(Patrick’s Note: Please excuse the sensitive matter of this post. In fact, this is an extremely graphic description of a medical issue I had a few years back. It is not intended for anyone other than adults to read, and is periodically punctuated with profanity. Having extended this warning, I now leave you to… Pancho.)
Lefty and Righteous have been with me since day one. Since they caught their first fastball, the mere thought of another assault is cringe-worthy. However, I’ve spent the past 60 hours battling their most worthy adversary to date.
Lathering up in the shower a few days ago, I found a small lump on Lefty. I froze in my sudsy stance. About the size of a small marble, further investigation revealed it crowding Lefty’s comfort zone. Not good. Is it cancer? I shuddered at the thought. The trespasser was not actually connected to Lefty, but too close for comfort. I felt Righteous creeping as far from Lefty as possible. Lefty was nervous, trying to follow Righteous. The lump was noticeably hard, but didn’t seem to come with nerve endings. At that point, there was no pain.
Over the next few hours, it grew alarmingly fast. I decided to name the nickel-sized intruder Pancho. Since Pancho and Lefty is a popular country song, I felt guilty tying such a fine tune to my grotesque predicament. Still, I needed to find something amusing about this freak show, so the name stuck.
Pancho seemed to thrive after his christening, but it was no occasion for joy. Pain was now constant. At 24 hours, the dirty rotten invader was quarter-sized. One hesitant, probing squeeze of Pancho produced a scream of painful rage, followed by an immediate phone call to my doctor’s office.
“Hello,” I nervously greeted the scheduling czarina. “I need to see the Doc. Like immediately.”
She seemed to take on a defensive tone. “He’s not in Thursday.”
It was Monday. Having spent the night recalibrating my personal pain threshold, I was past the point of caring about Doc’s weekend plans.
“Without going into detail,” I said through clenched teeth, “I need to see him two hours ago, okay? I’m talking now, not Wednesday.”
There was a pause. I was politely restrained, not wanting to piss her off. She literally had me by the balls.
“How about tomorrow afternoon?” she offered.
“Um,” I said after an anguished groan, “tomorrow morning? Like 5 a.m.? Yeah, that works for me.”
Another pause. Czarina’s voice bordered between exasperated and annoyed. I wondered if they fed her raw meat for lunch.
“I’m sorry you must not have heard me. I said tomorrow afternoon. You can have 3:00, 3:15 or …”
“Three is the best I can get?” I shouted desperately into the phone, rudely interrupting the only entity between my hero Doc and this growing menace.
“We’ll see you at 3:00.” Her tone was curt. I may have imagined it, but I swore I heard her snarl.
“I’ll be right there.”
“Oh. Uh, thanks.” What I meant to say is lost in polite translation.
I wondered if that sound was the phone or her canines gnashing together. Heaving a long, pitiful sigh, I made a note to get even with Czarina Wolf Slayer.
As my head sank to the table in despair, other muscles worked in harmony to produce movement in the scrotum. Suddenly, a thousand large-gauged needles excited every available pain center in my pelvic nervous system. Pancho was taunting me, giving me a hint of what was to come.
Following a rambling, sore cowpoke-like walk to the bathroom, I examined my tormentor again. Pancho had mushroomed to the size of a half-dollar, thrice its thickness. I was taking slightly more than the maximum recommended dose of Damitol. I was too stubborn to pay the extra clams for urgent care. I didn’t want just anybody treating my predicament. I wanted Doc: my trusty steed, protector of The Boys, discoverer of the twin hernias, guardian of my medical secrets, the only male allowed near Man Land. With one click on his laptop, I believed he would send me away completely cured, medicated, and relieved of this cruel menace.
That night was an endless workout. Gingerly, I tossed. Hesitatingly, I turned. I thrashed about, cursing Pancho in three languages. I punched the alarm clock… it seemed stuck at 2:48 a.m. Plotted my revenge against the ugly Scheduling Czarina whom I now pictured as a decaying monster in a Stephen King novel. Pancho was in full-assault mode, again doubled in size. It felt like a medicine ball had lodged within my scrotus-infectus. Having achieved direct contact with my inner thigh, Pancho was aggressively rubbing me the wrong way. He seemed upset with Lefty for not sharing more room, intent upon achieving sole residency. This was a depressing battle; I was a loser either way.
I awoke the next morning in a position I hadn’t achieved since the Sexual Revolution, only this time I was alone. Having put up with enough abuse, my poor wife had escaped to the couch sometime between eternity and hell.
By nine o’clock that morning, mid-afternoon seemed light-years away. I popped Ibuprofen steadily. Paroxysms of pain and feverish delirium elevated Doc to superhero status. An eternity later, departure time arrived.
Adjusting the rear-view mirror heavily to the right to compensate for my cockeyed squat in Ye Olde Datsun, I was thankful it didn’t have a manual transmission. I don’t remember the trip, yet I somehow arrived safely. Using my fingers as a tent, they supported me as I emerged from the ancient low-rider without disturbing Pancho’s Prisoners. Grimly noting I’d left my cowboy hat at home, I saddle-sore-rambled into Doc’s Place. Either I was delirious, or the Scheduling Tyrannosaurus Rex snarled as I loped by. All I could think of was Glorious Doc and his healing prowess! Once again, He would fix whatever ailed me. Instantly.
But Doc didn’t take the pain away. Per my request, he asked Melody Medical Student to leave us alone. Then, I presented The Boys for his perusal.
“Ahh,” Doc said as he found the problem.
“AAUUGGHH!” I replied. He frowned at my outburst, but continued to probe the monstrous invader.
