LIGHTS OF PERVERTED SCIENCE

.11The title comes from Winston Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons on June 18, 1940 in anticipation of The Battle of Britain. Also known as the “Finest Hour” speech.

The lead up to that phrase is about sinking into the abyss of a new dark age, in the event that Germany won the war. I thought about calling this post that, The New Dark Age, but reading the full speech yielded lights of perverted science, and that makes more sense when talking about a person who invents his own reality.
My wife Danusia has taken Mr. Trump’s presidency very hard. So have a lot of my friends, judging by the Facebook and Twitter traffic I’ve seen the past couple of months. And yes, it’s bad. It will be bad for us and bad for the country as a whole, and it will be bad for those people who voted for Mr. Trump and gleefully reveled in his surprising win. More on that later.
I just watched a documentary about Mr. Trump made in 1991 called Trump: What’s The Deal? It is said that Mr. Trump found it so unflattering that he sued to try and stop its release. It was very revealing, and in it out of Mr. Trump’s mouth he actually talks about his addiction, “I don’t smoke, I don’t drink or do drugs, there are some things I don’t want to talk about, but I have to say, addiction can be positive.” Well, if addiction can be positive I must have missed something along the way.

trmp
Mr. Trump did a lot of real estate deals in the 80s where he basically lied and bullied his way through, in terms of getting financing and convincing investors to invest. He never uses his own money in case everything goes south. Only his investors lose.
He famously bought the Commodore Hotel directly east of Grand Central Station in 1980 by claiming he already possessed the rights to the investor, the Hyatt Corporation. They put up the money and Mr. Trump made a lot of money on a lie. He later called it “truthful hyperbole.”
Which brings us to the present, to Kelly-Ann Conway’s “alternate facts.”
“Truthful hyperbole”, and “alternate facts”, is what normal people call lies.
But these are not normal people.
Why is Kelly-Ann Conway not out of a job? Where’s the famous “you’re fired?” After all, her Bowling Green Massacre fiasco makes her, and by extension her boss look stupid. And Mr. Trump does not like to look stupid.

Mr. Trump is the epitome of the insecure, thin-skinned bully in constant need of the spotlight. He can dish it out but he can’t take it.

The other night I watched a show on PBS, Hunting ISIS. In it a reporter (Iraqi) is embedded in a unit clearing out Mosul house to house in recent months. There is a scene in which the Iraqi government forces storm a home, which contains a couple of older men, a few women of various ages, and a bunch of children. They are all herded into a big room, presumably the family room. The men and a couple of the women hold white flags, and they are all cowering in fear.
The eldest of the woman, a middle aged woman in a traditional Habib addresses the soldiers. “There is no ISIS here”, she declares, hands shaking. That was what I couldn’t stop watching. The white flag in her hands shaking uncontrollably, thinking she may be killed any moment.
I described the scene to Danusia as we lay in bed later that night, after she spoke of her fear and loathing of the Trump Presidency.
“He thrives on fear, chaos, and hatred”; I said. If you give into his menace, he wins. This is what he wants, to live in the hearts of the people that hate him, to make us cower and shake. Because it is attention, and we know how he craves attention. I will not live in fear, and I will not cower. I may suffer some, but I know I will not have to shake like that woman in the video, because we have a long way to go to outright civil war in this country.
I will do what I have been doing, making the phone calls, writing about it, encouraging my friends in despair.
There is strength in numbers, and we have to stick together. But we cannot be afraid, and we need to use dialogue, rather than hatred to get out of this. Because if we hate, we become just like him and he wins. He will point and say, “I told you so.”
Back to what I said before, referring to that other man who gleefully took over a country. He was a man prone to truthful hyperbole too, and he had his own Kelly Ann.

lil-joered-white-and-blueAnd he eventually lost. And so did the German people. Hitler said the German people deserved to suffer because they hadn’t fought hard enough. They were weak. Sound familiar?

