I’d Rather Still Have Strep Throat [Friday Thoughts W/ TeeCoZee]

Good Moleman. Combed, biscuits, chicken, yellow, mailman. You’ve already quoted this one before, Troy. Very good. It’s Friday, November 16, Two Thousand and Eighteen. The weather in Brooklyn is 42° & Pantone PMS 278 and somewhere, somebody is eating at Denny’s. Or rather, they are about to eat at Denny’s. If only they could remember what they like to eat at Denny’s. Too many Michelob-fueled nights led them there in a haze, choking down pack after pack of Kool XLs. The memories have faded like the original paint on the walls and their mind races to find any fragments of a clue. “What the hell is a Grand Slam? Is that some sort of baseball thing? Baseball for breakfast? Eggs Over My Hammy? Is that supposed to be a pun? Pumpkin waffles? Fuck a pumpkin”. The waiter comes by to fill their coffee. He gives them a knowing look, one that says, “No. You don’t want to go there. Trust me. I’ve fucked too many pumpkins”. And me? Sorry, I’ve never worked at Denny’s, nor am I clairvoyant. I do, however, have some things on my mind…

– I’m never good at introductions. That’s probably why I resort to playing word jazz with non-sequiturs every week. But if there’s one thing that my writing has a shred of integrity about, it’s that it’s brutally honest. From pooping myself to my darkest insecurities, I have had no problem writing about anything that’s going on in my life. And yet here I am, stuck and afraid to approach this subject. At this point, there doesn’t seem to be a correct format to write this in, so I’m just going to silently ask myself questions and answer them.

Q.

A. It started with a bruise on her leg. She constantly joked to me and others that I was beating her and to be frank, it made me a little uncomfortable. Around the same time, I contracted Strep Throat and it was a whole scene. In my own sick haze, I failed to find it significant that more bruises were coming up. Nothing else about her seemed alarming. She got dizzy every now and then, but she also wasn’t eating much and 2+2=4. After a scary episode where she temporarily lost her sight, we deduced that everything she was experiencing was a side-effect of mixing Ibuprofen and one of the meds she was on. So, problem solved. She would start taking Tylenol for headaches, her bruises and dizzy spells would go away and within one week’s time, we’d be in Sunny Los Angeles, taking in a much deserved vacation. But she should probably go to a walk-in clinic first, just to be safe.

Q.

A. Acute Promyelocyctic Leukemia is essentially an aggressive blood cancer in which white cells multiply at a gargantuan rate and the body is dangerously susceptible to both clotting and over-bleeding, which is confusing. Allegedly, only about 1,000 people are diagnosed with it every year, so Rachel won the Bad Luck Lottery. She had better odds to be struck by lightning while yodeling Metallica covers or hit by a 1993 Cutlass Supreme. By the time she got to the hospital, her condition was already worsening from the cancer exponentially. She developed a severe sensitivity to light and had headaches unlike anything she had felt before. They luckily caught it early on and immediately started chemotherapy. The plan was for her to be in the hospital for 3 weeks and be on her merry way. No Disneyland. No Dodger Stadium. No In-N-Out Burger. Just chemo. And I guess me watching her get chemo, I guess.

Q.

A. My lowest point was probably on day three. While at work, I received a call. Her mind had slipped. She didn’t know anybody. At some point during the day, she had a suffered a stroke. That was the last straw. I completely lost it. I abandoned the store, shouting madly that she probably doesn’t know I exist. I also threw a tantrum on the 6 train. I felt like I could have split into two and probably resembled somebody that was about to do so. Most people looked away, a few moved from their seats as I typed furious text messages. Denouncing God. Screaming that in no fair universe this would ever happen to her. That I’ve been the one living on the brink of death and it should be my disease. That she never did anything wrong. That she might die for my sins and nothing about it was right or fair. Dot dot dot.

Q.

