Archive for June, 2011

Plan? What Plan?

June 30, 2011

Tuesday June 28th, 2011 – Libertyville, IL

Ok smart ass, now what’s the plan? I just got word they’re going to liberate my carcass from the hospital later this evening, and I have to go back to the real world – ready or not. I have no idea exactly what I’m going to be doing, but I think my road dog days are over.

I thought that a few years ago when I landed my job at The Loop in Chicago, but that’s yet another of my lifetime of false alarms and almost was scenarios. ‘Plan B’ was out the window twenty years ago. I’m so far past it in the alphabet, I’m almost back to ‘Plan A’.

Come to think of it, I never really had a Plan A. I thought if I was a funny comic, it all would work out by itself. Then I got into radio, and I thought the same thing. I’m funny, I’ll have a job as long as I want one. Wrong on two counts. Here I sit with my education.

What the hell do I do now, walk into a Wendy’s and ask for a job? I’m sure I could get one, but I’d be miserable before my first (low) paycheck showed up. That kind of work is just not my thing, with no offense to all those who do it. I was born to be an entertainer.

If I had to get a job making soup or washing cars, I don’t think I could do it for long. I’ll have to think of something though, because I’m in a real spot right now. I have a tiny wad of savings put away, but that’s going to disappear faster than Madonna’s virginity after all the dust settles from this nightmare. I need to get myself healed up and then start working.

I need to make wise choices and surround myself with quality people. I also need to get better about trusting those people and letting them do what they do. I feel like I’m starting my life all over again, but it’s from a position nobody wants. This is a gigantic challenge, and there’s no turning back. I can’t just turn off the diabetes and ‘do over‘. It’s here now.

I also intend to exercise like my life depends on it, because this time it does. I can’t just eat what I want anymore, even though I’d gotten used to it from a lifetime of self abuse. It happens to a lot of people, and I know I’m not the only one. This was a big wake up call.

But now that I’m up, where do I go to work? I’ve got all kinds of half baked ideas and a couple that actually work, like comedy classes and the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show but now they are no longer fun hobbies. I may have to depend on one or both to hack out a living.

I won’t miss the whole hospital experience, but the people have gone over and above in how nicely they treated me. Condell is filled with sweet people who really do care about a patient as a person and not a number. I felt well cared for the whole time, and I’m grateful for everyone from the doctors to the nurses to the techs to the lady who washed my floor.

Jerry Agar is home for a week from Toronto, and he has graciously allowed me to stay a few days in his lower level where there’s a quiet bed with a shower in the bathroom that’s exactly what I need to tend to my wounds. I’ll be able to rest and hopefully get going on a full recovery. Thanks to everyone at the hospital, but it’s time to reload and try life again.


A Dented Can Quirk

June 30, 2011

Monday June 27th, 2011 – Libertyville, IL

The parade of people who have come to see me in the hospital has been overwhelming. I so appreciate every one, but hospitals are not the place for a quality visit. Every time my most embarrassing procedure has to be done, that’s exactly when someone will saunter in my room and ask “How ya feelin’?” Well, with gangrene on my groin, I’ve felt better.

I know everyone means well, and the effort of people tracking me down is nothing short of miraculous. If nothing else, I do have friends with a Jim Rockford private investigating gene. For everyone that tracked me down I felt I owed them $200 a day – plus expenses.

I could list the people who came, but they know who they are. It was extremely humane of all of them to be concerned enough to even care at all, and I appreciate it. For all those who showed up in person, there were probably ten more that called and I lost count of all the Facebook messages I received. I’m touched, flattered, grateful but uncomfortable too.

It’s really hard for me to accept love and kindness. That’s a dented can thing, and I need to get over it because there are good people in the world and I’m seeing it first hand in the ones who have shown so much care and concern while I’m up here in my darkest hour.

I’m not going to lie though, it’s tough for me to accept. I’ll be the first one to jump start someone’s car at 4am or do a favor for a virtual stranger, but when it comes to me getting helped or shown love in return I don’t know how to just shut my mouth and let it happen.

I’m sure it stems from childhood, and that probably lead to all the times I’ve gotten my ass burnt to a crisp in adulthood too. I know how to react when someone embezzles all of my money or when a woman cheats on me with someone I thought was my friend. I know what to do when those things happen, but when someone does something nice – I flinch.

