Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Kidney Stone Trilogy part two

“What’s going to Happen to Al Bruno III?”
Or
“Papa Has a Kidney Stone”


“Well Mr. Bruno,” my urologist explained, “It looks as though that kidney stone has gotten itself stuck. We’re going to have to go in and get it.”

These words distracted me from ruminating of the urologist’s baldness. That’s right he was bald, but it was the kind of bald that looked like a fashion statement of the manliest kind.

This is opposed to my kind of baldness- the kind that looks like I had suffered a mishap while starting up a gas grill.

“Mr. Bruno? Did you hear what I said Mr. Bruno?”

“Yes.” I made eye contact, “I just had hoped it wouldn’t come to this.”

“Well the CT scans don’t lie I’m afraid. It’s pretty well stuck in there.”

I sighed, “So I spent a week straining my urine for nothing.”

“I understand your frustration.”

Straining your urine. Sounds kind of absurd doesn’t it? Well it looks pretty damn absurd when you’re doing it I can tell you that; a solid week of standing at the toilet, one hand holding my Thunder Lizard and the other a plastic funnel with a fine mesh at the bottom.

And please don’t forget that most of the time I was doing this I was stoned out of my mind on Vicadin. I hit my toes, my bathrobe and in one moment of combined brilliance and clumsiness even managed to ricochet my urine stream off the lip of the plastic funnel back into my eye.

I began to wonder when it was I had crossed the line from medical science to fetish video.

I think I was Tuesday, but don’t quote me on that.

“So what happens now?” I asked.

“Well two days from now you come down to the surgery center. We put you under and we get that stone out before it causes any kind of serious damage. It looks like it should come out pretty easily; I don’t think any cutting will be necessary.”

He smiled reassuringly when he said that but to my Jedi senses it was as though thousands of wieners had cried out in terror and were suddenly flaccid.

Of course I’m kidding, I’m not a Jedi and I don’t have thousands of readers.

We finished with some pre-surgery guidelines -no eating or drinking after midnight. I wasn’t implicitly told to refrain from masturbating but I felt it was implied. I went over some insurance paperwork and made sure that they knew my wife would have final say over what happened to me should I slip into a coma.

Note to self; clean out the dishwasher STAT.

“Now,” he said, “Do you have any questions?”

I nodded, “Yes I have a few. Can you-”

“Now please keep in mind there is nothing I can do to make your penis larger.”

“Oh, well what about-”

“Or thicker.”

“But-”

“And I can’t make your foreskin come back.”

I slunk back in my seat, “Never mind then.”

Next he explained to me that I might come out of this with a stent and then picked me up off the floor when he was finished.

The drive home from the urologist was a somber experience to say the least. I ha always assumed that if I was going to pay someone to manhandle my junk it would have been a sprightly Korean woman with red hair, masseuse training and a willingness to wear a spanglely catsuit similar to the one Wendy Padbury wore in the 1968 Doctor Who serial The Mind Robber.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about but you’re disturbed anyway, then you know how my wife and child feel every day.

Speaking of my wife and child when I gave them the news my wife was the very epitome of love and concern. My daughter’s only comment was that she hoped it didn’t ruin her plans for the school’s holiday party.

Hearing that I started to worry that perhaps this was a sign that my daughter was becoming a cold and unemotional sociopath. Just to be sure this wasn’t the case I told her that Hanna Montana was canceled.

The way she shrieked and tore at her clothes was such a relief to me.

So now here I am waiting for the morning of Thursday the 17th, and there are a lot of butterflies in my stomach. Yes I know I will be unconscious, yes I know this is a simple outpatient procedure.

But my imagination won’t let those facts take hold, the instinct to imagine things going hilariously or hideously wrong has me in its sway. Will I contract the flesh eating virus or will there be a major earthquake just as the doctor starts to do his work?

Lets face it folks, every time we go to the hospital it brings us one step closer to that final trip to the hospital.

I know that there are people out there with real medical problems and I shouldn’t whine. This is probably just my midlife crisis talking here. My 41st birthday was a few months ago and it brought to me the realization of my own mortality. And things like this just bring it home to me all the more. I guess on some level I always thought that death was something I would be able to weasel out of, like jury duty or foreplay.

Thankfully I have been able to distress by writing things like this.

So I’m sure everything will turn out ok.

But just in case thanks for reading…


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Kidney Stone Trilogy part one

“Whatever Happened to Al Bruno III?”
Or
“This Too Shall Pass”


So it has been some time since anyone on the internet has seen or heard from me. Now in many quarters of the world such news is greeted with a resounding “Who cares?” but my blog has ten subscribers who haven’t been getting their money’s worth so I feel an explanation is in order.

You see my problems all began when I started peeing blood.

(And there goes one subscriber)

I’ve had kidney stones before and for those of you who don’t know it is not a pleasant experience but now I know what to expect and how to react.

But blood? That was a new one.

I left work early and called my doctor but they were having an early Christmas party so they referred me to their urgent care center but they were having a Christmas party too. Since it was a Friday I took a lot of over the counter pain killers and went to bed early. In my addled mind I imagined the staff of my doctor’s office singing ailment specific Christmas carols to me.

Like this one,

Oh kidney stone, oh kidney stone
Will it break your urethra?


(That’s another subscriber)

The pain and blood faded as I spent the weekend taking it easy and watching television. Much as I loathe reality TV I must admit to having affection to THE SMOKING GUN PRESENTS series. It is essentially a clip show of humorous and true events commented upon by comedians and celebrities that have had brushes with the law like Todd Bridges, Danny Bonaduce and Tonya Harding.

