Sunday, February 26, 2006


In case you were curious (and even if you’re not), I just got back from my Weekend Retreat in the North Georgia Mountains.

Every February, about 50 men ranging in age from 21 to 80+, from various Men’s Clubs in the southeastern United States, converge on Camp Ramah Darom, just outside of Clayton, Georgia, for two days of spiritual renewal, camaraderie, and relaxation. Spiritual renewal, yes; and spirituous renewal as well, for, during the course of the weekend, prodigious quantities of Adult Beverages are consumed.

Except for the fact that the Jewish Sabbath is observed - from just before sundown Friday until after dark Saturday - the whole affair is very like a blogmeet. A blogmeet where almost nobody knows much about blogs, that is; where there is a huge bonfire with fireworks; where there is a Sweat Hut heated with red-hot rocks from the bonfire; where Scholars-in-Residence discuss matters religious and historical; and where kosher food is served. OK, so it’s not your typical blogmeet, except for the Drinking, Cigar Smoking, and Filthy Jokes parts.

One of the major disadvantages of spending two nights in a bunkhouse with 60 men (the event was especially well-attended this year) is that sleeping is a challenge, thanks in part to the thin mattresses but mainly to the cacaphony of Extreme Snoring and Flatulence such a crowd will generate. It’s downright thunderous. I was fortunate, in the sense that I was able to snag a bed in a three-man alcove where I had only two other Symphonic Snorers to deal with.

Of course, they had to deal with me. Fair is fair.

Thus are nicknames like “Chain-Saw Dennis” or “Log-Cutter Lenny” born. Not to mention “Double-Trailer 18-Wheeler Full of Live Pigs Locking Up Its Brakes on a 30-Degree Downgrade To Avoid Crushing a Volkswagen Full of Nuns, But Failing To Do So Irwin.”

I crept into bed late, late last night (early this morning, actually), half in the bag from the heady combination of 12-year-old Dalmore single malt, Aalborg akvavit, and Starbucks coffee liqueur I had consumed over the course of the evening, redolent of the smoky aromas of Cigar and Bonfire. At first my roommates were quiet (surprise!), but as I settled in under the sheets, the sonic volume from the other side of the room began to increase, until the windows were rattling in their frames. Chain-Saw Dennis had struck again.

I could ignore the snoring, but for some reason, I just could not get comfortable.

I can’t sleep on my back; it makes me snore and renders me susceptible to sleep apnea. I therefore will sleep on my side. No problem, except for some reason, it was extremely uncomfortable to be on my right side.

This morning, my right side was unpleasantly painful, alternating between an all-too-familiar dull ache and the occasional ice-pick-like stab. I managed to shower and dress, but later, during morning services, getting out of my chair was a teeth-clenching ordeal.

Unless I miss my guess, I’m dealing with the Return of the Dreaded Kidney-Stone. Three years ago, it was on the left side; this time, it’s on the right.

I dry-swallowed a couple of Vicodins (experience having taught me that it’s a good idea to always carry some strong medicine with you on the road) and ended up turning the return driving duties over to the other guys who were riding with me.

Upon arriving home, I greeted the ever lovely She Who Must Be Obeyed and called my urologist. This being the weekend, one of the other doctors in her practice returned the call and offered me a choice: Go to the Emergency Room right away, or tough it out and call my regular Pee-Pee Doc first thing in the morning.

I have four Vicodins left.

What do you think I ought to do?

What Should Elisson Do?
Get your ass to the Emergency Room. Now.
Tough it out and call the Pee-Pee Doc in the morning.
Drink plenty of liquids and see if you can piss out a blood-clot or chunk of gravel.
Free polls from

[No matter what the results of the poll, it looks like the trip to Houston I was planning to take tomorrow is doomed, eh?]

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