Monday, April 18, 2011


My Aunt Jillian has been critically ill and is in the hospital. Things were looking grim for awhile, but she has since taken a few major turns for the better. What I'm describing here is second-hand information. I'm never allowed to be around when anything this much fun is going down.

I should explain for the purpose of clarification that my dad is an MD. He is primarily a research physician and is board-certified in oncology, hematology, and trauma. With his status as a research physician, he is in contact with many eminent researchers in various specialities all over the nation, and, in some cases, even all over the world. If anyone in the family or close to the family develops a serious medical condition, my father calls his contacts in the various specialties to gain their insight as to how best the condition can be treated. This is basically a good thing, and has conceivably resulted in the lengthening of lives of some of our loved ones. There is, however, a downside to my father's access to medical experts. After speaking to an expert in any given medical field, my father soon comes to believe that he, too, is an expert in the field in question. Because other members of the family cannot see the forest for the trees as I can, my father was made the case manager, or doctor in charge of my aunt's medical care.

Last night my aunt was given some sort of drug cocktail that was intended to control her pain and to keep her calm so that her breathing would remain steady, among other things I don't even know about. I'd say the drugs were also prescribed to keep her libido in check, but I've gotten into serious trouble for saying things like that before, and besides, it's probably her husband's libido that needs to be kept in check. (Sorry, Uncle Scott.)

What actually happened to my aunt in relation to these drugs was that she began to think that almost everything she saw or heard was unbelievably funny. A crack on the wall of her hospital room appeared to her to resemble a swastika. She laughed for nearly five minutes about this. Keep in mind that the hospital is located in, of all places, Utah. It may not have been a coincidence that the crack in the wall resembled a swastika, if indeed it did. Then she noticed a misprint in the Deseret News. What is even marginally unusual, much less funny, about finding an error in the Deseret News? Beyond that, it's not as though the misprint itself had been an inherent source of mirth, such as if in [hypothetically] describing a throat ailment suffered by Michelle Bachman, the braintrust that is the Deseret News editorial staff had mistakenly printed vulva in place of uvula. I would have understood if she had laughed about something of that nature. What she actually laughed about was, if my source is correct, a lack of subject/verb agreement. That's high humor, all right.

Then she was in her hospital bed while her dad was seated next to her in a recliner. She was watching a DVRed episode of "Judge Alex." Her dad doesn't actually enjoy watching "Judge Alex," primarily because anytime he's around when the show or the man is on TV, someone invariably mentions that my aunt's dad bears a striking resemblance to Judge Alex. For some reason this offends him. I can't quite understand this. It's not as though he's being mistaken for the Elephant Man or for Glenn Beck. What is so freaking offensive about being told one resembles Judge Alex, at least if the person told that is a male? Anyway, my aunt's dad was watching the program with her because she almost died so he felt obligated to humor her. So as the two of them were watching "Judge Alex" and he was feigning interest but was probably fixating on when and where he was going to find his next beer that would not be a 3.2 beer in the state of Utah, a commercial came on advertising some sort of male sexual enhancement drug -- Viagra or something of its ilk. I don't really keep track of them.

My aunt decided that it would be highly improper to watch a commercial about a male sexual enhancement drug with her father, so she reached for the remote control. As she tried to grab it, in her drug-induced state of physical uncoordination, she accidentally threw the remote control all the way across the room. I believe even the battery fell out of the remote control. The TV in my aunt's hospital room is situated so high that Lamar Odom would not be able to reach the controls even if he stood on Khloe Kardashian's shoulders. So, since my aunt was forced to watch a Viagra (or its rough equivalent) commercial with her father, she started to laugh uproariously.

A nurse came in to check my aunt's blood pressure. She looked at my aunt's father as he sat in his recliner watching the sexual enhancement drug commercial and bluntly asked him, "Are you wearing mascara?" He looked away without even answering the rude nurse. My aunt started laughing uproariously again, which must have thrown her blood pressure reading off, because the reading was something like 186 over 130. This concerned both the rude nurse and my aunt's father.

My aunt should not laugh too uproariously now, no matter how funny something is, because she has very recently undergone two separate abdominal surgeries, and she still has internal and external sutures from each. Any suture that she breaks will have to be repaired. If she ruptures enough sutures, she could begin bleeding internally all over again. My dad tried to explain this to my aunt. She found his explanation almost as funny as the Viagra commercial itself. My dad gave up trying to reason with my aunt. He sent for more drugs - a specific sedative that would keep her calm and not in a state of perpetual hysteria.

