Are You There, Hernia? It’s Me, Margaret.

“Well, that’s odd.” is not among the Pantheon of Awesome Things to say to oneself while engrossed in thought in the safe confines of the shower. I’ve always preferred my washroom monologues to keep strictly to subject matter along the lines of “MAN, I can’t believe how long it took me to get into the world of loofahs. This is such a better way!” or “The contrast of temperatures between this very cold beer, and the hotness of the water on my torso is truly one of God’s sublime gifts to mankind.”

Nonetheless, whilst giving the old b-day suit a good scrub down a few days ago, I found myself muttering those very words at the sudden discovery of a new geographic feature just north of my Swimsuit Area. I pressed on the protuberance gingerly to divine a measurement on what medical professionals refer to as the “Owie Scale.” “Owie,” I bravely whimpered, which registers right at the top of the scale. I released the bulge, hoping I had just permanently poked this unwelcomed Kuato back into the innards from whence it came. It was uncooperative.

“Yeah, man. You have a hernia,” the doctor drawled nonchalantly, as he casually removed the latex gloves he had donned to unceremoniously fingerblast every tender area below my bellybutton.

“Owie,” I replied.

“Does that hurt? Oh, sorry.”

“Owie.”

“You’re going to need surgery.”

“Owie.”

“Yeah, you’re way up there on the Owie Scale. I’m surprised you know about that. Did you attend medical school?”

“Hern,” as I have begun to affectionately refer to my new friend, has become my constant companion in the days subsequent to our run-in with the good doctor. When lifting anything heavier than a glass of water? Hern is there, trumpeting his presence. Singing? Hern is right there, really making every note count. Where there was one set of footprints in the sand? That is where Hern carried me.

Hern is the most persistent friend I’ve ever had, to be completely honest. He has even gone so far as to loudly suggest we skip visiting this surgeon altogether, in favor of continuing our lives as one perpetually wincing organism. “Nobody puts Hern in the corner!” he proclaimed recently, as I gingerly attempted to lift an egg out of the carton. “Don’t let them make me go back in there,” he pleaded. “I’ve just begun to explore this world outside of your abdomen, and I have to say, that while it seems like a lot of ‘owies’ and general whining goes on out here, I am thoroughly enjoying it.” I felt bad for Hern, so I quickly changed the subject. “Owie,” I quipped.

Hern and I have been through a lot together. I’ve grown more than a little fond of him over the last week or so, and between you and I, when that surgeon brick and mortars his ass back into the recesses of my being, I’m going to miss him.