Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The River Will Flow

Chapter 21- Pain Is My Friend

Father...I focused as much as I could, cryin' out to God. Now would be a good time to fix this, I prayed. My bladder is gonna blow up! And I was pretty sure it was irreplacable.

Yeah, like God couldn't hear me, I thought, wrapping my arms around my abdomen, tryin' to get just a moment of relief from the intense pain. Besides my bladder, my stomach muscles were screamin' as well. Maybe I'm gettin' a hernia, I thought.

Everytime I thought it couldn't possibly get worse...well, of course it got worse.
Throughout all the silent screams of agony within my body n' mind, I could...sense a voice sayin'...somethin'. But it was too faint to make out.

Quiet! I silently ordered my body n' mind. What? Please! Speak up, Lord. Too much ambient noise. I couldn't make it out. I tried to single out the voice and increase the gain...the volume... ... O c'mon! Give me a break! I beseeched.

How long this went on I couldn't say. My sense of time was simply gone. There was only now. Right now. Here. Now. I tried to relax, to receive the signal, to get the bearing...and my bearings. It was a bit louder...wha? Shh! ... ... nothin'.

Okay, not quite nothin'. I knew one thing, I hadta quiet my mind, my body and my soul. Ha! Yes, of course. I knew that but how, Lord? I asked. But there was no answer. Because...I already knew the answer. I had to beat the pain. It wasn't enough I wasn't screamin' on the outside. I had to overcome the screamin' on the inside. I had to embrace the agony which meant...which meant...huh? I gotta what?!
Is this a joke?! I asked. Am I goin' nuts? Crazy? Insane?!

I almost laughed out loud. As it was I stifled it, glad that Crystal couldn't see my face, 'cause it was turnin' red from the hilarity of my realization.
This has nothin' to do with my bladder, I thought, encouraged, knowin' I was on the right track.

My bladder flared up again, and I stifled more laughter. I was positive it would sound utterly insane...in...sane....Just try explainin' that, I thought, with a big grin on my face.

Okay, I gotta be serious and fight this thing...the pain overwhelmed me and I damn near passed out.
No! I thought. I can't do it that way. Dummy! Back to the in...sanity.

The laughter erupted and I no longer cared to attempt hiding it. "Bwahahahaha! Hee hee! Hahaha!"

"What is it Dad?" Crystal asked, an unsure grin on her face.

I tried to answer, but the laughter continued. Ow! The laughing was hurtin' my stomach muscles! It also increased the pain of my bladder! Normally, I might have pondered this predicament. Instead I found it incredibly funny! Among the funniest I ever encountered!
There was no simple explanation for it. I couldn't explain it with mere words. But it sure made perfect sense at that moment!

Finally, my laughter subsided like a tide, but the see salt of humor remained on the shores of my psyche. A supernatural calm radiated from within me, and clarity followed, ridin' in...sanity. I chuckled at that.

It wasn't words I had heard. Not exactly. It was a song. A familiar song I was sure I knew but I couldn't reacall ever hearin' it anywhere. Radio? No. LP's, tapes, cd's? No. Concerts? No. Church? No. But I knew it! How is this possible? I wondered.
I had clarity but I didn't know everything, I realized, laughin'.
All I knew was I knew this song, and it...was mine?! Yes, it was! Now my mind was racin' with more questions. Ha ha! Everytime I got an answer, more questions popped up! And it was so immensely funny!

The pain got worse, but it had lost it's bite, because now it was only physical pain. My mind...my soul was...pain free. No! Free from pain! No! I focused...liberated from the bad effects of that pain. It was still there but I could use it. Embrace it! Now this is funny! I thought.
Damn! That hurts! And it has power over me. Ha! Funny...pain...it can help me! If I sing my song right, I grinned, involuntarily cringing from the pain.

Now it was easy not to scream. I had sensed much of this mystery before, but I had never gone all the way with it. It was only when I embraced the pain...the humor...the in...sane...the revelation! That I had begun to realize how to continue my journey. And fullfill my...purpose.

