or "why my trip to the gym to shake the cough out of me was not the notion of geniuses."
So back in the early days of me and M (early 2010) I got my annual flu-thing (and no, I do not believe in flu shots in any case) and because I imagine myself a sturdy specimen and believe that sheer stubborness can evict any illness or must, I decided after days of coughing, congestion and bedrest, that I would accept the lovely M's invitation for a winter hike. Of course, the friends of Intaglio came unglued and protested. But they did not yet know M and I did not let him know how sick I was or how unhappy were my associates. The hike was gorgeous, a true winter wonderland of a day and we ended up in downtown Yellow Springs in small bookstores and coffee shops and I knew I had found a good idea and was instantly on the mend. I spent time out in the freezing cold and came back feeling as if recovery was finally reaching me.
I was "well" in a day.
This gothic, grotesque, illness requires too much thoughts about that hideous word: phlegm and the colors of such a thing. Polite people say such crude things to me as "mucinex" and I am transported to cartoon boogers on seventies La-Z Boys and I am thinking about fedoras on snot-men and I am tired of all of this repulsive goo-speak. But when the wise Gretchen M. wrote me and said that I would not ever be better without medical attention, I did some research and it turns out that if you are coughing up a little Christmas, you might have a bacterial infection, you might be a walking pneumonia in hot black boots, after all. And just because you have promised yourself a Valentines' red lipstick if you go to the gym at least three times before Saturday, you will not be spared lung damage from your refusal to go to a doctor.
Turns out, sheer will won't chase this ghoul away. Only antibiotics and unless one of my two readers know of a street-dealer in penicylin, I am destined to deal with the medical community, with great disappointment and soon.
I have found this wonderful new treat called Arctic Zero, a lowfat, low calorie icy dessert that comes in flavors like Vanilla Maple and Pumpkin Pie. It is a Whole Foods product, which means I sell a kidney to buy some but I am liking it enough to consider that fair enough.
Sometimes I’d spend the whole night coughing up
what I’d been breathing in all day at work.
I’d sleep in a chair or take a good stiff drink,
anything to get a few hours rest.
The doctor called it asthma and suggested
I find a different line of work as if
a man who had no land or education
could find himself another way to live.
For that advice I paid a half-day’s wage.
Who said advice is cheap? It got so bad
each time I got a break at work I’d find
the closest window, try to catch a breath.
My foreman was a decent man who knew
I would not last much longer on that job.
He got me transferred out of the card room,
let me load the boxcars in the yard.
But even though I slept more I’d still wake
gasping for air at least one time a night,
and when I dreamed I dreamed of bumper crops
of Carolina cotton in my chest.
© 1998 Ron Rash. All rights reserved.