It’s 7:12 a.m. on Groundhog Day. I haven’t even tamed my morning boner yet and my phone has vibrated off the bed and onto the ground. Pretty notable, considering it started its journey inside my anus. Kidding. I have three successive Facebook messages from a high school classmate named Peter Fiorino. I haven’t spoken to him in about 14 years. I’m sure it’s concerning a most pressing matter.
PETER: Hey Jordan
PETER: I can’t believe we’re re-connecting like this but I have something to share with you.
PETER: I can’t even remember the last time we chatted
I roll over in disgust.
ME: I can. I can remember it quite vividly, Peter. You were chasing me into the men’s locker room while yelling “pillow biter”.
PETER: HA! Wow. Water under the bridge eh?
ME: No. I’m a shell of a man.
PETER: Oh. Listen I wanted to send you a personal invite to a stag and doe/jack and jill party I’m having.
ME: A what?
PETER: It’s sort of like a fundraising thing for my wedding next year.
ME: I’m invited to your wedding? Why?
PETER: Hmm well not exactly. You’re invited to the stag and doe.
ME: So I’m not invited to the wedding?
ME: I’m fundraising for a party that I’m not even invited to?
ME: WTF? What exactly happens at this party?
PETER: It’s fun. Sort of like light carnival games. Tickets are $25 and there is a bar fully stocked. Plus you can meet my fiancé.
ME: Hmmm … Open bar?
PETER: No. Cash bar. It’s a fundraiser.
ME: So I get to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey while reliving high school trauma? And whom do I make the cheque out to?
I must have missed the moment it became socially acceptable to invite relative strangers to fundraise for your life choices. I asked Peter if he had any other life goals I should be aware of so that I could start budgeting accordingly. Maybe I could set aside a small portion of my paycheque in a rainy day fund in his name. Maybe we could all play ping pong to buy him a new washer and dryer?
And apparently these farces are more commonplace than I realized. My friend Stacey told me her sister made $11,000 off her stag and doe and wedding, which I guess had also now become a profit-making endeavour.
“So do you then return people’s money?” I said to her over brunch one day.
“No,” she said. “I guess it’s for their new life?”
“Oh, that’s nice,” I replied. “Who buys this sad single man shit?”
Two days later I thought I would teach Peter a lesson.
ME: Hey Peter. I just wanted to let you know that I’m a “YES” for your party.
PETER: That’s great. It would be nice for us all to catch up. Go Celtics!
ME: Listen I’m also having a party that I need to fundraise for.
PETER: Oh, what kind of party?
ME: Well, it’s an orgy. You’re not invited. You have tits now, Peter. But I thought we could have some of your disposable income to fund it.
ME: Oh don’t be pedantic. We’re gonna play “find the gerbil” next weekend and all the profits will go towards the crystal meth fund.
ME: OK, you got me, Peter. Maybe not all the profits. I might pocket some for my new life, if that’s alright with you.
PETER: I don’t get the gerbil thing.
ME: What don’t you get? Don’t tell me you are unfamiliar with their erotic potential.
PETER: I assume this is a joke, Jordan.
ME: Not at all. We just have different life choices. Our goals and methodologies remain the same. I just thought you would be honoured to play a role in my special day.
ME: No? Peter?
I never did make it to Peter’s party. Most of my graduating class had physically peaked at age 12, like the Olsen twins, so I didn’t see the point. Not me, however. I am still borderline perfection. Their lives had descended into sonogram photos, pumpkin patches and exploding pants buttons. My life had taken a different course, filled with nudes, chronic bloating and exploding anal fissures. I had put off my second anal fissure surgery for as long as I could muster due to concerns about lost elasticity and incontinence.
What sort of man would I become without my signature butthole?
Would I recognize the man in the mirror staring back at me?
Is this what Michael Jackson was alluding to?
One day my asshole decided to swell completely overnight and make the choice for me, with zero consultation. I went straight to the ER as per my doctor’s orders and turned on the theatrics to increase my priority level after hearing it was a five-hour-plus wait.
I’m often reminded of my disdain for the general population when I am forced to spend prolonged amounts of time around them. I really don’t like to leave my house unless it’s to exercise, have drinks with friends or do business. The beauty of living in a major metropolitan city is that you can order anything you want from your phone, sleep a ton, and limit interpersonal interactions. If I had a spirit animal it would probably be a koala, especially due to the fact that more than 70% of them have chlamydia.
