Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lemons and Seascape

Lemons and Seascape by Gustavo Schmidt. He really gives the blog some class today, huh. Like music/writing where my taste runs from classical to punk to classics to graphic novels (thanks to Mr. Gaiman), my taste in art is all over the place, too. I was turned on to Gustavo Schmidt accidentally when Failbetter Magazine showcased his work. Actually, I'm being really nice in giving you a link to Failbettter Magazine because sending a short story to them is like letting said short story fly out a window from the top floor of a New York City skyscraper on a windy day -- you'll never see it again nor learn into whose hands it fell and whether they liked it or not...well, you can pretty much assume they hated it and are now using the printed out version as wallpaper in their bathrooms if you really want to be honest with yourself.

But they do publish some great stories, damn it! And while stalking their site in the hopes that maybe my story would appear one of these days despite my never hearing from them, I stumbled on their Visuals section and that's where I "met" Gustavo.

I want one of his paintings.

Anyway, I needed something pretty to look at today because last night was the fucking night from hell. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. with back spasms that were almost unbelievable. Out of nowhere. And for sure when you wake up freaked out like that in the middle of the night, you just know you should be calling an ambulance because the pain is ten times worse thanks to your over-active imagination.

I tried to stretch out totally flat and not move, hoping the agony of whatever this was would pass while wondering how it happened. I theorized it must be the dog's fault. Even though Monty is a beagle mutt and not very big and I have a queen sized bed, he is a major bed hog. Somehow he manages to sprawl out in various positions which leave me with one inch of mattress and 3/4 of my body hanging over the bedframe.

But then I realized I was also nauseous.

I'll spare you the rest of the details -- no, no, it wasn't from Julie's gnocchi, which, by the way, were outrageously delicious -- but it appears I had a kidney stone. I had one over twenty years ago -- I guess a few years before Julie was born -- and let me tell you, giving birth without an epidural is far less painful. (I know this because Eric was almost born in a cab and there was no time for an epidural -- otherwise, I would have requested, as I did with Julie -- not just a mere epidural but morphine and a gun to shoot Gary)

I got lucky this time (again, I will spare you the details) but that prior attack sent me to the hospital for four days.

Quick funny story about that -- I had a total Homer Simpson moment when Gary rushed me to said hospital. We didn't know what the hell was going on -- we were really young, pretty much newlyweds -- and I was doubled over in pain. Same thing -- I woke up in the middle of the night with crippling back spasms and nausea. Except back then, we were really heavy partiers and we were paranoid to go to the hospital because we figured we'd get arrested ten seconds after they got my bloodwork results. But it soon became apparent, like, after I'd thrown up ten times in ten minutes and was writhing on the bathroom floor in agony, that I required some serious medical attention.

So Gary drives me to the hospital and I'm literally screaming the whole way, in between rolling down the window and sticking my head out doing you know what...and we get to the emergency room at like 3:00 a.m. and I'm in so much pain I don't care who the hell is witnessing my primal one point I was on my hands and knees howling like a werewolf. Naturally Gary had to stand there and give out insurance information, and that was (sob) before computers so it was an even more torturous process than it is now, and while he's doing that, because I'm making such a lovely scene, they whisk me into an examining room right off the waiting room. Just to give you a little more background information, Jefferson Hospital is in downtown Philadelphia and their waiting room is huge - it can probably hold 500 people, and there are rows and rows of plastic chairs. At 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday night, they were jammed packed with everything from drunks to gunshot victims (non-life threatening) to bartenders who'd cut themselves on broken glass.

Anyway, because of my symptoms, they pretty much diagnosed that it was a kidney stone right away. I mean, I was like twenty years old. A kidney stone was something that never would have occurred to me. In the meantime, they had me get totally undressed so they could wheel me to x-ray...I'm wearing nothing but a hospital gown which they told me to tie in the back but I couldn't because I'm a klutz and I was a klutz in pain.

And then they shot me full of morphine.

Well, the morphine went to work immediately and I finally stopped screaming. By the way, this whole time, Gary is still filling out forms. The nurses left me alone for around fifteen minutes to call an orderly or whatever to take me to x-ray and that's when I discovered that the morphine was not in fact working anymore and I needed another shot.

Totally stoned on morphine and not knowing it, I decided to go for a walk and find some more drugs on my own. And where did I go? Why, out back into the waiting room of course, wearing an untied hospital gown with no underwear and my entire ass hanging out. So in essence, I gave a twisted nudie show to drunks and gunshot victims (non-life threatening) and bartenders who'd cut themselves on broken glass.