After he lost all of those people who supported him suddenly denied him, but since he was dead by then it didn’t hurt his easily hurt feelings. World War Two came about basically because of the hurt feelings of an entire nation and a man who was able to harness that.
There are a lot of people in this country who had hurt feelings, the people who felt they’d gotten the shit end of the stick from the liberal “elites” in Washington, and there is something to that.
I voted for Hillary, but I can never get away from the fact that she is one of the elites. What the people who voted for Mr. Trump will one day come to see is that he too is one of the elites, and they will always be on the bottom, getting the “shit end of the stick.”
Hopefully by the time that happens this social experiment will be over, and some of the elites will find a way to include the “disenfranchised” in a way that doesn’t require a healthy dose of fear and hatred

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

ONLY CASTLES BURNING

balloons

So I am not watching the inauguration, for what it’s worth. That’s something to think about, what it’s worth.
Is it worth it to me to live with a sick feeling in my stomach, to live in fear and hatred? No. I won’t even name it, because attaching a name gives it power.
Years ago, when I was first getting clean, I heard a woman talk about her sudden ex-boyfriend, and was exasperated that she was giving him her “power.” It was a new concept for me, and I was going through a divorce at the time so I identified with her sudden sense of betrayal (she’d discovered he’d been cheating on her) and I too wished I could let go of thinking about how I’d been betrayed for every waking moment.
I took her statement to heart and realized there was nothing I could do about my situation, only about what my thoughts and feelings about it were.
It took some time, and a lot of crying and whining and feeling sorry for myself, but I got there. I took my power and spirit back. And I vowed to keep it.
So today, despite however vile and despicable the utterances of the said unnamed person I will not let it poison my heart. I will go on with my life and continue to be true to myself, and not let the pain fester in my heart.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt once famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

fdr-martini

While true as a concept, it is hard to separate the actual visceral fear I feel when a part of me is threatened. I can understand how undocumented immigrants; women in need of Planned Parenthood and Muslims must feel at the moment.
I myself fear what will happen to my social security now that I am close to the right age to benefit from the years of working and paying into it.
But what ever happens I will persevere, I will keep my perspective and take whatever steps there are in my power to take, and I will not let it turn me into an angry, emotionally crippled bowl of jelly.
I will march, write letters, make phone calls, express solidarity.
But I am done with name calling, hatred and disparaging.
The only way to get through anything in the end is through dialogue, and I have to be the bigger guy, because if I revert to ridicule and name calling I become just like the man whose entire grip on self-esteem is based on the ridicule and disparagement of those who don’t agree with him.

neil-young

I won’t let it bring me down. You know the rest.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

PILGRIMAGE

lou2

 

I wanted to ride the new subway the day it opened. I wanted to ride on that noon Q train that would leave from 96th street heading south for the first time. I also don’t want to pay rent for the rest of my life. Some things just never seem to work out.
But I knew I’d get around to it sometime. After all, I grew up hearing about the Second Avenue subway, and when I lived on East Houston Street and Clinton in the 80s I would dream about a Second Avenue subway, so I could go uptown without first heading further west if I need to get to somewhere on the Upper East Side. And now it is here, albeit not all the way to Houston Street.
In the week leading up to the opening, there were dozens of spots on the local news about it, most of them featuring our intrepid Governor, Cuomo. Every time I saw him promising that the line would open on schedule I thought of the poor working bastards that were on the receiving end of the Governor’s whip. Andrew don’t take no shit, as Mayor Bill has discovered much to his dismay.

96st
I was amused when I heard that he’d been invited (and attended) the special New Year’s Eve party the Governor threw at the new stations. There was a special train (the one featured on the news with the nifty new SUBWAY logo) that went back and forth between 96th and 72nd Streets. And more, all for a specially invited 500 people who were involved in getting the project done. I’m sure none of the sand hogs were invited.
On watching one of the videos, I sat up straighter on the couch when I saw that on the wall of one of the stations, they didn’t indicate which one, there was a huge photograph of Lou Reed’s face that had been transferred to tiles and affixed to the wall. I recognized the photo, one taken not long before he died three years ago.
In the photo where Lou seriously stares straight at the camera you can see his age, the face worn and creased and wizened. The tile portrait is from a Chuck Close painting done from a photograph. I’d seen the painting before.
Now I had to go. I had to make the pilgrimage to see Lou.
I first heard Rock and Roll by the Velvet Underground when I was 15, on WNEW FM radio. The next day I went to Korvette’s in Union Square and bought my first Velvet Underground album. I would eventually buy all of them, and most Lou Reed solo records. I was smitten, not just by the Velvet underground, but by Lou Reed. He was the person I most wanted to be like in the world when I was a teenager.
I saw him for the first time at Alice Tully Hall in 1973. I went by myself, not having a girlfriend at the time. That was the Transformer tour, and when the album was released RCA records actually promoted it. One of the promotional tools was a huge poster:

