Wednesday, June 13, 2007
"Not good. Real fuckin bad, actually."
"You sayin you wanna go home?"
"Okay Steve. Get gone. You look like someone brushed you down with mayonnaise."
It was Friday at noon and somebody'd cranked up the sterno stove under my skull. It was hot upstairs, the simmer was on, and when I moved my head, my brain slammed against the hot plates bracketing my bubble gum thinkmeat. I hurt.
Over the course of the weekend I sweat soaked my pillows, blankets, skivvies, and in one unfortunate incident, my living room carpet. The fever was on. My appetite left for Albuquerque. I began my prolonged involuntary weight loss program.
I stumbled, weak and wan, though a week of ineffective labor. When the next weekend arrived, the fevers had not yet subsided. I gave in. I acquiesced. I went to the fucking doctor. I wanted a shit ton of antibiotics.
"Nothing in the blood count, kiddo. No bacterial infection. You've got a virus or something. You'll just have to stick it out. Take ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Drink plenty of fluids. Good luck."
"A virus or something? That's it? That's all?"
I was in no condition to party like a frat fuck, but decided it might cheer me up anyways. With jittery hands I stacked my bottom shelf with beer. I gobbled some ephedrine, swigged Budweiser, and sang crap pop music until sleep enshrouded me.
I was weak but functional for four days. After receiving a guilty verdict and a stern lecture from the judge on Tuesday the 5th, I went home and ate three sandwiches, my first meal of greater stature than morsel in over a week. Midnight struck and all that corned beef and seeded rye turned to stone. Oof.
I pulled my usual routine in this circumstance: recreational self-induced vomiting. It had been four hours since the third sandwich, and it was already too late. After seven or eight attempts, all I could splash out was a less than compelling slime of brown cottage cheese looking stuff. The meat, the weight, the bulk? Well, it had already migrated south to my intestinal tract, where it would rest and rot for many days, implacable. My regularity was cancelled.
On Wednesday I woke hitching for air. Oxygen was elusive and... I could not swallow. Well, I could, but it took great effort and hurt like throat rape. (speaking from conjecture, not experience) Oh hell. I called in sick, sounding like a chortling halfwit with throat muscles of jello.
In this second stage of disease, I had less willpower to resist medicking and quickly agreed to a hospital visit. I got a real doctor this time around the track. That ace fucker shined a light in my mouth, poked me in the spleen, strangled me gently, swiped some blood, and promptly diagnosed me with vicious accuracy. He announced my affliction with a big old smile and a cheerful voice:
"Steve! Guess what? You have infectuous mononucleosis!"
He beamed at me, extremely satisfied.
"Now now. That's not necessary."
"Sorry doc. So now what?"
He sent me off with a weak pain prescription of hydrocodone and bade me to eat popsicles. Modern medicine in action, assholes.
Two days later, on Saturday morning, I had consumed all my narcotics, and nothing had improved. So I went back. I could not swallow at all by then. I demanded something hardcore. I almost cried. But I didn't. His brutish nurse slammed an IV of steroids, saline, and painkillers into my elbow crook and told me to stop my whining. I floated in and out of consciousness.
My mommy sat beside me, looking aggrieved. She's the awesomest. (yes, I'm 28. I still need Mommy sometimes.)
The doc warned me: No sports or heavy lifting. My spleen would be delicate for a long time to come, and undue pressure would cause its rupture.
"You mean it'll explode like a mouse's heart when it gets too scared?"
"No Steve. Not like that. Just take it easy. Can you do that?"
"Oh yeah. You bet. Sure. No physical stress. I'll be at home watching silly British mysteries on PBS. Listening to classical music. No risk to my spleen. All good in the hood, Doc."
This time my lab coat hero sent me off with two scrips, one for more hydrocodone, one for a short course of steroids to reduce my throat swelling. Prednisone? Yeah, something like that.
Now it's Wednesday the 13th. Today was my second day back at work. They're treating me like a leper, but a leper they're really proud of. I feel very Special Olympics. I am writing this delirious entry from home, bathed in sweat and diseased idiocy, once again jacked on ephedrine, beer, and hope for tomorrow.
5:54 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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