That’s pretty messed up, but it’s absolutely true. A person gets so used to getting beaten up by life that the natural reaction becomes to build a wall around the heart and not let an outsider in to hurt it again. This is probably a huge reason why I’m not married, as I really do have major problems trusting anyone. I sure hope it’s not too late to turn that around.

Like I said, the outpouring of kindness for me up here in the hospital has been the most loved I’ve ever felt. Ever. I really have tried to be a good person, and I’m always the first to admit I’m far from perfect. I’ve always tried to show a kind heart, but now that it’s my turn to catch some of that good vibe, it frightens me. But it doesn’t mean I’m not grateful.

My cousin Jef Parker could totally relate to this concept. He died in 2001 at age 44 from a horrible bout with cancer, and today would have been his birthday. Jef was a dented can too, but he turned it around and started the Collector’s Edge Comics chain in Milwaukee. Jef used to help people all the time too, and created a legend among the comic community in town. We used to talk in private of things like this, and he also felt uncomfortable with anyone giving him anything. Jef is gone, and I miss him terribly. Dented cans can relate.

Nothing But Needles

June 30, 2011

Sunday June 26th, 2011 – Libertyville, IL

Rough night, with a rougher day right behind it. I hardly got any sleep as the pain in my knee went from about a 10 to a 56 in the space of just a few hours. I made a point to walk as much as I could yesterday, but there was still a sharp pain right in the joint of my knee. It felt like I soaked my knee in napalm, then lit it on fire. I couldn’t bend it even a little.

I have no idea what caused it, and I don’t remember twisting it, but I can’t remember in all my years a pain so intense in that area. If I hadn’t had to come to the hospital for what I’m already in for, I’d have had to consider it for this. It has me concerned, but there’s so much other stuff going on I can’t spend too much time thinking about it. But it does hurt.

The needles started early today and wouldn’t quit. I went for a walk about 4:30am to try and relieve the pressure in my knee. I can walk pretty well on it, but lifting it up to try and put it on a bed sends it through the roof in about two seconds. Walking feels good though. It gets the blood pumping and makes me feel like I’m still alive. Laying around is not fun.

I got back to my room and there was a woman there who I had a bad feeling about right away. I don’t know how I knew it, but I could tell she wasn’t a people person and I felt an unfriendly vibe when she told me she needed to get some blood. I told her my veins were used up and it would be difficult, but I’d still let her try if she felt she needed to do that.

That’s got to be a horrible job, going from room to room sticking people with needles at 5am. I told her that to try and make conversation as she was tapping my arm trying to find one more vein, and she went off on how they had to be there at 3:45 and how hard the job was from HER standpoint. She couldn’t care less about the patients and it totally showed.

She wasn’t much of a conversationalist, and I told her to just do what she had to do so it would be over with. She took about ten minutes on my right arm and then stuck what felt like a six inch needle right in the crook of my arm at the elbow. I had to bite my lip to not scream out loud, but after a while she told me she wasn’t able to draw any blood from it.

I was visibly pissed and she knew it, but she still had to get what she came for so I tried to explain to her that I knew that but now she could see why I was so frustrated. She said she thought she could get it from the other arm, so I clenched my teeth and let her try it.

About halfway through the process I had the sneaking suspicion she wouldn’t be able to get anything from this one either and I was correct. The second needle felt bigger than the first, and when she told me she blew it I was ready to jam it right up her ass in retaliation. That just started it, and the rest of the day has been one poke after the next. I’m sick of it.

Then they took me to get my sore knee x-rayed, and the technician was ready to take an x-ray of the wrong one. Had I not told him, he would have taken the opposite one. This is the kind of thing I’ve always heard about, but I can see how it happens. It’s easy to screw things up, and the longer I’m here, the more I see it. I just want to go home and heal up.

Stressing With Dressing

June 30, 2011

Saturday June 25th, 2011 – Libertyville, IL

What a difference a shower can make. I feel like a new man. Having the chance to scrub away a whole week’s worth of funky hospital goo was just what I needed to give me a ray of hope. It got blood flowing in places that needed it, and jump started my whole attitude.