transformer

The poster was plastered at subway stations all over the city. There were a couple of them at the Clinton-Washington G train station near Pratt, where I was studying at the time. One night I went down to the station with a mat knife in hand, and managed to free most of one of the posters from the wall. That poster was taped to the wall of every bedroom I had until I lost track of it somehow. Life back then was pretty fuzzy so I forget what happened to the poster.
Later in the year, in July to be exact, I came face to face with Lou one night at a party for the Stooges at Max’s Kansas City. They say never meet your heroes, you might be disappointed, and disappointed I was when he refused to talk to me. But I never stopped loving Lou or his music.

I saw him many times after that, the last time I think in 2009 when he was part of a tribute to the “Freedom Riders” put together by Hal Wilner at the Highline ballroom. He did two songs I did not recognize but it was wonderful to see him up on stage doing what he does best. Tim Robbins the actor and Pete Seeger’s grandson Tao also performed. I am lucky to have seen so many iconic performances.
So after going through all of that I had to go and see this tribute to Lou Reed, for to be made part of a subway wall is certainly a special tribute.
There were other tile portraits, including a huge baby face, but I have no idea who they are. I only know Lou, and that was all that mattered to me, and the trip was worth it.
I caught the Q train at 34th Street heading north and was amazed that when the train entered the new tunnel you could actually see the concrete walls. I guess all subway tunnel walls are bare concrete, and as such are pale grey in color, but the new ones aren’t covered with 80 plus years of grime and steel dust.
I didn’t know where the Lou Reed piece was, so I took the train to 96th Street and went up to look. I was determined to find it, and was going to visit each station till I found it and took a picture of it.

up

96th was a bust, the walls were all blue with these white arrowhead things all over the place like snowflakes. I snapped a couple of pictures and went downstairs to take the next downtown train to 86th Street.
86th Street has special cache for me because I worked on 86th Street for many years and my ex-wife used to work at the 92nd Street Y when our son was small so I spent a lot of time on 86th Street. I got off the train and got on the up escalator. Just as my eyes cleared the deck of the upper level there he was, my man Lou Reed permanently pasted to a concrete wall on a New York City subway station. My heart filled with joy, I’d made it.

lou

One of the thoughts that came to me was the line “words of a prophet written on a subway wall” from Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of silence. Now, not just the words, but the man himself. You can’t get any more New York than Lou Reed, and I think he’s getting a kick out of it in Rock and Roll heaven.

Posted in New york, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PRIVILEGE

Kenedy

I voted in a presidential election for the second time in my life yesterday. The guy at the door to the school across the street from my home smiled, and people I’d never seen in my life nodded and said good morning as we passed each other on the stairs.
I ended up standing in line behind one of my downstairs neighbors, a fifty-ish woman who lives alone with her two small dogs and sometimes plays music too loud. She had her two dogs, a white westy terrier and a pug with her. I heard so many people ask if they the dogs voting also that I lost count.
I felt privileged to be voting, I became a citizen in January 2009 and I missed voting for President Obama the first time. That’s whom I voted for in 2012. When I got my ballot yesterday and looked around at my neighbors, black, white, Hispanic and Asian, it made my eyes well up. I felt like a real American, despite the fact that I’ve lived in this country for the past 60 years. I hadn’t expected to feel so emotional about it, but I did.
I am a Mexican American, and when I heard Donald Trump’s first speech, the day he announced his candidacy I was revolted by his assertion that Mexicans are murderers and rapists.
It turned my stomach years ago when I would read about his public feuding with Rosie O’Donnell, I wondered just what kind of a grown-up man would resort to the kind of taunting you hear in a schoolyard when you are 11 or 12. Apparently men like Donald Trump. Thinking of him as president was a scary thing to me, and I did my part by voting for Hillary Clinton.

