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"The Great Kidney Stone Adventure"
We were standing in line for the CMA Awards Show
in about 1973 or '74,
and talking to friends waiting with us.
Faron Young was right in front of us,
and he gave Misty a big kiss and hug.
I didn't get one.
He had recently been in a car crash,
and I asked him how he was doing.
He said that he'd split his tongue.
Wise guy that I am, I said this:
"Can you do any birdcalls?"
We all laughed.
That's what we all do when we're not winning the awards that year.
We stand in line and make each other laugh.
George Morgan was just behind us,
and we got talking to him.
Somehow my kidney stone problem was brought up.
I had been to a doctor because of an abdominal pain,
and he told me what it was,
and that I would have a lot of them.
I never did...just that one,
but it was a lot of fun.
George told me not to have surgery...
just to buy a case of beer and drink one after the other.
It made a weird kind of sense
because beer is a diuretic and a sedative.
I should have gone home and followed his instructions that minute.
"Home" was our motorhome parked in The Music City Campground,
in LaVergne, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville.
After the awards we went home to bed
and forgot to buy the beer.
I woke up in agony around 2 AM.
If you're a guy who's never had the thrill of a kidney stone,
it's a lot like giving birth to a porcupine.
I asked Misty to kill me or get me to a hospital.
She chose the latter,
and took off for the Murfreesboro Hospital at about 60 miles an hour,
with cans and dishes flying out of the cupboards,
and the TV antenna still up.
I was moaning on the floor in a fetal position,
hoping to be struck by lightning.
We got to the Murfreesboro city limits,
when we realized something...
We had no idea where the hospital was.
Just then a cop pulled us over.
He said, "Follow me", and shot away like a bullet.
Misty tried to keep up, but he must have turned off somewhere,
because we lost him.
Somehow, we eventually found the hospital
and the nurses put me on a cot in the emergency room,
and went to The Bahamas.
A month passed. Well, maybe an hour,
and no doctor came to see me.
I would have welcomed Kavorkian.
Misty stormed down the hall,
saw a guy with a stethoscope around his neck,
and asked him if there was a doctor employed there.
He was miffed that she didn't recognize him as a doctor,
with his new stethoscope and all.
He said these exact words:
"I'm not going to give drugs to every hippie
that comes in off the street."
They weren't used to my haircut in those days.
She assaulted him verbally for a few minutes,
and then dragged him out to look at our motorhome,
which had our names and "Columbia/Epic Records" written on it.
He made a couple of phone calls and verified our identity,
and suddenly became a bowing headwaiter.
He quickly gave me a shot and some pain pills,
and put me up for the rest of the night in the children's section.
I don't know why.
I woke up at 7 AM to a room with Donald Duck wallpaper,
and cartoons blaring on the TV.
It wasn't the kids running the television,
but another full-grown idiot in the next bed.
I got up, walked out to the parking lot,
and woke Misty up to go find my clothes.
She'd had a bit of wine after the ordeal,
and neither of us felt great.
We left the Murfreesboro Hospital in our dust
and vowed to never pay them.
The pain pills ran out the next evening,
and we got the case of beer George Morgan had prescribed.
I took it like a good boy.
I'd finished twelve or so bottles, and was still feeling some pain,
but I didn't much care.
I went into the bathroom,
and in the silence Misty heard "PING!"
And she heard me say "AHA!"
She said "Let the man who is without sin
pass the first stone."
Copyright © June 8, 2006 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.