It’s hard not to get discouraged with all that‘s going on, and every little bit of positivity goes a long way to keep me from wanting to pack it in. I still don’t think I’ve grasped just how big of a life changer all this will be, and it’s all I can do to make it through each day.

The biggest nightmare of all so far has been the changing of the dressing of my surgery wound. If there’s more physical pain a man can suffer, I don’t want to know about it. This has been enough pelvic torture for twelve lifetimes, and I’m still not out of the water yet.

I’m going to have to do this myself for he foreseeable future, and that scares the hell out of me. It’s supposed to be twice a day at first, and then once a day after that. I’m supposed to remove the old dressing first, and then pack the wound with gauze and start over again.

Good luck with that. Not only is the pain beyond description, it’s in a location that’s not exactly easily accessible. If I was a knuckle dragging orangutan, I might have a slight shot but as is with the equipment I have it’s going to take a mirror and a lot of random pokes.

My nurse was instructed to do it today, and wouldn’t you know it she’d be a total hottie. Not only would pain management be a major issue, now the embarrassment factor kicked in right behind it. I know she’s seen it all, but when it’s my all she sees it’s not too funny.

One extremely good thing I’ve been able to do is get out of my room and walk around a little. The nurses encourage it, and it beats laying in bed and rotting away. There’s a lot of room on the floor I’m on, and taking a few laps has proven to be more than a challenge.

I got a nice round of laps in today, and it worked up a sweat for the first time in a while. Taking a shower right after that really felt good, but the whole time all I could think about was the torture to come. I didn’t want to have to use morphine, but that was a possibility.

Little Miss Hot Pants came in, and I told her I wanted to try it without any pain meds of any kind to see how it would go. I soaked the hell out of the wound and gauze while I was in the shower, and sure enough, the dressing slid right off. She was able to replace it fast.

Bill Gorgo came up to visit and not only brought a nice pile of magazines, he also had a book on Type 2 Diabetes that will probably help a lot. That was a very thoughtful gift but as I looked at it it started to hit home that I’m really going to have to deal with this now.

It’s not a joke, but I never thought it was. For now, I need to focus on getting out of the hospital but after that I’m going to have a big time lifestyle change on my hands. Attitude will determine how it ends up, but I have to admit staying positive will be a major effort.

Surgery Synopsis (Parts 1 & 2)

June 30, 2011

Thursday June 23rd, 2011 – Libertyville, IL

Surgery day. That’s never a small issue, especially to the person facing it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a wee bit concerned, but it’s apparently necessary so I have no choice. I am very thankful to be in such a top shelf medical facility, especially when it concerns what it does. When ‘surgery’ and ‘scrotum’ are in the same sentence, neck hair tends to stand up.

For all I know, I could come out a eunuch. Who says the surgeon won’t sneeze when he gets the scalpel right at the precise point of pivot and gouge a gash in my gonads like he’s doing a commercial for a Ronco vegetable slicer? I don’t want to be living Julianne Fries.

It all becomes a waiting game now. At first, they told me surgery would be at 8am sharp this morning. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything since midnight and they told me to ‘get some rest’. Oh, sure. Waiting for a guy I don’t know to carve on my crotch causes me to drift off to sleepy land every time. There was no way I’d get any restful sleep last night.

I did drift in and out for a few minutes, but that was with the TV on. That’s not a quality sleep because I always have dreams I’m part of the show. Some of the time I was catching king crab on ‘The Deadliest Catch’, and the rest I was making plays on ‘SportsCenter’.

Nurses kept coming to my room to change I.V. bags, and would ask me what time I was going to have surgery. I kept telling them 8am, as that’s what I was told. Then, it got to be a little before 7 and one of the nurses told me I wasn’t on any list and it had been delayed.

As it turns out, it got bumped to 4:30pm. I have no idea why, other than one doctor said there are many reasons surgery gets delayed, and it’s always good to wait until everyone’s ready. I wholeheartedly concur. I don’t need a guy with a hangover slicing my ball bag.

When the time came, a lady with a rolling bed came to pick me up and I felt like I was a dead man walking. It’s very dramatic, at least it was to me. They attached all the I.V. stuff and off we went. There’s no turning back, and I had no idea whatsoever what to expect.

