Category Archives: nonononono

The Cough, a horror story.

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Warning, this is gross.  Not quite as gross as that time I accidentally Carried my sex buddy, but if this story becomes a stage show, you’re definately going to want to stay out of the splash zone in the first few rows. 

Can I offer you one of my ..... tissues?

Getting over a nasty little cold has left me with a particularly bad Cough.  To understand why I’ve capitalized the C in cough, you have to understand that this is not the bodily function of the politely dying Victorian consumptive, this is more like a pull start motor in the throes of an exorcism.  From flubber demons.

"You're my new mommy!"

My Cough demands attention, and a certain begrudging respect.  Strangers stop and say “Woah.”  And then often cross themselves, scoot away and start googling “death rattle” on their phones.  My cat won’t have anything to do with me, she just hides and dreams of better days when I didn’t hack thunderclaps at her.  A trash truck driver actually stopped his work to look around for what the ruckus was.

"Do you hear something?"

And now that I’m moving through what my friend Helena politely calls the “expecterant phase,” it’s gotten messier.  And she’s pretty much the only person willing to be around me during it, bless her heart.  For her trouble, she and two of her unsuspecting friends got to witness the following this morning.

We’re driving and I start to feel the cough tickle come on.  It sounds and feels like a tick-tick-tick in my chest because I’m breathing through a film of semi-gelatized snot.  Once I start coughing, I have to finish, I have to hack it up or I feel like I’m going to choke on it.  (I did warn you this was going to be gross.)  I start hacking and my leg starts twitching like a dog getting it’s belly rubbed and then it ends with me with a mouthful of demon-snot.  I can feel it’s firmer consistancy floating in my salivia.  I’m out of tissues in my purse, so I try to sidetalk out of one side of my mouth with the debris and various Cough shrapnel floating in the other, “are your windows up back there in the back seat and does anyone mind if I spit out the window?”

They don’t so much agree as realize they have no real good choices here and say, “um sure?”  I roll down my window and wind up for the pitch but get firmly checked by the seatbelt’s shoulder strap.  I recoil and make a second windup but the whole missile launch has already been thrown dangerously offbalance.  In that slow-mo that only bad memories come in, I realize that it lacks the critical OUMPH! but there is no return. 

It's too late to take lessons.

I fall back into my seat with snot and salvia streaming across my right check and tendrils extending into my hair.  “Babies spit up more effectively than that,” I offer feebly.   A hand extending from the backseat, belonging to a girl I’ve just met moments before (and probably never again, now) offers me two crumpled Rubios napkins.  I realize that most of the damage is to the shoulder of my own top, where I’ve Jackson Pollocked a fist-sized green and yellow painting of my viral illness.

Not that I'm suggesting he's anything less than a genius.

I hear the two girls in the back seat discuss the contents of the one girl’s purse, from whence the napkins came, probably because they’re desperate to distract themselves from the horror of what they’ve just seen.

I continue to take stock of the damage.  One ambitious bit of snot has broken my body’s gravity and streaked away like a green comet of nasty across the back passenger side window.  This is now the view of a nice girl named Cynthia, whom I barely know.

But with a daytime background.

 At least I made sure that window was UP?  Small saving graces, I guess.

“That pretty much could not have gone worse.”

We arrive at my destination and I offer goodbyes.  “Ok, thanks and can we not talk about my harffing a snotball all over everything?”

………………. Silence.

“No,” I continued.  “That was so bad that I think it enters the realm of funny and we must joke about it.” 

“Yes,” came the chorus from the backseat, as the final word on the subject.

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Gosh, even Cash Cab lets you have one Phone-A-Friend.

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I was waltzing into the grocery store the other night and yes, maybe I was actually waltzing.  It was 80 degrees warm and I was happy.

This trim, bright-eyed thing asks me right before the doors, “can I ask you just two questions for my sociology thesis?”  The only possible answer to that in my polite, sunset-beach world is yes, yes of course!

“Yay!  Ok.  Which immigrant group has been most beneficial to the US?”

I smiled an indulgent smile.  She must have misspoke.  We don’t ask questions like that.

I got blank brightness and realized that was really her question.  I mean …. goodness.   I stammered a bit around the word “diversity,” but I can’t recall a single coherent thought I expressed so it’s no shock she wasn’t making notes.   Finally I threw out “Canadians!  My boyfriend is a Canadian and he’s totally my favorite.”  And then mentally facepalmed at hearing myself sound so, like totally smart.

“Ok.  Great.  So.  Which immigrant group coming to the US causes the most problems.  In your opinion.”

*blink-blink* 

I checked back two or three times at her face this time, the same innocent expectance on her features.  I suppose I should have seen that question coming but ….. she really expected me to Answer That Question.  With Words.  There was some more stammering from me about diversity being inherently valuable but it was probably less coherent that the last time.  

She really wasn’t going to let me off the hook, and to walk away seemed like it was saying “screw you and education along with it!” 

I flashed on saying, “Duh, WHITE PEOPLE,” but it was clear she was referring to the modern nation, not the continent as a whole.  (Although in hindsight that answer still doesn’t seem to be …. incorrect.)  So I flubbed out something about how our lack of understanding and appreciation for other cultures is really most often the problem.  Why, just for example I recently saw this video where muslims are gathering in LA to fundraise for local LA charities and they’re heckled by a bunch of  rednec……… oh shit, she’s going to take the short answer of what I said as “muslims.”

