I hate Mondays.
It was four days prior to Ella's official birthday. My wife and I were planning a big birthday of fun—a trip to the zoo, a trip to the pool, then back home for a candle-lit cupcake celebration and harmonized version of Happy Birthday, which we'd been practicing for weeks. From the minute I set foot into my work cube, it was all I could think about—until Chuck, a coworker, friend and rock star, called about lunch.
"Dude. Mall. Now. I'm starving."
"It's 9:45 a.m."
"You're a buzz kill."
When I hung up the phone, I noticed an unusual pain in my side. I'd felt it twice before but had written it off to cramps, gas or residual effects from Brittany's middle-of-the-night elbow jabs. But this time was different. The pain was constant and more severe. I'd never felt a pain like it before, unless you count listening to this. The mall was out. The hospital was in.
After eight hours of waiting rooms, x-rays, ultrasounds, poking and prodding, morphine and an unusually friendly nurse who told me to take off my clothes but didn't give me a hospital gown, the doctor finally came in.
"Well, we can't find anything conclusive, but we have a strong feeling it's your gall bladder. Nothing really to worry about. We'll run a few more tests in the morning and then probably take it out."
"Take it out? Are you sure? I guess you're the doctor, doctor. That sounds funny. On a side note, that nurse in the hallway forgot to bring me a gown."
"That person doesn't work here."
"Please up my morphine."
While this was a simple and common procedure, it did worry me some. I'd never had major surgery before. In fact, the closest I'd come was having a cyst removed from my wrist. And trust me, that doesn't impress the ladies nearly as much as you'd think it would. I also worried that I wouldn't be out in time to celebrate Ella's birthday. But the sooner they fixed the problem, the sooner I could go home. After careful consideration, I sent my gall bladder a pink slip. The letter went something like this:
Dear Gall Bladder,The next morning, I rolled in and out of exam rooms. I spoke with physicians. I spoke with surgeons. I watched an episode of "Saved by the Bell" where Zach needed surgery to repair his knee and, like me, he was scared of going under the knife. (Thankfully he got over his fear and survived to go onto "Saved by the Bell: The College Years.") When the final test results came back, my prognosis changed.
First of all, I'd like to thank you for the 29 years of service you've provided me and the rest of the team. As you are aware, we are all suffering from the current economic downturn and, unfortunately, the hard times have hit KlemsCo. Our resources are limited and budgets are tight. It is with a heavy heart that we have to let you go. I wish I could say it wasn't performance based, but after checking past reviews it's come to my attention that no one in the company knows exactly what you do. In fact, several members of the team thought you'd retired several years ago while others just thought you were lazy. And it wasn't until recently when you began causing a stir that we realized you were still on the payroll.
Anyway, we wish you the best in all future endeavors.
Brian A. Klems
CEO and President, KlemsCo.
"All the tests came back negative so it doesn't look like there's anything wrong with you. We aren't going to take your gall bladder. We'll just monitor you for another night and, if all goes well, send you home in the morning."
I believe that was just a polite way of calling me a faker.
I could have stayed and pushed the issue (after all, I was still in pain), but I was ready to go—not to mention that my gall bladder was threatening a wrongful termination suit. So I left the hospital—body intact—and made it home. My side may still hurt, but it's much less painful than the idea of missing my CinderElla's first birthday.
… but seriously, Brittany, quit elbow-jabbing me in the middle of the night. It hurts.
The Life of Dad is updated every other Friday (barring the call of family duties). Thanks for stopping by and following my attempts to be a good dad, husband and co-ed softball player. I hope you visit again. -- Brian