The Bullmeister remembers his bout with kidney stones. It happened on his birthday. It sucked. However, knowing what was happening, he thought he’d tough it out, force water and wait for everything to pass.
That was the plan.
The Bull spent three days puking and riding waves of pain. Finally, on the third night when the Bull couldn’t even sit, he made a trip to the hospital. Morphine didn’t touch the pain. So the Bulldog spent hours squirming on a gurney until they hit him up with some other pain med that worked for kidney stones. It was enough to take the edge off the nausea and let the Bull pass the hell out. He went home, chugged some water and collapsed. The next day, the stone passed. It was not something the Bull wanted to repeat.
Wasn’t that a fun story? Everyone loves to read about other people’s medical tribulations.
This is what encompassed the first half of “No Flowers for Carlini”. It was six pages of medical expletive.
Then there were some calls to the family.
Then more medical procedures.
All and all, I didn’t get the whole cap. Maybe I’m too dim to understand. Given the delay in reading it, I wanted to love the cap and give the VC good news. However, I got nothing. Maybe Rocks will feel differently. But, no.
Rocks hasn't had a medical checkup in 40 years. Has never met his GP of over a decade. Though he did, at his since deceased father's behest, enjoy a colonoscopy back in 2001. Still the most fun he's had this millennium. Really. Not the day of oral enemas and squitters preceding. That blew (figuratively and literally), and is why he'll never do it again. But the IV hit of Demerol and Lorazepam at tube time was AWESOME! It happened to be Valentine's Day and the three cutie-pie nurses in attendance were all flirting with the male internist who hit him up. Within the space of 5 seconds Rocks went from feeling all frightened and embarrassed and cold and exposed and ignored to being The Life of the Party. Such joy. Refused to go to sleep. Didn't want to miss a second of that whole wonderful day. He'd schedule a colonoscopy every week if it weren't for the day before. Got circumcised in his early 20s, which totally sucked. Will never do that again either. There. Done sharing.
What Rocks liked most about this Carlini cap was its apparent medical authenticity. He even googled "morphine epidurals" to see if there really was such a thing. There is. He didn't google "Tylenol IV." Tylenol is a liver-destroying placebo that's only medically (vs. psychologically) effective in conjunction with narcotics that actually do do something. It's a marketing coup. Like diamonds. Rocks didn't want to learn it's used in IV drips, which it probably is. Sadly. He would not be at all surprised to learn that the author of this narrative, or someone close, experienced the ordeal described.
Also, the prose is pretty clean. Rocks caught only one typo before he stepped on the gas:
when the tube rode over the bump of his nasal passage into the back of his throat, he couldn’t breath, which is a pretty common one.
Comma usage maybe seemed a little wonky, e.g.:
and when he finally did drop off one of his monitors sometimes missing
At odd, hospital-times of night sometimes superfluous.
But, overall, good technically.
Problem is, as Rocky's bovine counterpart and colleague has pointed out, there's no story. Mostly Just narrative (albeit good narrative). And for all the MC's tribulations, despite (or maybe because of?) all his suffering and the limited 3rd POV, his character isn't well developed. Mostly he just endures. Yes, some family dynamics intrude, but well past the plot's event horizon. So no. Not quite.
But again, and Rocks can't stress this enough, the purpose of CW isn't to get published, or even to be read. You'll never please close to everyone, or, in some cases, even anyone. You write for yourself. The author is the only arbiter who really matters. And here, Rocks suspects this work deservedly shines.