I woke up one morning to incredible pain. Now, I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is not typical for me, so I was a little worried. My stomach had felt wonky for a few days, but I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t have insurance so a random doctor’s visit was out, I just hoped it wasn’t anything serious. I knew my wishful thinking was for naught when I awoke at 3:00 in the AM with a clamp wrenching my insides. I squirmed, rolled side to side and sweat profusely until I felt a pop and passed out. The next time I woke I was happy to be alive and not feel that kind of pain anymore, but I knew a trip to the hospital was likely. I called off work, called mom and then dad, brushed my teeth and took a shower. If I was going to be in the hospital for a few day I wanted to at least go in clean.
I got to the hospital emergency room, parked my car and sauntered my way inside. Sauntering was about the only way I was getting around in my condition. I wasn’t in much pain by this point, but I definitely didn’t feel right. So I waited in the waiting room with all the other waiters until I got a chance to wait in a split room with a guy with a broken arm. We chatted in between nurse and doctor visits until we finally went our separate ways. You get a lot of questions in an emergency room, especially when you don’t have insurance. After most of the questions, a big gulp of barium and a CT scan it was determined that my appendix decided it no longer wanted to be inside my body so it exploded. The doctor told me he was surprised because I wasn’t in much pain, but after feeling an organ inside your body pop, there’s not much that hurts after that.
I went though surgery, got super drugged up, talked about having to poop into the hospital piss jug to my roommate and a couple other friends that were checking up on me and settled in to my hospital bed for the night. Aside from being woken up and checked on at random times of the night, I slept pretty well. The next day I felt okay, but the morphine was wearing off and some pain was settling in. There wasn’t much to do besides watch TV, read and talk to the doctor and nurses making their rounds. That night was the worst since my appendix actually burst. I had a headache and a fever and I woke up every thirty minutes or so. Besides the moment my appendix burst, it was the only time I actually thought I might die. I kept asking for more morphine and the nurse finally relented, giving me enough to let me fall asleep. When I awoke I felt considerably better, but still not great. I was getting tired of being in the hospital, coming off a shitty night of sleep and feeling helpless to my current condition.
This was more or less the exact time when an attractive doctor, making her rounds with a shadow, who was also an attractive lady, came in to check up on me. Appendix scars, for those who don’t know or had their appendix out before the surgery became less invasive, are small incisions around the abdomen. The two attractive ladies pulled back my hospital gown to check the scars and, naturally, my penis flopped out. Flopped is a bit of grandiose term because after two days of pain, surgery, medication, a fever and more medication I was not representing myself as well as I would’ve liked to. The ladies were nothing but professional as they checked on me, but I felt like George Costanza, wanting to yell “I was in the pool, I was in the pool.” Well, surgery, but you know what I mean.
After they left I comforted myself with the thought that it wasn’t the first time that has happened to them and they would likely see much worse, probably that day. Still, you always want to represent yourself in the best possible light and I didn’t and couldn’t that day. The moments of pain were by far the worst parts of the entire experience, but the one moment that has really stuck with me was that one. There’s nothing quite like coming a little too close to death only to get embarrassed about an overly medicated, floppy weiner.
Later that day I was up walking and the next day I went home and eventually healed up fine, not being able to take a normal, adult male sized shit for a while aside. My scars are barely noticeable and the hospital wrote off the surgery bill (thank god) because I made so little money at the time. Overall it was very much preferable to dying. But damn if I couldn’t go back and represent myself a little better to two nurses that I never saw again. I could’ve cracked a few jokes or given my dang dang a little pep talk. But that’s my neurosis. I’m no George Costanza or Larry David, but I’m not as far away from them as I would like to think. We all need the occasional pep talk. And so do our penises. (And maybe vaginas for the penis-less.)