Tuesday, January 09, 2007



Last night I woke up with an intense pain in my abdomen.
Whenever I feel a pain that intense, I try to blame it on someone. Surely, someone is responsible for this--why would I subject myself to this sort of thing? But alas this was no one's fault so I blamed the penne a la vodka I had for dinner.

So now I'm lying in bed with an intense pain in my abdomen and I hate a barely-alcoholic pasta dish (or as my mom call it, "noodles") that has no idea that I am hating it. So it's a waste of a cold shoulder even though there are some leftovers in the fridge and I can go to the fridge and tell the penne a la vodka how much I hate it. But I don't think that this would make me feel better and moreover, it would make the penne a la vodka sad.

Nevertheless, it's 4 AM and I'm finding out just how flexible I really am. I'm bent over in a shape that I'll call the Pretzel Fetus Knot. I wish I could, you know, go to the bathroom. Yes, go. But I'm not feeling it. I don't need to. Which, of course, is the worst. When you have an intense, jabbing, sharp pain in your stomach but there's nothing you can do about it.

Now I have a dilemma. Should I assume this stomach thing is serious or should I assume it's passing, no pun--I swear--intended? I would hate to be the guy that thinks it's serious when its not because that would make me a hypochondriac and my grandfather survived the Holocaust. This is just a sour tummy.
But I also don't want to belittle it if it's a kidney stone, or a gall bladder. Either option is possible. And then I remember that there are some toxic liquids in our liver and I'm concerned that maybe some of it leaked. And then I hear Britney's "Toxic" playing in my head and I'm not amused by myself.

I stumble into the bathroom and take some Pepto.
Pepto takes too long to work. So I take some Tums.
My stomach reacts with a growl.
I ask my stomach what it wants.
I want to know what's wrong, it says back.
How should I know?
Aren't you in charge?
Apparently not.

I lie down and stare at the ceiling for a little while longer. Somehow I fall asleep.

Two hours later, I wake up again to another sharp pain, or a contraction (hmm...male pregnancy?). I encore with my best Pretzel Fetus Twist yet (bravo!) and wonder if I have an alien in my stomach trying to get out. Sure, it only happens in the movies but I'm pretty sure that the guy in the movie that had an alien burst forth from his stomach also assumed that aliens only jump out of people's stomachs in other movies. I turn on the TV and see a commercial for that Wayans brother movie with the midget pretending to be a baby and I understand that I have yet to truly comprehend pain.

The next morning, I call my friend Stevie who is a gastro-something. I explain to him my symptoms ("sharp abdomen pain, mostly on the right side"). He rules out pregnancy right away, which gives me great relief. But not in my tummy.
Do you have a fever or the chills, he asks.
"No, I say."
Are you able to get out of bed?
I get out of bed. "I guess so."
I think you just have gas. And your body isn't releasing it.
How embarrassing, I think. Unreleased gas...?
I hope that none of my organs smoke. Then I imagine my small intestine lighting up a Parliament Light and my other organs yelling "Noooooo!" This imagery makes me laugh.
Stevie recommends that I drink some coffee and let nature run its course.

And as I hang up the phone, and start grinding my coffee beans, I thank my stomach for only having gas because, as Stevie once casually mentioned, surgery isn't fun.

This cup of coffee was a particularly enjoyable one.


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