August 18th, 1973
This morning Dad rushed me to Gulfport Memorial Hospital’s emergency room.
Getting rushed to the hospital. Drama, excitement, suffering.
Actually a very low-keyed emergency.
This past week my “tail bone”– the rather sharp bone at the base of the spine has been aching and sore. I thought it was from sitting too much (the drive down here) and from sleeping and lying about all week. Yesterday I felt a definite knot forming there and by mid-afternoon, it was too sore to sit comfortably. Later I noticed a festered spot had risen and by last night I was in real pain. The slightest movement sent waves of aching throbbing pain through my bottom and back. Even walking is an ordeal and I cannot bend or kneel. This morning Mom telephoned her doctor and arranged to have him meet us at the hospital. Mom was working so Dad took me.
Like many other experiences, I experienced what happened today both as a participant– and as an observer. Lying on the table getting– what turned out to be a Pylinoidal Cyst– lanced– I both felt the pain and at the same time “watched” myself being cut on.
I have never been trained in stoicism– bearing up calmly and manly (as per cultural stereotyping) is an internalized value of mine– but one with no real practical application.
The only physical suffering that I’ve ever been subjected to were my experiences with wisdom teeth. Positively not Marcus Aurelius. I cried and whined and got drunk and had Margie get me some phenol barbital. I paced the floors and wrung my hands and cursed God and fate and my mother.
As a child, I was a terror for doctor’s visits. On one occasion I slapped the lollipop being offered to me by the nurse out of her hand. Crying and screaming were expected.
And today I found myself lying face-down on a table in a hospital in Gulfport, Mississippi getting cut on by a strange doctor. Aside from a momentary, near over-powering compulsion once to cry– I was very brave and contained.