Ah, that comfortable tinkling sound as the ice cubes flow to one side of the coffee mug and who’d a thought that the Scotch Whiskey of years past would be replaced with the Ther-a-flu of today? No longer “medicating one’s self” in the language of addiction, but actually medicating one’s self in a constant battle to stave off whatever germ/virus/dementia is threatening my immanent fragile state of being.
It’s noon on Thursday and I’m hoping that this week I can find my way to indeed stay out of the emergency room, thus breaking my own record for four consecutive Friday afternoon visits in a row. I really don’t know what’s going on here but as intricate as my health is nowadays you’d figure that I was dying of something. Yet every time I endure another régime of tests I come out with a clean bill of health and no real answers as to why in hell I can’t go for more than a week before being laid out with some debilitating aliment. It’s been more than a blessing to finally for once in my life have health coverage, but sort of strange that before without it I was never sick. Well, minor sniffles, a major drug habit and a few stitches here and there. But not: Pneumonia, Walking Pneumonia, Severe Allergic Reaction to Unknown Substances, Emergency Dental Gum Surgery, Acute Infection due to said Emergency Dental Gum Surgery, Shingles, Major and Minor Bouts of Depression, Third Degree Sunburn, Questionable Skin Detritus of the Extremities and too many colds, flues and assorted aches and pains to mention.
If I were to check off all of the ailments that I have endured in the last year you would think that it was from a detailed list of some adolescent teenager’s imagination who’s only wish was to miss another week of high school in order to hide from an agonizingly obscene dose of the zits! But given my age that is hardly the case and in reality I would gladly take on a ravenous acne attack rather than have to politely entertain what has been knocking on my door as of late.
My standard issue all American white metal and chrome with the mirrored front door medicine cabinet is filled full to capacity with prescription bottles of: Azithromycin, Amoxicillin, Ranitidine, Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride, Zovirax, Fluoxetine, Hydroxyzine and industrial strength Motrin. These of course are being forced to share the space with the usual assortment of normal personal hygiene items and an unusual amount of prescribed tubes of lotions and creams, like: Clobetasol Propionate, Betamethasone Dipropionate and least I forget the Hydrocortisone, Traumeel and Desonide ointments.
But what really amazes me is that I was able to exist for this long in my life without all these pills and medicated goo. Then again I wasn’t dying of an “as of yet diagnosed” Malicious Malignant Mental Melanoma, or is that Manitoba, a province rather than a state of mind? Who’s to say? And even if I was I didn’t have the medical coverage that I do now in order to be treated for all these maladies. So I probably wouldn’t have an overly stocked medicine cabinet or a continually rising co-payment to shell out at every convenient hospital visit either.
It’s just that Friday is looming closer onto the horizon and its kinda exciting trying to predict the next disorder—physical or mental. Hell, surf’s up! Maybe it will be something really exhilarating this time like an attack of Appendicitis! Whatever, as long as I get to lie around the emergency room watching Telemundo soap operas and writhing in pain.
Of course that this seemingly temporarily distracting existence could one day result in my inconvenient demise leaves me with nothing but to think about what it is going to be like—this morbid death of mine. Will it be like that moment when you’re getting photographed and of course you are busy looking at the floor or at a bit of crud hanging off of the person next to you? Your head a-tilt and what can be seen is a grimace across your face as the smile sorta fades and what is left can only be described as an expression of great pain. That one last “oh, what have I forgotten” look that makes me hate the exercise of being the victim of another photographic experience, yet still I try to accommodate those that attempt it whenever they chose to invade my life.
Will there really be that much time—that millisecond that it takes for the shutter to click open and then close? Is death really comparable to posing for your required “having fun on holiday” photo or is it much more of a mechanical equation more like simply flicking off the switch to the overhead light? Will I linger on one last wheezy whisper and then the entire seemingly wasted existence that was my life will play before my mind’s eye like a forbidden secret that only I get to witness this one last final time? Nice questions I know but what else is there to do but contemplate a grateful finish as you watch the flickering digital screen for your intake number to appear in a waiting room full of injured people vying for the triage nurse’s attention? Ah, emergency rooms—how I spent my summer vacation!
