Yippee Ki-Yay, Wentworth Douglas Hospital


My little buddy/roommate Josh Lipka (JL Cakes Machine) is in the hospital right now. It’s weird; I came home from work last night, and Ryan said:

“Oh, Ken?”
“Josh is in the hospital.”
[louder]”Josh is in the hospital.”
“I heard you – why is he in the hospital?”
“Having his appendix taken out, I guess.”
“Oh. Well, let’s watch Lost.”


This is a minor deal as far as surgeries go, obviously, and he’s fine, but it’s still sobering for me to think of my friends as being anything but indestructible alcohol consumption factories. I’m a fragile little flower that bends in the slightest easterly breeze, but people like Josh and Ryan are like bulldozers strapped to missiles being shot into the sun to fuck it to death as far as I’m concerned, so it’s particularly arresting to me when they display some sign of weakness. Josh, I mean, was just fine on Tuesday; I sat on the floor in his room and watched the Celtics game and wondered aloud how long it would be before Tommy Heinsohn legitimately had a stroke during a live broadcast.


Then, apparently, sometime yesterday morning, Josh felt, in his words, “…like there was an alien trying to burst out of my stomach.” Now, let’s be straight here – in and of itself, that’s awesome.  Aliens are awesome, and things bursting out of people’s bodies are awesome, and, well, to combine those two things in a location fairly close to me is so awesome as to nearly render the very word meaningless.  If I came home, and Josh was splayed out on the floor of the living room, bloody and screaming in pain with an alien blooming out of his chest cavity?  Sure, there’d be a twinge of sadness there, about my friend being in not the best of states, but that twinge would be bookended by the most intense fanboy boner and orgasm the world has ever witnessed.


Then, Josh said to Ryan, “Welp – see you later,” and walked calmly out of our apartment, to his car, and drove to Wentworth Douglas Hospital and checked in.  A few hours later, some people with knives cut his body open and ripped his appendix out like the remains of an eagle wedged in an airplane engine.


A few hours after that, Ryan, Josh Austin, Meg, Amanda, and me loaded up a few High Lifes, a bone saw, and about thirty thousand gallons of pure, uncut bro-love and hauled it over to the hospital; we were going to either visit Josh and lift his spirits, bust him out of the joint, or kill everyone in the city trying.  I mean, one of those things, or we’d just stand around awkwardly, making jokes about poop while the nurses awkwardly tried to perform their jobs without punching us in the face.


There were awkward moments all around, really.  The thing about hospital visits – and this is true regardless of the severity of the patient’s condition – is that they’re always the most forced attempts at restoring normalcy that anyone can muster.  No matter how confident you are, or how strong a particular friendship or relationship may be, there’s no escaping the fact that all of your conversational efforts are aimed at ignoring the fact that, as of a few hours ago, some joker with a paper mask on was rooting around inside your buddy’s insides like a plumber unclogging a drain.  So we made lots of jokes, and the girls took turns rubbing Josh’s feet and scoring him extra helpings of hospital pudding, and Ryan pretended to poop in a bag (maybe not as close to pretend as we’d like – he didn’t make it out of the building, even, before he had to stop and commandeer a  bathroom for a solid twenty minutes).


He’s probably on his way out, now, as I write this, but also, the old man who Josh shared a room with is likely not going anywhere.  I saw him a little, just glimpsed him on the other side of the curtain in the center of the room, and his little old-guy-face looked fixed in surprise; the mouth hanging open, the eyes wide.  I don’t know what he had, exactly, but I’m going to go ahead and guess, sadly, that the health gap between my 22-year-old semi-professional cyclist and his elderly roommate was pretty fucking wide.  The nurse came in to check on Josh, just before we left for the night, and she asked him if he needed anything for the pain.

“No, that’s okay, thank you,” he said.  She turned around and walked out, but as she was, Josh’s elderly roommate-for-the-night muttered, “Meeeee…I do.”  We looked at each other and made yeesh faces, but on the way out, we didn’t talk about the old guy at all, and instead we made jokes about climbing on top of the elevator, like John McClane.



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