I've been a bit absent from here, but I also had a bit of a derecho in my life at the end of 2013. I'm glad to see the year has turned to a new one. I'm making a toast that bad karma has been drained, and good stuff will rush in as nice surprises.
The Thursday before Christmas I came down with a flu that turned into a bad cough, one I thought was bronchitis as my live-in girlfriend at the time had bronchitis, and from what I understood of it, bronchitis is caused by a virus, rendering antibiotics useless. In fact I read many bulletins online urging doctors not to prescribe antibiotics for bronchitis as to not unnecessarily fan on antibiotic resistance. So assumed I needed rest. I avoided going to the doctor because dragging myself there and back just seemed like it'd be painful. I did drag myself to Michigan to visit my family for the holiday. Hitching a ride with my brother passing through town, we hit snow and some slow roads. We arrived at my mom's at 5:30 am. I was unable to sleep in the back of the car. This didn't help the immune system's fight. Despite a lot of rest over the course of a week I wasn't getting better. I wasn't really sleeping even with NyQuil. I'd lay in bed and just couldn't get comfortable. I'd have these half dreams where I'd hallucinate things happening in the room.
Finally when I arrived back in Chicago, way out of breath walking up the steps of Union Station, coughing my brains out, I decided to see a doctor.
I actually went to the Target Clinic down the street from my apartment because it was closer than my usual doctor. They clipped things on my fingertips to measure my oxygen levels and listened to my lungs with a stethoscope. They were pretty sure I had pneumonia but sent me to an Immediate Care facility for a chest x-ray so we could get a full diagnosis. I went, waited two hours, they didn't even do a chest x-ray, just did the same tests as Target, and wrote me a prescription for antibiotics and cough syrup with codeine. At first they didn't send the cough syrup prescription to the pharmacy next door, and so I pretended like maybe I misheard, because my ex-girlfriend had some left over cough syrup with codeine from her bout with bronchitis, so I was thinking, hey maybe I can save 10 bucks. But then the prescription arrived, a little late and separate from the antibiotic order. And then I thought it would be shady if I said, "I don't really need it, I have some already!"
The antibiotics were a huge help. Made a difference in just a few days at least terms of getting my mind back. I'll still be getting stuff up and out of the lungs for a little while longer and am slowly getting my strength back. I am on the mend. My voice is shot. I might start a Tom Waits cover band. Pneumonia is a beast. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I'm glad I'm fairly young and in decent health, because I can see how it can turn deadly for some. I'd describe it as it's like your lungs are hungover, borderline alcohol poisoning hungover, but instead of vomiting, you're hacking up lung butter. And you have that poison feeling, as your lungs are fucking infected.
The other bad thing that happened was: You'll notice I referred to an ex-girlfriend and "live-in girlfriend at the time." Yes, that happened. I got my heart broken by someone I spent 5 years building a life with. I'm not bitter, it was amicable. Though it's a tough pill to swallow. But that's all I'm going to say about that. I suppose I have some personal shit to deal with that maybe shouldn't be on public display.
I will not be putting a Christmas 2013 ball ornament on a tree.
Moving on to exciting things. I've had a couple of short stories published!
"Never Chewed Gum Before" over at Metazen
"The Blood Pressure of a Scuba Diver" over at Literary Orphans
Please read them! I may be biased but I'm really really proud of them.
On my way home from work the other day the Blue Line train arrived, and more people exited the train than were in line to board, yet suddenly there wasn't enough room for all of us to get on. This didn't make sense to me, other than people are pretty selfish about their personal space on public transit. I was angry in my head, and as the train pulled away I found myself wishing that someone in that car shits their pants and makes it repulsive and stinky for the people that decided not to make room for others. I allowed myself some measure of vindictiveness that day.
I also allowed myself the treat of stopping off at PopEye's for dinner. I lost 20 pounds it seems while being sick and feel I should put on a little fat to keep me warm this winter. While eating, there was a woman a few tables down having a conversation with herself. But she also looked so happy, the happiest, friendliest schizophrenic I've ever seen. It was like she had a great companionship going with the unseen persona. This reminded me that happiness is possible in fucked up circumstances.