The Time I Ruined Christmas

I was never what you might call a sickly child. I mean, I was accident prone. And suffered from horrible migraines. But I was never one to get ill. Probably due to my studious avoidance of germs.

Oh, but they are so precious!

However, the winter I was 16, I got seriously ill. I didn’t realize it then, but in retrospect, I had the flu. All I knew then was that I was exhausted, miserable, achy, weak. I thought I just had a bad cold. It was during Christmas break, which is really the cruelest time to be sick as a kid.

 

I was already a very thin child. I think when I was 16 was right around the time my pediatrician told my mother and I that I was unhealthily thin and would need to gain at least 30lbs to be considered a healthy weight. And being so sick meant I had lost even more weight.

 

I couldn’t keep anything down. I was disgusted by even the smell of food. I was 6’1” and now weighed about 110lbs with the 10lbs I had lost during my bout with the flu.

 

After a few days of the sickness, I started having trouble walking. My brother would have to help to the bathroom. And bring me drinks and soup. When I am sick I can usually only keep down three things: ginger ale, frozen lemon-lime gatorade, and chicken soup.

 

 

 

 

Also, this is the only acceptable ginger ale. I wont even drink anything else.

My brother and I were very close and he began joking that nobody was going to come to visit because I was so sick. I had ruined Christmas. At no point did my parents take me to see a doctor, though they almost definitely should have.

 

One night, I woke up in the middle of the night. I was hot and miserable and dying of thirst. I’m sure I was also getting extremely delirious. It was late and I didn’t want to wake my brother up. Also, I hated having to be waited on by him. So I decided, once again like an idiot, to go and get myself a drink. Downstairs.

 

I slipped  out of bed like I was drunk and stumbled down the hall and to the top of the stairs. At no point did I think it was a bad idea, but then, things rarely seem to be a bad idea at the time. I grabbed a firm hold of the railing and began carefully making my way down the stairs.

 

And then I was picking myself up from the bottom of the stairs. I didn’t even realize I had fallen down them until the next day. I walked through the living room and into the kitchen. The whole thing felt like a fever dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another of my favorite short stories of his. He was truly an amazing writer.

I got a nice cold bottle of frozen Gatorade out of the freezer. And then I was picking myself up off the kitchen floor. I didn’t realize I had passed out for a second time. It didn’t even seem weird that I kept being on the ground.

 

In my head I was just like “Oh, I seem to be lying down. Well, no time for that!” And then I would get back up again.

 

I went to walk through the swinging gate separating the living room and the kitchen. And then I was lying on the ground with my mother’s 70lb sewing machine on top of me. I was tangled up in cords. It was like being wrapped in the tight grip of an attacking boa constrictor.

 

 

 

 

This loud, heavy bastard.

My father was standing over me and I was fighting him off with what little strength I had left. Which wasn’t much. I was pathetic.

 

He helped me up and I noticed that one of the swinging doors was off it’s hinges and the other side was cracked in half and dangling at a crazy angle. I looked at my father and pointed at the doors. “Why did you break that?”

 

I was confused and disappointed. I had really liked those doors. I liked pretending I was a gunslinger from an old Western walking into a saloon, looking for a fight. I would take the remote from the living room, or a thin paperback book and tuck it into the waistband of my pants to represent my gun. (I still do this in my apartment, but it is with my cell phone more often than my remote).

1960 1960'S animated GIF

Yeah, I am this hard. Only with a cell phone. In my underpants.

My father gave me a long, strange look and sent me back upstairs to bed.

 

When I woke the next morning. I was in agony. I felt like I had been in a fight. Which I had. With the stairs, and the kitchen floor, and the swinging doors and my mother’s sewing machine, and the power cords, and my father. And I had lost every single one of them.

 

I had a long black bruise from the middle of my shoulder all the way down to my elbow from where the sewing machine had fallen on me. The machine was not damaged at all.

 

People did come for Christmas two days later. I started feeling better. In every picture from that day I look impossibly thin, pale and exhausted, and with a kick ass bruise. Christmas wasn’t ruined after all. But those swinging doors definitely were.

Undead

It’s no secret that I should probably be dead. Evolutionarily, there is no real reason for my existence. In fact, if I had lived just 50 years ago, I probably would already be dead. I am merely alive through the sheer chance of science and modern medicine.

 

And that makes me undead.

I hope we have the technology to reanimate skeletons when I die. I am so in. After science has it’s way with me.

 

I am living a sort of second life. It is the life beyond what I should have lived. In all honesty, I am probably living a fourth or fifth life at this point.

