About thirty years ago I kept getting mail saying I was in the running for the top prize of the Reader’s Digest sweepstakes.  I faithfully filled out all the information, crossed my fingers and sent it back, only to result in me getting another letter.  Sometimes I bought some stuff, feeling that this would improve my odds of winning, but the letters kept on coming.  Eventually I realized that this was just junk mail and I started tossing it away.

The editor knew what makes a good story and his motto was, “If it bleeds, then it leads.”  There is no blood in this story, but there is a lot of pain, which maybe just as good.  Let me back up a bit, you can’t get a good hard roll unless you are in New York or New Jersey.  I don’t know why that is, but once you taste the good stuff, nothing can ever compete with that.  I used to get a half dozen rolls at the bakery every weekend, 2 plain, 2 sesame and 2 poppy.  I used them for sandwiches and they were also good with just butter, as long as you had some coffee to wash them down.

One day I was doubled over in abdominal pain and my wife said, “Jim you need to go to the hospital.”  She drove me there and they took me inside.  I had to change into a hospital gown and then they sent me to Imagining.  Some genius told me that the scans revealed that I had Diverticulitis, so I asked, “What the hell is that?”  They said that I had probably eaten something that did not digest properly in my intestines and then they asked me if I had eaten any seeds.  Who knew that seeds could be harmful?  I try my best to avoid them now.

Alright, it is time to bring on the pain, as I know that I have many of you captivated with this story.  They put me in a room in the Gastrointestinal ward and they put me on fluids meaning I was getting an IV drip.  The room was divided with a curtain that was closed, but I could hear that someone was in the next bed, as he never stopped moaning.  I was in excruciating pain, but the way this guy was hollering I began to feel bad for him.  Three candy stripers came in the room and they walked past me to the other guy and I heard one say, “Mr. Jones we will help you to the bathroom.”

Not long after, one of the candy stripers went running out of the room coughing and choking and then I smelt it wafting around me.  I grabbed my drip pole and I made it out to the hallway where I was able to breathe again.  About a half hour later, my wife saw me standing out in the hallway and she asked me what I was doing there and I told her that the other patient in my room had colon cancer and that it smelled like dead rats in there.  I checked myself out and I have some advice for all of you.  Never, I repeat NEVER ever allow yourself to be checked into the Gastrointestinal ward.  I did get better and as George Harrison said, “All Things Must Pass.”

Written for 11/24/18 Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ Stream of Consciousness Saturday where the prompt is “digest”.

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