I have a question. Who are all these people who battle scary diseases, “with courage until the very end”? Isn’t there anyone who battles them while throwing a tantrum like a baby?
In those dreadful hours when my own heart attack hit me, I sweated and hyperventilated and finally calmed my panic long enough to manage a single, transcendent thought: I am going to be a coward about this.
This is my inspirational story.
The chest pains came over me last Halloween, just after the trick-or-treaters had left. You’d think God could have just toilet-papered my house or something. But he had other ideas for me, evidently.
It turns out that the emergency room on Halloween is kind of a happening place. I was soon stabilized, alert, very much not-yet-dead. I found myself talking with a rather pleasant doctor – an Asian woman, Dr. Ling.
“You know,” Dr. Ling said, “You’re a nice relief after treating the intoxicated Sexy French Maid, the intoxicated Sexy Fireman and the intoxicated Sexy Nurse.”
“There’s an intoxicated sexy nurse?” I asked, hopefully. “Will she be treating me?”
“No no, she’s not a real nurse,” Dr. Ling said.
“That’s okay,” I said. “I trust her.” I was already adjusting my johnny to look my very best.
“Very funny. But you don’t need any more shocks to your heart.”
Was this where I was headed? Was I now one of those men who needs to, “Check with your doctor first to see if your heart is healthy enough to look in the general direction of a woman”?
“I think these canned peaches might be a shock to my heart, actually,” I said.
It turned out this was just the beginning of my trials. I spent the next hours fearing everything from needles to the loss of my manly virility. Sometime late that night I was still in my little curtained bay in the ER when I heard a nurse call out, loudly and firmly, “MISS! You can’t walk down the hall like that! You’re not wearing any clothes!”
Of course, at this critical moment, I was attached to IVs, ports, monitors. DAMMIT!!!!! Gotta…Get….Up!!!!! Must…make my way to the hallway…now! Should I hit the NURSE button? Isn’t this an emergency?
ME: I REALLY REALLY need to get up! This is important.
NURSE: You mustn’t do anythng to excite yourself. You’ve just had a trauma to your heart.
ME: No!!!! Why, God? Why????
NURSE: Actually, it’s good you called for me. It is time for us to draw some blood.
ME: Does it have to be mine? Can’t you take it from someone else?
Two days later, November 2nd, I had a stent put in. It is easy to remember the date because it happened to be my birthday.
In preparation for my surgery, I had my groin shaved by a gigantic man who bore an uncanny resemblance to Hulk Hogan.
“Hi there,” Hulk Hogan said. “I’m here to shave your groin.”
“To shave your groin. It’s completely routine.”
I pulled back on my gurney. “It may be routine for you. For me, it’s…rather unusual.”
“It’s in case they need to send the camera up through the groin.”
I didn’t particularly like the idea of them sending a camera into my groin. What would they be looking for down there? Some small bit of remaining virility that needed to be removed?
“The doctor said they would go in through my wrist,” I tried.
“Well, yes,” Hulk Hogan said. “But the groin is for back-up. I’m sure your wrist will be fine. But who knows if the next guy’s will? So we just shave everyone.”
“I see. So this is just for practice. In case the next guy needs it.”
He took out the razor. Flexed his massive biceps. The blade glistened in the brilliant light. A frisson of terror passed through me. What is he going to do? This is it! My final punishment. He’s Going To….!!!!!
“Relax,” the Hulk said.
He was surprisingly gentle, as it turned out. I slowly relaxed. He guided the razor carefully. Nay, almost…soothingly. Up and back. Down and across. At last I received my anesthesia and drifted off.
Dutiful Mrs. Post was waiting for me afterward. “Happy Birthday. How did it go?”
My head was still cloudy. “Mmmm,” I said dreamily. “It was really, really nice.”
“Best sex I’ve had in sooooo long.”
“Huh?? I was asking about your operation. What are you talking about?”
“Mmmm. The Hulk.”
“The what??? Are you okay?”
“Sorry.” I blinked, tried to clear my thoughts. “I think I’m still a little light-headed.”
“Evidently.” Mrs. Post talked about the blockage, the stent. “Oh I forgot to tell you. Someone toilet-papered our house.”
“Incredible!” I exclaimed. “So it wasn’t enough that he gave me a heart attack. He had to toilet paper our house too?”
“Who are you talking about?” she asked.
“I’m talking about God. Obviously! Who else would I be talking about?”
“What??? You think God toilet-papered our house?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Who else would toilet-paper our house?”
“Why would God toilet-paper our house?”
“He’s vengeful! That’s why. He’s a vengeful God.”
“First of all, I thought you don’t even believe in God. And second of all, why would he pick you?”
“Why would he pick me? I don’t know. Maybe same reason Hulk Hogan would shave my groin!!”
“What on earth are you talking about?”
“Just forget it. You never understand.”
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