Pain played at the periphery of my conciousness as I delved deeper, burnin' me...the old me that remained on the surface. Aye, Holy fire accompanied the pain. Sounds crazy, I know, but trust me, if you choose to, you too can be burned, ha ha ha!
But it wasn't crazy. I wanted the old me to be burned away, so I could...grow!
Pain was a small price...how do I put this in words?! I wondered.

"Hi, I'm Brian, your nurse. How are you doing?" Brian asked, briskly walking into my curtained "room."

"Great!" I said, cheerfully. "Where's Doc Hsu?" I asked.

"She had a code to go to, so she sent me. Traffic accident. Looks pretty bad," Brian said, solemnly. "Anyway, are you ready to get out of here?" He asked.

"You mean like leave and go home?" I replied.

"Yep! I'll have you fixed up in a jif!" Brian exclaimed, grabbing a portable urinal container from a cupboard.

"What is the diagnosis?" I asked, smiling. At least it's not major, I thought, thanking Father.

"This right here," Brian said, pointing to the tube protruding from my penis.
"You see, I saw the x-ray pics and the tube wasn't inserted all the way. It was put in wrong. Wanna see the x-rays?" He asked.

Actually, I did, but I didn't wanna keep Crystal any longer than necessary. Besides, I could picture it in my mind.

"No, that's okay, but thanks anyway. So, are you gonna push it in the rest of the way or take it out?" I asked, pointing to the tube.

"I'm going to pull it out. It's been in too long, and you are at risk of an infection. If you can't pee after I take it out, I'll put a new one in, sound like a plan?" Brian asked.

"Roger that!" I exclaimed. "Crystal?" I asked. It wasn't like she hadn't already seen me nekkid for hours, helpin' me get through the day, but still...

"I'll be outside the curtain, Dad," she said, smiling.

"Here," Brian said, handing me the urine container. "Use this if you gotta go."

"No problem," I replied. The narcotics I was receiving had made it difficult to pee, and sometimes I couldn't pee at all, which was part of the reason for the urine bag. That, and until recently, I couldn't walk.

Brian slowly pulled the tube out and quickly moved back. I stood up and voila! The pee flowed like the mighty mississip! Old man river, keep on rollin' kinda flowin'!
Ha ha! Wow! Whatta relief! This was like...paradise! Well, sorta. I never knew that peein' could feel so good! However, I wasn't eager to repeat the experience.

"Um, Brian?" I asked, pointing to the container which was rapidly filling up.

"Whoa! You were full, weren't you?" Brian replied, grabbing another container and setting it on the gurney.

I finished the first container and quickly grabbed the second, without spillin' a drop! Oh you're good Conrad, I thought, smilin'.
The river of urine continued to rush out, showin' no sign of slowing down. It wasn't long until I was close to topping off the second container!

"Brian?" I asked.

"Damn! I think you're going to break the record!" Brian exclaimed, getting another container.

I switched to the third container, again, without any hazardous waste spill, and the river started subsiding to a creek. Finally, it slowed to a stream and the last trickled out. Two and a half containers! It was difficult to see how my bladder could've held all that without burstin'!

"That's one strong bladder you got there. I'm amazed it held up with that much in it," Brian said.

"Me too," I replied. "I had some help. My daughter and Him," I continued, pointing up.

"I hear that," Brian said, smiling. "You must be rarin' to go. I'll go get the paperwork ready, okay?"

"Sure. So, the visiting nurse put the tube in wrong?" I asked.

"Yeah, it was about six inches too short. A really stupid mistake," Brian said, shaking his head. "You should say something to her supervisor. She obviously needs more training. I'm serious, Dude. You could have gotten some major damage. Do you know the nurses rank?"

"Yes, she's an RN," I replied.

Brian shook his head again. "No way an RN should ever, ever make a mistake like that!" he said, a hint of anger flashing in his eyes as he left the room.

