Major Medical

Since the epic two-part screed on Di’s adventures in the Army medical system was so well-received, I thought it would be entertaining to add a page from my own medical mishap book. Now, my book is much, much thinner than Di’s, so this is probably the only event that is moderately humorous. Also unlike Di’s book, thus far none of the chapters contain near-death experiences such as failed cartwheels. This is far less a rant than it is a humorous reflection on my own tendency to fail. The context here is this: I was a young Major at Fort Knox (hence the title). I’d decided to do some DIY landscaping and was out with the truck ‘acquiring’ some large rocks.

After completing the task and some arranging and digging, I quit for the day. Not long after, I started feeling… bad. Then I felt… really bad. Hanging out with my good buddy, Toilet, I waited for the inevitable a few minutes before I noticed a line of six angry pimple-looking welts growing at an alarming rate on my forearm. My brain, for once helpful, flashed me a picture of the thumb-sized Black Widows I’d seen on my rock foraging expedition. “Well, shit,” I actually said out loud, and wandered out to the kitchen. An epic migraine was building fast, and I was gonna need some help. Di was napping, and I was averse to waking her (which is one reason why I’ve avoided near death experiences). Daughter Unit the First was plugged into the internet, also in a coma.

I decided that the best approach would be to drive over to the ER while I could and pimp some doctor-grade Motrin. Simple plan, easy-in, easy-out. I let Daughter Unit the First know I was running to the ER and I’d be back soon. She grunted. I departed. The plan was ticking along smoothly, and I even didn’t have to wait in a sea of vomiting kids or bleeding skatebiker tweens. Sitting in the evaluation room, I was pleased. Then shit started coming apart violently…

  • Di rocketed into the ER, bra cinched up and ready for a fight. After sharing her recommendations for any future situations like this with the rest of the hospital floor (and me), she went to stalk down a doctor.
  • Apparently successful, Di returned with a doctor. In a fez. Yes, the wacky inverted cupcake hat with a tassle. This was post-9/11, mind you.
  • Thirty minutes later, I’m contorted around having a spinal tap. “This might give you a headache,” Fez Guy informs me. “Worse than the one I came in for?” I mumbled. The procedure didn’t hurt really at all. They gave me a painkiller (finally) at this point, which still seems backward. In minutes I have accomplished what I set out to do, which was kill the migraine. I was vaguely aware of but totally unconcerned when they rolled my stoned ass somewhere else.
  • One week later, after pissing off the entire ward’s staff in spite of the demerol, they release me from the biohazard isolation vault, having determined that the spider had not given me meningitis.

Not being the roundest bowling ball in the rack, I’ve struggled to determine exactly what the learning point of this is, but needless to say I thoroughly inspect all rocks when I borrow them.


51 Responses to “Major Medical”

  1. *salutes* ….. at the title.

  2. Wow. That’s seriously badass. I don’t think I’ve got anything to trump it since my injuries are more quantity than quality. Although my first kid was over one-third my height the day he was born so that sucked.

    To me the worst part of your whole experience would have been being stuck in the hospital for that long. My ADHD would have sent me climbing the walls. I can’t sit still to save my life.

  3. A week? You spent a week in the hospital and the nurses didn’t kill you?

    You must have been on your very best behavior. :mrgreen:

  4. John Erickson Says:

    You DID learn a very important lesson. You learned to get whacked out of your head FIRST. Always, ALWAYS get the painkiller FIRST. After that, any time spent in a hospital really doesn’t matter…….

  5. That reminds me of the time I almost killed my Rockstar with a brown recluse. To be clear, that was an accident.

  6. i always prefer that my doctors wear a fez.

  7. @ John Erickson: Just do what I did. Buy a car that’s older than you and we’ll all be happy.

    • John Erickson Says:

      Well, my Cavalier becomes an official antique next April – 25 years old. So that’s a step. Unfortunately, I can’t afford the kinda cars I’d love from the “my age” era – big ol’ station wagons.
      Then again, there is somebody just down the road selling a Bug of approximately the right vintage. Maybe with a little body work…..

      • I think past a certain point – maybe 1973 – cars stopped having the ability to be classics.

      • John Erickson Says:

        Well, thank you for recognising my first car, a 73 Vega, as a classic. But I will defend to the death the “classic” status of my Z-24. Think of it as a 3/4 scale muscle car – big V-6 in a small car, as opposed to a big V-8 in a mid-size. And it can still whup the butt off most cars on the road today. And pretty much any SUV, but then again, so could my Vega – even with the Bondo and fobreglass body and 2-speed auto, wired together with bailing wire. (I ain’t kidding – the inner and outer door panels were held together with roofing cement!)

