‘Bloodletting’ story + illo

Doug Piotter’s story, my illustration to follow:


After our wedding, my lovely wife and I reviewed destination options for our honeymoon, Paris was at the top of the list but for financial reasons, it would have to wait until later. Our second choice was to drive to San Francisco.
After hitting the road, I realized all was not right with the world. In my mind, what was a minor muscle strain, mutated into broken ribs and quickly became eminent death. I’ve never been kicked by a mule, but I was convinced I had been visited by one in my sleep and that my organs were hemorrhaging inside of me. So much for the romantic, scenic drive. My new bride informed me that we did see some lovely sights at 85 miles an hour on our way to a bay area hospital that was within our insurance coverage network.
My medical insurance was not so stellar, so the 1-800 number directed us to the emergency room of the Not-So-Stellar- medical center where they made their diagnosis: I had shingles. That explained me feeling half bad, as it only effects one side of your body.
I remembered hearing chronic snivelers tell tales of woe about what I thought was the imaginary pain of shingles in the past, and how I had considered the sufferers all a bunch of weenies. I was mortified to realize that I too had entered into a state of unadulterated weenie-dom. This shingles business fucking hurt.
The ER staff stuffed me into a Magnetic Resonance Imaging tube to get a gander at my insides. The blood tech, my man Phlebo, who seemed fairly competent, hooked me up for a draw and left me alone with my illness. I was taking some comfort in the thought of quickly healing and getting on to the big city to enjoy my honeymoon and reviewing my plans to visit the Levi and Ghirardelli Chocolate factories when I felt a tickling sensation on my arm. I looked down and there was a pool of blood on the floor the size of my dining table. With leaf in.. I had no idea my body held so much blood.
“HEEEEEYY!,” I yelled at the top of my lungs. My man Phlebo came running. Phlebo took one look and hollered, “ AAHHHH!” as he threw his arms up in the air, flapping them attempting to fly out of the room. I did not find his response a real confidence builder. He was back in a flash with an oversized string mop. He was slinging that mop back and forth wildly through the puddle of blood, like he was swabbing the deck of a reeling ship. He couldn’t stop saying, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.” “Just curious, what the fuck dose that mean” I asked. Even though I was feeling a little woozy myself, I saw that Phlebo was beyond queasy, and was quickly becoming a very light skinned brother. I asked him if he needed a doctor. I am pretty sure he thought he needed a lawyer right about then.
Sitting in the ER lab trying to recover, I felt I had been duped by my childhood geography teacher. I’d always thought Transylvania was an eastern European region, not a suburb of San Francisco
After declining his generous offer of a Transylvania transfusion, I informed Phlebo that he ought to be glad my ferocious, peri-menopausal wife didn’t get to witness the bloodletting, because I wouldn’t have had enough strength left in me to protect him. I escaped with some of my blood still inside me and let bygones be bygones. With the help of some medication for my shingles, and after a couple of days rest, I went on to salvage what turned into a spectacular honeymoon. As it turned out, the hospital bill arrived home before I did so I didn’t have to wait long to find out the cost of donating so much blood, it was quite expensive.


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