Sunday, September 17, 2006


If you live long enough, you reach a stage where there are few blanks left to be filled in. Life becomes a multiple-choice questionnaire where a simple process of elimination results in a manageable burden of probabilities. Case in point, you can reasonably assume that visible blood in your urine is not an indication of multiple organ failure or an overlooked gunshot wound. Unfortunately, a simplified life does not amount to a worry free life. A fact of life emphasized with a gentle jostling at 2:30am. Jilly, in a tentative voice, informed me that her pee was red. I was instantly alert and on the job. The trusty multi-choice mechanism was primed and set to task. The usual suspects were lined up for identification. My considered response, rendered in utmost sincerity, was “What? Red? Are you talking Drank-Too-Much-Kool-Aid-Red or Took-a-Multi-Vitamin-Red? Precious seconds ticked by.

In the span of a few short minutes, an ambiguous pressure in Jilly’s lower back began to blossom with only a brief interval between “this is not good” and “RUN THE GODDAMN TRAFFIC LIGHTS!” A vigorous application of gas pedal followed by laborious debarking maneuvers preceded tense negotiations with the Emergency Room admittance-droid.

Jilly, now shaking uncontrollably and sweating profusely, was allowing herself a barely audible cry. This was a significant turn of events. She is known to shed a measured quantity of sad water at the odd wedding or funeral. I had never seen it happen in response to pain.

Unlike your typical food service establishment, ER personnel do not provide “wait times”. It took five minutes of hard bargaining to squeeze a time estimate from the droid, forty-five minutes to an hour before admittance and an additional wait for a doctor. A call to a more distant ER and another practiced application of blatant coercion yielded a more acceptable scenario, empty waiting room! The red traffic lights flew by. Jilly’s eyes were starting to glaze over. I pried her fingers from my leg and repositioned them to restore blood flow to my lower extremities.

Our grand entrance at the next ER would have made any B movie director proud. The drama, the suspense, the tenuous grasp on rational judgment, all joined in one brilliant display of urgency. To my surprise and relief, empathetic (and bored) health care professionals, who responded to my opening salvo by practically throwing narcotic loaded syringes at Jilly, proceeded before a single legal document was signed. The needles found their mark. Jilly’s convulsions began to ease and her white knuckled grip on my now useless left arm relaxed. Phase one complete. Next order of business: WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?

I kept one ear trained on Jilly’s medicated mumblings while I flipped the pages of my mental rolodex. Blood in the urine and excruciating pain, what could it be? Had she somehow yanked a kidney loose from its moorings? Was it rabies? My multi-choice cheat sheet was failing me. Through the application of Computed Axial Tomography, the mystery was solved. In medical terms, the condition is known as “bladder rat.” These vermin nest in the kidneys and only cause trouble when they bolt for the bladder via the ureter. They scrape the soft lining of the ureter raw, cutting deep enough to sever thousands of tiny blood vessels. The body retaliates by initiating waves of agonizing contractions similar to childbirth. The rats, once safely inside the bladder, rest and gather their strength. The tender lining of the urethra is next to fall victim in the escape attempt. More shredded tissue and breached blood vessels, more mind-numbing contractions follow. Minutes turn to hours, hours to days and, in the worst cases, days to weeks as the process saps the victim of strength and will.

The enemy exposed, a pitched battle ensued. For two weeks, they were at each other’s throats. In Jilly’s corner was the full weight of the medical industrial complex. To be honest, not an encouraging thought considering the bladder rat had millions of years of natural selection as well as the element of surprise on its side. All of the early battles went to the bladder rat. Only after a stiff working-over by another high tech gadget, a sonic blaster of sorts, did evidence begin to show up in the collection device provided by the nurse. This “collection device” consisted of a thimble-sized funnel with a strainer fixed to one end. A miracle of modern engineering, this little wonder did an excellent job of distributing urine evenly throughout the bathroom and all over Jilly.

---------------Artist rendition of bladder rat---------------

After several days of passing small fragments and jagged shards, the big-daddy bladder rat telegraphed its eminent arrival. With a peristaltic heave of biblical might, the dirty bastard gouged its way through the last few inches of Jilly’s urethra and landed unceremoniously in the thimble.
Introductions are in order. Blog Reader, this is Bladder Rat. Bladder Rat, this is Blog Reader.

