or something? Sigh.

After a quick pep talk from my buddy Lee I split work and made for the hospital, thinking up excuses to not actually go the entire time. Shortly, though, I found myself in the emergency room, filling out forms, getting shuttled around and being mocked by a 450-pound patient with hot pink hair, a hot pink halter top and hot pink sweatpants, which were riding low enough to display a pair of purple undies that had sunk into her crack so far I'd lay odds that she was there to have 'em removed with special robotic ass-forceps or something. Isn't modern science wonderful?

Before long I was sitting in a room, wearing my little gown and drinking glass after glass of cool, refreshing "contrast medium" in preparation for my CAT scan. At various times bumbling orderlies and students would come in and drain me of various fluids, or occasionally drip mysterious serums into me through my fancy new IV. I spent about four hours putzing around in this room, wondering just how stupid I was going to feel when they inevitably told me my tender belly was the result of a stubborn poo chunk. But no, about 15 minutes after the CAT scan, shit shifted into seriously high gear.

"Mr. Hughes, you've got an inflamed appendix."

"No shit? Really? So what do we do for that?"

"We're going to take it out."

"Wow. When?"

"Right now."

The doctor began assuring me that with the way the modern procedure was performed, any scarring would be minimal. I interrupted: "Doc, look at me. I'm nothing but a mess of scars and tattoos. The cosmetic aspect of this is the least of my worries."

Next thing I know I'm getting wheeled down the halls in a gurney, signing stacks of paperwork and talking to my dad on my cellphone. In a typically surreal fashion, the rush to pre-op was interrupted by running into my old buddy Jim in the hallway, a guy who I hadn't seen in about two years.

"What's going on?"

"I'm fixing to have surgery. How about you?"

"I'm visiting my mom here. Oh, I went down south to Jim Doherty's 40th birthday party not too long ago. He seems like he's doing well."

"Cool. How was the party?"

"Fun, but it was over at 10:30, instead of starting at 10:30. We're getting old!"

"Ha ha, ain't it the truth! Alright now. Take care!"

And then we were off. Up in the pre-op room I met my anestheseologist, who assured me she wouldn't kill me despite the fact I had to sign a stack of papers letting me know there was a pretty good chance the anesthesia would kill me. Or turn me into a vegetable, or paralyze me, or make my ding-dong fall off, etc. She injected a relaxant into my IV. Did you know you can taste and smell stuff they jam into your IV? I'm pretty sure the relaxant was vodka. The stuff hit me instantly, and I asked them to put on a little music. My request was ignored.

Next thing I knew I was in the operating room. They put the mask on me and it was lights out.

Sometime later I woke up in recovery, feeling pretty much like a hot pile of charred ass. My shoulders ached, apparently because the procedure involves using CO2 to inflate me up like that damn blueberry kid in Willie Wonka, and the gas all pools up there. Or something. I dunno, man, they had me pumped full of more drugs and shit... They could've been telling me anything. Maybe my shoulders ached because they brought Bob Guccione in to give me a vigorous backrub and he got out of hand; what do I know?

After making sure I wasn't going to die right then and there they wheeled me down to my room. Thoughtfully, my little brother Neil was hanging out, waiting to check on me. We instantly starting arguing about The Last Samurai (strangely, he was trying to convince me that it didn't eat a fat load of balls; I held the opposing opinion), and then after we simmered down a little he asked me if I needed anything while my nurse (thank god, a super cute emo girl with red hair and a nose ring, if you can believe fate would even allow me such a silver lining) injected me with some anti-nausea drug.

"So you're good?"

"Yeah, bro, I think they've got everything taken care of..."

"Do you need me to call anyone? I called your mom already, and I'll let her know everything's alright."

"Yeah, shmeh tooblie shaw po po noony feh." (The anti-nausea drug had side effects.) "Uhh, mebbe now time go Pat sleepies."

My brother split and I passed out. I was hooked up to all kinds of shit designed to let someone know if I croaked, including a cuff for blood pressure that cinched down on my arm every 15 damn minutes, so uninterrupted sleep was unfortunately not an option. At least Cute Emo Nurse kind of had to pay attention to me, since it's her job and everything. And I got to pee in a jug, which, while not as enjoyable as a front yard at 3 a.m. on a star-filled summer night, held no small amount of novelty for me nonetheless.

As dawn broke it was once again time to have more fluids dripped into me, while other were sucked out. I woke up with a hard-on, which was a good sign. Not that I was expecting them to chop off my dick, but, you know... Accidents happen... They gave me some sugar-free raspberry Jell-O, and let me tell you — your ass goes a solid 24 without food and that goddamn sugar-free raspberry Jell-O is like having Osama Bin Flavor crash a plane full of celebration into your mouth.

The doc stopped by and told me that my appendix was roughly the size of a hot dog, so I was pretty stoked they got it out of me before it popped like a huge, malignant, toxin-filled zit, even though I was disappointed that they already chucked it and I wasn't going to get to take it home with me.

Anyway, several poke, prod and pain-filled hours later they yanked all the cords out of me, made me sign another stack of forms and asked me if I had a ride home. "Yes," I lied, took off before they could check up on that, jumped into my truck and got the hell out of there. I stopped by the office on the way home just for shits and giggles, showed everyone my stitches and walked in the door to my apartment about half an hour ago. When I started writing this, just in case anyone actually needed additional proof about the charmed fucking life I lead.

A pretty crazy 24 hours, my friends, even for me.

Stupid vestigal organs.

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