Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Wax on, wax off

Ok, ok, guess I “got some 'splainin' to do”, as Ricky would say to Lucy in I Love Lucy.

No, I didn't have a heart attack, or any type of coronary event. The rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated...

But, yeah, I was concerned as hell when I started to lose consciousness, sweat profusely, and almost puke. I had no good reason to explain what was happening to me, and since heart disease is a major factor in my family history (and undoubtedly most likely the cause of my own demise in the future, unless we cure heart disease by then), I thought it prudent to have a doctor tell me I was fine, rather than make that assessment on my own. After all, if I was incorrect, this would have been my LAST Rock Bottom gig, potentially!

Bringing everyone up to speed, I had a little incident the other night at Rumor's minutes before the show. A brush with mortality, so to speak. Something that 10 or 15 years ago I would have treated differently, but at 42, you stop to pause a moment, and think “ruh ro, is this IT?” Yeah, getting old is a bitch. I'm not panicking, or having a midlife crisis or anything like that, but, while I still feel 21 years old at heart, my heart, in fact, is 42, twice that! With plenty of miles on it to be sure.

See, back when we played at Daddio's, a few weekends ago they have one of those popular punching bag machines where good drunk Hoosiers (not unlike myself) can take aggression out, and prove all kinds of macho shit. Always a good time. I kind of equate this with the Ole Ring-The-Bell-With-The-Sledge-Hammer game that were often seen at carnivals, maybe still are. You punch the machine as hard as you can, and you get a score. Anything over 900, you're an official Bad Ass! Weeee!

After a couple Jagerbombs, I found myself taking a couple swings. Hey! I'm a hockey player! I'm not above hauling off and punching things to prove a point! And, I was consistently pegging about 875. Just under the official 900 “Bad Ass” plateau. Dammit! And, in what was a portent of the future, I found myself swinging and missing to which I attributed to Jagermeister. My old buddy and guitar wizard John Ringling from The Ultraviolets had a good laugh with it observing my whiffs.

So, there I sit in Rumor's a few weeks later, waiting for everyone else to get this thing going, and I can't help but watch of some of the ladies (and later a couple Salty Dogs) pummeling one of these machines. Can I break 900 sober I wondered to myself? I bet I can. Let's find out!

I popped a $1 (yeah, a $1 a shot!) in the game, and sized up the bag. I stretched out my arm slowly, taking aim, imagining planting my fist firmly in the center of the bag. I focused power, like a young Daniel-san from Karate Kid, breathing deeply, gathering chi. Then I rared back and popped the thing with as much force as I could muster. Sorta.

As I had once before (while intoxicated), I merely grazed the bag. The full force of my Herculean blow barely touched leather, rendering my score an insulting “001”, I kid you not. That garnered some howls from the Salty Dog contingent seated behind me. Guess I'm a lover, not a fighter!

More unfortunately for me, my follow through landed on the edge of a cocktail table that was improperly stationed directly left of the machine, my fist firmly crashing into the solid edge of the chest high, rounded table.

Fuck! That hurt! Fuck! I can't believe I missed! FUCK! A “001”? Son of a bitch! I have the shittiest luck! Flashing like a beacon: 001. LOSER!

My hand throbbed with pain, and after the embarrassment wore off, I quickly started to assess the damage. Basically, the band was ready to go on, staring over at me and my shenanigans, so I needed a good, stiff Jagerbomb to ease the pain, both from my hand, and my pride. I stretched out my fingertips to alleviate the soreness, and glanced down to note my index finger covered in blood, dripping onto the floor. HOLY SHIT! I'd opened an almost ¾ to 1 inch gash just below my knuckle from the blow to the sharp edge of the table. Just what I fucking need!

I hurried to the bar, requesting a bar rag and a Jagerbomb. The towel, I pressed to my hand. The Jagerbomb, I pressed to my lips. Neither one of them made me feel much better, nor stop the bleeding. Well, shit! Beck had rushed to my side and attempted to assist. The sight grossed her out pretty badly.

“Get some ice on it!” she insisted.. Good idea. I requested some ice, wrapped the towel around my hand, and made my way over over to my side of the stage and sat, pressing down on the wound to stop the bleeding so I wouldn't hold up the show too badly. I knew didn't break my finger, just cut it pretty badly, and probably bruised the bone. It hurt pretty good, but not any worse than one of my gout attacks. I just wanted to stop the bleeding and start jamming. How irritating, and humiliating!

