Posts Tagged ‘type 2 diabetes’

Sly And The Kidney Stone

November 1, 2013

Wednesday October 30th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

One thing I haven’t been a stranger to throughout my life is physical pain. Most of us deal with it at least a little, but there are those unlucky few that screw up the curve. I’ve always hovered at that elite upper echelon, even though it’s the last place anyone wants to be. I’ve had my scrapes.

When I was about ten, I stupidly rode a kid’s mini bike in an alley that summer wearing only a pair of shorts and flip flops. I spun out on cement, and scraped myself bloody from head to feet. I ended up being a walking scab, and it was extremely painful and inconvenient. But that’s not all.

In high school I broke both my nose playing basketball and my arm playing baseball in a single year. They were only a few months apart, and that was pretty painful. I’ve also had far more than my share of dental torture over the years. Root canals, braces, and big needles are familiar to me.

A week after my 30th birthday, I flipped my Mustang convertible upside down and ended up in intensive care with a twice cracked sternum, a broken jaw and lots of bloody scrapes. That was a horrific ordeal as well. I was in constant agony, and I basically had to learn how to walk again.

Then in 2011, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and had to have some gangrene sliced from my testicles of all places. That was nothing short of intense not to mention frightening, as I had a couple of day window where I wasn’t sure if I was going to lose all my plumbing or not. That’s a situation every man fears, and I wasn’t guaranteed I wouldn’t be singing soprano in a boys choir.

All of those things on their own were quite unpleasant, but tonight I experienced what I think is THE most physical pain I’ve ever felt at one time in one place. I was awakened from a sleep by a pain in my lower left abdomen. It wasn’t very strong at first, but it was enough to wake me up.

I wasn’t able to go back to sleep, and the pain got progressively worse. I couldn’t move, and it felt like I was going to die right there. I crawled to my computer and Googled ‘appendicitis’ as I wasn’t sure if the appendix is on the right or left side. It turns out it’s the right, so I was stumped as to what it was. Are there any important organs on the left side, or is it a stash of useless parts?

There came a point where I knew I needed to get myself to a hospital, and I got in my car to go back to Condell Hospital in Libertyville, IL where I had my surgery in 2011. They’re a top notch facility, and everyone there has always been on the ball from my experience. I set out to get there but the pain was so intense I thought I was going to pass out behind the wheel. I was quivering.

I hadn’t been to the hospital in a while, and I got lost on my way. I stopped to ask directions at a gas station, and I could see by the look in the eye of the attendant he knew I was in major pain. I made it to the hospital about 4am, and fortunately there was nobody else waiting to get treated ahead of me. I had to fill out the admission paperwork, and I could barely keep the pen steady.

It took the nurse about thirty seconds to figure out it was a kidney stone. They ran blood work and did a CAT scan, and eventually gave me some pain medication that was sent from heaven to relieve me of this Earthly horror. I’ve been through the wars a few times, but I can’t recall ANY pain I’ve ever had being worse than this. I sure didn’t expect to have to deal with this right now.

I'm no stranger to physical pain, but my first kidney stone is THE most excruciating feeling I've ever had. It's brutal.

I’m no stranger to physical pain, but my first kidney stone is THE most excruciating feeling I’ve ever had. It’s brutal.

Cancer No More

October 18, 2013

Thursday October 10th, 2013 – Sparta, WI

In all my years of gallivanting around North America, I can only recall a couple of times when my schedule happened to work out conveniently. I am notorious for having horrific routing over most of my career, and the stress from it has probably already shaved some years off of my life.

I’ve got some more coming up in a couple of days, but for now I’m exactly where I want to be. I’ve got a show tomorrow night in LaCrosse, WI and that allowed me to take a ride to Sparta, WI with my friend Bill Gorgo to visit our mutual friend Jim Wiggins on his birthday. It was a special birthday for Jim as he was just released from a nine day hospital stint after having major surgery.

If anyone can relate to the misery of nine days in the hospital it’s me. That’s how long I had to rot when I was in for my own surgery in 2011. It seems like two lifetimes ago now, but it was an unexpected obstacle in an already difficult life. I wasn’t expecting it, and it changed me forever.

Other than total financial disaster, I’m much better for it today. My type 2 diabetes is in check, and I could have easily lost all my plumbing. Any time a man has his junk sliced up like sushi it gets his undivided attention. ‘Testicle’ is a funny word – unless it involves surgery on one’s own.

I’m just now getting to a point where I can talk about it freely on stage. I’ve done it a few times and it’s gotten mixed responses. There’s a fine line between comedy and sympathy and there has to be just the right mixture of funny in place to get laughs rather than ‘oohs’ – or stunned silence.

I’m still working on it, and hopefully I’ll be around a while longer to polish it into a closing bit. Anytime severe discomfort and someone else’s genitals are involved, it’s always a guaranteed hit with a crowd. ‘America’s Funniest Videos’ has proven it for years. Nothing follows a crotch hit.

