A Joke Falls Flat


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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21 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    That was a good joke. Pretty much any joke you make in that situation is admirable, but that was solid.

    Oddly i’ve had to rush to the ER twice in the last few month, once for myself and once for the wife. Both times we were in superfast despite our fears of sitting around for hours and had really good care.Report

  2. Ways your story differs from mine:

    1) I was in San Diego, not Nevada.

    2) I was there for a medical conference, not a vacation.

    3) I really had appendicitis.

    Other than that, eerily reminiscent of an experience I had several years ago. (Oh, and I didn’t have occasion to tell a James Bond joke.) But I even stumbled into an “emergency care” facility that was unequipped for my needs before finding a real emergency department.

    Glad you’re feeling better, in any case.Report

  3. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    No Mr. Bond, I expect you to lie… still while the scan is in progress.Report

  4. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    Here’s hoping that it turns out to be just too much wine and aspirin.

    it may pay to learn where the actual hospital is in town when visiting a new location,
    Shortly after moving to Bloomington, Indiana, I ran into an open door around midnight in our darkened house and split my forehead open. Can’t leave the two toddlers home alone, and didn’t seem worthwhile waking them up, so I drove myself to the hospital, trying to remember where I’d seen it. It was the first weekend of school, and the police had set up a roadblock to check for students who were both drunk and driving. Great! I can ask the cop where the hospital is. Shit! The cop assumes I’ve been drinking and got in a fight. He seemed oddly reluctant to believe I’d just run into the bathroom door in a pitch dark house, had blood running down my face, and yet was alert and calm enough to drive myself to the hospital.

    I’ve needed to use the emergency room in my own community before. It’s crowded, smelly, staffed by surly and unemphatic clerks,
    Yep, that sounds like your town!

    Seriously, I hope everything turns out well.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    I have only been have-to-go-to-the-hospital sick twice n my life (knock wood). The first time was the summer after my third year of college. I had what seemed like a bad viral infection, except that it kept getting worse. When my temperature spiked to 105, I checked into the local hospital, which was unable to bring it down with anything other than an ice bath. Eventually, it was diagnosed as hepatic mononucleosis (that is, mono that attacks the liver), for which the only treatment is plenty of fluids and keeping the fever down until it goes away. That took about a week, and I was discharged.

    The second time was a week after that. I had exactly the abdominal pains Burt describes, and since I assumed it was related to the mono, I went back to the hospital immediately. It was a very hot appendix, and having been scared enough not to delay things might have saved me from its bursting. They gave me the same sort of happy juice, and I was loopy enough to paraphrase an AAMCO commercial for the surgeon. “You’ve taken these out before, right? You’re not like the guy that says (hillbilly accent) “I always wanted to fix a transmission.”? (Accent on the first syllable: TRANSmission.) He wasn’t amused, but fortunately didn’t take the opportunity for a little revenge in the OR.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      As a child, I had surgery to repair my abdominal wall.

      According to my mother, as I was being wheeled away for surgery, doped up but not out yet, I was apparently singing this.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Too bad that was before everyone was carrying videocams in their pockets.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Apparently I pronounced it “frou frighting”.

        Also, in HS I had surgery to repair my pinky that I screwed up playing basketball. They did it with just a local anesthetic because I assured them I wasn’t squeamish (they even let me see it before they closed it up).

        As part of surgical prep, they applied a tourniquet to my upper arm to stanch the bloodflow in the limb. The surgeon was wrapping that rubber surgical tubing (similar to what most slingshots use) around my arm, tightly, when it snapped, and his fist went flying into my mouth with some force.

        He of course apologized, and I joked “You’ll be hearing from my attorney and my orthodontist.” (I had braces).

        He laughed…but it was sort of an uncomfortable laugh.Report

  6. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    They say laughter is the best medicine, but I’ve always found ER staff to be a tough crowd.

    Burt, did you mean your hometown hospital staff are unempathetic? I think I’d almost prefer people not to be too excitable when I’m having an abdominal emergency.Report

    • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

      Not just ER staff. My wife was in the hospital for our second kid, rushed there by ambulance six weeks early and bleeding badly. Walking back to her bed from the can, suddenly a fist sized glob of gelatinated blood fell to the floor between her feet and stuck there, quivering like a big serving of strawberry jello. It looked so funny that we both glanced at each other and burst out laughing. The nurse was not amused, and gave us an unbelievably offended look.

      But maybe there’s just something wrong with us.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      “Unempathetic.” That’s the right word, not the one that Microsoft’s spell-checker chose for me and that I, in my haste, approved.

      They do not care that you are in pain. They do not demonstrate compassion for people in pain. They are upset that you are asking them to do something, they have plenty to do already. Go take a seat over there, sir, and we’ll call you when we’re ready for you.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        somewhat in their defense – and only somewhat, because there’s no excuse for being rude – depending on the locale you live in, drug seeking is endemic in er’s. i sat in a brooklyn emergency room at 2 am with a abcessed molar for what felt like a decade before a doc came over. i’d just been diagnosed that afternoon and thought i would be ok until my endo appt a few days later – i was really, really wrong.

        anyway, the doc is a total dick to me – completely and totally so. i’m describing how much i want to die and what the # of the molar was and all that and he says “so what do you want me to do about it?”

        according to my wife i nearly grabbed the poor doc (who was maybe 150lbs soaking wet) and screamed “i want you to find the oral surgeon on call and rip this fucking tooth out of my mouth”. at which point instead of being offended he said “ok, i’ll write you a script for some better pain control, because the tylenol with codeine the dentist gave you isn’t working.”

        i was so delirious at the time that i didn’t realize earlier what was going on, despite having had numerous conversations with er staff in other facilities about the most common cover stories for addicts, of which dental pain is usually near the top.Report

  7. Avatar Jim Heffman says:

    “Hasn’t everyone seen Goldfinger?”

    It’s worse than that.

    Not everyone has seen Ghostbusters.

    I busted out “I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results.” the other day. Nobody so much as batted an eyelash.Report

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    Once on a date, the woman I was out with told me she had a headache. I said, “Maybe it’s a tumor.” Turns out she had never seen Kindergarten Cop, and people don’t like being told they might have a tumor by their dates.

    Hope it turns out the pain was a random one time thing.Report

  9. Avatar Damon says:

    You actually obeyed speed limits on your way to the hospital..in the middle of the night with no pedestrians and car traffic?

    Hell, I’d have been doing 60.

    I’m glad it wasn’t anything serious. You are going to get some follow up work done “just in case” right?Report

  10. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Echoing others, hopefully this is one of those things that doesn’t recur and remains unexplained forever. Good that you know the signs of appendicitis, though. I, unfortunately, have reached an age where, when I wake up in the night with what I would always have considered heartburn, or some rib cartilage that needs to “pop”, or a fencing bruise, or a shoulder that I’ve slept on “funny”, I am supposed to run through the list of heart attack symptoms, just in case.Report

  11. Avatar Dale Forguson says:

    I raised 3 boys. Any camping, fishing, or other outing to a new location always required a reconnoiter in the nearest town to locate the hospital first. SOPReport