Before long, I noticed that my arms were covered in sweat. I mean, I was sweating profusely. I also began to feel kind of light headed. My cheeks felt cold, but my arms were wet with sweat.

“My God,” Rebecca said, “you look white as a ghost!”

“Yeah, and I think I'm going to puke,” I added.

My stomach began to feel very nauseous, and I was obviously becoming woozy. What the hell? I checked on the bleeding, and it wasn't really stopping. The wound was deep. And, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. I mean literally. Something was wrong with me.

“Maybe you should go to the hospital, honey” Becca said. It didn't take me long to agree. I knew she was absolutely right. Could this be a heart attack? I didn't want to find out the hard way.

“You're right, let's go.” I said, and mumbled something to the band I had to leave. I think Becca was kind of surprised I agreed so readily, but something like this that I can't comprehend is no joke. That's what I pay insurance for. Let's use it.

As I walked towards the door, I nearly blacked out. Becca later said that I was talking incoherently, but I didn't feel incoherent. Just that I was about to go. Nothing nervous, just, strange.

We drove down to the hospital in Granite where I work because I don't pay co-payments there, and Becca was on the horn to her family, and I called mom to let her know what was up, but not to bother to show up unless I deemed it serious enough. I felt badly for the guys, but it was completely out of my hands. This is what I had to do. Sucks, but that's life. Literally, possibly my life at stake. I'd hoped I was wrong, but if I was wrong and stayed, I could be dead.

The staff was surprised to see me that late, and got me looked at quickly. I was starting to feel better by the time we'd arrived, and was pretty confident this wasn't anything related to a coronary event. But, I still wanted to know what the hell was happening to me. Becca's parents popped in to check on me, as did her sister who also works at the hospital. Good people.

After some X-Rays, an EKG, and enough needles stuck in me to officially consider me a pincushion, Dr. Arendale explained I had a classic “vasovagal”. Basically, I was fainting. Becca likes to call it “swooning”. The pain, coupled perhaps other factors (possibly stemming from a car accident that I had 20 years ago that I don't remember) helped cause it, my heart rate dropped, blood left my brain, and I was about to passout. Bizarre, because none of this freaked me out. The pain was bearable, because once you've suffered from gout, you can take a good amount of pain. My main concern was getting the bleeding stopped in time to not hold up the band. Regardless, my body reacted much differently than my mind, and said “night night!”

He also said he was going to need to put a couple stitches. Well, there you go. I really had no other choice, did I? Had I not had this “vasovagal” episode, I surely would have attempted to play on, and probably bled all frickin' night! Let's get it done! More fucking needles...

Somewhere along that time, a total drunk was admitted in who had apparently been struck by a car. He was barely coherent, and didn't know his own name from what I could glean. All he did was growl like a pirate: “aarrrrrgh!” Constantly. I'd imitate the poor ole guy to Becca's amusement, adding “Blow me down!” or “Shiver me timbers!” I'll smoke a turd in hell for that, I suspect. One of many.

Dr. A made his way back and they “stitched me up”. I felt like making some smart ass hockey related comment, but I just didn't have the spunk. I just wanted to get this shit over with and get home. There was no possible way I could make it back up to the gig now, so just getting home and putting this behind me was all I could concentrate on. That, and Black Beard the pirate in the room beside us.

“You're gunna feel this,” the doctor warned as he jabbed the needle into the wound to apply the local anesthetic. He wasn't kidding! First a white hot stabbing pain at the source of the wound, about on par with gout, maybe just a bit sharper, then an equally painful freezing sensation. I'm certain my facial expression wasn't one of enjoyment.

“Yeah, that will get your attention,” the doctor admitted.

Then I couldn't feel a damn thing! Within moments, he was pulling some string through my finger, and I basically stared straight ahead, not watching.

But Becca was, and her face said it all. She contorted and grimaced as he stitched my wound closed, and appeared as though she was becoming ill. You can sit through Saw III, but can't watch me get a couple stitches, hon? LOL!

That was basically it.

“Come see me next Monday morning, and I'll take those out,” doc said. And I was on my way home. Well, home to Becca's, where I cuddled up and nursed my wounds. I heard that Kene Turcott filled in for me, and that the good word of my episode was already circulating around Eddie's and the Ivory Tiger show. Good news travels fast!

A one! I scored a one! What a fucked up night. Cocktail table: 1, Deron: 0.

In my next blog, I'll finish up my trip last year, culminating with our trip to New Orleans, and this weekend I'll be heading to Jamaica! I'm sure there'll be some story to tell about that trip!