voted
I watched with dismay last night as the numbers started to flash on the screen, with the sinking realization that Mr. Trump was winning, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
He won by appealing to the base fear of the middle of the country, and it was plain to see by the map of blue and red by how the middle of the country was uniformly red, Colorado being notably the only blue state not on either coast.
I often wondered during the campaign how people could be so totally ignorant, so incredibly close-minded, but I had only to remember my days in the army when I was stationed in Ft. Bragg, N.C. and got to know soldiers from the Deep South and the middle of the country.
I was fascinated by their universal lack of education and general ignorance of the world around them. I was further fascinated by their concrete convictions about their view of the world; there was no room for dissent or new ideas. I have to say I was involved in a lot of arguments during my time on Ft. Bragg; sometimes we almost came to blows. That was scary enough and I was glad to be going home to New York when my time was up.
I watched in amusement this morning as the story about the Canadian Immigration website crashing because so many Americans were looking to see what it would take to do so.
During the 2000 election I was working as a doorman in a building on the Upper West Side, a place famous for being a bastion of New York liberal thought, a place that George Bush had little chance of winning.
There was a tenant, a really outspoken super-liberal who in actuality was a narcissist in the mold of Mr. trump, except form the other side of the political spectrum. I’ll call her Donna.
She boasted to anyone who would listen that if Bush won she was moving to France.
She did move out after the election, I didn’t know or care where to- I was just happy not to have to listen to her anymore. I was walking through Greenwich Village one day a few months later when I spotted Donna walking her beagle up Greenwich Street. I wanted to run up behind her and ask, “How do you like France, Donna?” I’m a wise guy at times. But I though the better of it, if I had belittled her I’d be just like her. She was of the opinion that all doormen were stupid.
I want to say to these people who are thinking of running away, what would that solve, except to sooth your own ego?
The work has to be done here. As a nation we must improve our education system, we have to show our citizens that we are all the same inside, with the same hopes, dreams, and aspirations, no mater what our skin color or country of origin is. Immigrants come here for a better life, they want to become Americans. They want to fit in, grow and help build a stronger democracy.
It will take time and work, and a lot of discomfort and dissatisfaction, but the only way to bring about change is to stay and work for that change, not run away from the bully. The only way to stop a bully is to stand up to him, and the Americans that care have to start standing up. Let’s make sure Mr. Trump is a one-term president. We can do it. It’s our privilege.

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SAY HELLO (Gentrification)

 

nyt

I live in Hamilton Heights. That’s in Harlem, on 152nd Street. My wife and I have lived here for two years, we just signed our third lease, and our rent was bumped up another $75 a month. It could be worse; I’m reminded on occasion.
I do the laundry every Saturday in the laundry down the block, on the corner of Broadway and my block, across Broadway.
When we first moved in there was only one New York Times laying on a stoop down the block every Saturday. I notice things like that, because there was a time where I would have helped myself to a free paper, or at least the magazine, which has the crossword in it. After all, a Sunday Times is five bucks, and that’s a lot for just the crossword. It would be like buying an album for the only one good song on it in the old days. But I don’t do either anymore.
But I still notice the paper sitting in front of the building, and soon after moving in there were two papers.
Today there was a third. More New York Times deliveries mean more white people, which mean gentrification.

