Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Kidney Stone Story

Late this summer, Not From Michigan Mike had problems with a kidney stone. I told him I would tell the story about my stone, but not until after his was gone down the drain and into the erff. This is a Harry Fassl tale, as well, and I've posted the front & back cover a a SILVER WEB magazine that Ann Kennedy so kindly mailed me after I contacted her about wanting one. Harry used to go to Forest Park cemeteries and take photos of graves from the early 19-teens. Anyhow, he is an integral part of the story. World Fantasy Convention, Schaumburg, Illinois, October 1995. I take the el to Harry's, we drive up I-294. I'm not feeling well, but this was in the days that the muscle relaxants gave me stomach problems. Everyone goes to a Chinese place for dinner, I wave bye and go to the room. Within minutes, literally, I have come to the assertion that I am dying. Dry heaves, blood pressure skyrocketing, sweating buckets. I call the front desk, saying I need an ambulance (this was in the days I had health insurance). Minutes later, a knock on the door. I'm in my eyeball sleeping shorts and a Superman shirt drenched with sweat, I see a short redhead in a suit and two of the tallest men I have ever seen, it was like a scene from a Ben Stiller film. I sit on the bed and explain how I am feeling, the bedsheets twisted in a ball. Harry walks in, he thinks I'm being interrogated by bad people. Harry tells them he will take me to one of those medical joints, you know, whatever they are called, care centers or something, up on Golf Road. He had to miss being at the opening of the Art Show because of me. I'm diagnosed with having a kidney stone right away and I'm put on an IV drip. Harry picks me up a few hours later, pick up some Vicodin, and head back. Its not even 11 PM, people are still at the bar or all over the hall, and there I am, better yet wearing a bandage covering a piece of cotton on my arm I had forgotten about. The rest of the convention was uneventful, but I slept at odd times, more because it felt good to lay down and not hurt. I was set up for one day surgery the following Tuesday. Hey, you can stop reading now, but it is interesting. I was frozen from the waist down because after going under full anesthesia 12 times back in the arm wreck days, I figured I'd just nap. The doctor put this weird stick up my penis shaft and it opened inside me like the Alien's mouth does and chomped on it and then it shrunk to a tube again and came out. The story does not end here, no. I can't be discharged until I urinate and I'm just not doing it. Hours go by, I read most of a James Ellroy novel. Drank a six pack of Lemon Lime stuff. I'm thinking maybe its because I'm still frozen (or whatever), so I look beneath my robe. Well, there was A small piece of bloody gauze held to my penis because THREE RUBBER BANDS WERE WRAPPED AROUND MY NUTS!!! A shift changed had occurred, no one had thought to ask or look, needless to say, the nurse saw my predicament, took the rubber bands off, and I pissed close to three quarters of a gallon. Went home and back to work the next day. Harry did end up selling some of his art, and when we next caught up, we both agreed that the reason those two men were there would be, if I was dead for whatever reason, they would dispose of my body, no questions asked. It would've gone down exactly that way, really.