After two and a half hours in the ER waiting room I was shown to a bed and told to change into a gown. I’m not sure who can actually fit in a hospital gown that isn’t directly related to a hippopotamus. It seems they needed to come up with a universal size so they just erred on the side of fat-ass. I put on the gown and took a look in the mirror and laughed. Moments like this are humbling and important in life. You see, it’s very tough for someone like me to stay grounded with such a nice ass.
The medical resident came in 10 minutes later and asked what the issue was.
“I have a fissure. I’m a patient of Dr. Stephens and he told me to come to the ER if things got bad,” I said. “It’s swollen shut and my farts sound like a flute. OK?”
“OK,” he said, jotting down notes. “Thanks for that animated description, sir.”
“You’re welcome,” I said.
“Can I take a look?” he asked.
I rolled onto my side to get the first of multiple finger bangings over the coming days. It was excruciating and he could barely get one finger in.
“OK, we’ll need to take a few photos for Dr. Stephens,” he said. “I’m going to grab a colleague.”
Five minutes later he returned with two more medical students. It was at this moment that I would learn I was in the city’s “largest teaching hospital” and that my anus was today’s pop quiz. Sure, I could have refused exams by medical students, but then I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself knowing that future buttholes could be in jeopardy. It’s called integrity and I’m chalk full of it.
“So if you could just bend over the table and spread your cheeks we’re going to take a few photos,” said the first resident, as his voice shook with nerves.
I bent over and stared at the brown wall straight ahead as I heard the iPhone camera click over and over. I sighed deeply in my diaphragm and longed for simpler times.
“Call me a filthy slut while you take the photos,” I said. “It will produce a more fruitful result.”
“Hmmm,” he said. “I’m wondering if you could spread your cheeks a bit wider.”
“Oh god,” I said. “The fall of a gay icon.”
I pulled my cheeks apart with all my might as the three of them assessed lighting and angles. After a third camera click I let out very audible fart.
“Oopsy, but did that fart help with the visuals?” I said. “Did it open up the area?”
The residents struggled to maintain a level of decorum.
“Do you need a white balance?” I said in rushed desperation, sweat trickling down my brow. “I took a photography course once!”
“No, much better,” he said as they continued to take multiple photos.
“OK andddddd I think you’re good,” I said, standing up and tying my gown back up. “Dr. Stephens doesn’t need the Annie Leibovitz treatment on my brown town. He knows my chart.”
“Right,” he said, handing me his iPhone. “So if you could just consent to these …”
I swiped right to view nine photos of my anus in various expression stages. I could see jubilation anus, gaping anus, and very antagonized anus.
“Hmmm,” I said, still staring at the screen. “Not my best work, doc. Any chance we could filter it?”
“Uhh no, Jordan,” he said. “We cannot alter the image or it could compromise the photo.”
“I know it’s just that photo is a lot to take in under fluorescent lights,” I said. “I prefer soft lounge lighting. Also, real talk, man to man, should I be bleaching?”
“Bleaching?” he said.
“My anus,” I replied. “I hear about this all the time but I think it’s just an urban legend.”
“I’m going to go send the photos now, Jordan,” he said, visibly annoyed. Then he left, closing the curtain.
Three minutes later the curtain shifted again and the nurse entered the room.
“How’s your day?” she said.
“Pretty good,” I said. “I slept in and we just did an artistic photo shoot of my butthole.”
“Oh,” she said, looking at the floor. “Can I get you anything?”
“Drugs!” I said.
“OK, do you need them?” she said.
“Need it is subjective — let’s just say I would emjoy some,” I said, whispering. “I mean I’m sure I need them too.”
“OK, well what’s your pain out of 10?” she said.
I had played this game many times before in my life to know how it works.
“Oh at least a 7,” I said, without even attempting to conceal my countenance.
“OK,” she replied, winking. “I’ll get you some hydromorphone. It’s like morphine but without the nausea.”
“Only the best for my anus,” I said.
Within 10 minutes I began to circle Saturn. I sent a text to the guy I was dating that said, “So I’ve been doing some thinking about my situation: If you were really a true liberal like you claim, any hole should be OK with you. Do you feel me?”
He wrote back, “What the fuck are you talking about?”
I then followed up with a selfie of my bloodshot eyes, adorned with hospital scrubs and wrote, “How you like me now, Daddy?”
“Jesus,” he said. “You look bat shit. Are you in the hospital? Do you need me to come by after work?”
“No!,” I said. “I look hideous and it’s probably time we have an honest conversation about you dating an able-bodied man. I’m letting you go.”
“But I don’t want to go,” he replied.