A nurse came in carrying a syringe with the prescribed sedative in it. In my aunt's room, there are many medical personnel present not because they work there but because they are related to my aunt. They all began arguing about who should give my aunt the injection of the sedative. While they debated, my aunt took the antiseptic swab and cleaned a spot on her arm. The room full of chiefs continued to argue about who should give her the shot, so the Indian grabbed the needle from the nurse and stuck it in her own arm, apparently doing a pretty good job for her first time. At least we're assuming it was the first time. Maybe she was a major druggie in middle school. Only God knows for sure. Everyone else was horrified, but she thought this was the funniest thing that had happened yet.

As her dad was starting to yell at the nurse for not more properly securing the syringe, the nurse, totally out of the blue, asked my aunt's dad, "Do you have a spray-on tan?"

"No. I'm Cuban," he told her. "Not too many of us Cubans are albinos."

At hearing that - I think it was the word albinos that really set her off -- my aunt totally lost it. She was lying on her bed holding a pillow to her stomach and laughing so hard she had tears rolling down her face. My dad knew she couldn't have another dose of sedative again so soon, so he sat on her bed, got right in her face, and started trying to get her to do some sort of deep breathing exercises so she could gain control of herself. Her brother looked over at her and at my dad and said, "John, it looks like you're doing Lamaze exercises with her." Lamaze was another apparently funny word, and she had to laugh hysterically all over again. "Thank you so fucking much!" my dad said to her brother. This caused her to laugh even more.

It was just like an old episode of "PeeWee's Playhouse," where there was a secret word, and if any unsuspecting fool said the secret word, everyone else would scream and laugh, except there were multiple secret words, and my aunt was the only one who was privy to any of them.

My dad became so incensed that he printed and attached to the outside of the door a note that said something to the effect of "This hospital room houses a SERIOUSLY ILL patient. A SOMBER atmosphere is to be maintained at all times in this room. There is to be ABSOLUTELY NO HUMOR IN THIS ROOM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. ANYONE WHO CANNOT ABIDE BY THIS POLICY MUST KEEP OUT! The following words may not be uttered in this room: SEXUAL ENHANCEMENT, VIAGRA, MASCARA, SPRAY-ON TAN, CUBAN, ALBINO, LAMAZE, and FUCKING."

Practically everyone who walked in, or even saw the sign, basically said something like "What the hell?"

People who walked in, or even medical personnel who just walked by, began to add random forbidden words to my dad's list. By the end of the night, the list of forbidden words, in addition to my dad's original list, were CUNNILINGUS, BERNARD MADOFF, SARAH PALIN, QUADDAFI, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, REBECCA BLACK, KIM JONG IL, PROPOSITION 8, FIDEL CASTRO, and H1N1.

When my mom's friend Kristeen walked into my aunt's hospital room, she called my mom on her cell phone to tell her what my dad was doing. When my dad could hear my mom laughing over the phone, he asked to talk to her, but he didn't talk -- he just yelled at her for a minute, then hung up. He got out his Blackberry or Smartphone or whatever it is that he has that I'm not allowed to have even if I pay for it myself, checked out drug interactions, and learned that my aunt could have Lunesta without negative interactions to her other drugs. He gave it to her. She conked out in no time. By the way, she never messed up a single suture in her drugged-out revelry.

My dad took an Ativan and then kicked out everyone but my aunt, her husband, and her parents.


  1. I feel sorry for you aunt's dad. No beer over 3.2%?? The poor man! Oh. Hang on. That wasn't the point of this post, was it? Sorrrrry!!!! ;o))

    But on a more serious point, I hope you aunt is doing well. Is the hospital in SLC? If so, my mom might have stayed there when she was in Utah on her senior mission and had a heart attack. Good hospital, if it is the same one. Mind you, sounds like a good hospital even if it isn't.

    Wow. The paingsta

  2. Hang on the word verification was paingsta, as I started to say before I pressed post comment a tad to early.

  3. Wow - Alexis, you are a *writer*!
    1) I hope your aunt is doing well now
    G) Yes, I am checking out backlog, but not all the comments. I am a nosey aunt, I am.
    43) This is a truly hilarious story!
    Love from Sweden,