I must admit for reasons I could never adequately explain I have always had a thing for Tonya Harding. That’s the story of my love life really- forever drawn to troublemaking blondes and crazy redheads, maybe that’s why I married a brunette and made her dye her hair.

(There goes another one. Was it a redhead or a blonde- that’s a question I’ll carry to my grave.)

As the weekend wore on the pain and blood dwindled to nothing, much like the career of Nathan Fillion-

(Oops there goes the Firefly fan!)

Anyway by Monday I felt fine and I headed out for my appointment with my therapist. My therapist and I have been trying to understand how I could have a god complex and low self esteem. It was in the middle of a story about how my brother Phil and I shared bunk beds and an unfortunate penchant for bedwetting that a fresh bout of pains hit me in the kidney.

And this was bad folks, it felt like my kidneys were burning and my loins were aflame- and not in a good way. I cut the therapy session short and spent about half an hour in the bathroom dealing with pain and nausea; my urine the color of Hawaiian Punch and my face was the color of Mountain Dew.

I made my way to my doctor’s office and even though I didn’t have an appointment they rushed me right in to see him. Now this might have been because of their thorough professionalism or it could have been because they just wanted to get rid of the big bald idiot that was curled into a ball and whimpering on the floor of their waiting room.

My general practitioner gave me a shot of a painkiller and referred me to a urologist; the urologist saw me right away. You know you’re in good shape when you hand your urine samples over and the nurse blanches.

Tests were performed, internal organs were scanned, co-pays were deferred. The news was that I had a 4ml kidney stone trying to make its way into my bladder via 5ml vein- hence the blood and pain. I used to experience the same thing with a pair of corduroy slacks I refused to throw away but could never quite fit into. In that situation it came down to either dieting or giving the slacks away to goodwill.

Maybe one of you readers are wearing those dark green corduroys right now!

The urologist gave me two sets of pills and a funnel with a mesh at the end. One set of pills was to widen out my urological track and grease the gears if you will, the wire mesh was so I could strain my urine and catch the kidney stone. At first I thought this would be a great thing- I could give the kidney stone away to on of my lucky readers as a prize!

The urologist told me this would be impossible, he needed to kidney stone for tests.

(Of course this revelation won’t be enough to stop subscriber number 5 from leaving. Sorry. Be sure to drink lots of cranberry juice.)

My new urologist also gave me a prescription for a week’s worth of Vicodin and a note to take the week off from work.

Now this worried me a little, I wasn’t sure how my corporate overlords would react to me being gone for that long. It isn’t that any one of my six supervisors are bad people in any sense of the word but when you work for an organization that considers Goldings’s Lord of the Flies a training manual you have to be a little worried.

I got home and went to bed early, I was to take the Vicodin as needed and thanks to my general practitioner all I needed now was a few hours rest.

The next morning I called in sick to work but in retrospect I should have waited to until after I this was accomplished before I took my first ever dose of Vicodin. For those of you that haven’t followed my work closely (That’s you Western Hemisphere.) I should inform you that in my 41 years I have never tried illegal drugs of any sort. This is because of my high principles and intense cowardice.

The end result of this is that as I was on hold waiting for a supervisor to give them the news of my extended absence the Vicodin hit me like a freight train.

In truth I am not exactly sure who I spoke to or what I said, all I know for sure is that my speech was slurred and I told them that I loved them. With that done I called my wife at work and told her that I loved her. Then I sent my ex-girlfriend’s husband an email telling him that I loved him.

(And he was a subscriber! Who knew?)

I’ve spent the last seven days in a stupor, too wasted to write anything coherent at all- I mean if you thought my grammar are badder now…

So with writing off the table I tried to watch TV but I kept fading in and out so I really didn’t get to enjoy much. I couldn’t read because the words kept getting melty. Pretty much all I could do was nap and play Tetris on X-Box Live.

In other words I was turning into my two slacker pals Love Boat and Chaw Monkey.

(And there they go! Can’t you guys take a joke? How many subscribers do I have left now? Just two? I better be more careful.)

Whenever I napped my dreams were in color and the stuff of fanfic but they were poisoned by the constant ache in my bladder. If I was the captain of a starship I would find that a transporter accident has caused there to be only one bathroom available for the entire crew to use and that bathroom’s location was constantly changing. Many of the crew had already lost control of their bladders but I, their captain, was fighting to keep control. But it already seemed like a lost cause, no one was at their station, there were Klingons everywhere and I had to go to yellow alert.

Sometime during this long hazy week I somehow ended up insulting my 8 year old daughter’s playmate and now she won’t come over for playdates anymore. I know I made her cry but I’m not sure what I said. I mean I have a vague idea but…

Anyway I apologized to her and her parents but they’re all still pretty upset.

(Ok I deserved to lose that subscriber. I’m a total jerk.)

The last of the Vicodin is working its way through my system now- I wish that explained the quality of the writing but let’s be honest here…

My follow up appointment is for this afternoon, there’s no sign of that pesky kidney stone and the word ‘stent’ has been used. I wasn’t sure what I meant so I checked Wikipedia.

Oh. Damn.

So depending on how things go I’ll ether be adding more stories sooner or later. I can only hope that this update has amused and informed. Maybe the one reader I have left will keep following along with what I’ve-

(Damnit. You too Mom?)