"You can come in now Crystal," I said. It was only now that I noticed my throat was very dry.

I hadn't drank anything since early that mornin'. I looked at the clock and did a doubletake. We had been here eight hours! It was a little past 1600 (4 pm).

"Hey Crys, wanna go get us a few sodas?" I asked.

"Sure, Dad. What do you want?" Crystal repled.

"I'll have a root beer or coke," I said with a lot of anticipation. My stomach picked that moment to growl so loud that we both heard it. We both laughed at the same moment after makin' eye contact.
"I reckon we should stop for some somethin' to eat when we get outta here," I said.

"And we better call Mom," Crystal said, before goin' on a coke run.

"Right! Gotta call Mom!" I repeated. She's probably worried sick, I thought. She knew it would take awhile to be seen and treated, but she would still worry. I hadta wait until I left ER first, though, since cell phones weren't allowed to be used there.

Crystal returned with my root beer and she had a mountain dew. I quickly popped open the can and drank. Root beer tastes better when you're parched! I forced myself to slow down. No use gettin' a brain freeze, I thought.

"Thanks Crys!" I said. A loud burp escaped right after I thanked her, "buurrp!"
Crystal burped at the exact same time, "buurrp!"
We both laughed, as quietly as possible.

"Shhh," I said, burping again, and we both lost it.

The curtain whisked open and a doctor stood there. A Colonel, I noted.

"Everything okay in here?" He asked, gruffly.

"Yes sir," I said, burping again. Oh crap! I thought. Crystal laughed again, turning red. "Excuse me, sir," I muttered, tryin' my level best not to laugh. Then I started hiccuping! Oh no! Not now!

The Colonel looked at me, then Crystal, who was still cracking up, and back to me.
"You been drinking?" He asked, his eyes narrowing.

"N-no, hiccup! Sir," I said. "Hiccup!" Oh that'll convince him, I thought, as Crystal really lost it.

"Try to keep it down kids, capisce?" He said.

"Aye aye, hiccup! Sir!" I said, my hand over my mouth. "Hiccup!" Crystal waved, still laughing.
I thought that maybe, just maybe, I saw a very faint smile on the Colonel's face before he left, but I couldn't say for sure.

"Navy. I should of known," I heard the Colonel mutter.

"Are hiccup! you okay?" I asked, smiling. Crystal nodded, still laughing with her hand over her mouth. Her face beet red.

When she calmed down she said, "you should've seen your face when you burped and hiccuped!" And off she went, laughin' again. I laughed too. That Colonel looked soo serious and puzzled at first. And it was funny, watchin' my daughter laugh so hard.

"Here we go! Just need you to sign..," Brian said, stopping as he saw us laughing.
"What did I miss?" He asked, smiling.

"My Dad...ha ha ha!" Crystal tried to explain.

"We had an encounter, hiccup! with a Colonel," I said, and the burps wouldn't stop. Hiccup!"

"Ookaay. You better lay off that root beer," Brian said, chuckling.

I signed the release form and between hiccups I thanked Brian, and asked him to please thank Doc Hsu. Then we rushed out of there, me hiccuping and Crystal tryin' not to laugh.

There inside my dream
I heard the river roar
I stumbled through the darkened mist
But I couldn't find the shore

Then a voice within the mist said,
"Tell me what do you seek?"
I said, "I have a mighty thirst,
but I feel so tired and weak"

He said, "I am the river
full of power and truth
you've been looking outside yourself
when it's there inside of you"

And the river will flow
The river will flow
Through all of the times of your life
The river will flow

And the river is love
The river is peace
And the river will flow through the hearts
of those who believe

So put your hands in mine
Oh, put your hands in mine
And let us all go down
And kneel by the river's side

We'll cry our tears of joy
Cry our tears of pain
We'll let them fall down from our eyes
to be washed in the sacred stream

Even the secret tears
Buried in our memories
Let them all be swept away
to the depths of the endless sea

And the river will flow
The river will flow
Through all of the times of your life
The river will flow

And the river is love
The river is peace
And the river will flow through the hearts
of those who believe

Whiteheart- The River Will Flow


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I was gonna continue makin' my rounds of the RaccoonOsphere, but Patti is makin' be take a nap, so I'll catch y'all later.

