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These Last Three Weeks...
Three weeks ago the Colonel tried to kill me. A late night trip through the drive-thru almost put me in an early grave. Or at least the resultant food poisoning certainly felt like a precursor to death.
I can’t recalling ever being sicker, or retching more violently than in the initial six hours of hell launched by that diabolical chicken. The temperature outside was nearly one-hundred degrees, but I wound tight in a sheet, wearing it like a burial shroud. Cold sweats and chattering teeth were what I had instead of rest between the frequent pilgrimages to pray at the porcelain altar.
In order to get some measure of relief, I decided to run a bath as hot as I could stand it. After some time, the chill would finally begin to subside. Then the heat would rise. But it wasn’t long until the water’s warm embrace became as molten lead. At that point, the nausea began clawing back up my wasted insides, lumbering angrily upwards, as though the heat had disturbed its hard-won sleep. I got out of the tub as quickly as I could manage in such a state, and fled down the hall, collapsing in a chair in front of an AC unit which I had dialed all the way up. From freezing, to roasting, to freezing again.
This was the routine I kept up all night. Twelve hours. Twenty-three baths.
I had no appetite for several days. Which is just as well because I was afraid of food anyway. This began on Wednesday and I subsisted on Gatorade and water until Monday. Those days following the initial sickness were characterized by soreness. Apparently, vomiting is hard work. Very taxing on the muscles. I felt like a man who had been beaten in some back alley and left for dead. And this would only get worse.
But there are details that I have left out of this little story. The juicy bits. The drama, as it were. You see, the day I got sick was the first day that I stayed in the new rental property I had been forced to find on short notice.
It was small. Really small. Not enough room to cuss a cat without getting hair in your mouth. It was dark. Which was helpful because it was also filthy. The previous tenants had been of an entrepreneurial spirit; industrious and resourceful, though their business model lay outside the strict confines of the law.
At twelve minutes past midnight on Wednesday—somewhere between dry heaves and another soak—someone starts beating on my front door. Given my state I am not frightened, I am angry. I step outside, soaking wet, to find two fellas hoping that I had taken up the business vacated by the former tenants. I assured them that I had not. I decided right then and there that I would be moving as soon as I was physically able, even if that meant setting up a tent on the edge of town.
Fortunately, I am not living as a vagrant. I found a a good place just a few days later. Feeling somewhat better, I moved all of my furniture, yet again, into the new new house. Then the pain returned with a vengeance.
At this point a normal person would consult a physician. But I am stubborn and do not currently have health insurance. So unless I feel as though death is imminent I simply do not go to the doctor. I have only been once in the last twenty years.
When the members of our congregation saw me in such a distressed state, they prevailed upon me to speak to a medical professional. In the Providence of God, a friend who supports my work reached out to another friend who knew me through my work. That friend is a surgeon who specializes in “butts and guts,” as he so plainly put it.
After a brief consultation, he wagered that my lingering problem was not digestive. He suspects that I tore an abdominal muscle during the initial sickness. I then exacerbated the situation by heaving and hoisting all manner of heavy objects hither and yon. This made sense of both my symptoms and my recent activity.
So here it is, nearly three weeks later, and I am still recovering from food poisoning because I refused to be sensible and see a doctor. I am mending well. And I am also looking into obtaining some affordable health insurance. I reckon I would be a great deal less reluctant to take care of myself if I thought I could do so without having to choose between paying the physician or the landlord. Pray that I can find a decent policy without having to sell a kidney to get it.
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