I went to the hospital today

Solitude produces originality, bold & astonishing beauty, poetry. But solitude also produces perverseness, the disproportionate, the absurd, and the forbidden.

Hey hey. I’m aware that it’s a little quick on the old turnaround but I just went to the hospital and it was fairly interesting so here we are. As this one’s kinda a quickie, it’s free. But if you have the means, you should really subscribe for all the great content that is coming that will not be free based in no small part on the fact that this one IS free. I love you all, but I love my paid subscribers significantly more. Anyway….let’s get to it.

First, I didn’t go due to anything having to do with coronavirus. I went because my dermatologist is there and he determined a couple of months ago that he didn’t like the look of one of my toes due to it being completely grizzled. It was like an orc toe. The nail was all black and bubbly and it didn’t like, stand in line and play nice with the rest of the toes. It’s gross. Turns out that besides having a gross everything, one of my toes is also gross. Who would have ever thought, right?

Anyway, he looked it and said, “weird toe, huh?” and I said “yup. It’s fucked up.” At which point he asked “how long has it been like this?” I said “uh, I dunno. 40 years, maybe. At least since I became consciously aware of having toenails.”

But that wasn’t really a good enough answer for him, because he decided he wanted to get in there and pull off the toenail and biopsy whatever was underneath. At this point, I should mention that both my children have this same fucked up toe…although on them it’s still adorable. Someday it’ll be Mordorian like mine is, but for now, it’s cute. 

My point is that it’s clearly a genetic thing. I’m not much for cosmetic enhancements, if that wasn’t already obvious, but if I WERE, my fucking middle toe on my right foot is HARDLY where I’d start. BUT my doctor had a boat payment to make or something so he scheduled me to come back for a little light outpatient action.

(spoiler alert: this part may be a little gross)

I go back like a week later and he injects both sides of my toe and also injects like at the tip of the toe as well. This was the only part that hurt. After that, he left me in the OR for like an hour and a half. It was probably, conservatively, three hundred and fifty degrees in there and as such I was a little surly by the time they came in and did what they had to do to my toenail. 

I will spare you the details because I’ve never told anyone about it who hasn’t said “gah! Stop!” and then made a face like I just pulled out the dick that grows directly out of my ribcage right there at the dinner table. Suffice it to say, it was gross, there was a saw and there were some pliers and at some point they scooped some shit out from under my toe for the biopsy and then a little torch appeared that made my toe smell like the least appetizing barbeque of all time. They stitched me up and told me to come back on St. Patricks day to get the stitches out. They then asked me if I wanted anything for pain, to which I said “yeah. That would be great,” and the motherfucker wrote me a prescription for Advil. Literally.

Now I’m no big city junkie. I have never in my life tried to score pain pills I didn’t need, but it’s my basic understanding that the general contract goes “you remove part of my body, I get a few pills that are kinda fun.” My friends, this contract was not executed during my toenail exchange.

Fast forward to St. Patrick’s day, and I’m not going anywhere. There are a few reasons for this:

1     It was the first real day of lockdown/shelter in place here in Chicago

2     There are a lot of very old, very sick looking people in my dude’s waiting room every time I’ve ever been there

3     I totally forgot my appointment was on that day

So, fast forward nine more days to last night, and one of the nurses calls me and says, “we need to get you in here to have your stitches out.” I said, “ah, cool. The nurse calling to tell me to come in is normal and not at all usually the job of the receptionist.” It’s impossible to get an appointment with this guy, so when they said “how’s tomorrow morning down at the hospital,” my chill as fuck brain immediately went “ah, so it’s cancer. I’m gonna die. Dope.”

