Boy Jeezus, That’s a Pissah!

Bacteria in a Urinary Tract Infection

When I was a student at Dartmouth, we all made fun of the local New Hampshire employees, whom we called emmets. The most typical speech mannerism was the same as the title of this posting. At the time, I never realized the irony of that phrase.

After I graduated from college, and days before I was to head out for graduate school in Los Angeles, I got the mother of all headaches and lapsed into a coma. It turns out that I had a pituitary tumor, called a chromophobe adenoma. Making the right diagnosis in 1966 was a flipping miracle: Remember that MRIs and CAT Scans weren’t around then. All they had to go on were fuzzy X-Rays, and sheer deduction based on miscellaneous hard-to-interpret factors.

With luck, I not only survived, but I made medical history. The only problem is that I paid for it with a scarred urethra caused by some ICU staffer who forced a catheter up my urethra at a time when, groggy with drugs, I thought I was being attacked and resisted what I perceived was violence.

Well, boy Jeezus it was a pissah! For several years, my scarred urethra tended to shut down, forcing a procedure variously called a dilation or a cystogram tray. I have undergone that procedure about eight times over the last fifty-five years, and I’m going to have to undergo it again on Tuesday because I currently am recovering from a urinary tract infection.

This weekend, I leaked so bad I went around in Depends adult diapers. I either peed into the diaper, or had to carefully aim my instrument at the toilet while the stream tried to go in every which direction. The dilation will be a sort of quick fix, but it will result in copious if painful urination for about two weeks until the urethral scars tend to close up again.

There is no pain I have endured in this life compared to a dilation. It’s like fifteen or twenty minutes of being whipped with a cat-o-nine tails.

With luck, the pain will eventually go away, and the urethra will open up slightly … until the next time.

Now, wasn’t that fun?

How I Like Them Apples

Bags of Apples from Green Mountain Orchards in Putney, VT

The best apples I ever ate were from Vermont and New Hampshire. Sorry, Washington State, but you’re a distant third. I remember when Martine and I went to New England and Quebec in September 2012. We flew to Boston, rented a car in Salem, and drove to Green Mountain Orchards in Putney, Vermont, where we bought several bags of apples. I swear that for the next three weeks, our car smelled of the tangy Vermont apples.

As good, when we could find it, was unpasteurized apple cider from Vermont and New Hampshire. The pasteurized stuff is just like supermarket apple juice—a big yuck!—whereas the unpasteurized stuff had a tang and a bite that went down well. We indulged at the cost of diarrhea during the early part of our trip, but it was worth it.

We hoped to find good apples in Quebec, but we were sorely disappointed. I guess there’s something about the soil of the Connecticut River valley that separates Vermont from New Hampshire that makes for great apples.

I dream of going back and spending more time in Northern New England.