My Kidney Stone: The Wildest Ride At Epcot Center

You can eat for free at Denny's on your birthday. I never remember this offer in time.

Usually on my birthday, about 11:30PM, I'm strolling along the Seine after a rooftop dinner somewhere in Paris, holding hands and looking at the same moon as you, and it suddenly hits me -- Merde! I missed a free Grand Slam!

In 2009, you could get into Disney World for free on your birthday. I was born mid-July, so even free entry would not get me to go into central Florida at that time. So we went in April for a 3-day weekend, willing to pay full price.

We drove from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando. It's boring. Pulling into Orlando is like pulling out after sex, you're exhausted, limp, and glad the entire ordeal is over.

Our hotel was a condo/hotel combo, a virtual timeshare if you will, seemingly owned by Radisson. In the lobby a booth offered 1/2 price admission tickets to the park. What was the value I received in exchange for this huge savings? I just had to listen to a "one hour" timeshare presentation. I figured that we would hear the pitch at 9AM then be screaming our heads off, hurtling through space on a ride operated by a teenage mother with a neck tattoo by10:30AM, tops.

If you have endured a time-share sales pitch, you know what happens. If you haven't, it's horrible. As painful as a kidney stone, for instance.

Once at the pitch office, our attempt at resistance started with Bob tearing apart their entire business model, proving (on a cocktail napkin) to the salesman that the only winner was the timeshare property. That only excited them, and they sent rep after rep in, each more aggressive and powerful than the previous.

They played us like a fish on a line out in the deep sea, and we fought back, yanking their line, refusing to be landed and end up being served in a red Lobster as the high-interest, long-term special you only use once a year for two weeks. In Florida. In the Summer.

We were finally promised our tickets after four different salespeople had their hooks in us. When they brought in the Asian dragon lady, I lost it. This five feet tall woman, dressed in what she probably called a suit, slid over to us like a vertical serpent. In her mind she was a sexy Bond girl, with poison fingernails and a past. To me, she was small enough to pick up by the scruff of her accent, slam against the wall, hold her by the neck until her eyes bled and her tiny body stopped wiggling, and rip my 1/2 price admission tickets from her cold dead hands. As I walked away a little Western flute music played me out.

Of course, in real life, I calmly headed for the exit, grabbed the park admission tickets and my ID from the pregnant teen with the neck tattoo and kept walking. Our 10:30AM goal was now 1PM, and I was hangry.

A friend suggested that once in Epcot, I eat something from every "country" and actually challenged me to do so. I thought it a splendid and ingenious idea.

First stop, England! We sat at an outside table at their idea of a "pub", which featured a small lake replete with swans, just like the pub I love in Knightsbridge. We split fish and chips, pacing ourselves. By ourselves, I mean myself. I eat about three meals to Bob's one. He's a good sport but he does judge.

Next on our path was Japan! Oh the joys of wandering about ancient Japan, right in the middle of America's backyard. Gone were the wondrous temples and the Tokyo traffic, replaced with silk cherry blossom trees and a sushi bar. I know the rule is "eat no seafood in the desert", but since the advent of Fedex I feel more confident in eating theme-park sushi.

Around the bend, Italy! That land of exotic lore and legendary food. They offered a wide range of Italian specialties, conveniently packaged and served in these cute little aluminum tins. A quick zot in the microwave and soon I was burning my tongue on semi-authentic lasagna. All this walking around the world kept my appetite up.
In front of a world's greatest treasure replica
I will say I think the bratwurst in Germany was not the smartest choice; but there was a screaming kid in there, so -- sort of like the naughty, all male after-Polo party I went to in Wellington, Florida last weekend, I panicked, grabbed a weenie and ran.

In hindsight, I didn't drink enough water. Sometimes beverages and pre-meal free bread take up valuable space that I need to ingest more interesting and flavorful things.

The food I ate in Norway was only memorable because I saw one of an off-duty Disney dwarf's pair of lingonberries. He should have asked a smaller buddy if his lederhosen were too short.

I wolfed down a kabob in Morocco. I washed it back with a hot dog from Africa. Not sure how that represented Africa but I am always so happy to grab a dog. We ended up in Mexico where Bob noticed it was cocktail hour, so I slipped him a Disney Mickey -- aka a seven-layer margarita. I ate nachos. I made a quick and necessary backtrack to France so I could inhale a crepe and a chocolate croissant.

Now I was fully sated. I sat back on a bench, undid my pants, remembered where I was, fastened up my pants, and looked at the map of Epcot and turned my thoughts to the fantastic rides of which heretofore I had only dreamed.

