New Year's Fever (Catch it!)
Since New Year's Eve I've:
- quit smoking in a way that feels permanent
- stopped drinking--in fact, I'm just entering my fourth week without a drink
- stopped drinking caffeine
- saved enough money to pay off nearly all of my sizable credit card debt and possibly enough to start paying my student loans early
- Not seen a single movie with gratutious sex, violence, and/or strong language
- and finally, lost 20 pounds.
So. Is this the result of an overzealous series of New Years Resolutions? Is the Post-Modern Drunkard no more? Has Stu finally submitted to the inevitable and become a Mormon? Is this the end of our hero?
I haven't started buying special full-body underwear, or looking into Utah real estate. I haven't been swept up in this moral values craze enthralling the nation. And I certainly want to put the drunkard back together with Post-Modern.
Unfortunately though, I apparently have the immune system of a Nigerian prostitute: a nasty chest cold which started up New Year's Day went unchecked (initially because I thought it was just because I'd smoked too much on New Year's Eve, and then because I don't go to doctors until I'm actually knee deep in the grave), eventually developing into what my reluctantly acquired doctor diagnosed as pneumonia in both lungs.
Abandoning my vices was not voluntary. I really miss them. They were the closest thing I had to children, and all I wanted was to nurture them and help them develop and blossom into fullfledged disorders. But alcohol is unthinkable when you have a fever of 103 degrees. And the motor functions involved in buying a pack of cigarettes, lighting them, sucking down the nicotine, and remembering to inhale...well, it seems simple now, but there was a point in the midst of my fever where I literally could not understand the concept of a drinking glass: the oddly shaped recepticle containing water in it baffled me during a tortured period of semi-consciousness.
When I wasn't struggling for comprehension of basic household items, I was convinced that I was locked in struggle with not one, but two doppelgangers, all three of us fighting for control of the sheets--which naturally lead into the hallucination that I was stuck in the trashbin of a high volume paper shredder.
It was almost comforting when I slipped off into sleep, and dreamt I was back in the Salem Witch Trials, and the first girl I was ever in love with was busy piling rocks on my chest, trying to convince me to confess my crimes.
But the most worrying hallucination came the night before the fever finally broke: I woke up in a panic in the middle of the night, and became absolutely convinced that my bookshelves had become "malicious." I don't know why, but that was the exact word that sprung to mind, and had me huddled in the corner of my room for a good half an hour. My shelves had turned evil, and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn't even leave the room without passing by them. It's probably lucky that I have child-protection bars on my fourth floor window, because the Fear got into me so bad that I could very easily have attempted to get away from my shelves that way.
So, yes. Not the greatest shape. In fact, it's the sickest I've ever been.
But my newly acquired doctor gave me powerful antibiotics, and cough syrup with codeine in it, took a blood sample, and sent me on my way. I saw him on a Friday, and was unable to reach him until the following Wednesday. When you give a blood sample to someone, and they completely fail to get back to you, there are two parallel thoughts that run through your mind. First, "okay, it's perfectly fine. There's nothing to worry about, because if there was, he'd get back to me immediately," which contrasts starkly with, "Holy fuck, it's so bad that even the doctor is too scared and nervous to break it to me! I wonder if my health plan covers Ebola?"
I called the doctor's office compulsively until my doctor called me back. The verdict was: pneumonia. Apparently, I have a healthy cholesterol level, slightly low levels of iron in my blood, but not enough to be considered anemia, and surprisingly, my kidneys are still in working order (no word on the state of my liver). However, strikingly, the doctor also added, "I checked your blood for syphilis."
Yes? And? What's with the long pause? Are you waiting for me to admit something here doctor?
"And it came up negative."
Well, of course it is...the only area in which I'm nothing like a Nigerian prostitute, thank you very much.
So, I'm better right now, though I'm still quite worried. What exactly was it that made him check me especially for syphilis? When I walked into his office, did he think, "Hmmmm, no, doesn't look like he has the clap, and his complexion is too rosy for herpes. But he looks pretty syphilitic to me. Better check him for the Pox." Is this my standard first impression that no one is bold enough to admit to me?
Oh well. At least I now have a great pickup line, for when I regain the strength to drink again: "Hello ladies. The doctor assures me I do not have syphilis."
Or I could just go with the Monty Python sketch that I've had running through my head since the doctor told me I was no longer infectious (that is, with pneumonia. Not the Pox). "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? I...I am no longer infected."
It'd be a good first step towards getting some of my vices back.