The Only Way Out is Through

Maybe Alanis Had It Right All Along...

 

Easier Ways

We all remember those wonderful commercials from the 90's.  "There's gotta be a better way!" says the woman who just blended a soupy yogurt-chunk milk mix and splattered it up and down her overalls.  And we think, "Oh, how horrible!  Why is she wearing overalls?!?!?!"  We all laugh nervously, because we certainly would not want that to happen to us.  We would very much like them to be covered in soupy yogurt-chunk milk mix, not us, and we want very much to laugh at their misery, whilst reaffirming our own commitment to never buy overalls.

Only when it is our own turn for humiliation do we long for sympathy.

There's gotta be a better way!

I have quoted this song by Alanis Morissette before, but I will do it again, partially because I am the author of this blog, and wholly because you are not:

 

The only way out is throughThe faster we're in the betterThe only way out is through ultimatelyThe only way out is throughThe only way we'll feel betterThe only way out is through ultimately

 

 

It truly is a challenge-extended song, because it reminds me that in order to get to greener pastures, we may have to trudge through the mud.  I am no farmer or pasture-keeper, but this analogy makes perfect sense to me.  I understand it, just like I understand why the longer I look at this picture, the more I understand why aliens do not visit us anymore:

 

To further quote Alanis: "Every time I'm confused I think there must be easier ways."

I recently elected to undergo a procedure called lithotripsy, which in Ancient Scandinavian means "surgery that sounds good in principle until they get you naked under THE SHOCKWAVE MACHINE which will eventually cause you to writhe in agony from THE ENDLESS PAIN but YOU CHOSE THIS because you are a SILLY man who makes FLIPPANT choices and then has to TYPE about it in ALL CAPS."  On Wednesday, September 7th, I did the unthinkable:

I skipped the annual Apple iPhone presentation.

Actually, if you know me, you know that that simple act truly IS unthinkable for me.  But this time I did a different "unthinkable": I decided to actually undergo lithotripsy in order to remove the Giant Kidney Stone In Me Which Now Had Its Own Zip Code.  Lithotripsy, according to the Oxford dictionary, is "a treatment, typically using ultrasound shock waves, by which a kidney stone or other calculus is broken into small particles that can be passed out by the body."

If I read this correctly:

  • By "treatment" they mean horrendous mind-numbing torture akin to Yoko Ono music.
  • By "calculus" they mean something having to do with math.
  • By "passed out by the body" they mean squeezing something the size of a Winnebago through something the size of a gnat.
  • By "shock waves" they mean Gigantic Pounding Audio Fists aimed repeatedly at my body in order to pulverize me into a soupy yogurt-chunk milk mix.

 

Fortunately, I had just watched Deep Impact where they literally do the same thing with an approaching meteor: they blow it out of the sky and reduce it to sand, so that the meteor can be safely expelled out of the universe's penis and into a strainer to collect all the small pieces of meteor that escaped the Evil Forces of the Cruel Kidney Galaxy.

Or...something...different...that...explains those two parallels better.

 

The Day I Voluntarily Requested to Get Naked, Be Rendered Unconscious, And Then Be Beaten Soundly Within An Inch Of My Life

Me, complete with Apple Watch tan.

 

Why did I get lithotripsy, you ask?  Simple.  I have apparently had this kidney stone living rent-free inside me since about 2005, and it would rear its ugly head in the most inopportune moments to cause great pain.  The only solution I had was to thrust my fingers into my side in a vain attempt to see if a Sigourney Weaver-esque Alien would pop out.

This particular kidney stone, by the way, was one for the record books: nine whopping millimeters, which according to the Universal Kidney Stone Measurement System, is roughly the size of The Louisiana Purchase.  Something had to be done.  There's gotta be a better way!

So, the doctor suggested I undergo lithotripsy.  If memory serves he was waving a beautiful new iPhone in one hand and had me focus on that while he asked the question "Would you like me to pound you with shock waves while you are buck naked and intubated and we all point and laugh at you down there and you cannot do anything about it because you are unconscious?"  Of course, all I heard was "You want shiny new iPhone, eh?  Sparkling piece of new Apple technology, oh you likey likey?   iPhone iPhone iPhooooone....IPHONE???"  To which I eagerly replied, starry-eyed, "YES!!  I WANT IT ALL!!  GIVE IT TO MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!"

