So as I sit here at my computer, I'm trying to figure out how to tie my recent procedures into BBQ since this is a BBQ blog, and I have concluded the closest I can get is from the hot cauterizing knife used on my legs. Smoke and burning flesh: BBQ done. Now, with that said. So, a while back I was told I needed to have some work done on my manly legs and the varicose veins therein. Now, to be honest, I previously had only minimal knowledge about varicose veins from my friend Shawn. Apparently, the valves in your veins collapse and allow the blood to flow backwards instead of towards the heart. Apparently, blood returning to the heart is an important process. Who knew? The process was explained to me as 'simple' and by 'simple' they meant not as hard as a lobotomy.....which has often been suggested for me or suspected of me by others. FYI, varicose veins hurt....a lot and often. Cramping, swelling, sores, feeling heavy, and falling asleep often. Sounds a lot like me and my family after Thanksgiving dinner to be honest. So I make my first appointments for the ultrasound which involved A LOT of slimy goo squeezed up around the general and his two captains. I don't know which was worse, the pressure from the tech standing on my chest to get the ultrasound to read through the flab, or the fact I was starting to really like the slimy goo squeezed around the general and his two captains. The ultrasound tech said she would call......she hasn't. Anyway, with that all done I met this nice doctor. I'm assuming he was a doctor. He did have a white coat on, and since it wasn't past Labor Day I went with it. As the nice man explained the process, he explained they would numb my legs and insert a device up my vein.....WAIT WHAT? INSERT A WHAT WHERE AFTER YOU WHAT MY LEGS!!!!! At that point, he could have stripped naked and sang the opening aria from La Bohem and I wouldn't have noticed. At some point the 'consultation' ended and the procedures were scheduled just after I paid $2,600.00 out of pocket plus insurance, but before I left, they gave me a prescription for 6 Xanax with instructions to take 1 two hours before process, another 1 an hour prior to the procedure, and then take a 50 mg benedryl on arrival. My next question was, "Who is going to carry my big butt out of here?" I was also told I couldn't drive if I was high as a Georgia pine, so I immediately made the decision to forego the narcotics on the day of the procedure. After all, I'm a manly man with chest hair and I'm tough and smart.....stupid but tough. So fast forward to the day of the first procedure, and my lovely and intelligent wife offers to drive me so I could take the prescribed medication. Notice the medication isn't a pain killer, it's just an 'I'm hurting but don't really care' medication. She obviously is the smart one, but I bravely and manly defer because I'm tough and smart. Remember? Keep that in mind. So, arriving 10 minutes early as I do all appointments, I walk in, march right up there in my most manly man walk, and signed in. The nice lady behind the counter asked if I had taken my medicine. Beaming with manly pride, I respond to the negative. At which point, she looked at me with somewhat of what I would call an "Another manly man that is too tough for the medicine" look. They must teach that at medical center receptionist school. Not to be dissuaded from my manly approach, I proudly and in a manly manner sat down and wait to be called. At the appointed hour, the surgical assistant calls me back also asking me if I had taken the medicine. Again, beaming with manly pride I said, "Ney." Same look. Same shake of the head. Striding as only a manly man can, I went to the back. I was certain others looked at me and said to themselves, "There goes a manly man." Maybe yes, maybe no. I was manly as manly can be right up to the point I saw the room and the bed with stains all over the sheets which was allegedly "soap stains" at which point, in a manly man, fashion wished to all that was Holy in Heaven above that I had taken the medication...with booze.....a lot of booze. Too late now fat boy. It was at this point I was unceremoniously told to take off my pants, shoes, and dignity. For just such an occasion and in the spirit of joviality, I brought some boxer shorts that said something about being with a psycho the rest of your life, and at that point I was regretting that choice of attire. I don't know why, but I just did. So I'm told to lay down, at which point some guy writes an 'L' on my left leg. I didn't know if this was a good sign or something to help the doctor get it right. I've heard of preventing medical errors before, but this guy is a doctor and needs to know L from R? Oh waiter, drinks all around!! At this point I asked if they could give me the medicine. Maybe an aspirin, an Advil, for the love of God a Flintstone's chewable