A. Oh, the hospital room was dank. Not like anything I’d seen before. It didn’t feel like a hospital at all, but rather a condo-esque dorm room. Everything seemed so clean and brand new, because it was. NYU pulled out all the stops when building the Kimmel Pavilion and it really showed. Even the view was dope. It was on the 18th floor overlooking the East River. The window showed a breathtaking panorama of Long Island City and a good portion of Roosevelt Island. The TV was almost the size of the wall and everything about the room was controlled by a tablet attached to her rolling bedside table. It’s just unfortunate that she couldn’t immediately enjoy these luxuries as her stroke had her swept away to the ICU next door.

Q.

A. Oh, the ICU was not dank. It was everything I imagined a hospital room to be. Everything was so yellow and run-down. NYU has been over-using this building for decades and it showed. Even the view sucked. We were high up, but it really didn’t matter. The windows faced the middle of the building complex, giving breath-saving views of air ducts and other brick buildings. The TV was a sputtering 13 incher and the remote only worked some of the time. It’s very fortunate that she doesn’t remember her stay in the ICU as she was for all intents and purposes sedated in a coma.

Q.

A. Top 5 Ridiculous Things She Said Before She Actually “Woke Up”

5) [When asked where she was] “The Houston Airport!”
4) “Boner Hoagie”
3) [When a doctor that looked like a vampire came in] “Oh, you slippery son of a bitch!”
2) [To her father, who was trying to stop her from pulling her feeding tube out] “Stop holding me down, you shit nugget!”
1) [She explained the plot to an episode of Supernatural, a show that she has never seen nor does she know anything about].

Q.

A. In one run-on sentence 100 words or less? That seems unusual, but if you have to leave, I get it. They took her off sedatives, but she wasn’t actually “awake”, so she spoke a bunch of borderline clairvoyant gibberish until she actually did wake up and they took her back to the dank hospital and she kicked cancers ass, went to a rehab facility, kicked that places ass and went home still partially blind, unable to read with a form of dyslexia that nobody has defined, but improving every day, never ceasing to amaze me and has to be poisoned 5 days a week, there, you happy now, punk?

Q.

A. Her treatment process is actually kind of weird and interesting. Because blood cancer is not something you can just cut out or drain, it needs to be attacked strategically. It’s a method that’s still relatively new. If she would’ve caught this 10 years ago, she might have died. In fact, if she had went to the walk-in clinic 3 days later, she might have died. That’s how ridiculous this disease is. In order to fight the cancer, her body has to essentially become a Tom Clancy novel. Her regimen starts with ATRA, which is a chemical compound of Vitamin A. It goes into her bloodstream and acts as a spy. It goes from blood cell to blood cell, interrogating them, finding out what they know, where they’ve been hanging and who they’ve been associating with. It does this for about two weeks while making a hit list for their superiors. Then the reinforcements come and the real party begins. Arsenic Trioxide [which she affably refers to as “Vintage Poison”] comes barreling through with guns ablazing, ready to kill every leukemiatic motherfucker this side of the Left Ventricle [or probably also the Right, Arsenic goes everywhere and I’m really bad at anatomy jokes]. When you think about it that way, chemo is pretty badass. Unfortunately, we can’t see any of this action going on, so we just watch Beat Bobby Flay for 2 hours and call it a day.

Q.

A. The commute was hell. I’ve always held a special kind of sympathy to all the sad mofos that have to commute to Midtown daily. It’s crowded, impossibly hot in the summer and filled with the worst kind of tourists. You know, the ones that tout rhinestone Trump snapbacks and Federal Booty Inspector shirts. It’s also filled with hundreds of thousands of miserable folks who are forced to be there. And as bad as you think your Midtown commute might be, I’m willing to bet that it doesn’t include riding a bus. I’m also willing to bet that a lot of you don’t even know there’s a bus in Midtown. The answer is yes. There is a lot of them and they all run poorly. The M34 and M34A are short-route slingshots that go, you’ve guessed it, down the entire length of 34th street. There’s even a designated bus lane so that they can travel freely. And I know that Bloomberg is still getting an erection thinking about what a great idea bus lanes were but that boner has to be punched every time a delivery truck double parks in them, causing a traffic crisis the likes we see every day. Somebody give the man an ice pack. It’s impossible to merge these slinky accordion buses into already gridlocked traffic all because the UPS guy refuses to park on a side street.