It was now 6PM, and I was ready to be thrilled by the rides. Our first "ride" was some sort of movie experience. We ran in place and jumped up and down. I was tempted to break a sweat, in honor of Florida's humidity, but I resisted. I felt ill though. I asked Bob to locate the nearest bathroom. Before he could return, I discretely threw up in a tiny bag that held a gift I bought in Japan-land (a spoon made in China).

Bob was amazed and relieved that I had taken care of business so efficiently and alone but he scolded me for eating so much. Every country?!

I felt progressively worse, quickly, and when I doubled over we decided to leave immediately. Although we had been together over a year, we had never seen each other ill. It was very sweet, Bob heroically almost carried me out of the park, towards the car.

But I was paralyzed by pain. I could only lay in the parking lot and scream. Bob called 911 from my cell phone, but my California number confused the emergency person. But a Disney ambulance swooped in within 3 minutes.

My day at Epcot was over, and the only ride I took was that ambulance. I grabbed the EMT hottie by the collar, drawing him close to my face, Give me the strongest stuff you got. He shot me up with morphine. I would have let Miss Scarlett hit me with the candlestick in the Library if it alleviated the pain.

At the hospital, the admitting nurse had to ask Bob for my info, as I was only able to scream. She asked if we were brothers, which at first I found funny, naive and idiotic. Brothers?

I was aware enough to fear that the hospital personnel might not let him make medical decisions for me, being a same sex couple in a state that just let women vote a few years ago; but that one nurse's action kept us together.

Bob told the nurse about my eating something from every country. She looked at me and shook her head, with that unmistakable, "People are crazy and dangerous, take this boy's money" disdain. She slid an IV into my arm.

She left our room and I continued to scream. The EMT hottie popped his head in, he might have been shirtless now (I was delirious) and asked why I was still screaming after all the morphine he had shot in me. I threw up on his boots and he ran away.

The pain was intense and would not pass. Bob grew weary of my screaming (it had been about ten minutes). He left my room to tell the nurse to come order me to shut up.

He came back in with her, both all smug and pain-free. She carried a tiny baby in a body cast that made his arm stick straight out. If you put a little cup in his hand and left him on a corner, he'd haul in a fortune. She examined my IV line and noticed it was twisted. I knew something was wrong.

Nurse Wretched handed the baby to Bob. He looked at her with a very serious and mean, "Don't hand that plastered-ass baby to me you crazy bitch nurse," but she did anyway, with an equally threatening look at him that said, "Drop or injure this baby and I will snap your curly head like a twig you Canadian, Disney-loving, freak."

You learn a lot from someone you love in moments like this, although I'd not wish this experience on anyone. But through my pain, I saw Bob walking that tiny baby out in the hallway, pointing at pictures and asking the baby if that thing he was pointing at was cute, or funny. I made a mental note not to change my passwords but marry that man whenever Prop 8 was sorted out and Tiffany's increased their Registry inventory.

My pain eased a bit, I moaned instead of screamed Bob sat by my bed and distracted me by asking me about things I liked, like making lists. We made a list about making lists. Soon an attendant barged in and wheeled me to a cat scan machine as I shamelessly moaned and screamed down the hallway, kicking at ashtrays.

It took all my might (and I'm incredibly strong) to lay down flat on the cat scan table. As I slid into the tube, I felt weirdly better.

The scan completed, once I got out of the machine, I stood up. No pain. At all. It was like I was at a revival and the ride on that cat scan healed me! Hallelujah!

In a bit, a doctor came in and told me I had passed a kidney stone. He droned on and on about the process, to which I nodded and appeared interested. He gave me a little strainer and asked that I pee through it until I "caught" the stone.

I took the strainer, thanked the hospital staff like we had just wrapped a movie --and tossed that little strainer in the trash can. I had no interest in that stone. What was I going to do with it, have a ring run up?

We very unceremoniously drove back to Epcot, and when your car is the only one parked in the Disney lot - it's extremely easy to find. We left Orlando the next morning.

I chose not to alter my diet to avoid forming more stones. Avoiding chocolate, spinach and soda held no interest to me. Last summer, I did have another one. How quickly we forget even the "male childbirth" pain of passing a kidney stone.  I thought I had food poisoning.

But I passed the stone a day later, during orgasm. While that is a new thrill to an old game, I hope never to repeat it. I learned to hydrate, and often.

I won't listen to a time-share sale again and I won't eat something from every country all at once, but I do hope to taste everything. Twice.

1 comment:

  1. Greg- I think this is def one of my favorite posts yet!! (Minus the fact that you were rushed to the hospital) I am glad you are okay!! And dont let those commies get you down! Continue to eat around the world!

    I had a similar situation but on my 21st I decided to Drink around the world... lets just say binge drinking and a fear of trolls do not add up well in norway... and my sarcastic sense of humor and endless patriotism makes me sound more like a bigot in america than I would like. (The southern twang doesn't help)

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