Saturday, May 5, 2012

Kidney stone shuffler

“Upside-down machine”

      At one time I could do a handstand. Wanna see? Well, that’s too bad, ‘cause I can’t do it now. One time I could, though.

    It was back when I took this gymnastic course in college. The coach had me doing all kinds of stuff with parallel bars, chinning bar, pummel horse and From Satan Gymnastic Rings. That was the brand name. Shoulda been.

    A whole lot of class time was spent on the mats, doing cartwheels, flips, rolls and handstands. For our final we had to do a routine on each apparatus. My routine on the mats started out with a handstand that lasted three seconds. It was a record for me.

    Of course, one second into the stand I began to fall. Fortunately, the fall lasted for two seconds. It’s so hard to make a routine flow when you crash and burn on the first phase. I stumbled through the entire routine. Had ‘em in stitches. The coach was way nice to me, though. He was a guy who appreciated comic relief.

    I got married right after college and was never able to do a handstand again. I don’t know what the two have in common other than the timing. Not married to Kay: Handstand capable. Married Kay: Handstand not happening.

    I’ll have you know I can stand on my head. Not with my feet. That’d be a lot harder. I can stand on my head while my legs bounce against the wall. My urologist told me I should do that every chance I get. It’s supposed to dislodge kidney stones while they’re small enough to pass. If they hide in the corner, they’ll grow gynormous.

If your stones get really big they have to be crushed with sound waves.  Even with insurance it costs a lot to crush stones with sound. I’ve had it done four times. My kidneys start acting up anytime I pass a cop with an operational radar gun.

Even thought I know it would be good for me, I don’t stand on my head because it hurts. You try it and tell me if it doesn’t hurt. Kidney stones hurt, too, but after a year or two you forget about ‘em. Constant headstands you remember all the time.

I told you all that, to tell you this. Kay let me buy a used upside down machine. The thing looked practically new. Apparently the owner died young. Why else would he get rid of such a jewel? -- Oh, and it’s not called an “upside-down machine.” It’s a Gravity Inverting Table. A GIT.

My GIT is behind the couch in the living room. It’s a big mamba. The good news is, it has really improved the size of our TV screen. We had to move the couch forward a bit to make room, so we’re so close to the TV it’s like being at the drive-in.

I’d demonstrate the GIT to you, but I’m too sick. Clint -- Al’s boy -- was over a few minutes ago and I demonstrated the thing to him. You strap your ankles into this manacle, lie back on the canvas table thing and raise your arms. Immediately, you become inverted. Immediately!

The guy on TV is able to slowly invert himself. He’s got a different center of gravity than I do. I went back so fast, it was like bungee jumping off a stepladder. The height isn’t all that much, but the immediate stop is a killer.

My brain pulled eight G’s as it smashed into the top of my skull. Every part of my brain that deals with terror became acutely aware. Oh, and I’m fairly certain I twisted my bowel at about the 12 foot mark. 

Clint and Kay were too busy gabbing to notice my peril. It was horrendously massive, my peril. It took my larynx about 20 seconds before it could do more than gag. While I was flailing around trying to locate the handgrips, I managed to scream, “Jyxwz!” Without missing a beat in the conversation, Kay grabbed my left hand and put on a handgrip. It’s weird how, when you’re inverted, the concept of left and right is somewhat fuzzy.

At the moment, I’m still a bit nauseated. And, my kidney feels weird. I’m not sure if I dislodged a stone or ripped my spleen. I have every confidence that I’ll feel a lot better tomorrow. I’d have to. In a month or two I might even be up to trying the GIT again. Probably take me at least that long to put the terror behind me.

The scary thing is, I’m not even sure my urologist was serious when he told me to stand on my head. You can’t really tell with urologists. How could anyone with a gram of seriousness go into urology? I couldn’t do it. --  Next time.


View the latest edition of The Brad and Mark Show, plus a Whine and Dine review of “Another Broken Egg Café” click on pic below.


  1. So, after it dislodges the stones, you just spit them out, right? (just kidding)

  2. That's a valid question, Cora. If I hang upside down long enough they'll come out through my nose during a sneeze. That hasn't happened yet. -- Yes, pain is gonna come at one point or another. The machine is just supposed to accelerate the birthing process. We're going for a smaller child instead of a giant headed one. Hey, I've said enough. -- thanks for reading, friend.