16 February 2009

Yes, I really am a pistol. Once, I was The Pistol in Bed Thirteen

At the request of @FirstPersonArts, I am here to share with you the story behind the title of my blog.

Picture it.  Philadelphia, January of 2007.  I am slightly cold lying in my hospital bed, waking up at the tender age of twenty two from my first colonoscopy.  (There's really no gentle introduction for medically prescribed sodomy with a camera attached to a flexible tube, so I figured you, dear audience, wouldn't mind me jumping right in.)  The last thing I remember was realizing that the reason that my arm felt so cold was because the room temperature anesthesia flowing into me via IV needle was significantly cooler than my core body temperature.

Suddenly my attention is drawn to the IV, still in my arm despite having been disconnected from the bags and tubing.  It itches, and I am overcome with an irresistible urge to pull the needle myself.  I think, hell, I've set my own nose the last two times I broke it with with just the handle of a plastic spoon, a Bic lighter and athletic tape. I think, gosh, I've had one whole semester of student nursing  clinical experience.  (During which, it bears noting, I never *once* touched an IV.)  I think, golly, all the time on TV there's someone with no medical training doing an emergency tracheotomy with a pocket knife, a pen and rubbing alcohol.  I think - no, wait - I wasn't thinking, I was stoned out of my damn gourd on whatever drugs are strong enough to make you believe it's OK for a team of strangers with drugs, an air compressor and that  damn camera to be messing around with your asshole.  Because, let's be serious, that generally doesn't sound like a recipe for success.

The one things I was thinking at least semi-coherently, lying there in the thirteenth curtained bay of the Pennsylvania Hospital Gastrointestinal Associates, was that I was going to pull my own IV and that everyone would think it was oh-so-hilarious.  They'd be talking about that kid with moxie for weeks.  The doctors, sure that they had just a run of the mill patient on their hands, would admire my mad medical skills, theretofore unknown to them.  And, absolutely without a doubt, the nurses would stand around the water cooler talking about that impish kid, the pistol in bed thirteen!  Yeah man, I was going to be the coolest guy who just had a camera shoved up his ass and was waiting for his mother to drive him home, like, ever!  Friends, I swear to you that this made perfect, utter sense at the time.   (This kind of convoluted thinking is also the exact reason that I don't/can't use drugs in a recreational manner.)

Needless to say, not only was I not revered by all in the medical practice but the tech, who I swear was flirting with me earlier (and thus I'm glad to say was *not* present, at least to my knowledge, during the procedure) was not at all amused.  Granted I'd staunched the light trickle of blood with gauze myself and seemed none the worse for the wear but he seemed altogether disappointed in me.  I loopily tried explaining how uncomfortable and itchy the IV was but he wasn't hearing it.  

In fact, I think he literally misheard what I said at all because his response was "if you're feeling discomfort it sometimes helps to pull your knees into your chest and release some of the gas that they pumped into you during the procedure."  I was lying in the fetal position trying to take that all in and, as I didn't immediately stir, (did I mention that I was stoned out of my gourd at the time?he started to explain again why that might help me feel more comfortable.  Half way through what he was saying I spryly rolled on to my back, pulled my knees tightly into my chest and than relaxed the rest of my body in a way achievable only through spiritual transcendence or, in this case, intense pharmaceutical intervention.  I let it fly.  I felt so. much. better.  

He. Looked. Mortified.  And he was definitely not flirting anymore.  

So, that's me.  I've got moxie.  I'm impish.  My bodily functions can apparently offend people who assist in performing colonoscopys for a living.  And I will always think of myself rather fondly as "The Pistol in Bed Thirteen."


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