Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hi-ho Silver, Away!

Truth serum or something close to it, that's what they give you during a colonoscopy. Someone could ask you anything while you're under the influence of that stuff, and you're compelled to tell the truth, even if it's not in your best interest. The doctor (or nurse with an axe to grind) could ask you if you ever cheated on a test, and your reply might land you back in high school, repeating your senior year all over again, or worse, all four levels, depending on the evidence gathered.

Several years ago, during my procedure (that's what the medical professionals like to call it), I'm certain the doctor coerced the combination to my bicycle lock from me. Three days after the procedure, my bike was stolen. More than a little curious, eh? I mentioned this to her while she was reading the test results over the phone, and she acted oh-so-innocent, like larceny and deceit never crossed the threshold of the hospital. "We are here to heal, not steal," were her exact words. Despite her denials, I told her it won't be so easy next time, as I just might purchase a brand new lock after the procedure so I'll have no knowledge of the combination during her drug-assisted interrogation. I hoped she learned a lesson from my suspicions; after all, doctors can afford their own bicycles.

The other day, I was subjected to another "procedure." Prior to putting me under the anesthesia, a nurse asked what kind of musical accompaniment I wanted. She said they would be putting me into a state of twilight, and as I drift in and out of consciousness, I might be able to hear some of the music they play in the operating room. Figuring a lute player was out of the question on such short notice, I requested "Lies" by the Knickerbockers, because, I said, "There won't be a word of truth to anything you hear while I'm sedated. I'm a compulsive liar, so don't believe a word I say, and leave my bike alone, and what is this anyway, a hospital or a sock-hop."

There was an uncomfortable, worry-filled silence before drifting off into a nurse-driven twilight; I was consumed with fear about what might be revealed this time. I mean, everybody has secrets that shouldn't see the light of day. There was the time I pirated a copy of "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken," and the time I stole all the Mounds Bars from my nephew's trick or treat bag. And there's stuff people do in the privacy of their own homes that should remain private. For instance, my wife and I are history buffs, aficionados might be a more accurate term, and occasionally reenact historical events. Lately, we've been in rehearsal for "The Lone Ranger meets Miss Kitty," two pivotal characters from the old west that never had the chance to meet on-screen. Marshal Dillon had plenty of time to make his move; the alluring Miss Kitty waited nineteen years, but came up with nothing but a yearning in her heart and whiskey on her breath. In our romantic drama, the Lone Ranger, mask and all, finally gets the chance to court the unfulfilled Miss Kitty, the saucy red-head who knows how to work a beauty-mark. These are the kinds of beans that could get spilled and wind up in some medical journal for all the world to see, or, at the very least, become the subject of hospital gossip or, quite possibly, an inclusion in a person's medical file.

Upon waking from the procedure and still in a state of twilight, I thought I heard the doctor say, "This guy has a nice ass," though it could have been, "This guy is a pain in the ass." I'm not sure which one it was, but I'm sticking with the former, as, at this stage of life, the compliments arrive on an all too irregular basis. Then, while in recovery, she remarked, with a somewhat unreadable tone, how I talked incessantly throughout the entire procedure, "jabbering about this and that" was how she put it. When she said, again in a monotone, that the whole experience was the highlight of her career, a nearby covey of nurses began laughing and whispering.

They allowed me to rest in silence for an hour while I gathered my senses, time enough for me to fret obsessively about what kind of information the medical staff gathered from my "jabbering," as the doctor so casually put it. While leaving the hospital, I walked slowly down the exit hallway, and just when I pushed on the swinging door at the very end, I could hear a woman's voice echoing through the corridor, "Hi-ho Silver, away!" followed by a boisterous throng of laughter.

I wondered about the statute of limitations on The Ghost and Mr. Chicken caper, then made a silent pledge to buy a new bicycle lock first thing in the morning.