There’s a scene in the book Death In Venice (actually, I’ve recently realized I’m conflating Death in Venice and another similar book that I read around the same time, so this is either in Death in Venice or this other book that for the life of me I can’t place) where there’s a dude who’s a criminal, and he’s motherfucking people left and right and he knows he’s gonna get found out and he’s gonna be murdered for it, and as a result he has no fear of the plague that’s goin around. He’s like, (and I’m paraphrasing, obviously) “man, this is what’s killin me: fuckin with the wrong people. You never hear of a motherfucker walking out of a doctor’s office after getting told they have cancer and then getting hit by a car. I’m all good, plague-wise.”

Well, so, the opposite thing. I was suddenly like “am I really gonna die of motherfucking TOE CANCER in the midst of the largest pandemic most living people have ever known? What a fucking dickpunch…but also, I GUESS at least it’s somewhat interesting, right? Bob Marley died of toe cancer and all the rest of you will die of coronavirus, so at least my cause of death will pop a little on the coroner’s rolls, yes? This was my panicked thought process as I showed up at the hospital. 

I had to wait outside as per the dictates of social distancing, and then when I got in, I was asked a few questions by a nice woman in a mask and gloves about where I’d been and how much I coughed and so forth (nowhere, none, btw). Then they took my temperature and made me stand in a little corral all by myself. When I was cleared, I checked in and headed up to my guy’s zone, where, of course, everyone was dressed in full protective gear. 

The receptionist, who is eastern European and about as warm and welcoming as one of the heads on Easter Island if it could roll its eyes and quickly say something insulting in Hungarian to its coworkers saw me and said “ah, hi Brendan. Just have a seat and we’ll be right with you” which was unnerving as shit because A) she’s mean and B) she was not being mean and C) because I’m used to waiting like an hour to get into this doctor no matter how on time I am for my appointment. So at this point I’m essentially figuring out who gets my guitars and who gets my notebooks when I die, which, I’m starting to think is gonna be any minute now. 

There’s fucking sanitizer everywhere and I’m using it and trying not to breathe at all and it’s all very tense and then they put me in a room and the nurse says “has the doctor told you what’s up?” and I said “no…?” and she said “OH! Well, I’ll just let him come in and tell you and then I’ll come back and remove your stitches.” 


So, clearly I’m dead, right? I mean…right? Death is already in the fucking AIR, man. It’s a hospital. It’s quarantine. It’s about time something killed me. Man, it’s impossible to imagine that if I WASN’T dying that this would be the bedside manner. He’s gonna come back and tell me that which cannot be uttered aloud? Lady, if the cancer doesn’t kill me, you’re gonna with this bit you’re doing here to my nervous system. Fuck. 

BUT, turns out it was fine. The doctor came in and said, “yeah, that is healing really nicely. It was a benign sample we took. If it grows back that will be benign too, not cancer. Okay, they’ll come in and remove your stitches,” and he’s out. That’s the entire time with the doctor. 

So a nurse comes in and he asks me “so what did the doctor say?” I tell him and he says “oh, so it wasn’t cancer?” which, at this point I feel like I’m in a hospital run by Daffy Duck or some shit. But we get through this dumb exchange and he takes out the stitches and man…

Is it just me? I don’t know…I’m not a super baby about pain or anything (though I am a male, and we arewimps), and I never notice stitches really while they’re in, but fuck…when they come out it’s like a full body relief. It’s like “WOW. That must have been excruciating pain I was feeling there because this relief is insane!”

About a decade or so ago, my friend Sean got his wisdom teeth pulled, long after they’d started to rot and so on and he said when he finally got them pulled it was like a loud alarm inside his head that he hadn’t realized had been on finally went silent. He actually said static, but you get the idea. What a crazy thing, right? 

We can get used to anything…humans are adaptable as shit. It’s only upon a return to normalcy that we look back and go “jesus, that static was loud” or “those stitches were fucking killing me,” or “that was a hell of a time when we were all locked up,” or “holy shit, THAT was our president?!? What the FUCK????”

So keep hope alive, vote for Bernie and stay the fuck inside. There’s a lot of alarms and static out there. Together, if we’re smart, we can turn it all off. At least for a while.

Have a great weekend.