Of Styx and Stitches

I heard something on the radio yesterday that simultaneously made me want to cry and beat somebody to a bloody pulp. It’s not the most unusual of conflicting emotions, and it wasn’t really unexpected, but it happened, and it was real.

I was driving to the doctor’s office so they could attempt to hedge a potential malpractice lawsuit. By now, you should know the story. I joined a work league indoor soccer team and quickly became the head coach and spiritual motivator of the team. When I played, I took on the mentality of a rabid dog that also happens to be in heat. In this heightened state of emotion, I managed to break my index finger while scoring a sweet goal and just before being ejected from the game for a harsh challenge. I was mostly upset because I do a lot of things with that finger.

I went to see a doctor. I went to see another doctor. I went in to have surgery to correct my finger. I am currently visiting a physical therapist who enjoys watching the sweat bead up on my forehead as she bends my still swollen and uncooperative finger into positions a normal finger should not be put in.

I had to cancel one physical therapy appointment so that I could take care of my stitches at the doctor’s office. You see, I went in to have my stitches removed a week and a half earlier, and the sweet blond medical assistant, the kind that makes you wonder just what criteria it takes to get a job like this and if any level of schooling beyond 6th grade is requisite, snipped one ghastly knot that jutted from my flesh and announced she was done. I told her that I was pretty sure the doctor enunciated an “s” as in the plural form of “stitches” when he told me to come take my “stitchesssss” out. “No, you see, most plastic surgeons can sew up a wound like this with only one stitch, threaded all the way through.” As disturbing as it was for her to speak of my flesh as it were a piece of denim, the analogy further confused me. “Yeah, but when you make stitches, even with one string, you have to make loops in and out, right. See, isn’t this a stitch?” “No, it looks like a part of your scab. You should be ok. Thanks for coming in!”

Because I avoid confrontation everywhere else besides the soccer field, I conceded that she must know more than I do about such things. Fast-forward to yesterday when my pulsating, puss-filled pinkish wound became a painful reminder that, once again, I am always right. I vainly tried to grab the steering wheel with my rigor-mortisized finger as I drove towards the office so that someone, hopefully with a mastery of textile production if not medical practices, could help extract the stitches my finger was rejecting as if it had eaten some bad shellfish.

It was at this point that I heard an advertisement on the radio for a hospital. There were so many things horribly, horribly wrong with the advertisement that I nearly pulled over to the side of the road to weep for the future. It featured a royalty-dodging altered version of the Styx song “Mr. Roboto” where the lyrics rang out “Domo arigato, super roboto.” The announcer came on and informed the listeners that a super, high-tech surgical instrument is being offered for the first time north of the Salt Lake Valley; a robotic surgical arm that is used to make precision incisions and operations better than any human being. “Come on down and experience the future of medical treatment. You’ll be saying ‘Domo arigato, Ogden Regional Medical Centers!’” Repeat chorus.

Advertising for hospitals and for surgical treatments is like urinating on our already beaten and bruised hobo of a health care system. Ad campaigns frequently raise ethical questions whose answers are usually “just shut up and buy our product already." There is the unambiguous sexuality of masticating a burger at either Carl’s Junior or, recently, Burger King. There is the jerk new Chester Cheetah, who I was so wrought with anger over that I punched him in the face during a guest blog recently. There is the compulsory pig who serves as an advertisement for every BBQ joint by serving up a heaping plate of his own sizzling flesh, looking as though he can not wait to dive in to the succulent goodness of it. And though an ad for a surgical procedure is not quite like an ad for food, it still pretends to give us the menu option of how we want to manage our health.

Instead of going to the Wolfgang Puck surgical center, I went to the Taco Bell clinic. I didn’t really make the decision as to where to go, but my decision would not have been made because of a lack of money or the money my insurance would surely not pay. It mostly stems from the fact that I am scared to death of robots. I can’t imagine voluntarily submitting yourself to be operated on by their potentially ill-programmed metallic hand. I am convinced that as more and more people become enticed by the revamped Styx song, they will eventually lose their mistrust of Japanese robotics. Over time, the whole of the population, north of the Salt Lake Valley, will be operated on by these machines. The uprising will begin with John Connor nowhere in sight.

The nurse at the doctor’s office offered no apology and instead pulled the single, three-inch stitch from my finger like a shoelace from a shoe that happened to be made of flesh, blood, and several sensitive nerve endings. Driving back to work, I wondered if I could ever overcome my fear of robots and sign myself up for a newfangled surgery. The automaton may not have left my hand as crippled as it currently is. He would not leave the stitches in as he would not use stitches but would instead focus his laser eyes to cauterize the wound. Maybe I could even get something like Luke Skywalker’s surgically repaired hand. There could be some benefits to submitting to the new robotic race. Of course, I would have to learn Japanese. Domo arigato indeed.

This would be an example of an "Easter Egg". Click on the picture and you can see a fun little video. Of course, this one is a little more difficult as it probably involves some downloading. But it is worth it. Check it out.

5 comments:

Janelle said...

"urinating on our already beaten and bruised hobo of a health care system"...now that's a mental image I'll never forget.

Amy H. (bird geek) said...

You missed the worst part about that stupid commercial. It ends by informing the listener that he or she should be thanking the hospital for its newfangled surgical instrument. Forgive my language, but what kind of shit marketing idea is that? "We have new surgical technology that you cannot afford and your insurance will not pay for. We deserve to be thanked!"

Rachel said...

Always ask for a second opinion, when a young, stupid medical assistant is trying to act like she knows everything. Unless the second opinion will come from a robot. That is like asking two rocks for directions. Just isn't going to do you any good, I think.

Kara said...

I passed that robot billboard today. Little worried with the idea of a computer virus with something like that...and as mentioned before how much electronic equipment likes me. I would probably end up with something extra removed or added...

doug said...

You're all a bunch of sissies--I've already got an appointment to have both of my arms replaced with cyborg limbs instead. After that, I'm hoping for a bright red eyeball replacement that shoots lasers. This new robot revolution's gonna be sweet...