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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Good morning. I'm first.

Well, it's Minor Medical Procedure Week in my immediate family circle apparently.

Yesterday, my father finally went in to a local "surgical suite" (which almost sounds inviting, doesn't it?) to have an object removed from his lower left leg.

When I say "object" it's because a.) I don't yet know exactly what it was, in terms of proper medical terminology and b.) there's really no other way to succinctly describe it. This thing developed approximately three years ago, and my father, who is good at ignoring things that have the potential to inconvenience him, ignored it as it started out looking like a pimple, and then a boil, and then a clementine.

My father, who is Israeli and is, consequently, a VHB (Very Hairy Bastard) had another one of these things on his back which my mother made the mistake of lancing one evening when I guess both of them were bored and Masterpiece Theatre was a repeat. It got severely infected and my father developed MRSA, a life-threatening staph infection that requires massive doses of antibiotics and regular visits from Jehovah's Witnesses. He recovered, but the wise decision was made to put the kabash on any other at-home surgery surrounding the Titleist on his leg.

This object on my father's leg has been the source of constant joking in our family since it grew to a jokeable size around a year-and-a-half or so ago.

"Dad, I didn't know you were hiding a Volkswagen Beetle inside your leg-- that's pretty cool."

"Hey, do you think you've got an underdeveloped twin in there?"

"Oh, so that's where my old Super-Ball went."

"Jesus, Dad-- why didn't you tell us your leg was pregnant?"

And so on and so on.

My father would take it all in stride, laughing amiably and responding with his trademark line,

"I'm seeing Dr. Rose about it in a couple weeks."

My father first started this line in 2006. After about a year, I was convinced that "Dr. Rose" didn't actually exist, and he was just some figment of my father's imagination that he employed to placate us when we would bring up the golf-cart-sized growth on his leg.

"Seriously," I said one night at their house for dinner, "I can't eat with that thing in the room."

"Honey," my mother said, "please shut up and eat your chicken. Daddy's seeing Dr. Rose about it next week."

Fast forward to yesterday. It was the big day. We were all finally saying goodbye to this adopted member of the family. I felt kind of sad in a way. We had never even bothered to name it. I think, had I been on my game enough to provide it with a monkier it would have been "Burton."

I called my father on the phone after the procedure had been completed.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," he said jovially. "I'm great. The only thing that hurt was the fuckin' Novacaine shot. After that, it was great. Listen, I'm not trying to be a big man and say, 'Oh, it didn't hurt,' but, really, it was great. Mummy, what a nice place it was! Like getting surgery in the living room. Actually, I think it was even smaller than our living room. But very nice. Fucking comfortable chairs and sofas, tables. Like a living room with big lights. And you can go in and get a soda, you know. You don't have to sign in with some ugly nurse and go up to the fourth floor, fifth floor-- make you all nervous. Not like a shitty hospital with old fuckin' people-- men in gowns, women in gowns-- disgusting. This was very nice. Very convenient, too. Right in Devon, you know. Across the street from the Whole Foods."

You'd think he was doing a commercial for this place, if it wasn't for the profanity.

I called my mother last night to see how my father was doing.

"He's a tough patient, your Daddy" she said.

"I know. So how'd it go really?" I asked.

"He told me all about it afterwards. He told me that, when Dr. Rose saw it he cringed and said, 'Jesus, that's really big.' And Daddy told him he'd better wear goggles when he cuts it open and Dr. Rose just laughed, but, when he cut into it, Daddy said the thing exploded all over Dr. Rose's face. Daddy said, 'See?! I told you you should have worn goggles!' And Dr. Rose said, 'Oh, it's okay, I have glasses on.' He was very explicit."

Earlier in the week, when my sister and I were joking about the impending procedure (the prescription for the surgery had been up on my parents' refrigerator for at least two months, so we could all count down the days) I said that the operating room would probably resemble the audience at a Gallagher comedy routine, with curious med students and onlookers cowering under plastic tarps as they get showered with a tsunami of cyst juice. She cracked up and then we both got quiet, realizing how old we are for being able to reference Gallagher.

Today, I went into the hospital at the bumslice of dawn to get vial after vial of blood taken. My cardiologist sent me there after my stress echocardiogram in order to get my cholesterol and other levels checked. He wasn't pleased that my good cholesterol levels were low from a blood test I had done three years ago. The blood lab opens at 7am, but my father, who routinely gets bloodwork done for his own cholesterol, advised me to buck the system.

"Mummy-- listen. When you go for your bloodwork, get there at around 6:15. That way, chick-chack, you're the first one there and you'll be done faster. Don't sit around and wait with those old fucks, okay? Just get there quick, write your name down on the sign-in sheet and then, boom, at 7, it's you!"

He told me that, sometimes, he gets there so early all the lights are off and there's nobody at the reception desk, and there's no sign in sheet. I asked what the fuck do I do if I get there and that happens to me.

"No problem," he said, "do what I do?"

"What's that," I asked, "do you stick the fucking needle in your own arm and leave the blood all over the table for them?"

"No, honey. I don't. I take a piece of paper out of my pocket, and I write "SIGN IN SHEET" at the top, and I write "Name" and leave a space and, next to it I write "Time of Arrival" and leave a space next to it, and then I write my name, and I write "6:15" next to it and I sit down and read their stupid fuckin' magazines until the bitch gets there. And she comes in, you know, with her coffee and her Dunkin' Donuts fuckin' bagel. By this time, a couple other people have come in and have written their names under mine, and they're all sitting there and she looks at my sheet and she gets real pissed and she goes, "Who did this?" And I smile and I say, "I did. Good morning. I'm first."

And, this morning, so was I.


  1. Awesome post. My Dad had a cyst removed from his finger, and when I told people, they freaked out. Asked me if I thought it was cancer, since my Mom has cancer. Okay, well, I didn't know that breast cancer was contagious and presents as finger cancer in males?

    I just reassured them- it's not cancer, it's just gross. Dad is gross. He gets warts and shingles and corns and weirdo gross cysts.

    He called me after his surgery. "Doc says it was just some nasty shit, no cancer or anything.."


  2. Your Dad sounds hilarious. I like that he makes his own sign-in sheets. Damn the rules! Damn the man!

  3. I just read a bunch of your blogs. We have much in common, including (but not limited to)

    Fear of baptism
    Fear of K.J.I
    Carrying glocks while hiking

    AMAZING! I think we were separated at birth...


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