So, before I knew it, I was whisked into St. Peter's hospital the morning of the 7th by my supportive wife, who for some reason seems to like it when I get beaten up while naked.  I was asked to report at 5:15am.  In hindsight, this makes perfect sense to me since the doctor would not be in until 7:30am, because in doctor school you are taught to make your patients wait at least 2.25 hours prior to receiving any service.

There's gotta be a better way!

I went in, took my clothes off, and got myself into one of those backless gowns that always ensures that the whole of humanity is able to see my butt-crack no matter how hard I try to clutch the gown to myself.  Finally, at the appointed hour I was wheeled into the surgical room, moved off of my gurney onto the operating table as I sheepishly tried to conceal said butt-crack, and then I think they slipped me a cocktail of some kind because I literally do not recall anything else that happened, except one of the doctors giggling and asking the other attending physician, "So wait a minute - this guy actually volunteered to get this procedure done???"  I slipped off into oblivion to the sound of howling laughter.

There's gotta be a better way!

I remembered no more.  Eventually, I woke up in my recovery room to a container of yogurt, a package of Saltine crackers, water, and a weird dry taste in my mouth as if someone had fed me a soupy yogurt-chunk milk mix.

I was given Hydrocodone accompanied by absolutely zero anti-nausea medicine, and was told I needed to leave, or my hospital stay would cost me, oh, about thirty-seven thousand dollars per minute.  So I decided to leave, at which point I was escorted back home by my wife to recover.  After asking the hospital are they sure they wouldn't like to beat me up some more, she hopped in the driver's seat and we were headed for home.

The recovery process was brutal.  All I could do that day was the following:

  • Not sleep
  • Not have pain meds kick in until an hour after ingestion
  • Not NOT throw-up (3 rounds, yay!)
  • Not pee without any pain
  • Not Not NOT NOT be able to find any kind of comfortable position to lie down

 

I kept thinking to myself, There's gotta be a better way!  There was.  I called the urologist's office and asked for an anti-nausea prescription, my wife graciously fetched it for me, and I was finally Loggin, Kenny.  Because of this combination I was a bit stoned, but hey, at least I was no longer puking my brains out, which by this time had turned to a soupy yogurt-chunk milk mix.

There's gotta be a better way!

I had not really eaten anything all day, but after finally getting to sleep around 5:30pm, I woke up at 9pm that night and was famished.  I downed some Teriyaki, and awoke Thursday feeling much better.

The kidney stone was gone, and I lived to fight another day.

 

The Only Way Out is Through

Me: beat tired, nauseous and in pain following lithotripsy surgery

 

The truth of the matter is that I did in fact know that I was probably in for some pain, discomfort, and vomiting.  I had another kidney stone in 2017 which required medical attention, and the same was true there, although I did not elect for lithotripsy then.  I somehow knew that this time would be different, and I had to just go through with it.

As with all life events, I do tend to see things through the prism of voiceovers, if only for the sake of being able to write an SEO-friendly blog about it that will hold you riveted and spellbound as I talk about yogurt chunks, penile straining, and throw-up.

But we voice talent have to go through things as well, right?  Right?  SEE?!?!?  There is the tie in, and you, dear reader, are welcome.  We have to go through:

  1. Repeatedly marketing
  2. Repeatedly auditioning
  3. Rigorously learning how to run a successful business
  4. Fair market rates familiarity and memorization
  5. Developing accounting skills
  6. Sending clients to collections when they do not pay
  7. Investing in a new expensive demo or studio or microphone
  8. This is an 8th bullet point.

 

It sure takes a lot to be successful in voiceovers, doesn't it?  There's gotta be a better way!! we shout.  But surely, there is not.  The only way out is through.  Friedrich Nietzsche said, "Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger."  And from a more modern source, how about you marinate in this one for a while:

 

"It's not about how hard you can hit; it's about how hard you can get hit...and keep moving forward.  That's how winning is done!"

There is no better way.  The only way out is through, even if it's swimming through a soupy yogurt-chunk milk mix or getting hit...as long as you keep moving forward.  We take our hits in auditioning, marketing, and lithotripsy - and we keep moving forward.