“Well,” he said, smiling up at me. “It’s not cancer. And it’s not an STD.”
“Good on both counts, Doc,” I said drily. “So?”
“It’s an infection. A big zit, if you will. And it will only go away with antibiotics and drainage.”
I sighed heavily with relief, but gasped as he again grasped my tormentor for further inspection.
“Sorry, but it’s not ready yet or I’d drain it for you.” Doc sighed sympathetically.
“What is it waiting for,” I exploded, “a freakin’ piñata party? Good God Doc, this thing is no fun lemme tell ya!”
Doc leaned backward on his pedestal on wheels, motioned for me to pull up my pants. He peeled off his gloves and began typing my dilemma into his laptop.
“Gonna give you some intense antibiotics,” he said quietly as he composed what seemed a novel, in real-pain time. I felt bad for my rudeness, but Doc understood. He’s a nice man, with a beautiful family gracing photos on the shelves. He’s always been kind, gentle and understanding. And I was being an ungracious, whining asshole.
“When do you think…” I started, but he cut me off with a sideways glance and upraised index finger.
After a minute, he looked up with that affection-inspiring gaze of his.
“Within a day. If you’re lucky.” He said this softly, with true compassion.
Pancho punched me again, gloating.
Grimacing, I replied, “Really, Doc? This damn thing pains me somethin’ fierce. Sure you can’t torch it for me? Execute it?”
“When it forms a pustule, and you’ll know when that happens,” he said calmly, “you can puncture it with a sharp point sterilized with a flame and…”
I don’t remember the next few seconds of the conversation. Did I faint?
“…or you can come in and I’ll do it for you.”
Afterward, I attempted to walk normally out of the office, but my left leg swung wide with each step. I feigned a kick at Snarling Alien Drooling Monkey Scheduling Czarina as I passed her desk. As a precaution, I turned back toward the ferocious beast and scheduled an appointment the next morning to have Pancho executed.
Having survived Doc, my tormentor arrogantly shoved Lefty aside. He now engulfed my inner thigh. Preparing to pustulize, I hypothesized. Doc told me to fight the cannonball with heat. I wanted to blast the bastard with a blowtorch. It would go away soon, I hoped. I prayed.
At home I inspected Pancho and found a lava dome of percolating pus. Not quite ready for my planned counter-offensive, but decidedly more painful than a few hours earlier. The next few hours, time was hard to measure, and the pain actually intensified! In desperation, I actually attempted what that sadistic Doc had suggested. Heating a lance with a lighter, I then doused it with alcohol. In my delirium, with Werewolf Czarina Draculetta chuckling in the doorway, I braced myself. The point descended within my trembling hand and actually punctured the pulsing pustule.
BULLSEYE! YEE-OUCH! Sadly, no eruption rewarded this foolhardy bravery. Just a trickle of blood and another point of agony upon the growing battle zone. Cursing and half-heartedly kicking the cat who decided now was the best time to rub against my leg, I resigned myself to a possible late-night second attempt.
I cursed Pancho angrily as I fell backward into bed. I fell asleep on my back a few hours and several ibuprofen later. Wisely, my sympathetic wife had again relocated to the couch.
I awoke around 7:30 the next morning. Something was different, but in a haze I forgot my predicament. Momentary insanity, it must have been. I moved. Pancho & Lefty immediately brought me back to reality, as they had become fused to my inner thigh and all hair within the vicinity. It was a new level of agony, reminiscent of how my wife described the ‘joy’ of childbirth. Everything in the area was fused together with a bloody, sticky-stinky goo. Pancho had erupted with Vesuviusian force. Like a nightmarish freak, I short-hopped into the shower. This action removed aforementioned hair, root-first. When the soap touched Pancho, he retaliated fiercely. I cursed him with a roar, growled and grunted as I bravely squeezed out his lifeblood for several minutes. Perhaps, I hoped, this would finally ease the pain. It eased the pressure; the pain remained.
That day I spent in bed: sleeping, cleaning the wound, wincing, cursing, bandaging, sleeping. I woke up late afternoon to find the TV on. Amazing, since I rarely watch it. Other than that, I don’t remember much: my sons checking on me when they got home from school. Evidently I had limited discourse with my beloved wife who did her best to take care of me, but even my beloved has limits. I was mostly left alone to fight the demon.
The wound itself still sported an extremely raw pustule, but the mass within had shrunk by half. Pancho was a fierce adversary. Every few hours we battled; me squeezing and groaning, Pancho’s unwanted life slowly oozing away as I ground my molars into dust.
~ ~ ~
That was two days ago. Just sitting here relaying the sordid details is testament to my progress. I am now best friends with a previously unknown device: the “sitz bath”. Pancho hasn’t entirely moved out, but Lefty is slowly reclaiming his rightful territory. The wound looks like a hefty Brown Recluse spider bite. Antibiotics seem to be battling Pancho successfully from within as I assault his exterior.
For some reason, the family doesn’t want to discuss this saga. My oldest son cringes and shudders violently when I give him the slightest detail, and my youngest boy’s weak stomach threatens revolt at Pancho’s mere mention. My sweet wife asks me to please refrain from any mention of “it”. One friend, who has a cultivated fascination for gory health issues, requested a photo.
I don’t want any reminders of this occasion. No going away party for Pancho. I won’t say any words in remembrance when he’s gone. I will just glad to be rid of him. It’s my birthday in a few days, and I wanna go fishin’.
Adios, Pancho. Don’t let Lefty kick you on the way out. That would hurt.
Copyright ©2010, 2014 by PB Coomer/Just Zakanna Productions