I have to say the entire staff at the hospital was wonderful, but the operating room crew were especially humane. They told me not to be afraid, and that they’d do their very best to take care of me. How they said it was perfectly placed, and it totally put me at ease.

I was told how long I’d be under anesthesia (an hour) and how long the procedure itself would take (8 minutes). I don’t know why I needed to know that, but I was glad to hear it. They also said they’d be inserting a tube in my mouth and throat to help me breathe, but it wouldn’t be installed until after I was completely unconscious. It all made me feel at ease.

The doctor was late getting to the hospital, so they put me in a waiting room for twenty minutes or so, and that’s when the mind really starts spinning. I had all I could do to keep from throwing up with angst, but then they started wheeling me in and that’s the last thing I can remember before waking up in the recovery room sore as hell and not able to move.

Friday June 24th, 2011 – Libertyville, IL

Well, I made it. I’m in a lot of pain, and I can barely move two inches in bed, but I’m in the ranks of the living, and more importantly (at least to me), I still have my giblets intact. The nurses told me the surgery was a success, and that the ‘twig and berries’ still existed.

That could have really been a nightmare, and I don’t want to think about it. It’s about as scary as I want to get thinking about what they did do. Apparently, there are two incisions in my groinal area and although they’ll be painful and difficult, they should heal up well.

The doctor who did the surgery came to my room this morning and went through all he did, and said he got all the infected tissue. Then, he proceeded to change the dressing on the wounds which had me screaming like a little baby begging for mercy. I have NEVER felt pain like that, and when I started screaming he called the nurse to give me morphine.

He didn’t give the morphine thirty seconds to kick in, and he was back down there like a maniac ripping the gauze out of the wounds and I was right back to screaming for mercy like I was trying to get out of a mob hit or something. That was the most pain I ever felt.

The doctor calmly told me that was by far the hardest one, even though I was crying like a little girl when he said it. I dare anyone to sit through that and see how they react. I’m a self admitted wussmeister when it comes to pain anyway, but this was way off the charts.

I don’t ever want to feel that kind of pain again, but there are no guarantees that say my days are done. When I had my infamous car accident in 1993, I broke my sternum twice. I thought that was the most pain possible, but this was a whole lot worse. I hoped for death, knowing it was the only way I’d feel any relief. When morphine doesn’t work, it’s over.

Then, I started to laugh uproariously as I looked at the TV in my room and saw the story of Jack Kevorkian starring Al Pacino on HBO. Of all the movies to have, that was the one that would be on in Mr. Lucky’s room. It really was funny, and the laughter was the exact thing I needed at that moment to divert the pain if even a little. Humor really does heal.

The next few hours I had a lot of time to just lay there and think. I don’t know how pure my thoughts were since they were tainted with so much pain, but I was able to process my life and come to the conclusion that the only reason I’m here is to help others and give my all to that cause. I also realized just how little I’ve done with my life and I was ashamed.

I had such big dreams as a kid, and then everything hit the fan and all these years later it boils down to me laying in a hospital, uninsured, with gangrene on my junk. That was not part of the plan, but that’s where I ended up. Now, I have no idea where life’s path leads.

I can’t dwell on what went wrong or what’s wrong now. I can only hope I’ll have a little time left to reach out and serve my fellow human kind. Fame is no goal, but fortune is my goal because I know I’ll use it to be of service. Right now, I can use some help myself.

No Time To Rest

June 27, 2011

Wednesday June 22nd, 2011 – Libertyville, IL

Being a hospital patient is like a full time job. I’m finding it very difficult to keep track of everything I have to do and everyone that I have to deal with on a daily basis. There are doctors telling me what I have and how they plan to get rid of it, nurses constantly putting me on different antibiotics and other people who just come in and check my vital signs.

Then there’s the Polish housekeeping lady who tells me her troubles while she mops up my bathroom. She’s missing a few teeth, but she’s a sweetie of a person who comes from a family of eight. She’s number five, and some in her family have diabetes. I don’t have a choice, so when she comes through I’ll just listen. I think it makes her feel appreciated.

