Sunday, November 15, 2009

Notice: John Away For Surgery, Donation Drive Begins

Dear Readers,

This will be the only post on my health. I am not going to pester my readers. I will respond to private e-mails when possible, though shortly I will be in the hospital, and I expect to be out of commission for a while following surgery.

On November 20th I am scheduled for necessary surgery to remove my gallbladder due to gallstones. The stones worsened all year, leading to frequent attacks that lasted twelve hours and included excruciating pain in my back, abdomen and spine. Often the attack only “ended” when I passed out. Longtime readers know that I struggle with a neuromuscular syndrome. These gallbladder attacks exacerbate that syndrome, such that I am bedridden for as long as a week after one. You can imagine how agonizing they got when these attacks happened every two days.

While I do not have an exact figure, estimates for the surgery run as high as $10,000. I’m paying with my life savings, but $10,000 is simply out of my means. Today there is a Pledgie donation button in the upper right hand corner of the site. If you want to help, this is how you can do it. Pledgie is a secure service that accepts PayPal and credit cards. The donation goal is set at $5,000, the amount I lack. Any and all donations will help with the surgery. I've worked with the hospital to negotiate a break and have been offered a discount, potentially as high as 25%, but only if I pay in full and within a month of the surgery.

Some will naturally ask why I am uninsured. Remember the neuromuscular syndrome I mentioned? I’ve had it since 1993. This has caused two related problems: I can’t work regularly because of it, and it so gravely affects my health that the only insurance policies available to me are both out of my means and would cover almost nothing I need done. Useful health insurance simply became unattainable. The result has been almost a decade of not being able to see a doctor more than once a year no matter what was wrong. There’s more to that story, but this post is not about sympathy or a history of health problems.

I do not expect my readers to pick up even a tenth of this bill. It’s my bill for my problem. But as I said before: if you want to help, this is how. Feel free to link to this post and/or use the Pledgie button wherever you like.

I will take the button down in a few weeks. It is not a permanent part of this site.

I will respond to any comments or e-mails as soon as I can. Naturally I will be out commission around the time of the surgery.

The Bathroom Monologues will continue. One went up at 9:00 AM this morning. I have queued sixty stories into the system so that even if I’m bedridden for an exorbitant amount of time, something will still go up every day well into January. I’m trying very hard to suppress a joke about dying on the operating table and still posting monologues into the New Year right now.

Thank you for reading.

John Wiswell

EDIT: This post was originally ran in 2009. The year is now 2019, a decade later, and Pledgie has folded as a platform. As a sign of gratitude to its founders, I've included a link to their explanation of what happened here.


  1. John, so many are with you in conquering pain and problems that there should be a *good vibrations* indicator right beneath the *pledgie*. I wonder - would that make it a 'Vibie'?

    Though the premise of your NewYear's joke had some irony goin' for it, your readers, us guys, are going to prefer the real thing and not memorex, so you rally and you do it! Get some good material at the hospital too, of course. Harbinger well. Herald the more, good things to come.

    And . . . would it be alright to place your pledgie gizmo on my AT THE BIJOU write-site for when folks come to call? Love'ya man.
    ~ Absolutely*Kate

  2. Kate, thank you for the well-wishes and Vibies. I'd rather live, too, and I will.

    Please feel free to place the badge and/or anything related on At The Bijou and any other sites you like. Pledgie makes it very easy to copy the badge.

    Thank you for your support, Kate.

  3. Hey John,

    Good luck with your surgery and recovery. My mother had her gall bladder removed in her 70s and came through it very well. She has had no problems since (she's 83 now). I hope yours goes just as well. I know you have a lot of support out here pulling for you. Take care, Harry

  4. Take care and recover quickly, John! May the Fates fill your coffers as well.

  5. John,

    Concentrate on getting better my friend. Know you have connected with so very many folks who have come to know and be motivated by your spirit and attitude out here in the blog-o-sphere. Each of us is sending goodwill and God's speed your way and hopefully a little $ as well. Find strength and courage in our thoughts and well wishes

  6. Thank you all for your encouragement. The generosity in the pledge is already surprising.

    I'll be off the blog shortly, but comment as much as you like - it'll be a joy to read them when I get back up into the computer chair.

  7. All the best, John, with the operation and recovery. The word is spreading amongst your friends and we hope that we can help out in any way we can.
    Get better soon, dude!!!


    FaceBook is a flurry and 6*City - I mean SixSentences has got the scuttlebut to join in the care/share for you. Pledgies are poppin' up where badgies used to on good writer'folks blogs and if Paul Brazill will show me the magic, I'll get one up soon.

    But out of Australia this great report - seems The Best Little Bookshop (he made that up) of one Paul Phillips guy has a jar on the counter that is fast-filling as Paul tells your story to customers.

    Story? Speaking of STORY -- Paul is spearheading with me and we think that soul of Solender guy and some other great minds ~ THE*BIG*GET*WELL*STORY-A-THON* with donations to contribute words ... Hallmark's got nuttin' on us John.

    You just get better. We're watchin' writers' hearts fly. ~ Kate & Paul & a bunch of us ...

  9. John,

    I'll be thinking of you and I wish you a very speedy recovery from your surgery.

  10. God, speed. Keep positive thoughts.

  11. Thank you all for your well-wishes and generosity. I hear Paul is up to a lot about this now. Sincerely, thank you all for the kindness you've shown lately. I didn't know what to expect.

  12. You will feel much better without a gall bladder. I recovered in 3 days and I had it done in the '70s, the old fashioned way with the 8 inch incision. My husband had his done a few yrs ago and was back at work in 5 days.

    I understand your other health issues are much more complicated, but trust me, once the gall bladder is gone, you will feel relief more than anything. As another writer with chronic health challenges (controlled by meds), I can relate. Maybe that's why we write.

  13. I had no idea that The Bathroom Monologues, which I have been popping in and out of following on my Thunderbird RSS for years now, was written by someone I went to school with! I remember you from the original long table my freshman year, back when I was all squishy and new.

    Anyways, I just want to send my well wishes and praise you for The Bathroom Monologues. I enjoy your blog very much and I hope that you can get the help you need to get well.

    It's a fucking disgusting travesty that people in need can be denied the care they need and sucked dry of finances when they try to attain them. I could rant on and on about it, but that's not what you need right now.

    Anyways, I have H1N1 right now and am out of commission for a while, but watching The Guild and Star Trek TNG is getting me through. I hope the best for you.

    <3 Julie L. Moore (fellow Bennington girl)


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