It’s kinda like watching this summer’s Olympics with the sound turned down. Physical records of endurance are being made but you have no idea as to the effort that is being put into it as you cannot hear the sounds of exertion emanating from those doing the record breaking deeds. Except when the guy in the next seat over who is holding what’s left of his face together stands up and cheers for the Cuban boxer who’s punching the hell outa some other steroid damaged kid from Poland! Where he gets that kinda strength I can’t fathom but hell if he’s in that good a shape to stand up and yell, well, then I should be seeing the doctor before him! Don’t you think, admittance nurse?
Anyway back to reality here, some might say that what I’m going through is strictly psychosomatic; meaning its all in my brain and I manifest it with physical symptoms that mimic real or perceived real diseases but that are really just me acting out sort of willing them to come true! Whoa! Now hold the frigg’in phone here a second! Seems like a lot of time and energy wasted there, huh? I could only prescribe to this chain of thought if it were indeed possible to accomplish this and not be aware of it at the same time. Which I am only too sure that it is as we are a sick bunch—that is we as in the human race. But no! I’d rather be banging away on my bass guitar and watching morally degenerate DVD’s than hacking up phlegm balls and getting my internal organs felt up by a practicing intern and even the draw of pharmaceutical highs isn’t the case here either as I decline such offers as more trouble than it’s worth if ya know what I mean and if you do than you do.
So aside from meeting exciting yet for the most part injured people for a few fleeting seconds or gaining the undying pity of all kinds of folks in the medical profession or getting to know the surly pharmacist on a first name basis, then there is really no reason as to why I would mentally will myself to go through all of the excruciating episodes that I have in the last year. Or for that matter taken all those liver debilitating drugs or in the very least smeared any of that antibacterial germ-destroying slime on the prescribed parts of my body! None, and I do mean none of this would I have done willingly if I did not feel that my very life depended on it and that very fact brings us around full circle to the original question: “What is going on with me or the universe that I live in that has been making me the sick person that I am at this moment in time?”
Ok, there I said it! No actually I’m shouting it out to the heavens above! But the answer is still obscure and unattainable and even if I was to suddenly get religion or irrationally join the US Army to kill for Saudi Arabian oil I know that I’d still be having these times of trouble during this year of technical difficulties and I’d still be stuck contemplating my hardships whether on medication or not. And of course none of this vague obscure reasoning really addresses the problem for what it truly is.
Maybe I have to look at it in more of a metaphysical light as in: Did I during the duration of any of these disorders find a place of peace or solitude, or at anytime did I gain any insightful wisdom while momentarily disabled by these wretched affliction’s relentless grip? Now while I am currently entertaining an above average case of “The Shingles”, which I’d have to say has been one of my least favorites, I think that I can safely say that while enduring everyone of these said ails that not one of them was an amiable state of being that I found comparable to how I feel when I am not under the weather and that no circumstances of sainthood, martyrdom, or inner peace have I, as of yet achieved. Due of course not to any lack of out of body experiences or mind altering antibiotics but mostly to a lack of consciousness as I prefer to sleep through it all when I don’t feel well.
I only bring this salvation/retribution-type matter up because oddly enough only yesterday on my way home I was talking to this intense Claretian Missionary guy on the 3rd Street bus about the good old days and I was telling him some of the frightful stuff that I used to do and he said, “That, my friend, is why you get things like shingles. You’re paying for your past sins.” Whoa again! So like what? I am forever in disfavor cosmically for having been an insufferable cretin? And if that is indeed the case then should I even continue to go on living or should I just cash my chips in now while I still have the chance? Or is there possibly someway to find out when I’m gonna be done paying for my past sins. Like a cosmic invoice of penance duly paid for past transgressions—sort of a barter system towards karma on the installment plan if you will? Hmmm. Pass me the Motrin I feel a soul cleansing Grand Mal seizure on the way!