 

Let’s examine the evidence:

 

I’ve had between 5 and 10 minor to major strokes. I’ve had 5 heart surgeries. Any one of those things should have killed me. Those things have killed many other people before me and will kill many more after me.

My first intentional pun!

I’ve fallen down a flight of stairs. On two separate occasions. Both of which could have resulted in a broken neck. I can only attest my surviving those incidents to my yoga and cat-like reflexes.

My reflexes are as good as this kitten’s.

I swallowed at least one, fairly large piece of glass. Which I suspect is still floating around waiting to lodge itself in some crucial organ. Like my lungs.

microscope lens

Excuse me, I just need to go swallow this real quick.

Not to mention all the things in my environment that are trying to kill me. For example, one time I brushed up against a plant at work. It had been recently sprayed with pesticides. I found out the hard way that I am allergic to them.

 

I broke out in hive all across my neck and throat. And then my face. And then my arms and hands. And then my throat started swelling so bad that I couldn’t turn my head. Or pesky other things, like breathe.

 

 

Know what’s sexy? Not hives.

I still don’t know what the pesticide was. Every once in a while, I will re-discover it and break out in hives again. It’s sort of like being a detective adventurer, except I could die.

 

Then there was the time my air conditioner broke in the middle of summer. I came home to a house that was almost 120 degrees. The AC men came out and fixed it, but after they left, I kept noticing a weird smell.

 

I let it go for a few days, but I felt like it was getting stronger, so I called them back. They said it was leaking freon, which they claim didn’t smell like anything. (Then what was I smelling, huh?!) They couldn’t fix it that day, but assured me it was no big deal. It was only harmful to people with heart problems.

 

It wound up taking them over a week to fix even after I told them I did have heart problems.

 

So, I am sick, and clumsy, and unlucky, and allergic to life. And I haven’t even mentioned my emotional problems. And I can’t even reproduce, not that I wanted to.  So why am I even alive, from an evolutionary standpoint? I really don’t know. Hopefully I am funny enough to be using up all the resources I am.

 

What about you guys? Are any of you undead too?

Thursday Night, Family Night

In case any of you have been missing me, wondering where I have been or why I haven’t been lurking on your blogs lately: I have been writing  hella science fiction lately and it’s been taking me away from my blogging life. I’ll try to do better in the future.

As you may recall, my father is recovering from open heart surgery. He can’t lift more than 5 lbs. I went over to his place on Sunday to help him clear an area to build a shelf to go through his more than 7,000 vinyl records. And no, 7,000 wasn’t a typo.

 

7000 albums looks kind of like this. Only they are disorganized and stacked precariously and sliding all over at my father’s.

 

He lives in an old creepy farmhouse that has been converted into a new age church. My ex, A, used to say that it was abandoned by the living but haunted by the dead.

My father is a bit of a hoarder, but the stuff he hoards is actually cool. I guess that makes him more of an eccentric collector.

I have included some pictures here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

 

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The front of the building and the porch that is blocked off.

 

After I left on Sunday he told me that he had found a nest of black widows near where we were working. I decided it wasn’t worth mentioning that I had felt something in my pants, biting me, on the drive home.

I went back tonight with my brother,T, to move a few more things about.  I have mentioned my brother several times, but I forgot to direct you here for more about him.

First we had to move all the records we had stacked in one room on Sunday to another bureau. We were moving two bureaus up the stairs. The stairs that had no guard rails. And steps that ranged between three different heights seemingly at random.

 

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Peeling paint, creepy access holes, fancy chandeliers. It’s all here!

 

Then my father needed us to move a sofa bed couch out to the trash for him. It was pouring down rain in the middle of a terrible thunderstorm. I was sweating my ass off and had dropped a rusted nail studded board on myself and stabbed myself in the back with a key stuck in a door.

 

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The almost definitely haunted outbuildings that I almost got murdered at for this picture.

 

My brother went to move the couch from where it was standing on end, and knocked over a stack of boxes 6 feet high. He and I started cracking up laughing. We had narrowly missed a desk covered in crystals and knick knacks.

Once we both had this couch in our arms (and faces) my father tells us that it had “bugs.” I almost dropped the thing, fearing that he meant roaches. But no. Bed bugs? No. Termites? No. Just silverfish, no biggie.

T and I lugged this giant sofa bed couch outside, then set it down on it’s wheel and raced  it, laughing, down the long driveway to the curb. In the pouring rain. We got stuck a few times and nearly fell on the disgusting thing.

