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Private Eye: Serious Complications 

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Thanks, readers, for the phone call, card and letter expressing your sympathy to me during this sufferable phase of recovery from hernia surgery. I saw the doc this morning, and he confirmed that the hole in my groin musculature through which all manner of internal debris could wander was indeed “big.” Then he held his fingers in a circular manner to show me the size of that hole. Without being precise, I’d say what he was showing me was larger than a Greek Festival keftede but smaller than a Moochie’s Italian meatball. For you vegans, that comparison would place the hole somewhere between the girth of a Roma tomato and a Damson plum.

Anyway, that hole—the very one that never gave me a bit of pain or trouble as far as I knew—is now closed. My doc confirmed my hernia on a Tuesday and the surgery was a few days later on Friday. I’ve been sore ever since, about 10 days now. The pain was never intolerable, just incredibly uncomfortable. Doc closed the hole with some stitches and a lot of some kind of meshing that is sewn into my interior and which will prevent anything from passing through that hole again. Like a tire patch. That’s the theory at least.

I never knew much about that mesh and never asked. Maybe I should have. I just now checked online and, instead of finding generic mesh information, the first three items that loaded on the Google page were paid ads placed there by law firms seeking clients from hernia patients who have suffered complications from their mesh surgery. I have to hand it to the Internet for doing so much for the honorable practice of law—another slew of ISACAs (Internet Style Ambulance-Chasing Ads) coursed down the right side of my hernia page. Many of those ads were targeted to persons who had been implanted with the Kugel hernia mesh patch. I won’t be asking my doc if I’m wearing a Kugel. Unless bowel perforation, bowel obstruction, intestinal fistulae and serious infections occur, that is.

For now, I’m good to go.

So I’d be remiss to not thank the people who contacted me with the name of the tall Southern author who wrote standing up. For years, I had wrongly believed that that person to be William Faulkner, but he was a foot shorter than Thomas Wolfe, the man I had spent years mis-identifying. Yo—Ken Sanders. In retrospect, it’s obvious he would have known that one and I should’ve called him ahead of time. And Keith Moore—hardly a surprise that he, too, would know just about all there is to know about Thomas Wolfe. We used to have a guy in the office I could reliably depend upon for answers to such trivia. I haven’t heard from him in a long time. I hope he’s eating well and keeping his groin in check.

I don’t know if Sanders or Moore know this, but apparently there was another person who wrote standing up, although he wasn’t Southern or even American. In addition to the notes from those two fellows, I got a voice mail from a local physician who told me about a Victorian English author by the name of Sabine Baring-Gould. Baring-Gould, a reverend, was quite an eccentric, it seems. Among his peccadilloes was apparently a penchant for writing while standing. I believe that because, other than being the grandfather of Sherlock Holmes scholar William S. Baring-Gould, he is most noted for penning the song “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” That song gains a certain luster knowing it was not written by a guy sitting on his duff. Like I am now.

Last week, I was a standing author, too. This week the world is back to normal. President Bush still has his war in Iraq, thanks to the instant credibility of using a man in uniform to do his talking for him. Earthquakes, fires and plagues still ravage the planet. Britney Spears has bad hair days just like all the rest of us. Really bad, in her case. The Yankees are in another late-season surge. Red Sox fans are pouting. The Utes won a football game. BYU didn’t. About the only abnormal event occurring this week was that O.J. Simpson went to jail.

Locally, we have our mayoral candidates selected for the general election this November.Congratulations to Ralph Becker and Dave Buhler for coming out of the primary with most of their body parts intact. I’m sure the city will be run finely with either of them at the helm, and I will donate to both of them. I am not a fool, though, and for the life of me, I can’t see how the conservative and Republican Buhler can win, given the demographic makeup of Salt Lake City. I guess in a fairy-tale sort of way, Buhler has a chance. Like if Becker becomes scandalized somehow or if Salt Lake City’s heralded “progressives” don’t turn out to vote. I just wouldn’t bet on it.

In a few weeks, we’ll have a new mayor. I remember the dread I felt eight years ago at this time knowing that Deedee Corradini’s mayoral days were numbered. Corradini and the scandals surrounding her were great for our young and growing business as City Weekly led other media in reportage on Bonneville Pacific and Giftgate. When Rocky Anderson became mayor, a new era of vitality and voice was born in local politics. But, like with some hernial mesh surgeries that were meant to do good, serious complications arose later on. The city became deathly sick. The cure for that is an election, not a lawsuit.

And not a moment too soon.

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