January 7, 2013

i headed down to washington, dc on december 18th, feeling pretty good. that is to say that i didn’t have a cold or flu. i hadn’t been out of my house much and though i’d been inexorably exhausted, i had managed to skirt all the little viruses clinging to every new yorker. not too long after my train pulled into the station, i was with one of my dearest friends and her daughter. the sweet, chatty, toehead buzzed around the kitchen with her bumble bee on wheels. the bee’s creators intended it to be more of the kind of thing that one might ride, but why kick along at a snail’s pace when you could stand behind it, using it like a shopping cart to run circles around the kitchen and family room? so i chased my little bee pusher and danced to the songs, “when we swam,” and “bag of hammers,” by thao. she even laughed the entire time i changed her diaper. i suppose if i were in her position, i’d probably laugh too. i’d have to be laughing otherwise i’d be busy feeling the “it’s come to this place” shame. so if i were on my back on a table and someone was singing songs and making dumb faces at me while they got up in my business with a heinie wipe, i’d laugh.

by the night of the 19th, i thought one of two things was happening, possibly both. i had played baby lifting for beginners for a couple hours and that provided me with the kind of sore that only a good work out can give. i am not well acquainted with the workout sore. that’s more of a distant memory for me, the days when i bragged i could bench press my weight. and i could. only i have rarely weighed more than 100lbs, so this was never very impressive. the second option was that i was starting to get sick (and i’d done too many reps of baby presses).

on the 20th, i had to force myself to get dressed and leave the apartment to see leonard cohen perform. he was brilliant. musical phenoms and audio genius filled the spaces around him. leonard crooned while on his knees. i wondered if he was just too tired to stand. i was too tired to stand. my partner and i snuck out at intermission and hailed a cab, with him shouldering my weight in the cold rain.

on the 21st, it was game over. i was sick but i somehow managed to drive 15 hours on the 22nd to get to my parent’s house. i bumbled through the holidays and made my way back across the country to the east coast on new year’s day. now it’s been 20 days since the onset of that sickness turned sinus infection, which i still haven’t shaken, one 24-hour stomach flu, seven days days of iv treatments, an increased sensitivity/allergic reaction to an oral antibiotic, such severe swelling in all of my joints that i genuinely started to wonder if the weight of my body (i’m currently over 100 lbs. and i bet i can only bench a good 10. once.) would or could split open my feet as i walked from the couch to my bed. i was so sick that i actually considered going to the hospital. so, if you can imagine how, let’s just say, hesitant, i would be to ever step foot in my local hospital again, you probably have a good idea of just how sick i was, especially since january 2nd.

i think only my thumb does the swelling justice, but both of those rings are about a size too big for me on a not-swollen-like-a-balloon day.

i think only my thumb does the swelling justice, but both of those rings are about a size too big for me on a not-swollen-like-a-balloon day. and typically, i have knuckles.

i probably need to open the stack of thank-you cards i wrote while my hand could hardly clutch a pen. the last time i wrote cards while medicated and mostly asleep, i was curious as to how i managed to scribble them out, so i opened them. one said, “it was good to see you, i guess.” if i meant that, it was some seriously deep subconscious shit talking. i think i’ll have a look around my writing before i put them in the mail, just to be sure my subconscious isn’t throwing monkey wrenches all willy nilly in my sentences. and if you get a card from me, let’s just assume that no editing was involved and it really was good to see you. i think i was in a stable state of mind when i wrote these last ones…

when i look in the mirror, which is unavoidable because the previous owners of this house put a floor-to-ceiling mirror directly across from the toilet, i see a disheveled, disaster of myself. i guess this is what everyone else sees when they look at me like this. i have dark spots on my face and neck, the lingering remnants of a rash that started across the bridge of my nose (which made me wonder if i was in a lupus flare) and took root down my chest until spreading across half my torso. my eyes look weak and red. my face is still swollen, though it’s gone down a lot. my fat lips are peeling and so is all the skin around them. my apetite is pathetic. i’m wearing the same clothes i had on all weekend, some flannel pajama pants and a raygun shirt that says “no sleep til brooklyn,” with a star in the middle of iowa, where brooklyn, iowa is. i’m still wearing the same sweater i wore over most of christmas break. my hair is unwashed and stashed in a half-assed ponytail and i’m tired. i am so, so very tired.

i still have two more days of iv treatments. tonight, i’ll finish up the last of today’s infusions. in the morning, i’ll start the process over again, hoping that my hands have the strength to open and close the clasp of the dog’s leash. i’ll open the front door to pull in my delivery of blueprint cleanse juices, the sustenance that will save me over the next five days. i will heal. i will get stronger. i will forget that for three solid weeks i have been suffering miserably (while still genuinely enjoying being able to see my family and some of my chosen family). in a few more days, i’ll have put this sinus infection behind me. in fact, i’ll have buried all of the miserable thoughts of these past few weeks. i’ll just remember that i got a chance to see my family in the midwest and that i need to find space on my harddrive to upload pictures of my grandfather and his great-granddaughter so i can send them to her parents. i’ll remember the good things, let the painful memories slip away and in a few weeks, i’ll be ready to do this all over again.

whatever it takes, right?

it’s getting real in the whole foods parking lot.┬áthat is to say, if this is what i’ve got to complain about, life’s not that bad.