Q.

A. Even more annoying than the traffic was the elevator ethic. One of the drawbacks of living in a penthouse suite is that it is, yes, on the top floor. So every time I had to go on Arizona Iced Tea runs [like every hour or so], I’d be subjected to a sardine can elevator with doctors and nurses. It revealed a very strange truth about them and the nature of the profession. You might think that a particular medical person hung the moon, but let me tell you, once they get into that elevator their bodies shut off. They sigh, jam their phone into their face and become lifeless zombies. With this in mind, getting up to the top floor is a hell of a process. Imagine 10 doctors going to 10 different floors. The elevator dings and the door opens. They all look around at each other, one slowly raises his or her head, goes back to their phone and makes a slow exit out the door. Repeat this 9 more times. It’s worse than riding a local train. They might cure cancer and create other miracles, but they really don’t know how to properly exit an elevator. Go figure.

Q.

A. Matzo Ball Soup. Like every day. It was the only thing she could tolerate on the hospital menu. I relied on everything bagels with scallion cream cheese across the street. After about 5 days, they knew me by face and order. I went to my previous bodega for 7 years and they still didn’t know what I liked. Those men were doing the real miracles.

Q.

A. It’s great having her home again. The place was getting really weird without her. I felt like I was living in some sort of bachelor purgatory, where the missus is out for the weekend, but the weekend never ends. I can only pee with the door open or eat blueberries in bed so many times before it gets old. She’s home now and there’s certainly some challenges. But not really, actually. I just said that because it felt like the thing to say. She may not be very helpful around the house, but she’s still better than some roommates I had in college. At least she doesn’t smoke tobacco out of a bong and get mad every time I clean.

Q.

A. All of those crappy missions from Grand Theft Auto games suddenly feel so relatable. You know, the ones where you have to escort a 2-bit criminal’s brother and make sure the Haitians don’t kill him or he gets hit by a car or something. The poor girl still has very little peripheral vision and has to walk through Midtown every day, including during rush hour. In order for her to know where to go, I have to walk directly in front of her. This seems like a fine and easy idea, except there still one problem, WE’RE IN FREAKING MIDTOWN AND EVERYONE WALKS LIKE A MANIAC. Fuckhats and Dickburgers are constantly cutting her off to get around me, who is walking slow to ensure that she is comfortable and safe. But of course, she doesn’t see any of these people coming, as she can only look straight ahead, so Midtown becomes a house of horrors for her, with yuppies jumping out at her from every direction. And I have no choice but to look back every 10 seconds to ensure that my cargo is secure. It’s literally like playing a crappy video game, except it’s real life and people actually act this way.

Q.

A. No, there’s nothing you can do at the moment. We can’t even think of mundane tasks to exploit you for. It just seems kind of mean. We’re good. Honestly. Unless you want to bring us food. Please bring us food. We’re very lazy, I mean, busy.

Q.

A. She said she was totally cool with doing this exposé as long as I handed her a blanket. She only used it for a half hour and promptly went to bed. Seems like a total waste of a favor, but hey, girl has to live her life.

Q.

A. I think that all in all, the hardest pill to swallow is the fact that she can’t read this. Or anything at all for that matter. She was my muse, my #1 fan, the only fan that mattered and now every time I write, it feels like masturbation. Through all the landmarks she’s passed, hardships she’s endured, obstacles she’s overcome, what good is it if she can’t roll her eyes at my fascination with Michael Bloomberg being punched in the nuts? And babe, if someday you do end up reading this, I’m so fucking proud of you. Even when you couldn’t read this, I was still so, so proud of you. Also, I’m sorry if I flipped out on the way to the laundromat. Also, what do you want to do for dinner? Let’s do Mexican. We haven’t had that in a while. No, Taco Bell doesn’t count. Whatever, we’ll discuss it later.

Try this trick over the weekend. Hug somebody dear to you and tell them you love them. Cherish every second of it because you’ll never know if they’ll come down with Strep Throat or some other gross thing.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

-TeeCoZee

Advertisements