Or, Life in a
Urinary Tract
Vacation Home
Part I
Once upon a time, about fifteen years ago, I started to piss blood, which, as you can imagine, bummed me out.

Like you, like most of us who have lived ten or twenty (or fifty) years with a body that is out-to-lunch, I tried to take it in stride. Other things, possibly worse, were going on in this shipwreck I call home: arthritis, diabetes, glaucoma, arrhythmia of the heart, dropsy, housemaid's knee, the Yaws, etc etc blah blah.

I was able to spot my new curse because my best (and sometimes only) nighttime companion is a Clamato bottle, 32 oz., which I use to relieve myself around midnight, and again at 2 am, and at 4 am, and at 6 am, etc etc blah blah.

After a few weeks of pretending it was the fault of the beets I love too much (they do produce a red flow), I dug around in the local medical directory to find a urologist who would accept my second-class medical insurance and who wouldn't leave me waiting for six months to get an appointment. Dr. Ghoul worked in the randier part of town so I suspected that outside of cystitis, bladder-stones and Liddle's Syndrome he was probably a part-time what we used to call "dope doctor."

His office had several plastic roses in plastic pots with plastic dust, years-old copies of The American Legion magazine, and on the wall a diploma which, as best I could make out, said that he had graduated with honors from the Transylvania School of Medicine.

After I explained my dilemma, he left me in the hands of his assistant, or nurse (or wife, or lover), who without so much as a by-your-leave, shoved a sizable hose up my what Casanova --- see the Memoirs of Jacques Casanova de Seingalt --- primly called the "organ of generation." Within scarcely an hour, the good doctor returned, looked briefly into the depths of me, washed his hands, sniffed, and told me not to worry. "Not to worry," he said.

Most people would have demanded a second opinion but I've seen enough doctors in my lifetime to last a lifetime, so I wasn't about to question such a heartening opinion. I continued to live with this ancient exhaust pipe and its multicolored voidings for the better part of a decade-and-a-half even though, I suspect, its outflow would not have been acceptable under the Federal Emission Control Standards Act of 1968.

Last fall, however, perhaps due to the falling Dow-Jones Industrial Average, the declining stability in Iraq, or my having reached 72 years of age --- whichever came first --- my ruddy flow turned into a veritable Niagara. It was as if I was, each night, putting used Clamato, unfiltered, back into the jar. After 36 hours of this, it began to get on my nerves as these terrorist attacks (from within and without) often do.

This time, I sought out a real urologist with real Antherium lilies in his reception room, a real medical degree on his wall (Columbia) and a heady collection of back-issues of the "New Yorker" magazine that I would have given my eye-teeth to own. Although his offices were high-class, he did share one thing with Dr. Ghoul. It was the old garden hose which was larger than life but it did have one virtue. There was a camera attached at the business end with which the Doctor and I and his various assistants and secretaries and hangers-on could enjoy projected on the screen a journey, in full color, through my own personal Amazon Basin.

At first I thought the pale blurry object we were seeing was something stolen from PBS --- The Living Desert, perhaps --- but Dr. Feelgood assured me that it was all mine. At the same time, he complimented me on my bladder. "Smooth, not wrinkled at all," he said. Since I had developed a fair number of wrinkles in other areas outside the box, I viewed this as a compliment.

But Feelgood still was puzzled about my bloody period. To track it down, he resorted to another procedure, the exact nature of which I will not bore you with, but it concerns an area of the body where, as the old song goes, the sun don't shine.

Go on to
Part II

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