nyt & ads
When I first moved in I had to visit seven different bodegas until I found one that carries the New York Times. They only get five copies a day, compared with twenty or so Posts and News.
You might wonder why I don’t just subscribe, that’s something I’ve done before. But aside from getting my paper stolen I only do the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday crosswords, the other days are just too easy. And as I mentioned before, the price of the Sunday paper is just too dammed high.
But the point isn’t the price of the paper, or the paper itself, it’s young white professionals (or unprofessionals, whichever the case may be) moving in to a primarily Black and Dominican neighborhood.
In my building the mix is close to 50-50 right now. Old person of color resident dies or moves out, young white person moves in.
The thing about most of the new white tenants is that they don’t say hello. Or even acknowledge any of the other tenants, not even each other.
I know this is New York, the land of mind your own business, but the Black community in particular up here is pretty tight knit, and most people say hello and good morning. When people smile at me and say hello and good morning, or at least look me in the eye, I respond in kind.
Danusia is great at it; she has such an effervescent personality that she just exudes charm and kindness. She says hello to the trees. I swear.
I’ve learnt a lot of things from her, and being nice and acknowledging your neighbors is one of them. She actually knows peoples names.
I’m working on it.
A friend of mine, a white friend but one that is closer to my age was looking at an apartment for her twenty-something daughter over on Edgecombe Avenue last month, and she related this little story to me.
She passed an African American couple whom were sitting on the stoop on her way up to look at the apartment, they were just sitting there chatting. They were in their thirties.
After looking at the apartment, she came back down and said hi to the couple.
“Excuse me, do you live here? Can you tell me a little about the building? Do you like it?” She said the couple stared at her for a second before the man answered.
“You know, lady, white people that move in here don’t even talk to me. You’re the first white person to come in here to even look at me. New people move in, and they make believe we don’t exist. So when I see one of them getting mugged on the corner, I make believe they don’t exist.”
A sobering observation indeed.

bird tree

All the birds on my block seem to favor these two trees. Just about all of the noise is concentrated here. Sounds like hundreds of birds. They all seem to get along.

I know most young white people that move up here are afraid, and the fear makes them wary. But it can also make them a target. And believe me, the only way to become a part of a community, and to enjoy the benefits of being a part is to acknowledge your neighbors.
Resentment is a powerful thing, and you cannot control when someone choses to resent you for some unnamed reason, but you can at least give them less reason to do so if you say hello. If you look people in the eye and not just at the ground in front of you. And don’t forget to smile.

Posted in gentrification, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HOMECOMING

Mike's

Last week I went back to the Pratt Institute campus for the first time in a few years. After losing the job I had there in 1977 I didn’t go back until a couple of years ago, in 2013 to get my transcripts. I had a vague idea of finally getting my degree. It’s still a little vague.
I went to Pratt, I started in 1972 and was supposed to graduate in ’76, but something in my head went awry and I couldn’t quite finesse it. I did however; work there for a little under two years, for a company called RBH Audio. They were a small company that had the contract to manage Pratt’s audio-visual equipment and the auditorium, Memorial Hall.
I signed out slide projectors, cassette recorders, and other A/V equipment to students. I made their ID cards at registration time. I opened Memorial Hall for events and projected movies on the weekends at the Hall.

memorial hall 2

And then we were swallowed up by the film department’s new chairman.
It was a turbulent time in my life, and losing the job at Pratt was the least of my worries.
Besides working there, the Pratt campus was the setting for my first real relationship with a girl, we met on campus as teenagers and used the grassy, bush secluded areas of the campus at night for furtive teenaged necking.
And last week I was back to look on the scene of so many memories, dating to the mid ‘60s, when my mother would take me and my siblings for walks through the grass, and as an adolescent I would climb the fence surrounding the Pratt ball field and play football on real grass until the guards came to chase us out. I could do all of this because I grew up in the Lafayette Gardens houses, catty-corner to the Pratt campus.
The ball field is covered over by what’s known as the ARC building now. It was actually built when I was there in 1974 and the basement became the new home of the Film Department. I was a Film major at the time.
Mike’s Coffee shop is still open on Hall Street, though I’m pretty sure Mike the Greek is no longer around. If you were a regular he would let you run a tab until it got too big, then he’d cut you off. That happened to me; and a friend actually paid my bill so we could have coffee together at Mike’s. I was afraid to go in lest he asked me for his money.
The campus was a pretty dreary place in the ‘70s, just like the rest of New York. The grass was brown and the macadam pathways needed work.
Now it’s a vibrant green space with sculptures all over the place, and that’s what brought me back to the campus.
I’ve been given the task of repairing a collection of copper and brass sculptures made my friend Joyce’s late father, Sal Romano.
There are six pieces in various states of disrepair, mostly failed solder joins. The pieces are basically boxes in various shapes and dimensions made up of many pieces of copper and brass sheet metal shapes bound together by solder and in some cases screws.
One of the pieces looks downright vandalized, weather and time couldn’t bend the metal the way it’s been bent.

