By Bob Huber: Local Columnist
A recent trip to our local hospital stimulated my memory banks and brought forth an experience I had with modern medicine a dozen years ago. That memory is entitled, “The Case of the Missing Funny Bone” or “Does an Asafetida Bag Really Help?”
I’d heard horror stories about parts gone astray during hospital surgery, and I was convinced my funny bone had fallen prey. Lying in my hospital bed, nothing seemed funny anymore.
Still, I was curious about my condition, so I one day asked my doctor what those little tubes running out of my sides were for, and he said, “Well, let’s have a look.” That’s when I knew I was right, because I couldn’t think of a single hilarious comeback.
In addition to that, someone had obviously poured a half dozen martinis into my hospital gruel, making it futile to recall even my own name let along something humorous about the situation. Probably an evil nurse.
At first when I looked at the nurses, I wondered whatever happened to Jennifer Jones. My nurses all looked like Roseanne without makeup, and they had the delicate touch of Jack the Ripper.
None of them knew what had happened to my funny bone. “Did you have one when you came in?” they asked. But shortly they shed their ugly cocoons and fluttered about like colorful butterflies, caring and beautiful.
The doctors weren’t much help. They came by in a steady parade, one for this and another for that, but none of them held up a box and said, “We found your funny bone.”
Instead, when I mentioned it, they looked awkward and drummed their fingers on their clipboards.
Other patients participated in the conspiracy too. Whenever I mentioned my missing funny bone, I got the impression they’d also lost theirs, especially when they told me to get out and threw a bedpan at me.
The hospital volunteers weren’t any help. At least twice a day they invaded my room looking for someone named Horowitz. I always asked them where the lost-and-found department was—I was still concerned about my missing funny bone—but they ignored my question and always replied, “Isn’t your name Arnold Horowitz?”
They looked peeved when I said no, and they didn’t offer any clues as to the location of my funny bone. I wonder if they ever found old Arnold.
Finally I was told that after surgery I could expect to live a normal, productive life, which was certainly a detour for me. I wasn’t sure I could handle a normal, productive life without both my funny bone and Tom Landry.
My stomach hurt for a long time after that hospital visit, and I wondered if that was where my funny bone used to be. Nothing hurt before I had surgery. My funny bone probably numbed it.
I supposed the scar that meandered south across my stomach had something to do with the pain. Sometimes I thought I had been mistaken for another patient and was the victim of a C-section gone awry.
But as time went by, I became less and less concerned about the loss of my funny bone. I figured I could always get a transplant unless it would require a donor from my immediate family. Most of them had lost their funny bones in previous hospital visits.
You don’t suppose doctors collect funny bones and hunker down in their dungeons at night, laughing their fool heads off, do you?