All of a sudden I heard Gary's mortified "ROBBIE!!!!!" and to be honest, that's all I remember because I passed out and didn't wake up until a few hours later in a hospital bed hooked up to an I.V.

So you can understand why I went into full anxiety mode last night.

And needed some Gustavo Schmidt this morning. I love the title Lemons and Seascape -- it's very sensual and...sensory? Is that the word I want? get the point I'm sure.

And now for some Beth Orton on my iPod and some serious writing.



Susan Henderson said...

I adore Beth Orton. Go right your heart out, Robin. It's snowing here. Is it snowing in Philly?

RobinSlick said...

No, we're getting an ice storm, because I haven't been panic stricken enough in the past eight hours.

Beth Orton rules!

Myfanwy Collins said...

Oh! sorry for your ailment, Robin. Hope you are better today. Your story cracked me up, though. When will someone design a better hospital gown? Probably around the same time someone designs a less painful mammogram (Why are they not conical? Why must they flatten? Couldn't they just envelop???),

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Another hilarious story as only you can tell it...and YAY for Beth Orton fans. For so long I was the only one of my friends who listened to her.


David Niall Wilson said...


Just to see, I sent something to that magazine. I note that they make no mention of payment, so I assume it's a non-paying market in search of the finest literary blah blah (lol). I have a story that could only be considered literary, based on memories of my grandfather - and lightning - and baseball. We shall see..

The hospital gown story cracked me up, but was I the only one who thought of Mary Tyler Moore when you said your hubby hollered "Robbie!" (lol)


RobinSlick said...

Myf, to this day I never know which way to put the damn gown on, either. It's the opposite way for the gyno, or am I confused about that, too.

Yeah, I'm all for being enveloped during a mammo! Massaged, enveloped, doped up...

Jordan, I'm seriously wondering why I want to write novels. Clearly I'd rather be a warped baby boomer version of Erma Bombeck. So thanks. And yep, I love Beth and contrary to what my kids tell me, I can sing perfectly on key with her.

David, you realize because I made a fuss, you're going to get an acceptance letter from Failbetter like tomorrow, and I hope you do. But I know some top of the line writers who've been published in just about every paying market who say the same thing about Failbetter. And yet we continue to submit...

I think it's in the Writers Manual -- Rule #666 or something -- that every writer must be masochistic.

And um, fun fact time. Gary and I have known each other since age fifteen. I've always been "Robbie" to him and he still calls me that. And um, he doesn't spell it "Robbie", he spells it "Robbi", but you know, I figured it was going to be traumatic enough to use the nickname as it is but I wanted to be true to the story.

And Mary used to yell "Ra-ahb", not Robbie. I know that for sure because they show the old black and white reruns of the Dick Van Dyke show on TV Land early Sunday mornings and okay, I have a weakness for old black and white sitcoms from the late fifties/ early sixties. I saw a hilarious Leave it to Beaver where Beaver's father screamed at him for trying to sell bottled water. "You can't charge people for water, Beaver! It's free! And to put it in bottles -- that's dishonest!"

Even though I was really young, I can't even believe I was alive when those shows were on T.V. It was such a different time. We're all so fucking jaded now.

Oh well, I like jaded, too.

Ellen said...

Ay, Robin! Your story is hilarious, but are you OKAY today? Will you see a doctor?

RobinSlick said...

I feel kind of weak and crappy today actually but really, you pass these things and that's it. I really should go on a vegan diet once and for all in spite of all my jokes about it. Even kidney stones are as a result of too much dairy and I remember when this happened to me the last time, I had to give up cheese! Cheese is like my favorite food, but again, I should be eating healthy for a lot of reasons, both physical and mental.

I haven't been hungry all day - which at first made me happy but now of course I'm worried. I just ordered some miso soup and sushi...that's the only thing that appeals to me right now.

But yeah, I'll live. Ask anyone who has ever had a kidney stone. They are pure hell. I was so fucking lucky to pass it and not have it linger for days but you know me, I'm worried another smaller one is still lurking.

Ms. Lori said...

Oh, jesus, Robin, I'm so sorry about the stone. That's one of my fears, kidney stones... I've had others who suffered from stones tell me about the gruesome pain, and so I drink water like a freaking whale in hopes I never develop one.

But, I gotta say that your hospital story is the funniest thing I've read in weeks.

Feel better soon, toots.

katrina said...

Oh I hope you're feeling better today, Rob.