Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gah! What a weekend, or Eric Slick update 2

A cell phone photo of a traumatized Eric Slick in the hospital emergency room where we waited for hours and hours and hours this weekend before the "official diagnosis" of appendicitis.

Okay, okay, so it was me who was traumatized - Eric was actually in pretty good spirits for someone in so much pain.

So out of respect to my son, I will spare you all the "fun" details of the weekend from hell (sob...which means I can't talk about Solomon the tranny in the e.r. or any other suchlike things/horrors we witnessed), therefore, I am just writing this as an update to let you know Eric is doing much better - still in pain and on some serious medication to relieve it - but I bet he's practicing drums by the time the week is out.

I do want to briefly give you the surrounding circumstances, but more as a thank you to bass player extraordinaire Dave Dreiwitz. A lot of you have written to me and said "Oh wow, poor Eric, thank God this didn't happen while he was on tour."

Actually, Eric had just finished a gig with Dave up in Albany, New York late Friday night when he doubled over in pain which did not subside even after an hour had passed. So a very worried Dave drove Eric to the hospital in Albany and stayed with him all during the night while they tried to get to the root of the problem and even gave Eric a CT scan. Finally, at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning, they released him from the hospital because the pain had somewhat abated, telling Eric "it's probably appendicitis...a normal appendix is normally six millimeters; yours is nine, and by the way, your white blood cell count is elevated. So we recommend you go home immediately and get an abdominal recheck at a hospital where you live within the next twenty four hours."

So what had to be a very drained and exhausted Dave then drove Eric all the way home to Philadelphia after playing a gig and staying with him at the hospital throughout the night. I didn't get the phone call about any of this until they were half way home.

"Oh good grief, Eric, why didn't you call me?"

"Because I know you. You would have jumped in the car in the middle of the night and driven all the way to Albany."

Damn straight I would have.

But oh my god, thank you so much, Dave Dreiwitz, for taking such excellent care of my son. I teased Eric yesterday, now that the debacle is over, that only he could get taken to the emergency room and get such loving care from the bass player for Ween and then get a phone call from Adrian Belew, who also paid tribute to him yesterday in his blog. And hey, did you see Adrian's new website? I love it, especially the fact that you can now sample all of tracks from their new CD, Side Four Live, right on the front page. And speaking of CDs, congratulations to Ween on their new CD, which was their highest debut ever on the Billboard charts and contains my current favorite non-Adrian Belew song, Your Party.

After this weekend, I am so, so happy to be talking music.

It was pretty scary once we were at the hospital in Philadelphia because even there, they weren't sure of the diagnosis, throwing around words like gastritis, kidney stones, elevated white blood cell counts and what that could mean, the possibility of a perforated or ruptured appendix, etc. etc. and because the hospital in Albany had given Eric a CT scan, they couldn't give him another one because of the high radiation levels. So they did more blood work and contacted Albany who then faxed their CT scan results to Philadelphia...anyway, the bottom line of this whole nightmare was that we did not get to speak to the surgeon until after 6:00 p.m. Sunday night and he finally said "Look, I am "pretty sure" it's appendicitis. You have three options here. I can either send you home but it's my guess you'll be back here within the next day or so and by then the appendix may rupture but then again, there's always the chance that the appendix will heal itself and it's just an infection; I can do another CT scan but don't recommend it because of the radiation, or, I can just take out his appendix now and be done with it. The very worst scenario is that I take out a healthy appendix but at least he'll never have to worry about appendicitis in the future..."

Yep, that's what he said.

I looked him in the eye and said, "Well, if it was your son, what would you do?"

He didn't hesitate.

"I'd take it out now before it ruptures..." (and then he proceeded to tell me how deadly a rupture could be, as if I didn't already spend six hours on Google researching it myself once I got the first phone call from Eric. Note to self: Never, ever, ever research medical conditions on Google again. Oy. Web MD can turn a paper cut into something fatal)

Anyway, finally, at 10:00 p.m. Sunday night, they operated...and how weird was the pre-op room...dark, deserted...right out of a horror movie...and yep, it was appendicitis - the doctor made the right call...had it not been removed it would have burst and that would have been a total nightmare, especially if Eric was out on tour far from home or in another country...arghh...the scenario any way you look at it isn't pretty.

Unfortunately, the decision was made for invasive surgery as opposed to laproscopic surgery which made it more painful for Eric but the circumstances and placement of his appendix made it necessary -- and too funny, Eric had to sign forms permitting his surgery/medical records be used for "research and teaching purposes" because naturally his appendix was not where it was supposed to be -- his apparently was in hiding behind his colon...yikes..okay, I have already given you way too much information and my son is going to have my head so enough of that, he's fine and thank God it's over.

Oh, I do have to add one more thing. During the course of all of the questioning at the hospital, the doctors learned Eric is a drummer and the surgeon said "Hey, do you have your new CD here? We can play it in the operating room while we remove your appendix."

Ha ha, that was all I had to hear. I called Gary, who was enroute to the hospital with Julie (I made him stay home until we had the official diagnosis - there was no sense all of us being in the e.r. going nuts for hours and hours), and asked him if he had Side Four Live in the car. Der. Of course he did. And in a stroke of magical luck, he arrived at the hospital with CD in hand just as they were wheeling Eric into surgery.

We were then led to a "hospitality room" adjacent to the operating room to wait while Eric had his appendix removed. When the doctor finally came in an hour or so later to tell us the operation was a success, he added "Wow, all of us - doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists - were rocking out to the music during Eric's surgery."

(Eric would later tell me that his last conscious moment before the anesthesia took hold was hearing Writing on the Wall, which is the first track on the CD, and thinking to himself "this is surreal")

Now of course the best part of this story was Eric being wheeled from surgery into his actual hospital room where we were already waiting for him, because he said things under anesthesia which had us laughing so hard the nurse looked at us really, really strangely -- like, hey, your son just had major surgery and you three are giggling like idiots, but he was so fucking funny we had tears running down our faces.

No, no, I can't tell you what he said (or did)...but it sure took the edge off the two tensest, scariest days of my life.

And that is the story of Eric's appendectomy.