“It’s fine,” I wrote. “It’s better this way.”
I put my phone down and fell asleep. My doctor pulled back the curtain around 8 p.m. and I popped back into consciousness, albeit also in a drug induced panic.
“This shitsss ridicccccculous,” I said.
“Why are you on Dilaudid?” he said. “That’s really not necessary in this situation.”
“I got game,” I said. “So, what’s the plan?”
“We put you on the surgical list but you’re considered low priority so your surgery won’t be tonight. My best bet is tomorrow, pending no high-priority calls. You can’t leave so you’ll have to stay overnight. Your friends or family can fetch your stuff,” he said.
“We don’t have a bed for you in the ward tonight so you’ll have to sleep here in the ER. I’ll come check in before surgery tomorrow.”
“Thanks and I love you,” I said, with an exaggerated wink.
“Oh god,” he said with a chuckle. “See you tomorrow. No food or drink please.”
When I told the night nurse I would be sleeping in the ER that night she laughed and informed me that “No one sleeps in the ER” but that she would love to watch me try.
Turns out, she was right. Every time I dozed off, the speaker above my head would sound, jolting me out of bed. I would fall asleep and wake up again about 75 times in the night, like some sort of Guantanamo torture exercise testing how fast I would emotionally crumble. My room also doubled as a supply closet so hospital staff came in and out every 15 minutes.
“Umm do you mind?” I said to each of them. “This is my bedroom!”
At 5:02 a.m. I stared at the wall, hungry, high, and agitated. There comes a time in every hospital stay where the thought must enter patients’ minds that they would rather just be dead instead. Believe me, it is all I thought about. Then, at noon I was moved upstairs to the surgical ward. I couldn’t bear the thought of another sleepless night without food and water so I gave my Visa card to the head nurse and paid for a semi-private room. At least I would get some credit card points from this ordeal.
I always pay by credit card when I can and you should too, unless you’re a degenerate who can’t manage money. Everyone should accept credit cards. Drug dealers should take credit cards. Hookers should take credit cards. You could put a square reader inside their butthole for swipe. Maybe tap your Visa on their penis heads, if you’re not over your daily limit of course.
I dozed on and off over the next six hours. A group of medical residents came in and asked me the same 10 questions. Then each took a shot at finger blasting me. When the third one stepped up to the plate, I threw my hands in the air and screamed, “Enough with the butthole fingering! Find someone else! I am not your gay guinea pig.” She immediately apologized and scurried off. Around 9 p.m., with no surgery time assigned, Ben came in and offered me a sandwich and his Powerade bottle of vodka.
“I can’t have any food or drink eight hours before, “ I said. “I think that includes alcohol, you idiot.”
“Seriously? This place is a joke. Do you mind if I drink?” he asked. “I have a date in an hour.”
“It’s fine,” I said, paging the nurse. “’I’m off alcohol and I’ve graduated to IV narcotics.”
“Good for you. Do you think they have a bar on the grounds?” said Ben. “I’m craving red wine.”
“Are hospitals licensed?” I asked.
“Probably not,” he said. “But maybe there is a bar.”
“Do you have some time to masturbate before you date?” I asked.
“No, why?” he said.
“I always masturbate right before a date,” I said.
“Why?” he said.
“You have to go in with a clear mind about the whole situation without the irrationality that horniness tends to bring,” I explained. “If the mental clarity I experience post-orgasm lasted all day, I’d be Elon Musk by now.”
“Well you certainly don’t have that glow right now,” he said. “I’m actually craving Merlot. Should I go to the wine store and come back?”
I paged the nurse again to ask her if there was a bar on the hospital grounds. She laughed and told us “we had issues,” as she walked away shaking her head. Apparently there are no stupid questions, just the ones that Ben and I continuously ask.
Since noon I’d been on a steady stream of Dilaudid, which I’m told has a chemical composition similar to heroin. I hadn’t had any food or water since 8 p.m. the night before, which means I was extra cracked out. I woke up at 7 a.m. the next morning to the nurse changing my IV.
“Do we have any updates about my surgery?” I asked. “I can’t eat or drink and the only visitors I get are here to stick their finger in my butt. And for the record I DO NOT appreciate their calluses,” I said sternly.
“They don’t tell me anything, hun,” she said, handing me a tray of food.
“I just said I can’t eat,” I said, pushing the tray away. “And you’ve brought me food three times already. Also, I use the term “food” quite loosely given I have never seen multi-coloured potatoes served inside cold cut ham.”
