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6:18 a.m. - 2001-11-10

AND A HEART-STOPPING GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL

You know...I remember it like it was yesterday...

I was sitting right at this same computer, looking at this exact same screen, trying to think of something else to write.

Hmmm. My balls ached a bit.

Next thing I knew...that's what I had typed.

I hit the "done!" button.

And then the emails started flooding in.

"GO GET CHECKED, UNCLE BOB!" "THERE SHOULD BE NO PAIN IN YOUR TESTICLES, UNCLE BOB!" "TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR TESTICLES WHILE I GO GET MY BATTERY OPERATED BOYFRIEND, UNCLE BOB!"

You people scared the bejeezus out of me.

So I made a doctor's appointment.

Now...almost 20 doctor's appointments later...I'm pretty damned sure that I'm finished with the doctors.

I know my evil boss Wendigo will be thrilled. She was getting tired of making excuses for my ass.

My insurance company will be ecstatic.

My wife will be thrilled that she no longer has to take any time off to drive my drugged ass home.

You people should be satisfied that I took your advice.

...And my testicles?

They quit hurting two days after I wrote that crap.


So yesterday was the big heart catherization.

I was never too nervous about it. I guess I had talked to enough people and heard from enough people to where it sounded pretty simple.

You go in, they stick a tube in your groin that goes all the way to your heart, they take several pictures of your heart from the outside, the inside and then once you fall asleep, all the nurses crowd around your exposed genitalia for a few Polaroids in silly staged photos that make you look like the all you can eat buffet at an orgy.

Naturally, they don't make mention of the Polaroids once you wake up, which I thought was kinda shitty, but who am I to argue? I did that all the time in college.

So Susie and I get to the hospital yesterday and they take me in the back almost immediately. The girl explains what's going to happen to me in detail.

The only thing that sorta freaked me out was the whole "pube-shaving" thing. I didn't know if they would actually have to do that or not. Yesterday in the shower I thought "I wonder if I should go ahead and shave them myself, just in case." Then I thought no...what if I didn't need them shaved and then I show up with a shaved crotch and everyone snickers at me because I look like I haven't gone through puberty yet.

So I left them intact. Although I did attach several pretty little bows to them which is something I always do when there's a chance my crotch is going to be eyed by several strangers. I look at it as a nice surprise that the doctors can say "Well, isn't that sweet?"

I asked the nurse to be honest...I could die here, couldn't I?

She hesitated for a moment and I said "Be honest!"

She said "yes".

And my heart dropped.

"You were supposed to say NO!" I said hysterically. "God! Now I'm really freaking out!"

She said that with any surgery, there's a chance of death. That's the way it goes.

Well thanks a lot Susie Sensitive. Tell that to my baby.

She asked me if I had to go to the bathroom and I said "No. Do you?"

That kinda took her by surprise. Luckily my wife was there to serve as my nervous laugh track which is there to point out when I was kidding and when I was serious.

So I got nekkid and slipped on this gown that woulda been too small for my baby boy. I was humiliated as I laid down on the bed, with my ass hanging out for everyone to see.

Cindy the nurse came back in and said she was going to shave me now.

She started the shaving and I giggled. I'm ticklish down there. Sorry. I can't help it.

It was a dry shave. I guess she did okay, but nobody held up a mirror to my crotch for my final approval. I felt down there and said "Holy Moley!"

Rev. Brian showed up soon after my shaving. I was really wanting to show him the shave job because I thought it was kinda cool. Then I realized I'd be laying in bed, flashing my freshly shaved pecker at my pastor.

The thought of going to Hell for that was a bit strong. If I'm going to Hell, I want it to be for serial adultery or something more fun than flashing my jimmy at a man of the cloth.

Brian wanted to have a moment for prayer and I told him not to freak me out. He prayed, I halfway listened and halfway thought how cool my new crotch felt.

After the prayer he asked if he freaked me out. I said no, and what I meant was not to say anything like "And if Uncle Bob dies...take care of him Lord. Because when he dies in a few minutes...it's going to be pretty sad."

And he didn't. So he got my seal of approval.

I was then whisked away to the operating room.

Okay...here's where things got a bit fuzzy. My memory gets a little bad here.

I remember a really nice guy talking to me. He said it was cold in there and he told me to tell my nurse I wanted a really good cocktail. So I did.

The nurse hooked my IV up to something that made me feel really good.

I remember her saying that I might want more of that cocktail. I told her that'd be nice.

I remember somebody telling me to hold my breath. I wasn't taking big breaths so I just stopped breathing for a second. They did this two or three times and I just held my breath when they told me.

I looked at some monitors with all kindsa dark stuff on them and thought "When are they going to put the tube in me?"

I remember trying to see if my doctor had made it in the room yet.

Then I remember the doctor saying it was over with and I thought "Where the hell have you been, doc?" He said I did really good. I didn't respond to him. They made me get back on my gurney and ... and...and...then Susie and Brian were coming into my recovery room.

I lost about an hour of time there. I remember when Susie and Brian came in, I told the nurses that I was going to play dead and they were supposed to pretend I was dead. But I was kinda slow, so I didn't really finish the sentence until Susie was holding my hand. I tilted my head, closed my eyes and stuck my tongue out the side of my mouth. I thought it was hilarious.

Nobody else did.

A nurse was applying pressure to my groin and had been for 20 minutes. She asked me how it felt and I said "Sexy!" At least I got a few snickers on that one.

I was told to lay there and the only things I had to keep absolutely still was my right leg and my head. I could move my left leg. I could move my arms. But I couldn't lift my head off the pillow or adjust my right leg.

Everyone says that's the worst part. Well, it was a piece of cake for me.

Granted, I must have lifted my head off the pillow about 1,300 times on accident. I couldn't help it. For some reason, I kept forgetting that I wasn't supposed to raise it.

The doctor came in and said that I have a very slight blockage in one of my arteries, but it was so slight that it wasn't complicating anything and wasn't worth operating on. With proper diet and exercise, it will probably go away on its own. Other than that, I was perfect.

In other words..."Thanks for having Blue Cross/Blue Shield!!!"

So I laid in bed for three hours, flipping through channels on TV, dozing off every now and then and making jokes with the nurses who never quite warmed up to me like I thought they would have. I must have had a shitty opening act. Which I did, because once I was dressed and put in a wheelchair to leave, the nurse told me that I was lucky...out of five people they were doing today, three of them had to have heart bypass surgeries. Me and another lady didn't.

Well hell. I bet they didn't have their preachers standing over them praying right before they went in either.

The power of prayer, kiddies. Look into it.

Anyway...I'm counting my blessings this morning. I'm officially finished with all my scheduled doctor appointments and with the exception of diabetes, I'm damned near healthy.

And you know what?

My balls feel like a million bucks.

I think I'll go shave them.

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