Sick Days.

9 Oct

So here’s the thing. For years, I’ve operated under the assumption that I had some kind of “Mutant Healing Ability” that kept me from ever getting sick or seriously injured. So, when Derek dared me to eat a handful of ACL mud in exchange for a sip from his water bottle, I didn’t hesitate for a second.

Today, I am sick. I have what the medical world refers to as “Strep throat.” At least that’s what I believe. My throat hurts like hell and looks like what I’d imagine Zombie Kyle’s throat would. I promptly made an appointment to see my doctor.

kylesick

Pain. Biological torment.

“Hello, Dr. Trammel’s office, how may I help you?” A youthful receptionist asks.

I sigh deeply. “I got the strep.” There’s a few seconds of silence.

“All right, would you like to make an appointment?”

I sigh deeply again. “Yea,” exhale, “Yea, we should go ahead and do that, I think.” I’m so depressed. I hate being sick–it really breaks my spirits. I just try to remember that even the greatest among us fall to illness from time to time. I think of that episode of Happy Days when Fonzie gets sick right before he does a jump or has sex with a girl or punches something–I can’t remember exactly.

“OK, well, we have a 2:45 time slot,” she says. “Will that work?”

“Turn that engine off,” I say. I’m hallucinating.

“What?”

“Get back to the cattle, son,” I say, then hang up. I sit back in my living room chair, look to the ceiling, exhausted. After a moment I force myself up out of the chair and into my bedroom. I disrobe and lay down in my bed to get a few hours of sleep before my appointment.

My cat lays next to me the whole time–most likely waiting for me to die so she can begin the slow process of eating my remains and stealing my identity. Cats are like the vultures of the home.

Four hours later, at around noon, I wake up and watch a film called Candy starring Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish. Candy is about a pair of star-crossed lovers who, after years of drug abuse, begin to grow further and further away from each other and, in a way, further and further from themselves. Abbie Cornish’s character, Heath Ledger’s wife, gets in deep with the mob, and one night they take a knife to her and cut her face up. She feels ugly, so Heath cuts his mouth on either side, to show her that looks don’t matter. She rejects him and he goes crazy, starts wearing face paint and blowing things up.

I’m sorry, that’s not what really happens. To be honest, I don’t know what happened at the end because halfway through I took Candy out and put in The Dark Knight. God, I love that movie.

I get dressed and go to the doctor’s office in DeSoto. My grandmother lives in DeSoto. How fun.

I walk into the office and go to sign in. In the box marked “What are you here for?” I write “The doctor.”

The waiting room is crowded. I find a seat as far away from the other diseased humans and start to read the book I brought. A kind elderly woman leans towards me and saallw;jlshsaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiio Sorry. I blacked out for a second.

After a few minutes, a nurse calls out my name. Years of public schooling have taught me that she’s taking attendance.

“Here,” I say. She stands at the doorway, looking at me. “I’m here.”

“No, Mr. Irion, it’s your turn.”

“Oh, yipee!” I flip all those waiting the double-bird and walk through the door to the treatment area.

I’m taken to an examination room, where the nurse asks me a few questions, takes my temperature and then my blood pressure. The nurse leaves and later the real doctor comes in.

“Hello,” she looks at my chart, “Robert.” Robert is my first name. It’s what “the man” knows me as.

“Hello.”

“What seems to be the problem today?”

“Strep, I think,” I make a sad face and point to my throat.

“Hm,” she looks down my throat.

“I’ve been strep-ed of all my dignity,” I say.

“Oh, now, that’s not true.” She’s not getting it.

“I hope this examination doesn’t require a strep search,” I say, winking. She stops what she’s doing and looks at me.

“No, I don’t think that will be necessary.” She turns and continues writing in my file.

“Oh, OK. I’m just trying to be honest, you know, strep-resent,” I raise my fist feebly.

She gives me a brief checkup and writes me a prescription for some antibiotics–something called a “Z-pack.” This sounds like poison, but I really don’t care. Death would be a welcome relief from my current state of health.

“Could this kill me?” I ask.

“N…no, that’s just about impossible.”

“Damn,” I say softly, looking down at the prescription. “Well, OK, thanks for everything.”

“Hope you get to feeling better, Robert.”

“Me too,” I say, looking back at her. A single tear rolls down my cheek. “Me too.” I get up off the observation table, walk past the doctor  and into the hallway, shutting the door quietly behind me. As I walk toward the reception desk to pay, I see the door start to open and I walk back and shut it again. “Don’t come out until I leave,” I say to the doctor on the other side. “You’re going to ruin the moment.” I walk back to reception. “She’s trying to ruin the moment,” I say. “How much will this be?”

The drive home is easy. I go to HEB to pick up my prescription. I go home. I prepare a glass of water. I take my pill. My pill is taken. I walk into the living room. I sit down. I begin to read a Stephen King novel. I fall asleep. When I wake up, Stephen King is in my living room.

“Stephen, I didn’t expect you, where–”

“Shut up, maggot. You shut your damn mouth. What’s going on here?”

“What? I’m sick, I–”

“HOW COULD YOU FALL ASLEEP WHILE READING ONE OF MY NOVELS?! You think I don’t know when that happens? I’m Stephen King! I’m more than a man. You know that book It? Totally autobiographical.”

“Wait, are you the clown or the kids, or–”

“I’m the STEPHEN KING!”

“Wait, what? This is getting stupid. That book is not autobiographical. I also don’t think you’re the real Stephen King, I think you’re just a hallucination.”

“Maybe I am…or maybe you are…” Stephen lifts his left hand and points at me. Then he slowly walks forward making “OoOo” ghost sounds.

“St..Stephen, stop it. You’re embarrassing yourself.” Stephen lowers his hand, jumps on Mr. T’s back (who had come in during me and Stephen’s initial interaction), and flies away. This is what happens when you mix horror-suspense novels, antibiotics, and a lot of artificial sweeteners.

“Who was that?” the Easter Bunny asks, entering with a bowl of soup and a glass of orange juice.

“Wait, what was what?” I turn to look at the giant, pink, festive rabbit.

“Stephen King just rode away on Mr. T’s back.”

“That was…real?”

“Oh hell no. I’m just messing with you,” the Easter Bunny says, “None of this is real, in fact. Hallucinations and all. You drank a whole bottle of cough syrup.”

I wake up hours later in my room feeling slightly better but totally strung out. I hate being sick.

The End.

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