I fell back asleep five minutes later. At noon another nurse came in with lunch and explained she had no idea when my surgery is. When I complain about the lack of communication on all fronts she nods and shoves more pseudo-heroin down my veins to shut me up.
Two more days go by and I’m given very little information. I crush entire series of Netflix shows and peruse Grindr with a bio that reads, “Broken anus seeks broken heart.” Then one morning, my mom, a physician, comes by with all my stuff. No food, drink or answers is one thing but I cannot be subject to the dehumanizing experience of being deprived of my alpha hydroxy acid moisturizer.
“You don’t look well, honey,” she says. “When is the surgery?”
“Who knows,” I said, cutting my toenails. “No one tells me anything. Go on without me.”
“Oh my god,” she said, looking at my IV pump. “You’re on Dilaudid? Why? Get off that stuff.”
“No it’s all I have,” I explain. “Please don’t take it away from meeeeee.”
“Where is your doctor?” she asks.
“I asked them to call him and they said he’s moving this weekend,” I said. “Mom, do you remember my hamster Rex, who was autistic? I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately.”
“He’s moving?!” she yells “I’m going to get some answers. I’m a doctor. This is bullshit.”
She returned with news. My surgery was planned for the next night, meaning I would get to eat one more meal and then back on fasting.
“But, do I look thin?” I said to my mom. “I’m eating like 200 calories a day.”
“Yes,” she said. “Yes, you look awful.”
After my mom left my new roommate was rolled into the room. He was an elderly man, with his young daughter in toe, who got him settled and left. As part of his treatment he required eye drops every hour to stave off infection. Because he refused to administer his own drops he set an alarm for every hour on the hour and paged the nurse accordingly. This meant that I woke up every hour on the hour. This is one of the lovely perks of Canada’s health-care system, paying $290 a night.. Semi-private rooms are only a 50% guarantee that you will be undisturbed. Around hour four, the nurse tried to show him how to place the eye drops in his own eyes. This is something he had seemingly glossed over in the past eight decades of his life.
“I’m trying to empower you, sir,” she said, showing him how eye drops work.
“It’s not my job lady!,” he yelled. “Drop ’em!”
Though I have known to be quite the contrarian, I feel it is a reasonable position that if you refuse to put your own eye drops in, you should probably die. This is what white privilege looks like. You think pre-teens in sub Saharan Africa outsource eye drop administering?
The next night I was rolled into the OR for my surgery, naked under my gown. There were two medical residents, a nurse, an anaesthetist and my surgeon in the room. They hooked up my IV and strapped my arms down. The heart monitor beeped expeditiously.
“How are you going to get at the hole?” I asked the surgical staff.
“Oh, when you are asleep we will hoist your legs in the air,” the nurse said. “Have you ever seen a woman in stirrups?”
“No,” I replied. “Does the general population often see women in stirrups?”
I then turned to the rest of the surgery crew.
“How excited is everyone to see my entire situation under these bright lights?” I asked.
No one replied. Thirty seconds later I was out.
I woke up in my hospital room wearing temporary hospital underwear, which resembled cheesecloth and rubbed my eyes which felt dry and cloudy. My new roommate was complaining to the nurse that he woke up from a blackout fall (and surgery) and that no one had come by. I could make out his conversation from the other side of the curtain but could barely lift my limbs to wave.
“I feel like they just cut me up and then no one came by or told me anything,” he said. “Like what happened to me?”
“I’m not sure. I’ll go find out,” said the nurse.
I ripped back the curtain and pulled off my oxygen mask. He was a hot piece littered with sleeve tattoos. I promised that if he ignored my advances I would chalk it up to the circumstances.
“This place is a joke, buddy,” I said. “What happened to you?”
“I can’t remember much,” he said. “I fell hanging Christmas lights and then woke up here with a giant cast on my arm. Do you think I have a concussion?”
“Maybe,” I slurred. “I mean, good thing you’re not surrounded by a team of medical professionals.”
“Right,” he said. “Dude, you look real fucked…”
“I have a regular face but this isn’t it. This is a new face I’m trying out. Spoiler, I’m a junkie now,” I said.
“I wasn’t before I came in here but I’m about ready to start selling off assets to keep this lifestyle going, which is not a good sign. Take a good look at your future, Chico. Do you want some?”
“How?” he asked.
“I dunno,” I said. “Come over here and I’ll jam it in your veins and then we can cuddle.”
“Cuddle?” he asked.
“For warmth,” I said. “No homo but also homo.”
“I’m good,” he said. “Thanks though.”
Two hours later I got the news that I was being discharged.