Oct 252013 8 Responses

The Only Time I Was Ever Stoned

I recently ran into the father of a friend with whom I grew up. I hadn’t seen the friend in a long time and was asking the father about him.

Having only been friends at school, I was never around the father very much and do not know him well—just well enough to assume he knows who I am.

Apparently I assumed wrong. As we were talking he began to talk about how great “that group of boys” was. He said, “You boys weren’t perfect, but you were good. I know you used to like the pipe. You might still like it for all I know, but everyone has a weakness.”

I was stunned into silence. Liked the pipe? What pipe? I’m not convinced I could even identify a pipe.

I wanted to say: Do you know who I am? Have you confused me with one of my co-workers?

Yet I couldn’t say anything.

To set the record straight. I have never smoked a pipe—either legal or illegal.

I do on occasion get stoned—kidney stoned.

Apparently my urological age is closer to my emotional age than my physical age. Physically I’m in my 30s, emotionally I’m in my 80s. A few years ago I had my first bout with kidney stones.

My kidney stone episode reminds me of one of the great perks and great downfalls of the pastorate—we know a lot of doctors. On one hand that’s great news; when we are in need there are plenty of people willing to help. On the other hand it’s bad news because we know the hands which are trying to help us.

Sometimes it would be nice to be unknown. Specifically when you have a kidney stone and the doctor says, “Hop up there and let’s take a look.” And you have to say, “Yes Ma’am.”

Whenever I got my first kidney stone, I immediately knew what it was. Having visited geriatrics for years, I’m familiar with common ailments of 80-year-olds. If you don’t know what a kidney stone feels like, it’s the only time in my life that during one prayer I was both an atheist and born again—”There can’t be a God….Dear Lord, I have clearly done something to fail you so please forgive me.”

The main diagnostic test for kidney stones is a CT scan. It literally reveals the size of your stones and what to do about them. So I made my way to the hospital.

In these moments I want to appear cool. I’m not a doctor, but I’m around medical issues every week. I don’t want to be the patient everybody is talking about.

A few years ago, I did a wedding for a dentist. As an act of kindness, he gave me a gift—a free teeth whitening session. So I went to the dentist which was full of doctors, hygienists and patients who were all church members. After speaking with each of them, I sat down in the chair and the hygienist took impressions. I have a high gag reflex so when I began to gag, my eyes started to water. In a loud voice for everyone to hear she began to say, “Oh, no. I made the pastor cry. I made the pastor cry.”

While getting my scan, I did not want to repeat that scenario.

So I played it cool.

I signed in and sat down beside my peers—a small waiting room of 35 people where, before I arrived, the average age was 92. A couple on the front row were talking to one another. Their minimum hearing level just happened to match their maximum voice level. Every time the nurse called for a patient, the lady on the front row would ask her husband, “Who’s that?” He would repeat the name the nurse had requested.

A small TV showing CNN was in front of the couple. This was during the time Michael Vick was being tried for dog fighting. “Who’s that?” the lady asked. Her husband responded, “That’s the football player who was fighting those dogs. Apparently that’s illegal now.”

“Now?” I thought. “Now? There was a time in which that wasn’t wrong?”

Fascinated by the couple, I missed the nurse calling my name. Thankfully the old lady said, “Who’s that?” and the man said, “She called for Thompson.”

Hearing him call my name, I went with the nurse.

I was trying to act like I wasn’t nervous.

She took me to a small room with a curtain, a chair, and a gown. She said, “Wait here.” Pretending I didn’t care what was about to happen, I said, “Do I need to take off my pants?” She looked at my strangely and said, “No.”

After waiting a few minutes, she came to get me. She walked me back to the room where the CT machine was. She said, “I need you to drop your pants.”  “Boxers too?” I asked. She looked at me even more strangely and said, “No.”

“Great,” I thought “Now the lady thinks I’m trying to get naked.” I was trying to play it cool and I ended up playing it perverted.

She went behind a half wall and I kept on expecting Chris Hansen to come around the corner and say, “Have a seat, I’m Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC. You seem a bit anxious to take off your pants there, pastor.”

Finally the scan was finished. As the nurse walked me back to the waiting room I just kept hoping I wouldn’t see any church members. I asked the nurse if she went to church anywhere and she said no. I then said, we would love to have you at ours and then gave her the name of one of my friend’s churches.

I doubt she ever goes, she probably thinks that pastor is a little weird.

Happy Friday.

8 Responses to The Only Time I Was Ever Stoned
  1. […] “Oh,” Silas said, “He probably knows a lot about penis problems.” (See: The Only Time I Was ... https://www.kevinathompson.com/knowledgable-doctor
  2. […] 2. You realize no one is cool. From the moment we enter school until well into our 20s, we are often... https://www.kevinathompson.com/ten-reasons-life-better-late-30s
  3. […] This week I was meeting one of my co-workers for lunch. As I pulled in the parking lot, I noticed ... https://www.kevinathompson.com/scared-friends-disobedient-children-and-accidental-racism

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