Well, I'm back -more or less - in the real world after a surreal experience in the happy world of urology and nephrology. The first operation at Winston-Salem went very well. They blasted and sucked out 85% of a staghorn kidney stone that was pretty much occupying my entire left kidney. I sent home for a week with two tubes sticking out of my back, connected to leg bags that collected the slurry. These had to be emptied every couple of hours, which was really no problem since I was in such a fair amount of pain that sleep was only a passing fancy. Of course I had pain meds, but they only work so well. Went back in for the second operation. They either lased or blasted or dug out the remaining 15% of the boulder. I came out of the operation with one tube stretching from my back down my leg. After a stay of a day and night, they came in, yanked that sucker out of there - which was definitely a "come to Jesus" experience - and discharged me. The kidney was good to go, but I still have two holes in my back the size of 2-bit pieces. These were not sutured and are to heal from the inside out. Everything seems to be going along fine. I' on pain meds for another 4-5 days and then on anti-biotics for about a month. Vic Power, of Kevin Barry's, was kind enough to suggest that I complete R & R until my gig in December. He said he'd have no problem filling my slot and besides, really didn't want me leaking all over his stage, maybe causing a short circuit or electrocuting myself, thereby opening him up to a lawsuit :). Since all of that made sense to me, it seemed to be the right course to cut. So, in advance, I'd like to thank whoever fills in my November week (4-10). Happy Marine Corps Birthday and Happy Veterans Day. I'll be more than ready to take the stage at Kevin Barry's for Pearl Harbor Week (2-8) December. Thank you too too everyone who sent cards, e-mails, thoughts and prayers to and for me during this little expedition. All were much appreciated and helped more than I can express. By the way, if you ever need some work done, I can enthusiastically recommend Wake-Forest Baptist Medical Center. Everyone there treated Frances and me with consideration, friendliness and unparalleled professionalism. That's about it for now. Drop a note if you feel like it.