Jim Wiggins had a crotch hit of his own as he had his prostate and bladder removed. That’s not funny in the least, but life plays no favorites – even with comedians. It’s our job to find the funny in a lot of things that don’t seem glib on the surface, and I have no doubt Jim will use this as fuel for future routines. We can’t help it. A true comedian always looks for funny in every situation.

Sometimes that’s what keeps us going. Life can be downright frightening, and if anyone could come even close to relating what Jim was feeling it was me. He had a lot more done than I had to have, but I know how lonely and intimidating it can be laying alone in a hospital bed waiting for some stranger to carve into your bean bag like dark meat on a turkey. It makes sleep impossible.

I wanted to make sure I saw Jim on his birthday, but Bill and I weren’t sure if he would still be in the hospital or not. His hospital was in LaCrosse, so either way we knew we’d see him but it’s much better that he was at home. He was tired and moving slow, but he looked remarkably good. We didn’t know what to expect, but he exceeded our expectations. We were just glad to see him.

The best news of all is that he’s now cancer free. He had gone through three painful bouts with chemo, and that’s now over with. Now the thing to focus on is healing, and Bill and I focused on that as we sat and visited. Jim eventually nodded off to sleep, but I knew he was glad we showed up. I was glad we did too. For once my routing made it possible for me to be in the right place.

Comedian Jim Wiggins 'The Last Hippie In America' no longer has cancer! www.lasthippie.com

Comedian Jim Wiggins ‘The Last Hippie In America’ no longer has cancer! http://www.lasthippie.com

The Mothership Lands

June 17, 2013

Sunday June 16th, 2013 – Kenosha, WI

   Life is a series of comings and goings, startings and stoppings. I have no idea if there’s any sort of order to any of it, but for some reason Father’s Day has been loaded with significant goings on in my life. Two years ago today, I went into the hospital and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

   What an epic nightmare that whole ordeal was, but for the rest of however long my life may be I will always be extra grateful for my genitals. I was fond of them before, but that incident took it to a whole new level. I was dangerously close to losing my Brussels sprouts – and that’s no joke.

   That was a life changer to say the least, and I’ve changed everything around since that incident. I haven’t had a Pepsi, Coke, Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew in two years now, and I don’t miss any of them. I have gotten off all insulin, and haven’t gone back. It was a wakeup call, and I heard it.

   Tonight was the end of a five year run hosting “The Mothership Connection” paranormal radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. It was a lot of fun and I really learned a lot during the run. I don’t regret having done it, but I’ve taken it about as far as I can and it’s time to move on.

   It took a while to get going, but when it did we really got on a roll. People came and went like a band, but I think I got the most out of what and who I had to work with. There was absolutely ZERO budget, and there’s only so far that can go. It was a labor of love, but it has run its course.

   I met some extremely interesting people who I now consider friends, and also lost a few along the way. Unfortunately, most of the people I had the most trouble with were the women. I didn’t want the show to be a total sausage festival, so I included a woman in the mix to give it a flavor.

   It would be the equivalent of a band having a horn section. It’s not required, but the bands that use them have a distinct sound. I felt the same with this mix. What we were basically doing was a hybrid cross between “Coast To Coast AM” and a wacky morning show, and it worked well.

   What didn’t work so well was that most of the women associated with the show eventually got it into their heads they were the star, and acted more than a bit like divas – which flies with me as well as hand grenades fly on commercial airlines. I had to amputate a few tumors, and I hated it.

   Having to fire someone is hard enough, but having to do it from a show where nobody got paid was especially frustrating. There’s a chemistry factor involved in any ensemble endeavor, and no one person is ever bigger than the team – and it includes me too. I just happened to be in charge.

   Sometimes tough decisions have to be made, but they’re the best for the collective even if there are feelings hurt. I had to let the last two women go because they weren’t willing to follow along, and after a while it just got old. It finally came down to just one co-host, the great Greg DeGuire.

   Greg was and is a walking encyclopedia of paranormal knowledge, and he really added to what the show was all about. I think I grew into a competent talk show host, but he knew the topics we talked about like the back of his hand. It was a great mix, and we never ever had one cross word.

   We never ever made one red cent either, and there’s just so long that can go on. I’m not sure if there’s money there, but I can’t do it if there isn’t. I told the station I wanted some time off, but if I can’t squeeze some cash out of somewhere then this was the last ride. I thank all our listeners of five years, but there weren’t enough of them for us to continue. Still, it was a great experience.

Thanks to WLIP for letting the Mothership fly every Sunday night for five years.

Thanks to WLIP for letting the Mothership fly every Sunday night for five years.

Where the name of the show came from - the Parliament album from 1975. Make my funk the PFunk!

Where the name of the show came from – the Parliament album from 1975. Make my funk the PFunk!