I had gone to the emergency room the evening of my birthday with atrial fibrillation. They kept me overnight, so someone in unfortunately patterned scrubs could wake me up three times in the night to be sure I was getting a good rest. Although I would have preferred to return home and sleep, I was discharged in time to attend the weekly sushi lunch/torturous conversational feedback loop with TCG and our demented roommate.
I returned home from the hospital with a case of intestinal flue that kept me running between the bathroom and bedroom for the next 24 hours, and wishing my Mommy was there to hold my forehead to check my temperature. So, I got a thorough intestinal cleanse as a free birthday bonus.
Of course the same bug then felled TCG, only he suffers much more dramatic symptoms, and prefers to have a sympathetic audience for his distress. When I am sleep deprived, my shoulder and neck muscles spasm and clench. It feels like a pit bull is gripping me by the back of my neck. I spent my first night back from the hospital sleeping on the couch - which was preferable to being awakened by TCG’s frequent noisy trips to the toilet. Thank Allah for vicodin.
The second day of TCG’s “24-hour” illness, this happened.
TCG: (Dialing DOB’s cell phone for the third time because he’s too contagious/lazy to go and see how she is doing. Wrt/phone, she usually can’t react quickly enough to answer on the first try, but mostly manages to figure it out by the second) Figure it out and answer your damn phone.
UCC: You might still be contagious, want me to go check?
TCG: (Dialing the home phone intercom) Hello? Hello? This is your son. Are you ok? Why don’t you answer your cell phone?
Pause, while we all assume DOB is trying to process a reply but succeeding only in babbling some repetitive phrase that might as well be: You have reached a non-functioning brain. Please re-think what you’re doing, after first disregarding any lingering assumptions you may harbor that the person you are calling can exercise any cognitive task more challenging than blinking while drooling.
TCG: I have to see DOB.
Pause, while the earth spins silently on its axis, and me and the cats hold our collective breath for the next shoe to drop. Finally TCG huffs and puffs his way back to our side of the house.
TCG: (Waving his hands to indicate he can’t speak yet, but being sure to get my full and undivided attention while we all wait.) She found where the rat is that’s been reportedly visiting her in the night… That plant J sent for some unexplained occasion? That’s sitting on her dresser? You know, in the basket. That plant…
… There’s a nice neat hole chewed in the back side and a nice burrow tunneled into the dirt and roots of the plant…
WISIMH: And she got you up from your sickbed to show you this? Is she insane or just thoughtless? The incoherent warp of her babbling begins to sound like a wind chime in a zen garden. You're still at the semi-cogent state that remains intermittently coherent. I receive a blinding insight: O wait. She’s insane AND thoughtless. You're almost as bad. (Two insights, actually.)
TCG: … That’s where the rat has been…
UCC: So you put the plant outside, right?
TCG: I was going to, but I was laying (sic) on the floor because I was out of air.
UCC: Jaisus in heaven. (Going to DOB’s room, confirming which is the rat’s basket, opening her door and putting it outside)
DOB: You put the plant outside?
UCC: Yes. Is that ok with you? (Not waiting for an answer, closing the door on the smell of fresh urine and returning to the kitchen, bringing the full garbage bag that has been sitting by her door waiting for a magic spell to take it outside)
TCG: I was going to take the plant out. I couldn’t breathe. Why did you take the trash out?
WISIMH: Because the likelihood of you doing so is about as remote as Miskatonic University in Arkham MA is from this hellhole full of loonies.
UCC: Are you shitting me? Because garbage attracts rodents. Rodents in the house are not ok. Then, there's the smell.
WISIMH: Ya gotta draw the line somewhere with these hoarders. They think nothing of leaving crap on any horizontal surface that holds still longer than it takes TCG to start pissing. I am slowly losing the battle to remove accumulative hot-spots like the coffee table adjacent to TCG’s lazy-man recliner with the broken spring that sheds lumps of yellow crumbling foam to mingle with the potato chip dust and cookie crumbs marking the perimeter of TCG’s territory. The infected coffee table is likely to spread its clutter elsewhere if I leave it, but I’m just so fucking tired of living in a cluttered house that smells of only urine on a good day.
TCG: I was going to do it as soon as I caught my breath.
UCC: The absence of initiative in this household is daunting.
WISIMH: The absence of initiative in this household is inversely proportional to the irregularity of my heartbeat. It’s more daunting than flaked coconut stuck between back teeth. “Lisa, you’re tearing me apart!”
We all managed to get to the eye doctor the day before I got sick, and I got a new prescription. Problem was that I chose to leave my good frames to get the new lenses, so I’m trying to wear a pair of backup specs from at least one major prescription away. The result is that I suffer from major eye-strain and am unable to escape into a book or three by reading to distract myself from things than my real life. My nearsighted life is less like a soft focus slow mo over new age music, than a blurry jumpy confusion of light and shadow. Or then again, maybe those two brownies for breakfast are talking.
Yesterday, I made some killer soup in the crock-pot with a smoked pork shank and some cannellini beans. Today I went to my primary care doc for the hospital follow-up, who referred me to cardiology after an irregular ekg showed I have a long qt interval. Today, DOB has come down with the same shit we had, so I’m bringing her juice and bullion. I have refused to perform any shit-cleaning duties in DOB’s room, claiming my heart condition and general unwillingness to perform any task the futility of which is comparable to rolling a stone up a hill and watching it roll down, over and over. So, unless there really is a magic fairy looking over us, the shit smell is sure to spread across the DMZ of the back hallway and into the room where I sit and type. Go. Save yourself.