“NO!  Uh, ONLY BECAUSE OF US, and our LACK OF KNOWLEDGE about their ACTUAL CULTURE AND FAITH!”

She nodded at my discomfort (finally!) but her pen was raising to her pad.  “I see,” she said.

As she wrote her lips seemed to mouth her words, “very uncomfortable,” and I can only PRAY her study wasn’t on American immigrants but on how retardedly silly white people are when they talk about it.

“What’s going to happen at Christmas, an outbreak of leprosy?”

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That’s a line from an old kids radio show that Jesse and I used to listen to as kids, an episode about a Thanksgiving gone horribly wrong.  It was also said a lot this past week and a half, as Buckman and I went through a series of insanely awful events.  As in, the hospitalization was not even the low point.

I’m not kidding.

(Quick background info.  Buckman hasn’t been able to find work here, and my company is floundering.  Between the long overdue paychecks and the expensive vet bills, my saving account won’t can’t cover me anymore, and so I gave notice to my apartment and told Jesse to clear the spare bedroom.  Buckman arranged to go back to DC.  Moving day was scheduled for last Sunday, and Buckman flies out tomorrow.)

I’ll start this tale of woe with the Weds before Thanksgiving.  I popped into my gyno’s office for what was supposed to be a painless procedure.  I left an hour later, in tears, minus a bit of my ladybits that I’d been rather attached to, which was taken from me without so much as a warning much less any sort of painkiller, by a device that resembled the lovechild of a fruit picker and a hole punch.  As a parting gift, I was also given a piece of paper which warned me to treat my vagina like a gift, as in Do Not Open Until Christmas.

Lovely.  Thanks.  You’re not my gyno anymore.

The next day, Thanksgiving, dawned bright and clear and Buckman puking his guts out.  By two in the afternoon he was delirious and the question was no longer “should I take him to the hospital?” it was, “how on earth am I going to carry him down three flights of stairs to the car?”

At one point the doctors where prepping him for surgery to remove his appendix, but eventually it was determined that he was suffering from gastroenteritis, which is essentially the experience of food poisoning, just with more pain.

I ate Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital cafeteria, and I’ll admit it.  I felt sorry for myself.  If only I’d known what I know now, I’d have been laughing like Buckman on painkillers.

After a failed attempt at Thanksgiving dinner for Buckman, in the form of cranberry juice from the nurses, I took him home.  He’d lost eight pounds that day.

Friday was a lovely bright spot in that week.  I left my dying cat and recovering Buckman to look after each other and watched my sweet Samantha marry Mickey, on a boat, in a full day extravaganza of food and dancing and food and did I mention food?  And more dancing.

Sometime in the night that night, Dulce yakked all over the bathroom rug.  Which was a delightful little surprise to find at three AM, when I joined her.  All of Sam’s carefully prepared goodies were seeking escape from my body, through any route possible.

Yes, it turns out gastroenteritis is contagious.

I crawled back to bed, only to find that Dulce was not going to be outdone in the sick department, and had thrown up there to.  I piled all the laundry by the door and slid in under another blanket.

I spent the next three days not packing and moving as planned, but meditating through the pain of stomach cramps, trying to hold down popsicles, and maintaining a quarantine of the apartment against wonderful helpful friends.

Come Monday, I could stand for short stretches of time, and I used this newfound power to drive Mau to the vet’s office to say goodbye.  I was too weak to dig his grave.   Buckman, Jesse and Bethany had to do it for me.

Did I mention my therapist just went on three weeks vacation?

Tuesday, now days past my moving date, I managed to box my things, and my wonderful friends all pitched in to help me pack.  In the middle of carrying down boxes, the fella I’ve been seeing, well …. he gave me reason to decide not to see him anymore.

We loaded up the car, and Angelica’s SUV.  And then her battery died.

I finally cracked.  I sobbed until Triple A showed up.  Somehow I managed to get through the rest of that night, get everything moved, and clean the apartment.  In hindsight I’m not even sure how.

Fast forward to today.  I’m alive.  The past few days have been a lot better because, well, they’d pretty much have to be.  Plus I can eat full meals now.  And I’m unpacked.  Rudolf enjoys playtime in the backyard, and Dulce’s starting to recover from the stress of the move.

I guess what I’m saying is, I think I’ll live.

Thank goodness for steroids.

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They’ve bought Mau maybe two more weeks of relative comfort, after which we would expect to see a very quick decline.

Two weeks is also the amount of I have left in my current apartment.  I’ve avoided talking about my job on the internet for obvious reasons, but at this point they can’t afford to fire me.  Literally.  To fire someone you have to PAY them, and that hasn’t been happening in a timely manner for months, or at all for weeks.  We’ve been teetering at the brink of folding for awhile, and I suspect our time is almost out.  So far I’ve kept afloat but between vet bills and the lack of consistent paychecks I can’t continue.

I don’t want to wreck my credit over this, and as much as it KILLS me to give up my warm little apartment, I’m lucky to have the option of staying with my brother for awhile.

Since Mau’s health will most likely begin to plummet right around moving day …. it’s not worth the stress on him, just to gain a day or two.

Mau will not be making the move with me.    For almost nine years, virtually my entire adult life, my sense of home has been rooted around my cat.  Please tell me how I’m going to get through this, and don’t say steroids.