July 29, 2008

Cons of taking a very short trip to Israel for your cousin’s bar mitzvah:

1. You will learn that the story you have been told about your grandfather and how during his time in prison he carved the image below in sandstone with his fingernails is a total lie

—because in fact he used a pin.

2. When, two hours after the bar mitzvah and the light lunch following it, you start feeling hunger pangs that escalate before long into agonizing cramps, and eventually your aunt insists that they take you to an emergency room because you might have appendicitis, and your Israeli uncle calls the Israeli version of 911, and the ambulance shows up and all the way to the hospital attractive Israelis keep telling you in English to breathe more slowly and calmly, and you try but that just makes it hurt worse, and you get to the emergency room and they spend twelve hours injecting fluids and taking X-rays and CT scans and putting a nasogastric tube into your stomach through your nose, which makes it very difficult for you not to vomit, and your father maintains a very funny and informative running monologue on the history of the United States presidency so that you don’t have to speak, and finally at two in the morning your stomach isn’t hurting anymore but they say they want to keep you in the hospital for a day or two just to be safe, but you’re not allowed to take the nasogastric tube out in case they need to do more things with it in the morning, and as soon as you’re alone you rip it out anyway because you would rather go through the unpleasantness of having another nasogastric-tube insertion the next day than sleep with the nasogastric tube in, because in fact you would rather peel your skin off to the accompaniment of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing a cover of “It’s Raining Men” than sleep with the nasogastric tube in, and when the nurse sees that you’ve removed the nasogastric tube she looks darkly at you and mutters scary-sounding things in Hebrew—well, when these things happen, the absolutely gorgeous intern who shows up to tell you you have a bowel intussusception and you’ll be absolutely fine will say, “If anybody asks you whether you’ve had a rectal exam, just tell them you have, because it’s two-thirty in the morning and I’m just not up for that right now.”

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14 Responses to Cons of taking a very short trip to Israel for your cousin’s

  1. Sarah says:


  2. campbell says:

    Interns nowadays; just so damn lazy!
    Get well sweetie.

  3. Sarah: I know! And what made it even worse was that he’s getting married in two weeks!

    campbell: I know! As far as getting well–I am completely recovered and feeling fit as a fey flouncing fiddle.

  4. Kenny says:

    You know, it’s funny you mention hot Israelis because just recently, I’ve notice a disproportionately high number of them on the subway, and that’s a-OK by me!

  5. Tom says:

    Are you kidding me? Why go through all that if you can’t get a late night rectal exam from a hot Israeli? What a rip off. You should have insisted.

  6. TED says:

    Is that Mormon Tabernacle Choir cover of “It’s Raining Men” available on a bootleg somewhere? I can’t seem to find it on YouTube, but I understand that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints takes its intellectual property rights very seriously, so they’ve likely had it removed.

  7. initials says:

    Wow. So there is something worse than familial meddling. Though, I have to say… The pin thing doesn’t sound so disappointing to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Get well, you beautiful man, you, and try to control your disappointment over the rectal exam… E.S. might’ve had psycho-prognostication rights for months on you re: that.

  8. Cody says:

    Joel, you’re a lucky man to have spontaneous resolution of the intussusception rather than needing surgery. But you are likely at risk for recurrence, so beware. You may have read NY Times Magazine which had interesting medical article about a month ago relating story of teen age male with reccurent transient abdominal pain, undiagnosed until imaging study at height of attack. Stay well.

  9. Lynn in Tucson says:

    Oh good heavens! Here’s hoping my week with the family pales in comparison.

    Glad you’re on the mend.

  10. Andy says:

    I had to click on the Wiki link because I had not run across this particular condition before. Did everyone catch this? An intussusception (a blockage of the intestine) is a medical condition in which a part of the small intestine has invaginated into another section of intestine. *giggles*

    I remember when I was 19 and had my hernia operation and the doctor came in with a GORGEOUS intern after the surgery to check on the incision. The intern blushed like a tomato. I was flattered.

  11. Esther says:

    This sounds like a rather extreme passive-aggressive way of getting back at your dad for making you spend a few days in Israel, don’t you think? In the future, perhaps you could just talk about it.

    Sorry you got cheated out of additional medical procedures. Hope the doctor’s bedside manner improves.

    Glad to hear you’re doing better! I know this won’t be the last we hear of this awful experience… (Cody, now you’ve scared Joel half to death; he’ll likely never leave the house again.)

  12. Jess says:

    Well, at least you’ve got an excellent chance of getting a Jewish doctor if you get sick in Israel! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Glad you’re okay, but I’m sorry you had to go through such an ordeal!

  13. J.P. says:

    Hot Israelis. Invaginated. Drama. What more can you want? I’m glad you are better!

  14. David says:

    Were you Joseph Stalin in a previous life and are working out his karma in this one? I just have to wonder with all the shit that happens to you sometimes.

    A pin? A pin is disappointing? Bloody nails would have made you happier? You WERE Joseph Stalin.

    Also, congratulations on the longest run-on sentence in recorded history.


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