Biff America: Something to sing about
The Christmas carolers were only a few words into “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” when one of them noticed my pants had fallen down. The last thing I wanted for Christmas was hernia surgery. But you know what they say, don’t ask “Why me?” ask “Why not me?”
That said, about a week before the holiday, I went in to have a couple of hernias fixed. A layman’s explanation of a hernia is when the wall of your stomach lining develops a hole and some stuff inside you tries to escape through it.
It began in early December, when my personal physician, Dr. Louie, gave me the bad news that one of my imaginary illnesses was, in fact, real. Since my HMO only would cover an operation performed by a left-handed doctor with blonde hair whose practice was 10 zip codes away, I drove to the Mile High City for an evaluation and second opinion.
‘Be My Guest’
For those of you who have never had a hernia exam, usually you are standing, with pants at half-mast, as the physician pokes a finger in your “groinal region” (medical term — look it up) and asks to turn your head and cough. Lucky for me, this doctor was being shadowed by two medical students, so after he determined that I did, in fact, have a hernia, he asked if they, too, could probe me.
It being the holiday season, I said, “Be my guest.” To be honest, my gesture was both charitable and self-serving — yes, I was sharing my hernia with a couple of med students, but I was also getting three exams for the price of one.
Once we all got to know each other a little better, the two med students poked me while requesting I cough. The problem was that each approached me from an opposing side (one must have been a south paw), so when I turned my head away from one, I was coughing in the face of the other.
Fast and Painless
So, foreplay over, I made a reservation to have my belly patched a week later. We drove down the night before and stayed in a romantic hotel, which had a deal worked out with the hospital. The surgery was in early morning and took less time than my drive to Denver; it was fast and painless.
We arrived back home early afternoon to find two delivery notices from FedEx on our door. I had ordered my mate a Christmas gift that required a signature. Now, I don’t want to point fingers, but both FedEx and the pain medication are partly responsible for my flashing the Christmas carolers.
Under the Influence
The following day, I was in a lot of pain and was walking bent over like Quasimodo (hunch back of Notre Dame). Luckily, I had a freezer full of ice and a bucket full of pain pills. Since I was in excruciating discomfort, my mate took the morning off from skiing. She left early afternoon with me lying on the couch, with my lap packed with ice and instructions not to email, Facebook or call anyone while under the influence of narcotics.
My placement on the couch was strategic because I wanted to be close to the door when FedEx came for the third time to drop of Ellie’s new iPad. If we missed signing for the package on this third delivery, then we would have to drive to the mother ship to pick it up. The ringing of the doorbell awoke me. I lurched toward the door while pulling my sweat pants over the three ice packs. I wasn’t sure how long I was out, but it had gotten dark.
Communication is Key
Unbeknown to me, my mate had been home for a couple of hours and already signed for the package. She decided to let me sleep and was in another part of the house. I threw open the door to find a group of serenading neighbors. It took a few moments in my drug-addled state to realize what exactly was happening. When I scratched my head in confusion, my pants headed south. I tried to grab the waistband, but my reflexes were slow and all three ice packs had collected at my thighs, thus binding trousers. Luckily, I was wearing long underwear under my sweats.
I could not really tell if the carolers stopped singing or I lost my hearing, but it did get quiet on the front porch. I felt Ellie’s hands on my shoulder as she steered me back to the couch. She went back outside and I heard them all laughing — I’m sure at my expense.
Before I dozed off again, I heard them singing “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” …
Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at email@example.com. Biff’s new book “Mind, Body, Soul” is available at local shops and bookstores and at backcountrymagazine.com/store.