Okay, she ain't actually makin' me, I'm lettin' her make me. That's a fine distinction right there. :^)

julie said...

That's okay, Ben - so long as that river keeps flowing...

For some reason, I suddenly have to pee. ;)

walt said...

"Damn! I think you're going to break the record!"

At some point in one's life, it is good to be "the best" at something. Recognition is so important to having good self-esteem, don'chu?

Now, this chapter was over-flowing with humor and good cheer, so it sorta makes up for the last one.

Very interesting how you got inside the pain, and realized it wasn't "you." Yogis practice long and hard for such insights. Obviously, you have found the short-cut. You may find, however, that there's a limited market for your approach ....

You continue to make me think my life has been a genuine piece of cake!

mushroom said...

A great conclusion to that chapter. I can't help thinking of being in the men's room on a road trip. An older guy stepped up to next urinal, began the process, and sighes, "How do you spell relief?"

Jimmy J. said...

Humor, insight, love, blessed relief, redemption, inspiration, and poetry. All in one one episode. By jove, Ben, you sure know how to pack it in. Touched me in so many ways - especially being of an age when a good pee and satisfactory bowel movement are physical highlights of my day.

Rest and renew. More when you feel like it. But more, please.

jwm said...





Joan of Argghh! said...

Gosh Ben, you need a new nom de guerre of I.P. Freely!


QP said...

What Julie Said™. That was funny and true.

Sal said...

Thanks, Ben.
You are such a blessing in our lives.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Julie-
Thanks, I appreciate the solidarity. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Walt,
Alas, Guinness wasn't there for an official measurement, so I'm not in the book of world records.

I cooncur! It's highly unlikely my particular approach would make for a good infomercial considering the conditions required for that shortcut.

What kind of cake, Walt? I'm kinda partial to a double decker chocolate myself. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hey Mushroom,
Ha ha! At that point I would say it's better than an orgasm. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Jim,
It's good to hear from you! All that java in the Navy and having to wait several hours sometimes to use the head sure gives the bladder a good workout.
Of course, during emergencies there was always soda cans, but that was a last resort. :^)

I am sure gonna try to speed up production in the story dept..
Walt has suggested and requested a tale of fiction and it's starting to take shape in the fog I call my mind.
Of course, I'm thinkin' of a neglected genre (less competition): Kung Fu noir.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Okay John-
Enough of that! LOL!
You know, some of my earliest and best memories was goin outside and peein' with my Grandpa. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Joan,
How about Magnum Ben, P.I.? :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hey QP,
That is a unique way to be remembered. Think of me every time you go. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Sal,
Thank you! Knowin' that makes my day, everyday! And you have been a major blessing in my life, as have all Raccoons in different ways! :^)

Robin Starfish said...

I am like soooo late to this pee party! Great one Ben, and your own song even. When ya gonna record it? What a stupid nurse to provide a standard length catheter to a Navy man.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Robin!
Ha ha! Aw shucks! To quote the indelible wisdom of Mac Davis: "Sometimes it's hard to be humble..." :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Oh great! Now I can't get that song outta my head!
Robin- the humblebillity destroyah!

KuntryMama's Kitchen said...

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
when you're perfect in every way.
I can't wait to look in the mirror

'cos I get better looking each day
to know me is to love me

I must be a hell of a man.
O Lord it's hard to be humble
but I'm doing the best that I can.

some folks say that I'm "egotistical
well I don't even know what that means
I guess it has something to do with the
way that I fill out my skintight blue jeans.

Skully said...

Ha ha! Very funny Wench!