A virtual tour of my body or, more precisely, a part thereof. These photos were taken by H. Paul "Docktor Filet" Stiefel, M.D., at Arlington Memorial Hospital during his deft removal of my gall bladder.

    In the first picture in the sequence, we see a "surgical instrument" that has garrotted a white thing. That porkchop-looking affair in the background is in fine color, all glossy and healthy (thus the origin of the phrase "in the pink"). This can be attributed to years of clean living by its owner.

    Note the capillary action on that big fish-looking thing. When you do 300 situps every day, as I do, your capillaries get robust like this. It is not cause for alarm—quite the contrary. That fish-looking thing is actually in great shape for a person of my age.

    A study in pastels. I'm thinking that this frame got inadvertently inserted here, however, and is actually a close-up of the killing floor at a Frank Perdue chicken factory, taken by one of those spy cameras hidden in a briefcase (maybe for a 60 Minutes exposé). Or perhaps it's a still life of pheasant organs, as Thomas Kinkade would have painted them. If he were severely nearsighted. And had cataracts. And had just polished off a few glasses of absinthe.

    This is the climax: the actual extraction of my now-obsolete gall bladder. Several other "surgical instruments" can be seen in this frame (I sure hope they remembered to autoclave them before they stuck them into my torso). Anyhow, at this stage the "surgical procedure" is now wrapping up, and the several "incisions" (i.e., gaping, suppurating holes) the surgeon has carved into my surface are soon to be capped off, presumably after he remembers to remove all of his "surgical instruments," not to mention the camera, flash attachment with automatic redeye reduction, cable release, tripod, and God knows what else.

      Shortly after that last picture was snapped, my crack team of Health Care Professionals, headed by Shannon Garrison, wheeled me back to my recovery room and hurriedly brought me out of anesthesia, thus maximizing the period of postoperative pain and discomfort I would experience over the next several days and nights.


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