vitamin. Anything! They said, "No, remember you're a manly man". Let the panic begin. Now, these two men that I have never met are scrubbing my leg and the area around the general and his two captains which have by this time drawn up so far into my chest you would have to get a shop vac and some dirty talk to get them down. Happy place.....happy place.....happy place. Now bounces in the doctor who did the consult. I immediately asked him if he had been drinking whiskey to which he replied, "What do I look like....a hobo? That was 18 year-old, single-malt scotch, but only enough to steady my nerves....no more that 4-5 shots. That stuff ain't cheap. After all, I'm a professional." A little wee came out right then and there. Great....So here we go, but before the harpooning began, I jokingly asked about clean needles. Mr. Funnyman AKA doctor said my insurance didn't cover new needles, but these had been used only once on a little old lady with a limp from Two Egg. Nice. God, now would be a good time to take me. Now come the most famous words in medical history. Not, "Gentlemen, start your engines." Not, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes." No......what I got from chuckles was, "Little stick." At which point, there was a blinding sting around my knee. At exactly, 11:22:14 on April 26, in the year 2015 of our Lord, the general and his two captains had completely abandoned ship. I don't know where they went, but where ever it was I was wishing I was with them. I'm not a weenie or at least not much of one, but this hurt. The worst part was the sound of the needle piercing my skin, and to make matters worse Queensryches, "And the Need Lies" comes on my i-phone and into my ear buds. No lie. Somehow or another at this point, I managed the only defense I could muster.......I farted. Not one of those little 'poot' farts. I mean the kind that would make a bull moose in Alaska look up and go, "Who said that?" Kind of like the Pacific Ocean: Deep and Wide. The bass of it rattled the picture of Dr. Giggles on his boat wearing a shirt that said, "I'm with stupid" while holding some sort of fish. Then can the inevitable: the smell. To say it was bad would be like saying the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 'kinda loud'. For a moment I thought I had killed them all. Freedom!!! Once Dr. Giggles got back to his feet, he and the other tech carried out the little one. He didn't make it. Not to be deterred, another stick, and another, and another, and another. By this point, I was borderline psychotic from all the deep breathing exercises I had been doing to no avail I might add, but I could hear the doctor telling his assistant, "Hurry up and turn the page. I need to see what to do next." Another poot. All the while I'm being told, "You're doing fine." Fine? Compared to what? I've farted on you twice and almost wet you but I'm doing FINE?!! What would, "You really suck at this" look like? Me physically attacking you in my almost naked state? Now, Dr. Giggles told me to let him know if I feel something 'hot'. Hot? What the #*%@ do you mean by 'hot'? Like the warm feeling you get when you pee down your leg, or the type of hot you get when you pour hot coffee in your crotch at 75 mph? Apparently somewhere in the process they had shoved Uranium 238 up my leg and were waiting to see me glow. It could have been U-235 for all I knew. It was hard to hear over all my screaming which went unappreciated. So, now I am allegedly done. The surviving tech was cleaning me up and wrapping a bandage around my leg when it dawned on me, "I have to do this two more times." Poot. In my most manly of manly fashions, I dressed my self and returned to work. No pain medication, no sympathy.....just carrying on. I was told the little one would survive but doesn't sleep well now. The other two legs went about the same......much to the displeasure of all around me. All in all a job well done. Y'all, of course, a lot of this is an exaggeration. The team at Vascular Associates did a wonderful job and it wasn't bad at all. Dr. Shuler is a Christian man and very good at what he does. The whole team was very professional and made the process easy. I highly recommend them and thank them for all they did. I'm healing up nicely, but if you happen to see the general and his two captains, could you please tell them to come back. I do miss them. Riley says, "Got mine cut off, the least you can do is lose yours for a while." Smarty pants dog. On a positive note, I will be attending a BBQ cooking school in Mobile at the Fulton Road Baptist Church organized by Bobby Lankford and Keith Fern. Jeff Petvetkius is teaching the class. Looking forward to some good fellowship, praise, and BBQ knowledge. I've got Swampboys school in June. Looking forward to it as well. Y'all take care. Remember, God loves you and you can't change it.