Excerpts from – The Week of the Walking-Pneumonia:
After five unbearable days of a hundred and two degree fever, I was fast approaching a vegetable like state, or more like a baked potato sans the sour cream and chives state—if you will. So in a desperate attempt to stay this unrestrained degenerative progression and hopefully regain my health at the same time, I tried implementing a regime to bolster my immune system by eating better: I ate bananas. Well, three to be exact, like actually bought three down at Whole Foods. So far I’ve eaten one. With the meds or the pneumonia itself, I can’t really taste a thing, so it was just sorta mushy. The banana that is, not the meds or the pneumonia. The meds are crunchy and taste vile if you chew them and the pneumonia goes in a variety of stages. However on a literary high note: from having to counterfeit an untold amount of doctor’s notes for work, I’ve also learned how to spell pneumonia, a word that until recently I’d never had much use for.
I also bought a mo-fo’n immense mango. Did I mention that the bananas were hand-picked/tree ripened/organic from some rainforest type location? Well, so is the case with this mango, which is now sitting on my shelf like a complacent Inca refusing to ripen. That’s sorta one of the main reasons that I don’t like fruit! It’s on its own time schedule. Like sure it’s gonna get ripe at some point and yeah I coulda gotten one that seemed to be ripe. But at a supermarket, even a trendy pretentious overpriced one like Whole Foods, how do you really know with a mango? It may feel ripe with the little bits squishy here and there, but if a hundred people came through and gave it a good squeeze to see its exact state of ripeness? Well, the break down of firmness, the natural disposition of animal/plant/pet type things to please humankind, the world food chain, dominant carnivores with teeth and all and, well, need I go on?
In my opinion fruits are basically spineless posers! No, maybe not spineless. No, maybe more like timid. No, more like ne’er-do-wells, or simpletons at the very least. Going all—“pick me, eat me, I’m harmless, I just sit in trees or hang around the vine.” And then you got the bugger home and what? It just sits on your shelf and meditates like Buddha or something staying that same irradiated green until you first turn your back and then voila! It’s a pool of slime as it biodegrades back into the earth from whence it came, decomposition to compost, dirt to dust, ashes to ashes—end of story! An easy way out if you were to ask me.
I also picked up a bag-o-ricola, “the original natural herb cough suppressant”, so it claims. Because the small/petit almost midget like nurse had suggested I do so as she sent me along on my way back home meandering aimlessly all drug crazed on an azithromycin overdose. And though the ricola are somewhat boastful yet tasteless hard squares they do do the trick when the throat/cough/scratch bit works its way in and I start hacking like Sweaty Spice or whatever that disheveled girl who sings name is. But to tell you the truth I am only too sure that their nutritional value is somewhere below even a banana!
I just got off the phone with my younger sister who called to confide in me her own current health issues and I guess to also commiserate the fact that we’re both a tad under the weather. Seems she’s down with an infected toenail that had to be forcibly removed and—this is where it gets a wee bit dicey! She’s got a case of the hives! Like the one she had for almost a year before (?)!!!! Like who knew? I certainly didn’t! But I have always thought that hives were for people whose health was questionable or at the very least people who are under a lot of pressure from things like stress? Which she is neither. Maybe the fact that she hasn’t been on a Caribbean Sea Cruise in more than a month is finally taking its toll on her psyche.
In the meantime; the organic mango—shithead that it is!—Hasn’t moved an inch all day toward ripening, except for a slight glow of yellow around the scalp of its, well, cranium I suppose? I think that I am going to give it a wee bit of a squeeze and then after it’s recovered from that I’ll bask it in the afternoon sun on the window ledge as a sort of inducement to ripen or start learning how to fly.
As with this concept of acquiring fruit in the attainment of nutrition I’ve also gone to great lengths to keep myself properly fed during this horrendous week—the week of the walking pneumonia, as I like to call it. So I’ve been trying the takeout from the local restaurants and thankfully the new Indian/Pakistani shop across the street has turned out to be quite decent and a tad tasty. I noticed it because all the turbaned taxi drivers double park their cabs out in front of my apartment building to eat there. However, whenever I do go over there they all sort of stop eating mouths agape with varied dining utensils frozen in midair and stare at me sideways as I stumble in and out gracefully accompanied by an obscure score of their Hindustani music with a must-get-takeout-food-trance-like-stupor plastered across my face while sweating like a dope fiend on the jones.