Damage 2

It seemed a daunting task, with so many small pieces to be first cleaned of the old solders and then re-soldered, and pieces that need to be bent back into shape.
But once I got into the swing of it it’s not too bad, just tedious.
The biggest piece, a six by six foot square that must weigh 300 pounds is pretty intact, save for some kind of wild berry bushes growing inside of it. I’ve been instructed to remove the bushes by Jacques, my Pratt liaison. I think I’m going to need a little help with that.
If I had my druthers, I’d leave it, it’s quite beautiful to see nature’s attempt at spacial reclamation.

bush

Of course the first thing I have to do when I reach the campus is head to the bathroom, if you are a regular reader of this blog you know all about my recent surgery and my prostate problems. If not, I have BPH and need to pee often.
So when I get there I pass the cannon at the main entrance, walk up the path to the Main building on Willoughby Avenue where the bathroom is.
I pass by the flagpole where I would meet the teenaged girlfriend every evening those many years ago, and on entering the Main building I pass the door of our old RBH Audio office, just inside the front doors. There is some kind of music class in there now.

flagpole

I also pass Memorial Hall, a place I once had the keys to and considered my own personal fiefdom at the age of 23. I would actually hang out in the projection booth by myself and watch 16mm movies. Sometimes I would invite a girl.
And now all I can do is walk by and remember. It certainly is a Memorial Hall to me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ALMOST NORMAL (Not for the squeamish)