There are also the people who bring my meals every day. They’re all super nice people too, but once in a while they’ll start a conversation when I don’t feel much like talking. It isn’t their fault, but I’ve got a lot on my mind and today one of them thought I was angry or something because I didn’t chat it up for ten minutes. I’d just been stuck with needles.

That’s a huge thing with me, and the more I hate it the more I get it. My veins aren’t up to snuff apparently, and everyone who has to draw blood tells me that. What the hell am I supposed to do, bring out some barbells and pump iron for a few hours to pop them out?

Both of my arms are black and blue, and I feel every little prick from needles that were administered by every little prick who does that for a job. What a horrible gig that has to be, but I guess someone has to do it. I do try my hardest to cooperate, but I fall far short.

Sleep is an afterthought. There’s always someone wanting me to do some kind of trick  for them right about the time I’m starting to nod off. I need to have somebody check my sugar or give blood or pee in a cup or take a pill or put another I.V. in. It’s exhausting.

Still, I’m very lucky to be up here and have such top quality care. My room is gorgeous and apparently I’m in a brand new wing of the hospital that’s top notch on every level. I’ll forever be grateful for all the care I’ve received up here, even though I have no idea how I will ever pay for it all. I know I can’t worry about that now, but it does concern me a lot.

I know I’ll have to fill out some hardship papers and be in touch with people from every branch of the hospital who treated me – and that’s a lot. It’s all very overwhelming but if I dwell on it, I’ll be in a sad mood really fast. I can’t afford that now, I need to stay upbeat.

I’ve still got a surgery to get through. Then, after that, I have to educate myself on how to change my entire life and deal with my diabetes. I’m not the first one to have to do this but I sure wasn’t planning on it. Once again, life throws another unexpected curve ball.

Yes, there’s a ton of humor in all this, but there’s also a lot of angst as well. Will life as I know it ever get back to ‘normal’, and why is it me that has to go through this? All I’ve ever wanted was to make people laugh and spread some humor throughout life, not this.

Filtering The Funny

June 27, 2011

Tuesday June 21st, 2011 – Libertyville, IL

Being stuck in a seemingly hopeless situation like I am is not without some moments of extreme humor. If there’s one thing I’ve learned to do throughout a lifetime of ‘worst case scenario’ situations is find the funny – and it’s ALWAYS there. This time is no different.

Unfortunately, humor comes from pain – and I’m in all kinds of it. Not only that, it’s the absolute worst kind imaginable. Yes, women have childbirth. Everyone says that hurts the worst, and I’m not disputing it. However, when a man’s coin purse is out of whack, other men are drawn to it and have a morbid curious empathy. It‘s the universal male language.

I played baseball all of my youth and I dare any male to not laugh when a bad hop pops up and catches someone in the prunes. Not only do opponents and fans in the stands howl uncontrollably, one’s own teammates are sure to laugh the loudest. It’s especially funny if you know the guy personally. I don’t know why, but it adds a personal depth to the scene.

Any male who’s had any kind of testicular alteration has it become his identity for life. I can still remember a kid from my grade school who had to have one of his beans removed after having a sledding accident. For the rest of school he was known as ’One Ball Bill’.

I never knew if he found that funny, but everyone else in school surely did. We couldn’t stop with the one liners, and I have to admit I made my share and then some. It’s way too funny for a grade school kid not to laugh – especially when it’s someone else’s genitalia.

I guess it’s my time to get paid back. Word is out that I have to have my own testicular situation altered, and I can hear the jokes flying back and forth from my hospital bed. Do I care? Not really. And, I probably deserve it. I’ve made fun of others myself, so let it rip.

I can take a joke, and I’m usually the first one to laugh at myself. I just want the intense pain and uncertainty to go away. Once that’s done, I’ll be able to laugh a lot, and I’m sure I’ll crank out a lot of bits about my experiences here. I think I’ll call the CD “Half Nuts“.

I’ve heard other comedians do bits about being in the hospital, but I have to believe I’ll be able to trump them all. That’s still a ways off though, I’ve got a lot of things unsettled apparently. Going home is not an option right now, and they told me I’d have to have the surgery at their convenience and that would take a lot of preparation on everyone’s part.

