Senior year, prom night, 1991. A night of many connotations, my night for organ removal.
Nearing the end of the prom I begin feeling, well, crappy. Nothing definitive, just out of it. I blow-off my body’s warning and head to the after-party, a few blocks from my home, the distance of which will oddly prove ruinous.
By the pool. Music, tons of food and drink, great weather and a growing suspicion that I ate some bad chicken.
That has to be the cause of this, right? Happens all the time–undercooked chicken. Ate some of that at the prom. Right, that’s it. Play hurt. Time to party.
Time to bend over like a human right angle. My lower right quadrant, just above the hip bone, is a battlefield. White blood cells swarm about that vestigial organ, a loser, a primordial left-over.
Looking like I’m constipated, most of my oxygen channeled to the war, “uhh. i gotta go …dude.”
“Go where?! This party rules!” My friend answers me without looking. He finally turns, recognizes my geometric posture and says, “Got it. Later.”
My house is only a few blocks. I think I can make it. Now you should know, when it comes to medical attention, I was raised hyper-conservatively. You need a compound fracture in order to get a BAND-AID®. All ailments can be remedied by aspirin and water. Period. So I walk, like a land crab.
The trek exacerbates my condition. The irony is not lost on me–home, the bastion of healing, leads to my disintegration. I’m ready to lose it.
. . . . . . . . …must-open-front-door.
Unable to get upright, and unwilling to scream, I army-crawl upstairs and collapse on the floor in Mom’s room, “…eh.”
Mom wakes up and hops to, realizing this is serious. She asks if I’ve gone to the “men’s room” because actual constipation was a one-time problem. I know, TMI, but this is an adventure people! Stay with me.
This is no el baño situación, so we rush to the hospital, sans ambulance, and obey the laws of the road. Again, über-conservative. We arrive at the hospital in my Mom’s 1991 Ford Probe.
Noting my scoliotic gait, medical personnel quickly situate me onto a stretcher. I take up 1/4 of the stretcher’s available space. I look like a pill bug, all rolled up. I’m examined and told I need an appendectomy.
Racked with pain, I muster the strength, a last gasp before I go casket, “Get it out! Get it out! …hey Doc, do I really need this organ?!”
“Get it out.”
The surgery goes swimmingly. I’m in the recovery room on my way back to life. My surgeon checks in on me from time to time.
“How are you?”
She’s so attractive that I have to hit on her, like a dippy adolescent, “How you doin’?” I sound like Joey Tribbiani before he made the line famous.
“I’m not the one who just had surgery.” Beautiful and witty. Wow.
It’s not long before I’m back at school, ready to receive my High School diploma. I’m still a bit doubled over though, and on crutches. Noting my condition, the benevolent administration allows me to receive my diploma through a cordoned-off entrance. I hit the auditorium stage at a blazing 2 mph.
People see me and a few cheers go up. I go for broke, superstar status, leaving my crutches behind. You would think I’m Lance Armstrong with all the applause. I’m a beacon at the podium, proudly shaking the principal’s hand, a Darwinian escapee.
I was a hero that day, an appendicitis survivor. My Mom and I celebrated by getting breakfast at Denny’s. I ordered the Grand Slam. Felt I deserved it.