  8. That’s because between 1973-1974 the US suffered an oil embargo, causing motor vehicle manufacturers to respond by creating smaller, more fuel efficient motors, relegating eight-cylinder big blocks to the totally lame-ass “utility” status. (Please, please, please lie to me and tell me you didn’t know this already. I need to know SOMETHING you don’t and cars are all I’ve got).

    By the way, the “engineer/designer” who defiled the Mustang in 1974 needs to be strung up by his ankles Mussolini style.

    • John Erickson Says:

      Well, H.E., that’s cause the 70s “Mustang II” was built on the same chassis as the dreaded Pinto (my wife had one – Pinto, not Mustang, though what’s the diff?). If you park a 74 Pinto and a 74 Mustang side-by-side, they match right down to wheelbase and suspension. They just put a wheezy V-8 in the ‘Stang, though the base V-6 was an option in the Pinto. My wife’s did have the rather awesome 2.3 litre overhead-cam four from Germany – the same engine they used for the Ford Ranger, the Turbo T-Bird, and the Mustang SVO. It was even used for decades in a class of racing called “Formula Ford”. That was a SWEET motor! The V-8s did soldier on, but at one point, the GM 350 was making less than 200 horsepower – a crime against humanity.
      Sorry, H.E., I’m a gearhead second, military junkie first. I’m sure there are TONS of things you know more about. I can guarantee you know more about the kitchen – while I don’t burn water, I can dirty a dozen dishes boiling a pot. It’s a ground rule of my marriage – the kitchen is STRICTLY off-limits!

      • 1. Pintos ROCK! Honestly, they do. They don’t get enough credit. I “accidentally” hung one in a tree once. Still ran strong after they pulled it down.
        2. Yeah, I can admit when I’ve been schooled. I always leave here knowing something new, so I don’t mind.
        3. I’d almost guarantee you know more about the kitchen than I do. My problem is I have zero attention span, so unless I’m actually chained to an appliance I’ll wander off and forget I’m using it. Nearly burnt the house down once.

      • John Erickson Says:

        Both Pintos and Vegas got a bad rep they didn’t fully deserve. Yeah, Vegas rusted faster than they got from 0-60, but you could fix ’em with everyday tools, and they were solid. (I got into an accident, shortened the right front by over a foot. We chocked the wheels and pulled the sheet metal out with a fence puller, smoothed on some Bondo, and voila!) The Vega and the Pinto had the EXACT same rear end layout – bumper, muffler, gas tank. It was only bad luck that gave the Pinto the “bomb” rep. I dis-assembled the engine on my wife’s 78 Pinto down to the pistons with nothing but hand tools, cleaned it all up and put it back together. Actually had two big, heavy brackets left over, couldn’t figure out where they went. But it didn’t matter, the engine started first time, and ran just fine without them! The Vega’s only problem (other than rust) was the aluminum block engine. If you changed the oil religiously (like my dad did), no problem. It was the jokers who were used to doing one oil change a year that ate the aluminum blocks. Our Vega went through being a commuter car for my dad, my sister’s first car, back to my dad, to me as first car and then my commuting car (first to college – 25 miles each way on the freeway – then 2 miles round trip to the commuter rail station) until I got my Cavalier in 1987, then back to my dad until he traded it in on his 1989 wagon. The poor Vega was held together by bailing wire, fibreglass, fibered roofing cement (the fibres were the important part), Bondo, and even some household caulk, but it was running when my dad traded it in, and the dealer resold it! I loved that Vega, and actually cried when my dad sold it. My wife’s Pinto got left behind when we were forced to move down here to Ohio, but the thing was beat worse than my Vega. My wife called it “Puddles” for VERY good reasons, and I never did find all the leaks. I’ve always wondered what happened to that beast….

      • John Erickson Says:

        You know, SOME people would be happy to have me hijack their blog, and cut down on the work they have to do.
        But I’ll just say this – be VERY careful what you wish for……

  9. I like your Vega story and you should get a post of your own. I bet all kinds of people have awesome car stories. I have a story about my my dad’s 1979 Dodge LeMans. Talk about an awesome car. I think I’ll write a post about it now…:)

  10. At least you created a cool post from the whole mishap. Well done.

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