Friday, July 6, 2012


A saga of surgery, suspense, medicine and mystery

But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother” – The Hollies

"Which one will the fountain bless?
Which one will the fountain bless?" - Faith/Alfven

Throughout the long, hallowed history of “… and several butcher’s aprons” we’ve tried to maintain a standard, to uphold at least the barest minimum of class and decorum, to be as intelligent and sensitive as each topic would allow, and to make sure that this was a blog you’d be proud to share with your complete clan, from Gammy to Lil’ Mary Sue – but today, alas, we may stray. For the subject at hand and the location on the body of this particular procedure demands recurrent allusions to that most secretive, most clandestine feature of the entire male anatomy, and that of course, is the part which, to the decades-long dismay of Barbie, has always been missing from Ken.  In other words, I fear this posting will have more masculine naughty-bit references than a Comedy Central Roast of John Travolta.
Nevertheless, efforts will be made to conserve and preserve the family-friendly nature of this site, and undoubtedly should you be a Kardashian, a Guccione or Borgia (the kids love 15th century comic references) we will have succeeded. So, come, join me on an adventure, as together we explore the toil, tumult and trauma of nycityman’s  premiere surgical foray and  share the countless comedic aspects of an invasive intrusion upon one’s previously thankfully un-intruded form. Prepare for treachery and intrigue, deception and perfidy, insecurity and sensuality, sense and sensibility, and Sandler and Young. It was the worst of times. It was the worst of times.
 A note - This will not be the sole media interpretation of these histrionic and harrowing happenings, as they’ve exhausted the arena of exotic and side show-like medical maladies, the good people at TLC have green-lighted the new series, “The Man with Two Hernias!” It promises to be quite, quite uninteresting and dull, and more tedious and tiresome than talent night at the Romney compound – so tune in!
My G.P.

Pre-Op: The Exam
And, let’s get right to it, shall we?
Upon self-realization that the number of protuberances visible in my lower mid-section far outnumbered the standard and socially acceptable tally (extremely easily verifiable on the internet) and like a prequel to the prequel to “Alien,” organs normally at home on the inside of my epidermis were suddenly displaying wanderlust and curiosity at the possibility of life on the other side, I thought it best I lower the barbells and visit a physician.  Well, when one submits to an examination of this sort it’s understood that you abandon thought or hope of any privacy or modesty when it comes to the region below the Mason/Dixon Line. But unless a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, this is much more exposure, inspection, assessment and manipulation than one is normally accustomed to (Bangkok business sojourns aside – I swear officer, I thought she was a woman.) Like a monkey tossing a banana, a javelin thrower going for Olympic Gold or a pogo stick on the San Andreas Fault, in this specific instance there was substantially more activity afoot than for which I was properly prepared. I wondered where my cocktail was and pondered whether to give him my insurance card or a tip.

Pre-Op: The Pre-Surgery Screening
I was not alerted to the fact that urine would be required.  I knew precious, life- giving hemoglobin would be departing my veins for labs unknown, but I was unaware of the urine test which would inevitably produce results of a Cheech-ish magnitude demanding the immediate “Mission Impossible”-like self-destruction of all clues to the copious cannabis count for concealment from the constabularies (I swear officer, nycityman is just a character, not the actual author, who lives to make people laugh.)
My Surgeon
Pre-Op: Information
It’s 90 minutes until you’re filleted like an unfortunate amphibian in a high school biology class. You’re nervous, anxious and apprehensive and you haven’t had an ounce of liquid nourishment in over 12 hours. You yearn for the blessed peace that comes with the arrival of the anesthetist, but instead you’re lying on a gurney in a hallway bustling with commotion as throngs pass, every one pondering your ailment and life-expectancy, while filling out a lengthy multiple page questionnaire which is followed by probing Congressional-hearing-like interviews from half-a-dozen hospital employees each repeating the identical queries. Those polite, sanitarily-garbed, outwardly well-behaved and purportedly well-meaning individuals know more about the sex, lies and videotapes of my existence – legal and illegal, moral and immoral, than any entity, who is not actually me, has ever known before. Is this really necessary information for the guy who shaves me and the lady from the gift shop? Does a hospital stay always resemble a confessional, and are all patients ordered to genuflect and recite 10 Hail Mary’s?
A Consulting Physician

The memory of the operating room itself is benevolently brief. Like a clown car at Ringling Brothers, there seemed an endless parade of scrub-disguised figures appearing from nowhere and rushing about with instruments, tubes and hoses. After a fleeting wonderment regarding the proper line of conversation during the celebrated and solemn shaving ceremony - Politics? Religion? Sweeney Todd?
 - the anesthesia took affect  plunging me head-long toward a journey,  hopefully sans white light at the end of a tunnel, with a bionic future where TSA-alarm-inducing, Grandma’s porch-like screen doors would be permanent fixtures in my lower abdomen keeping those inquisitive intestines incarcerated on the correct side of my skin.
A Post-Op X-Ray

My first jaunt in a wheel chair (could a Hover Round be far off?) and my first encounter with Percocet (one pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small...) and valued friend, nycitywoman (highlighted in an earlier posting) and I arrive safely, happily and painfully to the appreciated homestead (where I will remain vacuum-sealed and horribly hermetic cut off from human contact, activities and most importantly and sadly, pints of Brooklyn Lager and the convivial and cordial company found at the House of Brews for the next week to two.) Ascending the stairs to my second floor abode became Kilimanjaro-esque and for days after, every stretch, every bend had a 9.9 difficulty (with a score of 4 from the Russian judge) and so should I clumsily fumble and drop items, by necessity, floor-bound they would remain until a kind and empathetic being would assist (the effect on the condition of the cat’s litter shall remain unspoken of.)  Each instance of midsection physical contact felt akin to the results of a missed catch of a medicine ball thrown in my direction by Captain Marvel – Shazam indeed!  Every cough, evidence that the Acme Anvil/Safe Company had abandoned Wile E. Coyote and turned their violent and vitriolic attentions in my derisible direction. Most feared and dreaded of all was the predestined sneeze an event that would illicit acrid tears accompanied by a voluminous outburst cursing the fate of not only the very popular current Judeo/Christian God, but every deity that has ever been conceived by a threatened and frightened civilization.
Showering like a modern-day Tutankhamen securely ensconced in Saran Wrap, a brother to the frozen remainders of a juicy poached salmon, to protect both wounds and bandaging from the never before realized dangers of the clever chemical combination we call water, delivered  not so much an arid area as an unwieldy and large water balloon. Finally, being as weak as Mitt Romney’s performance on a polygraph and as helpless as Sarah Palin at her American History SATs, Spanky the cat sensed my vulnerability and assumed complete control of the household, making me but a slave to his selfish feline demands.  

Post OP: Returned to Life
The time has come to depart from the security and contentment of the fortress of solitude and return to the very mean city streets that haunted the soul of Travis Bickel. As Marcus Bachman discovered on his wedding night, there are some eventualities that must be faced no matter how ugly, unpleasant or frightening; and so after this prolonged interlude of isolation and inactivity, and at a place of less than full force and capabilities, I will presently be taking those first few steps wandering outside of the safe and comforting confines of the apartment. My gait most resembles that of Arte Johnson's, Tyrone F. Horneigh, I possess the strength of a store-brand plastic garbage bag (wimpy, wimpy, wimpy) and should I stumble and fall, or even worse be accosted either accidentally or by design, I’d be on the sidewalk, a turtle on its back as defenseless as Jan Brewer at a Cinco De Mayo celebration gone awry.  But House of Brews isn’t going to come to me, so…

We conclude with a classic song that tells the touching tale of a giving man and the true cause of his double hernia - He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.


  1. I almost feel guilty for laughing at your misfortune...almost.

    Pity the females of the species, with pregnancy checkups and giving birth, in the days when all the OBGYNs were men! :-)

    I enjoyed your post. Thanks!

  2. Please, any guilt is completely unnecessary. Had you not laughed than the post was a failure and I would be the one feeling guilty. Believe me, I understand this was in reality a minor medical experience, especially compared with those you mention. But take something fairly inconsequential, add a little exaggeration (a lot?) and hopefully a decently funny blog results. Thanks much for reading and writing, and I sincerely hope you continue to check in.