I was visiting my brother in law in the hospital and was impressed by the comedians coming and going. Practically everyone who came in the room had a comeback for any comment we made. You’d think they’d heard all our questions before.

While I was there I made up a riddle that I think is quite clever. Feel free to impress your friends with it. Where is the only place you can be in bed all day without getting any rest? A hospital.

I was there for about four hours, and it was a veritable freeway in there. We never did figure out who was who – people brought in water, pills, just stopped in to say “How ya doin?” The only ones we were sure about were the phlebotomists because they had long fangs and carried fat needles and said, “Excuse me, I vant to suck your blood.”

Which reminds me of an old joke that we used to love to say when we were kids. A man invited the Count to his home and asked, “Count, would you like some wine?” The Count replied with a wicked laugh in a thick, Transylvanian accent, “I don’t dlink vine, I dlink BLOOD.” We thought this was the funniest thing in the world, but I guess you had to be there. It doesn’t type out as funny as it sounded in person, especially when the Count swings his fake cloak in front of his face.

Speaking of kids, is there anyone who did not stumble across some Ex-Lax and think it was a chocolate bar when you were a kid? I found a “chocolate bar” on my grandmother’s dresser and ate a square. It was so good I ate another, and then another. Not too long afterward I was making chocolate syrup in the toilet.

The nurses gave my brother in law some stuff to relieve him. “Your goal is to go three times, and then we’ll talk about releasing you.” So he drank the stuff they gave him and pretty soon he went to the tiny, in-room restroom. When he came out, he was quite proud. “One down, two to go!” he said brightly. When the nurse came in, he couldn’t wait to tell her.

“What color was it?” she asked excitedly, as if he were telling her he’d just seen a unicorn.

Where else but a hospital can you talk about BM’s and everyone thinks it’s totally acceptable? Can you imagine being at work or at a party and having this discussion?

“Hey, where have you been?”

“In the bathroom. I’ve been a little plugged up, you see, so my doctor gave me some pretty tasty stuff and I’m very relieved to say that I’m flushing again after three days, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful. Bob and Carol, I want you to me Ben, here. He’s just taken a crap after a three day drought.”

“You must be so proud of yourself, Ben. Just out of curiosity, was it brown? The reason I’m asking is that just the other day I was reading an article in Bowel Health Quarterly that the color is very important.”

“You don’t say!”

However, even though we were in a hospital, I can tell you that today I was not comfortable with the direction the conversation was going. He might be my brother in law, but I do NOT need to think about him on the toilet. I’m going to have nightmares tonight.

But other than that, my visit to the hospital was quite pleasant. There is never a dull moment. When there was a small lull in activity and we were about to resort to having to watch the TV that was mounted in such a way that you’d get a crick in your neck after a couple of minutes, a man came in the room and asked if he could test the fire alarm. At first we said, “Absolutely NOT!” But when he started begging and I could see he was about to break into tears, I finally said yes. He put this long stick with a cone on the end up to the fire alarm and must have blown some smoke into it because the alarm went off. Woo, that was some excitement for a couple of seconds until he disarmed it.

At regular intervals of about 2.5 minutes apart, various staff members needed to know what my brother in law’s blood pressure was – and it was never the same or even close, even though he was just lying there. They also kept him hooked up to a monitor that beeped every thirty seconds for no other reason than to remind us that there was no peace and quiet to be found in this den of sickness.

Luckily, after his third trip to the john, they told him he could go home after he gave a play-by-play of the size, shape, consistency, and color of the intestinal discharge (or “poop” in lay people’s term). It was the first time on record that my brother in law was NOT full of sh–.

Truth be told, I’m gonna kindof miss it up there in Room 377D.