Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hazard #3

Inking Portfolio #10
Hazard #3
July 1996
Wildstorm Productions

A few lines into inking our 3rd issue of Hazard, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. It was morning and I think Edgar Tadeo was up and working on his table. I thought I had pulled a muscle and I tried to stretch it out. I continued to ink but the pain seemed to get much worse. It became so bad that I couldn't work anymore. Edgar looked up as I got up and staggered to our room so I could lie down. I thought some rest would ease the pain a bit. After an hour of tossing and turning as the pain tore through my back, a pain that was quickly becoming excruciating, I thought that this was perhaps something serious. Whilce suggested I go home and within 30 minutes I was on the bus to San Pablo.

The pain was gone when I got home a couple of hours later, but we decided to go see a doctor anyway. After describing my symptoms to our family doctor, I was referred to a urologist, who, after a series of tests, determined I had stones in my kidney. The pain came from muscles in my lower back exerting effort to push a stone that's jammed in the tube between the kidney and the bladder. He suggested an operation, the sooner the better. Oh my God... an operation. I've never been operated on, and the thought of it scared the crap out of me.

The doctor described the procedure to me. It wasn't his intent yet to operate to get the stones out, but rather temporarily insert a tube that would be attached from my kidney to the bladder, bypassing the blocked tube. For a month I was advised to try and get rid of the stones via medication, diet, and water therapy. If I still had the stones at the end of that month, he'd perform a sonic operation that would shatter the stones.

I had the operation to insert the tube without cutting me, how they did that I'd rather not say. he.he. I was injected with something that made me sleepy and pretty soon I was unconscious. Apparently, the drugs weren't enough because I started to wake while they were still operating. I heard the doctor and the anesthesiologist talking about cars and stuff like that. I remember seeing a cool car advertised on the newspaper earlier and I said, hey, that new Toyota is cool. They suddenly realized I was waking up and gave me an additional injection to put me back in. Before I lost consciousness, I remember hearing the doctor tell one of the male nurses, who wasn't exactly straight, to leave my nuts alone. Whether it really happened or I was hearing things because of my drugged state I couldn't say.

Being induced to unconsciousness artificially was a unique experience. You're sort of happy, sort of dreamy, free from any sort of responsibility. I woke up in my hospital room with my mom, dad and brother hovering around. I said something and fell asleep again.

Well, after that water suddenly became my best friend. I drank ENORMOUS amounts of water, dieted, exercised and dutifully took my medications. I didn't want to have to take that sonic operation. I drank all the time and so much to the point of vomiting. Naturally, I pissed a lot, which was kind of the point.

A month later at the ultrasound clinic, I was told that the stones had gone. The operator there couldn't believe it. Well, I couldn't believe it myself. I didn't have to go through the operation. Imagine my relief! But then again, they *still* had to put me under to take out the tube that they had put in a month earlier. So there I was again, going under, but actually looking forward to the happy, dreamy feeling that the anesthesia would bring.

I took some time to rest and recover, and I had been gone from work for more than a month. As a result, Edgar pretty much did Hazard #3 entirely. I was able to do the cover, but that's only because we did the cover early so it could be used to solicit the book. But that's pretty much all I did for Hazard #3. What I did inside was practically negligible. That pretty much told me that they could easily do without me so I thought I had to kick ass inking Hazard #4 ...or else!