Katie Mae is on the phone and I can hear the worry in her voice. The news is not good. Uncle Red is having medical problems and there are a couple of things that have the doctors perplexed. First of all he had a nasty fall that left him with a slight bleed in his brain. This has to be taken care of before they can tackle the major problem which they discovered only after they had stabilized his dizziness from the fall. After taking a stress test Uncle Red was found to have a heart valve that had calcified like a piece of petrified wood and if they couldn’t get that valve replaced, soon, Uncle Red was not going to have a bright future.
The first thing the family heard was Uncle Red’s heart valve was going to be constructed from a pig’s tail. His daughter, Sissy, had tearfully related this sad news to Katie Mae on the phone. I had a four way by-pass back in 2001 so I understand more than a little about coronary artery bypasses and I know they have used pig valves to replace human heart valves but who in the hell ever heard of replacing a heart valve with tissue from a pig’s tail. The whole family was in a tizzy. Red and his brood are all out in Louisiana and I know those Cajuns and Coon-asses do things a little differently out there but a heart valve from a pig tail was more than I could handle. Maybe Red’s doctors were on one of those reality shows from out there. In that case, I would have understand it if they wanted to replace Red’s valve with something off an alligator or a possum but using a pig tail was awfully hard to imagine. They even had me picturing the doctors cutting out a little round section of the pig tail and shaping it into a little round heart valve. That was shortly before I looked in the mirror and slapped my mind back into the right frame.
I knew Red was feeling low because of his condition and especially because old Red liked to smoke a cigarette and drink a cold beer on occasion and, as you know, neither one is allowed for a guy as sick as he was; and he was practically a prisoner in that big hospital. So it was, “no smokes and no brew” for Red. I knew he was scared and lonely and pretty unhappy there so I thought I might cheer him up a little bit if I gave him a call. I’m from South Georgia and I talk slow like a lot of people from the South but my first real job was working with a bunch of mean ass Irish guys from Metuchen, New Jersey and the first thing I learned from them was how to out-talk them. I can pick my speech patterns up about ten or twelve notches and talk just like a New Jersey Irishman.
So I did that and when he answered the phone I immediately went into a long spiel about my being Frank Murphy and I was an associate of his doctors. I told him I had been assigned to locate the proper tissue to be used in the heart valve replacement and unfortunately we had not been able to locate the correct porcine or pig valve and we had the same bad luck in finding bovine or tissue from a cow that we could use. I then said, “We were extremely lucky to locate some tissue from a kid, and by kid, I do not mean a small child, but rather we have a perfect match if we use the ass-hole of a baby billy goat!”
I could hear gasping and coughing on the other end of the line and it scared the hell out of me. I was praying, “Dear Lord, don’t let him die. What if I have killed him!”
I threw the phone at Katie Mae and said, “Try to talk to him, I think he may be dying!” She held the phone for a few seconds and looked at me and said, “No, you fool. He’s laughing!”
It scared me so bad, I refused to talk to him again. The operation was a great success. He’s out and about now and even though he’s a free man, he has not felt the need for beer or cigarettes. I’m not sure which animal tissue they used but Sissy called a few days ago and said that everything was great with her Daddy except every time they pass a Chick-Fil-A bill-board he starts mooing in a low voice.