 

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My amazing photography skills at work here. But at least you can tell it is stormy as fuck.

 

But it was pretty fun. I could see that catching on. Two man couch races. It was like pushing a bobsled with four shitty grocery cart wheels through soft sand.

By this point, we were exhausted. Soaking wet from the rain and sweat. And I had been accidentally stabbed twice.

And that’s when we found the bottle rockets.

No matter what I find at my father’s place, I am never surprised. I suspect the Bermuda triangle actually has one point in central Florida at my father’s, one point in northern Florida at my mother’s and the third point extends out into the Atlantic. Anything could be there. And anything is there.

 

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This is actually the background on my phone. It was unstaged. Just a normal vignette of a human skull, crystals, incense, razor blades. That’s at everyone’s father’s house, right?

 

My brother, father and I went out onto his side porch and lit bottle rockets, from a planter on the covered porch, into his yard, at the garage apartment on the property. It was undeniably stupid.

 

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The garage apartment where the human skull was famously found.


But nobody got hurt. Except me. On the key and rusty nail.

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The old field really cleans up nice when it isn’t mowed.

Back Pain

It was a warm and rainy Sunday night. My brother and I had made an innocent plan to have dinner together at one of our favorite restaurants. This restaurant is above another restaurant, up a flight of stairs.

We went up the outdoor staircase and saw that this restaurant was closed on Sundays. Disappointed, we turned and headed back down. About halfway down the stairs I slipped on the wet stone and fell down about half a flight.

falling down stairs

Me, only less breakdance-y.

I landed on my left wrist and tailbone. Hard. My right wrist was caught in the railing as I actually had been holding on to the bannister when somehow I fell.

When I landed, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t think or even breathe. My necklace broke and I watched as a piece of turquoise tumbled down the steps to the landing below.

My brother put his arms around me and I (like a total ass) yelled at him, “Don’t touch me!”

I sat there for a minute trying to decide if I was ready to just give up on life and just die right there. A car turning out of the lot pulled over and the people asked if I was alright. Turns out they had seen me fall. Excruciating pain with a side of humiliation, thank you.

When I decided to continue living I got up and figured I could walk it off. I was tough. And I had muscle relaxers. I figured the pain would be bearable by the time I went back to work on Tuesday. It wasn’t.

I tried to get some sympathy from my co-workers. But they are all men. My boss gave me his classic response to “rub some dirt on it.”

So I went to my doctor and he sent me to get an X-Ray and then an MRI. Turns out I had herniated a disc on my lower back and had a second one that was bulging.  He prescribed some drugs for the pain and a steroid pack.

herniated-disc-mri

Totally what my back looks like.

Take that, co-workers! I was in real pain over here. I had an official diagnosis and everything.

I had taken several steroid packs in the past for strep throat so I didn’t think anything of it. I started taking the drugs my doctor prescribed.

After two days of steroids I came home from work and took my shirt off to take a shower. My entire chest was a bright and angry red. I walked out of the bathroom and flashed my roommate.

She asked if I had gotten a sunburn. I told her I didn’t see how I could have through my shirt and bra. I decided I was having an allergic reaction to the steroids and stopped taking them.

The next day I began to feel sharp shooting pains in my chest. This is a particular cause of concern to me as I have had five heart surgeries. That’s when I decided it was time to go to the hospital.

I made the drive to what I consider to be “my” hospital. And sat in the ER waiting area for several hours. Despite my history of heart problems, they didn’t seem particularly concerned about my chest pains. They never even did an EKG while I was actually feeling the pains.

While I was waiting I noticed a nurse working the ER waiting area. I couldn’t tell if the nurse was male or female. He/she was cute either way. I sat watching him/her for a long time trying to figure it out. Then I realized it didn’t really matter as I was attracted to him/her.

The floor doctor decided to admit me over night. But I threw a major fit and demanded to have another EKG. The cute nurse came over and told me she (yes, she) would be administering it but that I needed to be patient.

Instead I yelled at her and made her stop what she was doing and give me an EKG right then as I was currently feeling the sharp shooting pains. She was very sweet and took me to a private room. Everything turned out to be fine. I asked to be released, which the floor doctor was all too happy to allow after my irrational explosion.

At this point I idiotically decided I had nothing left to lose and found the cute nurse and gave her my number. I figured she’d already seen me naked from the waist up and knew what she’d be getting into. She very graciously accepted my number, which I definitely would not have in her position. But she never called, not surprisingly.

And that’s how I managed to be complete dick to the first girl I ever decided to hit on. And then  somehow still think I had a chance with her.