I needed to get rid of this kidney stone.  I did not want the surgery, but I did the hard thing.  You can go through your own pain too, and do the hard thing.

Do the hard thing.  Just get it done!

The only way out is through.  Make no mistake, it WILL be a journey!  But as long as you get a good helping of chicken-flavored vegetarian ham, you should be just fine.

 

=====

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  • This is a fourth bullet point.

 

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Joshua Alexander
The Voices In My Head Blog
blog@itsthevoicesinmyhead.com ∙ josh@supervoiceover.com
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36 thoughts on “The Only Way Out is Through”

  1. Ugh – poor you – what a journey – kidney stones are pain-FUL – as always, love the chuckle laced post and resonate with the VO flavored lens from which you look at life, Josh

    1. What? No. It was SUPER enjoyable! Bring on those rolling stones, I say! Otherwise, I can’t get no satisfaction! In all seriousness it was definitely no joyride…really served as a [painful] reminder to continuously pound water!

  2. Well, your humor certainly came through intact, even if the kidney stone got pulverized. Glad the pain and misery was short-lived and that you’re doing better. Hopefully all the water you’re drinking as a voiceactor will help prevent future kidney stones from developing.

    1. It’s funny – my wife encouraged me to tell them not to surgically remove my humor…we joked that I might in my drowsiness say “tumor” accidentally…but they wouldn’t hear me correctly and I would emerge a lifeless deadpan thing of boredom. Kinda like Tracy Chapman music. OH NO HE DIDN’T!

      Update: He did.

  3. oh man im sorry josh! that sounds like an awful experience indeed. glad you made it through ok, solid as a, ahem, ROCK. 🙂 🙂 (ok ok i couldnt resist) – get well soon!

  4. Glad your OK and on the mend. It could have been worse. I’ve had kidney stones 5 times and also PRCC. Had to have a 40mm tumor removed (Yes the size of a golf ball, the big ouch!). Godspeed on your recovery. Al

  5. I’ve had my share of kidney stones and they are not fun. Fortunately I’ve been able to pass all mine, so I don’t think any of them were around that size, Josh – yowzah that sounds like it was a big one. Death Star sized. Glad they were able to get it out (I assume they were, since you’re still living and sound like you’re pain-free enough to write a blog about it) and I hope you don’t get any more. Water water water. I’m guessing you don’t drink enough of it if this isn’t your first kidney stone. They (not sure who ‘they’ are but you know what I mean) say that your odds of getting a second one go up exponentially if you’ve had one already, so I’m not surprised you had another. Lay off those Bottle caps, eh? *smile*

    1. Haha thank you so much. I’m fine now! Took me a while (Wednesday was brutal) but so glad I went through it. The great news is that pain I mentioned? The pain that caused me to research this in the first place, that I’ve experienced since 2005? GONE! *fingers crossed and knock on wood* I’m VERY thankful for that. Thanks Salim!

  6. One of my absolute favorite phrases is your highlight and theme of this blog entry. No – not kidney stones! The only way out is through. If you’re going through hell, keep going. And it’s all incredibly easy to say and proclaim from the comforts of not being in hell and not having a kidney stone.

    I’m sorry for that rocky patch you hit there. Stoney patch? I’m sorry about your kidney stone!! I hope the worst is over and that it feels safe to pee now. Heal up soon buddy. I don’t envy the circumstances which inspired this wonderful read! ❤️

    1. Thank you man! I know YOU of all people can appreciate the medical nature of this post! Thanks for the well-wishes. I’m healed! And my side pain is all gone! *knock on wood* So I’m very thankful for that. But aren’t those only great lyrics? I have always appreciated the wordsmith that Alanis is…and that’s one of her better lyrical and melodic hits.

  7. Hahaha, love the kindergarden cop reference above. It was such a great movie! “Are you okay Mr Kimble?” “I have a headache…” “Maybe it’s a tumor?” LOL. Such a classic! I hate that some of these silly movies never got more recognition, because as silly as they sound, they are really good! Eh! Perhaps that’s how the drs will try to get me? “Hey son! Would you like to watch some Netflix in a sterile environment?” hahaha.
    I’m glad you got through it and that you’re actually looking younger – Eye kidd ewe knot! lol. Perhaps Loreal had it wrong? The fountain of youth must be a thorough beating by medical professionals – and to think, it was right under… around the corner of their noses all along!