blood

The first time I bled was almost two months ago when we spent a weekend at my friend Ezra’s cottage in Rockaway Beach. I’d forgotten my Surgilube™, and inserted the catheter the doctor had told me to use dry. The next morning when I peed I bled. It was very disheartening.
The blood stopped the next day, and I forgot about it.
Later that week I had a Cystoscopy, where the good doctor inserted a camera through my penis to “Have a look around.” It’s always fascinating to look at the inside of my body. He showed me the two little holes in the bladder that lead to the kidneys.
“Here’s the left one, here’s the right one.” OK, doctor.
So I started bleeding A LOT a few days later, due to the damage done by the Cystoscopy.
“Sorry about that,” the doctor offered when I went to talk to him about the upcoming operation.
It’s called a TURP, where a little rotary type tool is inserted into the prostate to remove “material,” opening up the urethra more for a better flow, which was my problem. Poor flow, not emptying my bladder, etc., all the symptoms of BPH.
I had the operation on August 15th, just about a month ago.
It was a great success; I was surprised at the improvement of the flow.
There was blood; of course, my urine was a deep pink right after the operation.
I was advised to take it easy for a couple of weeks, no work, no sex, no heavy lifting.
I felt fine, I though I could lift whatever weight I usually lift. I felt stupid when we went to Maine and Danusia insisted on carrying our suitcases down the stairs, and when our host Charlene insisted on carrying them up the stairs at their home.
I did some work when we got back from Maine, after all I was let go from my job just days before my operation and I have bills to pay, so I did some free-lance handyman work. I didn’t think it was too strenuous, some sanding and painting. Re-plastering a big hole in a ceiling. Nothing extreme.
The blood would stop and the blood would start again the next day.
After having sex for the first time after waiting two weeks something changed, it was as if I hadn’t had the operation at all.
My flow was weak again, and my bladder wasn’t holding much. I had the urge to go almost constantly. Blood one day, gone the next.
That all changed last Wednesday.
I had painted a friend’s ceiling, and I don’t consider painting a big strain. But while I was there, I used the toilet before I left and bled real red blood. Not pink, but bright red almost pure blood. I hoped for the best and went to Fairway to pick up some groceries on my way home.
I was alone, Danusia had gone to a MOTH Mainstage and drinks after.
I made dinner, ate, and watched TV.
I went to the bathroom around 9 for the first time since I’d gone when I got home at 7, when the pee was pretty clear and I’d already forgotten about the earlier blood incident.
This time there was a tremendous flow, like a dam had burst, but it was thick, red blood, with a lot of solid clots coming out.
Now I was afraid. Nothing like the sight of blood leaving your body to scare you.
I cleaned up the toilet and drank a big glass of water. I figured I had to flush out.
All this time I was wondering what was happening inside, how does an inner injury heal? Would there be a scab? Swelling?
I kept imagining that I was bleeding to death inside.
Ten minutes later I got a really intense pain in my groin, and when I tried to pee I could only squeeze out a thick, solid blood clot and that was it. I was totally blocked.
I got dressed and called 911. I texted Danusia I was on my way to the hospital.
The EMTs got there in about 10 minutes, and by that time I was doubled up from the constant pain. I was sweating and shaking.
I was able to walk, and I figured we’d get down faster if I walked, so we got down to the ambulance.
It took a little while for the guy to check my ID and get the go ahead to take me to the VA Hospital emergency room.
“We’re good to go,” he announced to his partner who was driving.
It was a 20 –minute trip down to 23rd street, and I didn’t even get the siren.
When we got to the emergency room it didn’t seem very busy, but a nurse announced I should have a seat because they were busy.
“Where’s the bathroom!” I managed to croak out. The nurse pointed and I ran.
“Wait!” The EMT guy said. “They might want a specimen.”
They did and the nurse handed me a specimen bottle.
I went into the bathroom and managed to squeeze and ounce of pure blood into their specimen bottle.
“Where do I put this?” I asked approaching the nurse’s station. Her eyes got really wide when she saw it.
“OK, let’s get him inside,” she said. There’s nothing like blood to galvanize people into action.
She tried to insert a catheter, but the blood was so thick it clogged up.
The urologist on call showed up and took over.
He started to pump me out, shooting saline solution into the bladder and drawing it out through the catheter. After a half hour and 5000 MLs, he announced he was going to have to admit me.
By then Danusia had shown up.
He’d inserted a drain bag, and he’d gotten out enough of the clots that the pain was beginning to subside.
“The team will see you in the morning.”
I lay in the emergency room for another hour as the arrangements were made. I told Danusia she should go around 1 AM.
It was a rough night, every time the drain bag filled up it would back up and start the intense pain again. I slept for 5 intermittent hours.
The Team came in the morning and started an irrigation drip.
The team consisted of Dr. Katz, the guy who’d done the Cystoscopy, Dr. Syan, a woman I’d only spoken to on the phone before, and the redheaded hipster doctor who’d done the actual TURP. There was a young doctor I’d never seen before that just watched.
The irrigation did not work, and when they came back on afternoon rounds I was flushed out again, enduring almost unbearable pain. Dr. Katz got the honors as Dr. Syan filled the syringes with saline and emptied them.
“You’re doing great,” Dr. Katz would say every time I let out a strangled groan while writhing in pain, gripping the bed frame with all my might. That was what Dr. Mung had said the night before in the emergency room. I figured they were taught that, like I was taught in the army that you told a guy he was going to be OK when administering first aid even if you knew he was a goner.
After 15 minutes the blood stopped.
Lucky for me the flow remained clear until the next day, when the team arrived to announce that if stayed clear I could go home in the afternoon.
A couple of people came to see me, Ezra, Jenny, a woman named Karen I know that works at the hospital. Danusia, of course. As luck would have it I was alone, I didn’t have to deal with the guy I had after the operation who couldn’t make a sentence without using the word “fuck” at least twice.
The team arrived sometime around four.
“It looks good.” Dr. Syan announced. Dr. Syan is a very pretty Indian woman in her late 20s. They were all kids.
“You feel like going home?” Dr. Katz asked.
“You bet your ass I do,” I said.
“You can go, but you have to leave the catheter in.” Dr. Syan announced.
This had been an issue after the operation; they wanted me to wear an indwelling catheter and a collection bag for a few days. I wasn’t going up on stage in Maine wearing a collection bag. I had a wedding to go to on Saturday, but there’ll be other weddings.
“OK.” I said. Dr. Me in gown smiled a triumphant little smile.
“Come back Monday and we’ll take it out.”
I can’t wait for tomorrow, Monday.

Posted in Health, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments