As you may have by now heard, I’ve been out sick, since about noon yesterday. If don't know if you are familiar, but it was like one of those episodes of I didn’t know I was pregnant. Well, actually it reads more like an October play. Here’s the story… just slightly embellished with some creative license.
It’s morning, Tuesday, October 23rd. Matt enters his cubical from stage left. Matt unpacks a few things, boots his computer and begins his morning routine at work.
The Narrator speaks out in a flat and sarcastic, but all-knowing voice (like G-man in Half Life II or an episode of the Twilight Zone): This friends, is Matt. Your typical, atypical software engineer. On a good day, he likes his job and has a great respect and love for all his people — his family, his friends, his colleagues even. On a very good day, his in-laws too, or so he tells himself. He’d tell you plainly and gratefully that he has a great boss, a great great boss, and even a great great great boss. His umpteenth great boss is that CEO who once ran e-bay. Yea, I know. Boring. Just another ‘nice guy’ lost in Corporate America, waiting for that economy to turn around. The clock ticks quickly in the daily morning grind. Lunchtime approaches. Tick tock, Matt. Your stomach is complaining to you.
Matt acknowledges his stomach, and begins thinking aloud: Okay, just one more e-mail, then I’ll grab some lunch.
Narrator: Matt soon finds himself in the midst of several rewrites of his own last e-mail before lunchtime. If someone interrupted him just now and respectfully asked him:
Hypothetical person interrupts Matt: Hi Matt, you really look like you’re doing some great work there. If you don’t mind my asking, What are you doing?
Matt, in hypothetical response: I am researching business answers following a multi-threaded priority queue strategy, with intermediate outputs and an overriding final output entered into e-mail.
Narrator: That is to say, he was working on it until he got it just right.
Matt continues typing that one last e-mail.
Narrator: Type, Review and Search. Delete. Type, Review, Search. Matt found a familiar, but unique pattern which captivated him while each challenge met his mind or inbox. You see between him, God and Google, Matt can hardly type a question that he can’t answer himself. And Matt can hardly type a question unless it’s a challenging question. And of course Matt can’t resist the challenge of answering it.
Matt’s compositional thought cycle is interspersed with minor epiphanies, some laughter and some groaning in acknowledgement of his stomach.
Narrator: Time’s up Matt.
Matt is nearly done with the e-mail: Finally. Clicks Send. Holding his side in discomfort: Oh, that doesn’t feel right. Maybe I’m not so hungry after all. I better just go to the restroom on my way to the cafeteria for a small lunch.
Matt exits, but returns shortly without lunch: Well, that didn’t help.
Narrator: Matt was thinking quite seriously now about his digestion and what he had for supper last night. Little did he know that his condition was far more serious than the expiration date of any layer of last night’s many layered taco bell burrito.
Matt, after briefly pausing for the narrator’s comments, groans: I really don’t feel so good. I’d better just pack up and go home.
Matt begins the drive home on his motorbike, but changes his course to the nearest parking lot. He parks quickly. Upon removing his helmet he exclaims: Either I really need the bathroom, or I really need a doctor, but I REALLY need to find out which one! This pain just keeps growing! Bathroom is cheaper, so I’ll start there.
Lights dim for the scene change:
Narrator: Now, on average Matt is quite healthy, and his appetite, well let’s just say it’s even healthier still. So, needless to say, Matt was taking this painful feelings from within quite seriously. As Matt approaches the nearby diner from where he parked, he wishes he could shake off the looming possibility of a trip to the ER. Were it not for his late night trip to the ER Christmas night last year, it would hardly have crossed his mind. The story of Christmas Glögg’s revenge with local headline Sick Santa Drives over Lawn for Quick Escape, Breaking Sprinkler — I just have to save that story for another day. We really shouldn’t wait any longer to see how Matt’s doing — time is against him, and it just wouldn’t be polite.
Narrator: Where were we? Oh yea, Matt enters the nearby diner where he parked, wishing he could shake off the looming possibility of a trip to the ER.
The young at heart hostess greets him: How are you today?
While glancing in a panic for the bathroom, Matt admits: Could be better. I’m not really having a good day.
Hostess: I’m sorry to hear that. Is it for here or to go?
Matt pauses at first, then abruptly blurts out: It’s to go, I mean for here!
The hostess shows him a table. Matt politely puts down his bag and helmet, trying to hide his discomfort as he hurries to the bathroom. After a short duration, Matt emerges from the stall to wash his hands, and thinks to himself: No luck again?! And this pain! Man, I’m just going to casually go get my things and go straight over to the ER. This pain is just killing me! Maybe my appendix is about to explode… I really need some water.
Matt sneaks over to his table to try and gather up his things and bolt, but is quickly noticed and interrupted by the diligent waiter.
The diligent waiter: May I take your order?
Narrator: Hesitantly and feeling defeated, Matt sits down slowly, then hurriedly finds anything on the menu to order quickly.
Another waiter nearby offers dessert to a table, mentioning flavor of the day. Matt sees it on the menu.
Matt: Yes, I’ll have a half shake, the flavor of the day… Raspberry with white chocolate? And I’ll have a water.
The waiter leaves to the kitchen to pass on the order. Matt sits nervously and listens while a guy from the back retrieves the hostess: We have this order for white chocolate with raspberries. Dude is there a recipe or something?
The hostess walks back with the dude from the kitchen.
Matt now breaks a sweat as he waits and squirms in a bit of a panic. He’s trying his best not to knock over the immediate furniture with his nervous movements. Matt practically flops over in pain as two girls enter the restaurant with purpose. Another helpful waiter approaches the girls, but one of the girls responds quickly: Oh I just need to use the bathroom.
Under his staggered breath with a deranged look, Matt mutters: Now why didn’t I think of that.
The waiter brings out the half shake and has a minor epiphany: I’ll go get your water.
Matt huddles over the shake, drinking as fast as can be done through a small straw. When the waiter delivers the water, Matt quickly switches back and forth between the water and the shake, but ultimately returning to finish the shake.
Matt’s thoughts are now single words only, as the pain draws the phrases right out of him: Pain! Leave. Pay-nn! Money. Wallet. Ten?!
Matt stands up quickly, to signal he’s ready to leave. The waiter approaches and takes the money.
Matt waits for the waiter’s return: Leave? Can’t. Cheap. pa pa Ainful Owee Ow Owaiting. Gloves. Backpack. Change! Take. Run. Door. Helmet. Keys. Clutch-Starter-Shift. Walking backwards…Gas-Clutch-GO!
Narrator: Now that Matt is driving to the ER, he is now thinking he needs an emergency caesarian to remove something big and ugly! Matt drives the two blocks to the hospital, following the signs to the entrance. Oops, heh. Wrong entrance!
Matt: Ambulance entrance! No parking! Gated Parking. Going around. Ugh, Can’t park! Not again! BaaaddDéjà vu. The curse of Christmas Glögg’s Revenge!
Matt circles the parking lot wondering whether he will make it. He sees an opening finally, and darts with his bike over a narrow patch of pavement between landscaping just scraping around a curb to available parking. Matt then hustles some distance, then through sliding doors to the desk to check in.
Matt: I’m here for some sharp pain in my abdomen. It’s really bad.
Reception Nurse slides a clipboard over: Check in please.
Matt scribbles frantically on the form at the counter:
Last Name. Scribble.
First name. Scribble.
Social Security number. Scribble. Or was that...
Phone number? Skipping.
Reason for visit. Owee—Owee—Owee—Dying.
Partial credit! He starts to pick up the form to turn it in, bug glances for readability.
Yikes! Scribbles over some words again — skips further review and turns it in.
Reception Nurse glances at form, with an audible sigh of disapproval.
Matt apologizing: Sorry, I was here before. Christmas Glögg's I mean last Christmas.
Nurse interrupts: Spell your last name.
Matt: Sure, gee aye emm ow ee ow ee dy ing
Nurse: First name is Matthew?
Nurse: Please have a seat.
Matt sits quietly entertained by his thoughts: My guts are about to burst! This is just like that episode of House where they suddenly realize there’s internal bleeding, only I’m in a waiting room, not in a bed with a monitor and crash cart. Please God, I don’t deserve this. Ouch!!! OK, I know I’m not perfectly innocent, just please send me your mercy before I die in this chair. OOOH K, it can get worse. Lord, before I go, I just want you to please forgive those nurses for my dying at the bottom of their First In First Out queue. For they don’t know a better algorithm.
Matt picks up the phone to call his wife. In a weak voice, he says: Hi Julie, I’m at the ER for some bad pain in my gut. Could you come pick up my bag? Matt hangs up. Tears well up, and he continues his unusually prayerful moment. just make it stop. just please remove me from this pain!
Lights dim, curtains down.
Narrator: Matt’s wife Julie heads over to pick up his bag, or will it be his body bag? It’s not looking good for Matt.
Curtains up, Matt sits in a chair at home, talking on his phone to some random buddy, drinking lots of water.
Matt: Oh It turned out it wasn’t my appendix, but a little baby kidney stone. I was sitting there (interrupted) What? Yea of course I kept it. Just let me tell the story, OK? SO I was sitting there for an hour about in tears and all they done so far is tag me after my check in. Then SUDDENLY, I dropped from a 12 to nearly 0 on the pain scale. Of course at the time I thought it was an 11 in pain, but only because I couldn’t remember what came after 11. I was floating — Did I die? No. Did it die? Maybe. Then I looked down at my wrist. The tag! It must have had some futuristic pain med built in. (pause, listening) No way, it’s totally possible! (pause, listening) You know, like those wireless chargers but for pain instead. Anyways, it was straight from twilight zone to x-files. Wham!
Matt continues: The whole painful ordeal was over in 3 hours, before the hospital ever freed up a bed, ran the first lab test or gave me any kind of prescription. Conveniently, the little guy showed up in my first urine sample after which the nurse saved it. I recognize now that some mild pain I was having that I thought was indigestion since Sunday was actually the beginning of it. Somehow, thankfully, LOL, the baby was facing the right direction, and so I didn’t have any back labor leading up to the surprise delivery. (pause) You know, back labor! Most people feel the stones in their back first, just like labor! (Listening) OK, I didn’t need to hear that analogy, mine was way better….hold on a sec. (takes the phone off ear) Julie, could you get me some water! (back on phone) So I’m going to take it easy now because there’s still a chance I could be having twins. Maybe I’ll waste some time downloading some apps… for some reason I’ve got bejeweled on the brain. Oh yea, and in case you’re wondering, it was painful!!! Glögg’s revenge was only a 9 compared to this 12, and I thought I was going to die that Christmas day! If anything, the emotional trauma will be tough to recover from. (pause) Yea, not much pain, but I really feel like damaged goods right now. Just a couple hours more, and I’d surely need therapy for PTSD. Handle with care, you know. Speaking of, I better run. (Pause) OK, take care of yourself too. Bye!
Alright guys I had fun writing a play for your entertainment, and my own as well.
I don’t mind sharing with
my peeps as they say, but I sure can’t tell the story as good as I can write it.
Now I really will go off and relax with some less engaging distractions.
I’m aiming for a urologist appointment next week for prognosis and perhaps some miracle cure.