    Glad you’re back and feeling better!! 😀

    1. Thanks Marius! I know…great movie. 🙂 Well, about the “younger” look: truth be told, I DID dye my beard…it was getting a little too scraggly and grey for my liking. I’m telling you here in the privacy of the internet so that no one else will know… SHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

      1. Lol, your secret is safe with me. It certainly worked. My uncle was gray like really really young and John Paul Jackson had this really cool look with his gray hair and white beard. Merlin’s uber long thin white beard in many depictions also looks awesome! What I’m trying to say is, make sure you dye it like every chance you get, LOL. JK, no, gray can look awesome too.

  8. Good golly! I do not envy the pain nor the experience you went through. However, comma, space, I am pleased to hear that you indeed went THROUGH it and are now safely on the other side. Many blessings to you, brother.

    1. Haha comma a most excellent dictation comma good sir exclamation mark I love it period Thank you for reaching out to me and for the well dash wishes comma I appreciate them all caps VERY MUCH! I am now all healed I think comma and I’ve had no side pain since the surgery comma knock on wood exclamation mark exclamation mark exclamation mark exclamation mark

    1. Thank you Glenn! I made it through. I just had to go out! Er…wait…I made it out…I just had to go through! Ultimately, I really need to continue pounding water. Rock hard (get it?) lesson to learn…but overall I’ve been pretty much fine since Thursday, so for that I’m grateful. Wednesday’s recovery was brutal though! Sheesh. Thanks for the kindness. As Clark Kent said to Lois, “Look out for the rocks!”

    1. Wow! No I haven’t heard of it brfore today but I’m guessing it does just what it’s called! Probably a lot cheaper than lithotripsy, amiright? I’m just glad mine is now sand and going by the wayside.

  9. Oh my goodness, look at how many comments are on this post. People really enjoy thinking and commenting about other people’s tortured urethras, I guess. Aah, we all like a good beating, don’t we?
    I have never experienced such a thing, but I have had catheters inserted three times for caesareans, and one of those times my mother in law walked into the delivery room, and merrily strolled around the bed, during insertion. That’s pretty torturous, I gotta say.

    Anyway, I’ll mention voiceover in this comment, simply because of the trouble you went to to work anything to do with voiceover into the story today. 😂

    1. Haha it sounds like you’re on to me, my friend! You truly know how I play the game, methinks, in order to make it dovetail with voiceovers. Either that, or you have an incurable case of Catheter-Brain! I’m going to go with the former.

  10. Glad you got through and made your way out, my friend! I’ve thankfully never dealt with kidney stones, though they hardcore run in my family, so I may have to navigate that journey one day… I’m also glad I’m not alone in shamelessly running every life experience through a how-can-I-write-a-VO-blog-about-this filter. Always growing (though, hopefully not kidney stones) and ever learning from you!

    1. We’ll I’d truthfully rather have a (passable) kidney stone than to be caught between a rock and a hard place! You could say I’d rather have a rock in a hard place! HA! B’dunk-dunk-tssssh. They do hurt, but as long as they’re passable, I can usually get through those quicker than a more challenging external life situation. And it’s the life situations that breed solid voiceover nuggets – be those nuggets around me, on me, or in me! Keep telling stories my friend.

  11. Hope you’re feeling better! Surgery is NOT fun, but preventative is the way to go. Doctors really just need to give out prescriptions BEFORE surgery so patients can have whatever they need WHEN they need it. I feel very passionately about this topic as you can tell… Had a horrible surgery experience myself that could have been mitigated with better protocol from the doctors. Going forward now I shout from the rooftops to anyone who needs a medical producer – do whatever you can to get all appropriate meds before your procedure.

    1. Makes complete sense to me! I figured I would be getting both the pain meds and the anti-nausea meds but it was a surprise when I reached for the anti-nausea and found only a warm soft tube of chicken flavored vegetarian ham! Well, that just made me more nauseous!

  12. Jiminy Crickets, what an ordeal! Hope the imagery from Deep Impact helped form some distracting revenge fantasies about the thing that was causing you so much discomfort. Really enjoy your blogs – glad you’re through the other side of this.

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