Though I must confess, I really only want to eat simple tofu/vegetable dishes and rice, something about them seems more desirable/palatable right now in my fevered condition. But the sullied Chinese place next to Jack’s sleazy liquor/porno store is very, well, questionable to say it politely. They write the specials on paper plates with a black magic maker and then tape them to the window and some of them have been up for months and are turning a kinda greasy yellowed transparency and insects are getting caught in the scotch tape so that you gotta wonder just how special they really are. Instead I’ve been looking both ways before crossing the street for a little Palak Aloo and Naan and a Mango Lassi or two. And I’ve got to say that their windows are always clean and free of unprofessional advertising.
Obviously having naught to do whilst lying around recuperating but read, eat takeout, consume massive quantities of medication and endlessly think. A new theory of mine has arisen as to the whereabouts or at least the origins of where my newly acquired lung infection comes from. So far the prevailing theory is that I acquired it from taking the stairs as opposed to the elevator; wherein lies the most obvious connection—I am forced to use my hands on such communally touched objects as: doorknobs, railings, walls and any combination of all or at least one of the above. Also, least I not forget to mention, that the ambience of the stairwell is rivaled only by the dank grungy alleyways and loading dock of the building where rats play, junkies and winos overindulge in certain daily habits as well as natural body functions and out on the second floor landing someone has hurled what looks like a very large portion of “stew.” But who can really tell what it was as it has dried up and what the vermin haven’t eaten is now becoming one with the metal staircase. Now I could be wrong here, it’s happened a time or two before, but the conditions hence described sound to me like the breeding ground for a numerable amount of diseases, viruses and your all around cesspool of apocalyptic germs, no?
Whereas the elevator: though allowing more outright exposure to said communicable diseases by actual human on human exposure, (i.e. read, foraging Crackheads) when not occupied lessens the risk of contamination. Only the touch of the buttons with one index finger outside of the car and inside and without a margin for error only once each for that matter as well as more circulation of air, less barf potential and the fact that the cars are somewhat cleaned on the occasion has brought a lot of points up in favor of abandoning the stairs as a “healthy” enterprising alternative to taking the elevator.
My sister called again—hives and infected toenail. She seems to wanna continue bonding in the mutual certitude that we are both extremely miserable at the same time, another trait inherited from our mother no doubt. And speaking of which my mum also cut in on the call-waiting line wanting all the gory details of my health or the actual lack of it really and then proceeding to tell me what to do about getting better health care out of my medical provider—like getting the test results mailed to me. So, like what? I could follow along when the doctor and I went over them together? I seriously doubt that I could make out what in hell they’re on about anyway. But she did spent a solid ten minutes telling me what box to check on what forms that will insure me to get a copy of all my results! Ah, something to file away for the future I guess. It is apparent from our recent conversations that my mother is thoroughly convinced that I am going through some great change in life. Like what? I’m going gay or something? Male menopause of my left nut? Strict adherence to the Kabala? Seriously that’s what I think she thinks. We’re talkin’ bizarre weird off the wall type stuff implied through not so subtle exclamations. Like she’s psychic or something and has a hotline to my future! Every time I talk with her she refers to this idea that—“I’m discovering myself.” And like I’m not even dignifying it by asking just what in hell it is that she is going on about! I mean I’m dying from a ferocious inhuman virus god damn it! Excuse me a second here as I wipe the spittle from my mouth and attempt to calm down a bit.
Saw the doctor today, he gave me a clean bill of health, says nothing to worry about, even my much abused liver is doing fine. However, after the midget/petit nurse painstakingly recorded my stats, she then drew on a chart and with a subdued flourish accompanied by sullen looks that may or may not have expressed that her mind was now in the process of working. She then looked at the chart then looked back at me as she sighed a sigh of complacency and then she flat out insinuated that I was overweight. Well, like she didn’t come right out and say that I was fat. She just pulled out the xeroxed weight to height graph and ran a florescent green highlighter down the grid circling the intersection of my statistics and then as she thrust it into my idle hands she pronounced me in the not so good area—like in the fat boy zone! I guess that while I was on my deathbed, they just didn’t want to tell me, like they were saving it until I was well! So now I’m at home staring at this pathetic chart of hers—hey, they weighed me with all my clothes on and my boots. Excuses I know, but, like I was 172 lbs. @ 5’10’’. Like it puts me in the fat zone by about 9 pounds and I’ve never been in the fat zone before, or at least not recently! This is really not good. See! No more fruit, too much sugar, no more dairy either, good damn fat globule laden cheeses, no more bread and sugar loaded baked goods, no more tortilla chips simmered in trans fat, no more nothing that tastes good! Its time to go back to the basics and eat tree bark!