So, here I sit – barely able to because I have an inflated scrotum that looks exactly like a sick clown twisted a balloon animal out of it. It’s swollen, discolored, painful as hell, and there are no signs of relief. The pain is so intense, I want to end my life quite frankly, but I’m still able to see the humor in it all. If I was watching this as a movie, I’d be howling.

Right now, I’m howling in pain. Not only is my groin killing me, I’m having to learn to stick myself with needles several times a day for the diabetes. More laughs on the way but for now I’m sitting all alone in a hospital bed wondering why I have to go through all this.

Hello Hospital

June 27, 2011

Monday June 20th, 2011 – Libertyville, IL

My head’s still spinning from everything that went down yesterday, and it looks like I’ll be here in the hospital for at least a while. I’ve been getting poked and prodded and asked all kinds of questions by all kinds of people, and I can tell this is going to be complicated.

The first thing that screams at me is, how the hell am I going to pay for all this? It’s the absolute worst nightmare of the uninsured, but it’s too late now. The damage is done and I’m going to have to deal with it somehow. That’s for later, I have to survive this first.

I’ve got two major problems to deal with. One, my diabetes is going to be an issue for a long time. My diet has been horrible and I know it, and there’s only so long one can cheat and eat whatever pops into mind at any time. I’ve been doing that my whole life so if I am not able to go nuts anymore I can live with it. I know I’ve needed discipline for a while.

Everyone and their uncle seems to know all the answers, but now I’m going to not only find out the truth – I’m going to live it. I can’t keep walking around with 500 blood sugar and expect to stay walking for any length of time. In a way, this could be a good thing if it gets me to get healthier and feel better. I’ve heard stories of people turning it around, too.

I’m sure I’m in for a major education for the rest of my life, but for now all I want to do is get myself feeling better. I don’t really feel bad from the diabetes pe se, but my testicle is absolutely excruciating. It continues to swell, and the tissue around it is raw and sore.

I had one doctor come in today and talk to me all about diabetes. I thought he was kind of pompous, but it’s not my place to judge that. I’ve got my own problems, and if he can help me get out of this pain, his personality quirks are fine by me. I sat and listened to his speech, and I doubt there is an easy fix here. I’ll need to revamp my life starting NOW.

As soon as the doctor left, a nurse came in and started showing me how to measure the insulin shots I’d need to give myself eventually and how to prick my finger so I could get a blood sugar reading to determine how to do it. Needles have never been my favorite but I can see I’ll have to get used to them on a daily basis or I won’t be around too long. Ugh.

Attitude is everything with this and that’s what the doctor and nurse both said. I need to get a positive outlook and know it’s not a death sentence and just go on living my life in a positive way. That was tough enough before, but now I’ve got a whole new game to learn. If nothing else, I’ve got a world class group of friends to help me through this challenge.

Another doctor came in and talked to me about my flaming pelvis. He said he thinks it’s an indirect result of the diabetes and it’s getting infected with gangrene of all things. Now there’s a diagnosis I never expected. Gangrene on the crotch? That sounds like something people got in the Middle Ages, not something I’m dealing with in 2011. The doctor said it doesn’t look good and may or may not involve losing some of my genitalia. Say WHAT?

Diabetes Diagnosis

June 26, 2011

Sunday June 19th, 2011 – Libertyville, IL

I woke up at 5am on the dot feeling severe pain in a place I knew I couldn’t ignore. I’d originally hoped it would just go away by itself, but that’s a typical male reaction. We’re never ones to rush to the hospital, and especially with no health insurance I’m not either.

Still, when one of the twins acts up, it gets full priority. It was way more swollen than it was when I went to bed, and even a little swelling down there isn’t a picnic. I took a slow shower and tried to scrub everything that may need looking at, but that took a long time. I had a hard time drying off from the shower and putting on clothes, but I knew I needed to.

Every single little bitty teeny tiny movement was extremely sensitive, and with the way it had swollen up, every physical position was an extreme problem, especially sitting in a car. Before I ventured into the hospital I was thirsty so I stopped at the grocery store for a cold drink. I bought two large Gatorades and also got two icy cold slices of watermelon.

I’m really trying to quit sodas, even though I still love them. It’s the bubbles. I know it’s not good for me, but the first few sips of a big old mattress pisser Mountain Dew or Pepsi or Dr. Pepper from a frosted container is an earthly pleasure for the ages. I really love it.

