It was my first, and hopefully my last, MRI.
VB was doing a lot of yard work this past April as the weather began to warm up. He decided to use the wood chipper on some of the tree remnants upon which he’d performed his imitation of Paul Bunyan.
The chipper was smaller than the one so pertinent to the film “Fargo” so Valet Boy thought this would be a real slice of manly fun. Being as how we mens like nothing better than chopping, shredding, grinding and blowing things up.
Being an older model chipper, and one considered more for personal home use, I thought it would be a simple matter to start shoving limbs and branches into the hopper to create some nice mulch beds to go around the house & yard around the little slice of heaven here in Pinnacle, NC. I grabbed hold of the pull cord (very much like a regular lawnmower pull cord), flexed my grip, steeled my resolve and put everything I had into that powerful yank.
One might properly assume, as I did, that like a lawnmower, you’d pull the cord and start the motor then get to work. No so with this little bugger. You’re not just starting a motor, you’re engaging the chopping blades and all that heavy metal BS.
So, the searing pain that assaulted Valet Boy was rather much like staring into the sun for a week and a half eyes forced open wide (ala Malcolm McDowell in “A Clockwork Orange”) while receiving a deep tissue massage with a Homelite chain saw as your bones are nibbled by renegade hordes of malignant fur bearing predators. Seriously, that’s exactly how it felt.
It only took that one pull….Those few fleeting masculine moments. I could actually hear the muscles and tendons in my upper arm and shoulder tearing…My rotator cuff screeched and cursed. And Valet Boy knew then and there…life was going to be very different.
Everyone at Baptist Hospital was friendly and kind. I do owe Dr. Chip a great big thank you for all of his help with the procedure. In fact, I owe Dr. Chip several big “Thank Yous”, he’s been my primary care physician for 12 years and has seen me through the monstrous and the mundane. (Now there’s a title for ya!)
I first met Dr. Chip at The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem in 1999. Back in its hay-day when it was the 14th largest Community Theatre in the country and the reputation for excellent work (especially technically) was highly respected. Nationally ranked, the Theatre was packed during performances – happy sardines squeezed into seats. (Of course, that was 2 1/2 recessions ago – or 1 realllly long one depending on your POV – and times for the Arts continue to be tough all over.)
Our Theatre, like most around the country, has had several hay-days since its inception back in 1935. A couple of years later and a couple of miles up the road, Krispy Kreme would sell its first doughnut. But, this isn’t really a history lesson…
We were doing a production of To Kill A Mockingbird. I played Atticus Finch and Dr. Chip played Gilmer, the prosecuting attorney. I thought, “This guy is a pretty good actor.” Of course, he was a transplanted New Yorker and that helped. We all know that people from New York inherit some kind of Broadway Appreciation Gene that bypasses 90% of the rest of the population.
The production of TKAM was beautifully and masterfully helmed by director Sharon Andrews, a woman with a list of theatrical credits that would make anyone envious. The experience in its entirety seemed blessed. Even Valet Boy was not as big a jerk as usual…some might even say he was human…almost.
I believe it was our very last performance, a Sunday matinée……The courtroom scene, the climactic dramatic moments of the play. Atticus Finch in the middle of his impassioned plea to the jury. I’m standing center stage at that moment taking it to the audience, as if they too were jurors.
Suddenly, down in the darkened house just past the pit in the first row, there’s a gasp from a woman in a wheelchair and I think to myself, while churning out my monologue, “Damn, I’m killing ’em today!”
Then there’s talking…TALKING! During the show! During MY Monologue!!!!
Then there’s moaning, slumping, falling and squirming…..on the floor!!!
What in HEAVEN’S NAME IS HAPPENING down there???
There’s a flurry of activity, people rushing to help.
Dr. Chip is on stage and naturally sees everything. He turns to a cast member, our friend Cheri V. (her husband Paul played the Sheriff and daughter Scarlet was Scout—is that considered nepotism?) and whispers, “Should I go down there to help?” Cheri V. grabs hold of him and sotto voce says, “Take one step and I’ll break your arm!“
(She probably didn’t really say that, but I do know as Dr. Chip started to rise from his seat, Cheri pulled him back down.)
Now, the poor elderly and infirm woman is being attended by a couple of folks and they are not having an easy time of it. With struggling, you know, comes grunting and MORE furtive whispering, as well as audience members craning their necks to see what all the hub bub is about…And when your theatre seats 540 people that’s a lot of craning and whispering.
“DEAR LORD! Will this never end?” I think as I continue plowing through my 4 page monologue!
What more could possibly happen? —– Well, the damn paramedics could arrive…
AND SO THEY DO!
Oh, Sweet Mary!!!! Here comes the friggin’ gurney!!!
Yes, yes, right down the aisle, in full view of everyone, all the way to the stage, wheels squeaking & rattling…Yes, there you go, guys…Right there now, RIGHT UNDER MY NOSE!!!!!
Hoist her up, strap her down…yeah, go ahead and open the side exit…let all the sunlight in…Let’s not worry about it – MY moment was ruined 15 minutes ago.
But in true theatrical fashion, the show goes on. Coming off stage and heading for the dressing rooms, everyone at last was freed of the constraints of remaining in character and could chatter away about the excitement in the theatre. Those of you who know me, know that I have a powerful booming voice and I certainly did not hold back, “WHAT THE @#!%$@!&% WAS THAT ALL ABOUT???” Someone answered me, “An old lady got sick and collapsed.”
“Hell, couldn’t she have just as easily collapsed AFTER my effing monologue?”
Well, I ranted on and on ad nauseum, and a good deal beyond that if memory serves, to any and all within earshot… Meanwhile, dear Dr. Chip immediately went to check up on the poor woman to make sure she was all right. That’s just the kind of guy he is. A prince…and, of course, a helluva doctor.
Meanwhile, back at MRI HQ
I filled out some forms, undressed and slipped into my gown, was escorted into the MRI Control Room. They laid me down on the table, strapped me in, fitted my shoulder with a giant white pretzel looking thing and arranged my arm and shoulder in position, plugged my ears and shoved me into the big white tube.
It was a tight fit and certainly not an experience for someone who is claustrophobic. Luckily, I only suffer from Vertigo and Agoraphobia. Still, with my nose almost pressing the top of the interior wall in this thing, I thought it would be nice if there were some videos to watch. Perhaps episodes of “South Park” or “Strangers With Candy” — Then I figured all my gelatinous jocularity would probably muck up the imagery, so I guess it’s preferrable to be bored.
A couple of days later, Dr. Chip called to inform me that he had good news & bad news. The good news was I had arthritis. (And who doesn’t when they reach my age) The bad news…I had literally shredded my muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff and surrounding area. (If I was a horse they’d have had to shoot me!) Nothing short of surgery for you, Mr. Boy. Sorry.
Surgery is several thousands of dollars. Not really gonna happen. Valet Boy would have to find other options to try to resolve this painful situation and get back to the gym before he gained so much weight that all he’d be able to fit into would be a Ringling Brother’s Big Top tent. And I’m so terrified of carnies.
So, the search is on for relief. Perhaps, an at home remedy utilizing Raw Organic Vinegar..Yuck! I’m sure I’ll have that to write about at some future date.
Til then…Thanks for reading!
Note: Valet Boy assumes no responsibility for the inaccurate reporting of events, which may or may not have occurred. This is for entertainment purposes and should not be considered journalism by any thinking individuals.