---------------Jilly's actual bladder rat (kidney stone)---------------

If not for doctor's orders to the contrary, a flick of the little chrome lever could easily have sent the little shit to a permanent home in the city’s wastewater treatment facilities. Cooler heads prevailed and the rat is now on display in the “Stone Room” from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday.


Blogger Bazza said...

I'm glad the outcome was (relatively) good. Isn't it amazing how we always take good health for granted until the instant in which our bodies let us down. They always let us down.
No one gets out of here alive.

6:01 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger alphawoman said... scary.

6:47 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Aw begeezis those things are a nightmare... {{{hugs to jill}}}
Chit! Now they will tell her to cut back on milk and coffee... life can suck at times... poor thing....

7:20 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger ian said...

*runs away screaming*


7:49 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Edukator said...

You're nuts. That story was both hillarious and horrifying. Good thing she didn't get a "Bladder Cat" though. They're much larger and smarter but make great pets when they are passed.

9:48 PM, September 17, 2006  
Anonymous Justin said...

That is very scary.

They say that we, as students, remember those medical traumas we experience without fail. I'm adding this one to the compendium, and I'm going to read up about it tonight.

11:20 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Baz, fortunately, the mind has an excellent coping mechanism for pain and it becomes more efficient at the task as you get older, which is a damn good thing.

Mary, it is a scary thing. I would rather have a broken bone than deal with that kind of misery

Cheesy, it sounds like you are no stranger to the bladder rat. I hope it was not a personal experience.

Ian, away is the best place to run. Screaming is optional.

Educator, it’s a good thing it wasn’t a bladder cat as I am horribly allergic to them. I guess we could have kept it outside.

Justin, I hope your knowledge of these nasty little bastards remains second hand.

1:20 AM, September 18, 2006  
Anonymous Ghostrose said...

Blimey! I hope Jilly makes a ful recovery and the 'rat' doesn't come back. (ew!)

Oooh - thanks for the link, by the way. :-)

10:04 AM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Jill said...

Thanks for the kind thoughts. I appear to have come through the whole ordeal with no permanent damage, except possibly to my dignity. Plus, now there's a half a bottle of Vicodin in the medicine cabinet, so it wasn't all bad.

10:25 AM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Kara said...

That picture is disgusting. Well maybe it's the red background that's disgusting. I don't know...something's disgusting, though.

12:22 PM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Ghostrose, all is well in the kingdom (or queendom depending on who you talk to). That particular rat is gone for good. I held it down while Jilly kicked it repeatedly in the nuts prior to mounting it for display, metaphorically speaking of course.

Jilly, the Vicodin is a welcome addition to our home and well worth the suffering that I endured; I mean that you endured, that WE endured together (ha ha?). In any case, next time it is my turn. I think I will have a broken leg or a deep puncture wound. That should restock the medicine cabinet for at least the next 6 months.

Kara, yeah, it’s great isn’t it?

1:10 PM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Melanie said...

Loved the story.funny and scary.hope Jilly is fine now!

4:51 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi Melanie, Jilly is back in the saddle. She still harbors ill feelings for the bladder rat though.

11:54 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Irene Tuazon said...


I think I'm in love . . . with your blog.

It isn't too often I come across someone loonier than me! :p

Keep at it!

Irene c",)

3:39 PM, September 21, 2006  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi Irene, thank you for your kind assessment of my humble efforts. There is strong evidence to support your opinion of my looniness but it works for me.

5:59 PM, September 21, 2006  
Blogger David said...

now that is what I call writing. Thank you for sharing.

7:29 AM, September 22, 2006  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi David, thank you for your kind assessment of my humble efforts. Lucky for me, life tends to write itself.

12:52 PM, September 22, 2006  
Blogger skinnylittleblonde said...

You really are an exceptional writer. I love it! Have read all stories down to here & love them all...just hate to hike my leg on all of them. Thank you for sharing all these crazy little experiences & putting them into a whole new light.
BTW-I hope Jilly is feeling better. That sux.

6:27 PM, October 02, 2006  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Hi skinny, jilly is doing much better. I can't say the same for the bladder rat though. It lives a lonely life far from the cozy confines of jilly's innards.

6:44 PM, October 02, 2006  
Anonymous qttv said...

interesting, good job.Hey people...make a cooment on me, mt page is

8:39 AM, October 21, 2006  
Blogger slaghammer said...

qttv, quisiera comentar respecto a su blog pero mis habilidades del idioma extranjero se limitan a un traductor del Internet. El traductor no es bastante confiable para el uso constante.

11:36 AM, October 21, 2006  

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