Gatorade is starting to grow on me though. I’m sure that’s loaded with sugar too, but on a hot day I find myself letting one trickle down my gullet and it makes me feel I’m at least a little healthier than I’d be if I drank a Pepsi. I don’t drink or smoke, can’t I enjoy this?

It was all I could handle to get out of my car and ever so gingerly sashay my way across the parking lot to the emergency room to check in. It felt like I was walking on egg shells, and I couldn’t walk fast both because I was in pain and my kidneys were ready to burst.

The admitting clerk in the emergency room was very attractive, and when she asked the reason for my visit I felt embarrassed to tell her I had a swollen testicle. Of course she had a hard time hearing me, and I had to say it louder just as some people got off an elevator.

I asked to use the bathroom and she told me they’d probably need a sample for later so I filled it up and gave it to her when I got out. I haven’t often had to place a fresh container of freshly made urine in front of anyone before much less a good looking woman so it felt pretty awkward to say the least. I was then taken into a room to begin getting examined.

Someone took my vital signs and someone else asked if I had insurance while someone else had me fill out more paperwork. Someone else still took a blood sample and I knew I was in good hands because I could feel these people totally knew what they were doing.

Before long, someone came in and told me I had diabetes and my blood sugar was up in the 500 range. I know nothing about blood sugar, but I could tell by their looks of concern that everyone in the room knew this was dangerously high. They told me I’d be staying in the hospital for a while, no matter what the verdict was on my testicle. This is not a joke.

Undivided Attention

June 22, 2011

Saturday June 18th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

There are scant few things in this life that tend to capture one’s full, complete and 100% undivided attention, especially in males, more than a malfunction with the genitals. Even the slightest glitch anywhere close to ‘down there’ becomes Topic A, and all else quickly fades to a distant blur. Unfortunately, I’ve had way too much experience with this myself.

When I was about five, I can still remember being out in the back yard by myself at my grandparents’ house in Milwaukee doing what five year old boys do in a back yard in the summer. There were birds and bugs and flowers and a big old lawn to run around on, and I remember having the time of my life out there. The weather was great and I was content.

One thing my grandparents both watched over like hawks was my sugar intake. I’m not sure if it was because they’d gone through The Great Depression and didn’t want to spend money on sweets or that they just didn’t want me to be a hyperactive little maniacal out of control monkey like we see so commonly today. Whatever the case, sweets were treats.

That particular day, we’d had watermelon for lunch and that was a big time treat. I think I ate double my weight at the time in watermelon and eventually my five year old kidneys needed to do what they do and I didn’t feel like walking all the way back to the house and leave all the fun I was having so I whipped it out in the yard and started to let it sprinkle.

As luck would have it, while I had my pee shooter out a rather large dragonfly decided it wanted  to use me as a landing perch and I just about had a heart attack. To my five year old eyes, that thing looked like a pterodactyl right out of Jurassic Park and I thought I was going to be carried away to a strange land by that thing and dropped into a live volcano.

I panicked and yanked the zipper of my shorts up as fast as I could and managed to snag a hunk of skin and get it caught in the zipper. I must have screamed loud enough because I remember my grandmother coming all the way out in the yard to see what it was about.

I’ve still got a scar there to this day, and I don’t know what it’s good for other than that story. It’s hilarious when someone ELSE’S ‘nads are put in jeopardy but when the lottery number strikes home it’s a whole different story. Nobody wants to win that sweepstakes.

Right now I’m not feeling healthy at all. I’ve been struggling with a horrific cough that may or may not be related to a case of pneumonia I had when I was three years old. They said back then I’d have to be careful my whole life because it would be very easy to get it again. I know I should be seeing a doctor on a regular basis, but who has money for that?

I’m in a very bad way because my right testicle is swelling up for some reason and I am more than a little concerned about it. As a man, when one of the twins swells up, it’s a no laugh situation. Oh, it’s hilarious when it happens to someone else, but when it’s in one’s own pants the joke isn’t quite as funny. I’ve been in pain all day, and if it doesn’t get any better by tomorrow morning I’ll have to go get it checked out. This gets my full attention.