Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sometimes Darkness Makes Me Laugh

It does. What can I say? I've always had a dark sense of humor, even though I've never been an ER doctor or an EMT or a soldier. I have, however, had my share of not so great moments in life, and mostly, not always, but mostly I can find some humor there. Sometimes I have to look hard, but not this week. I was blessed with a natural.

If you've seen the Bucket List, you'll remember a scene wherein Jack Nicholson's doctor is railing at him that he has to quit smoking or he'll get cancer, he has to give up red meat or his heart will give out, he has to stop drinking or his liver will revolt. Nicholson just gets up and leaves. I would have asked the doctor, "Do you have a preference?" Ask my doctor. She'll probably confirm that. It seems the natural question since something, something is gonna get ya in the end.

Last week I was given an antibiotic for a sinus infection that, alas, is still clinging albeit with weakened claws. I had a terrible adverse reaction to it. It's a cousin to Cipro, so I guess if there's an anthrax outbreak I'm a dead duck. Turns out this stuff can cause terrible reactions, as it did with me, or in some cases the allergic reaction can kill you. I was pretty sure for about eight hours that I was that case. My skin burned like a hill of fire ants had emptied itself and taken up residence under it. My chest hurt. I was shaking all over and too weak to move from one chair to the next. All this had followed a two hour visit to the bathroom, forehead up against the tub to cool it. I could barely form words when talking. Probably too much information. Suffice it to say I thought for sure I was dying.

I took a big white pill prescribed by my doctor at noon and by 2PM I was dying. While unable to laugh externally, my interior voice was in hysterics. "Dead in two hours from an innocuous looking pill. Dead like Lenny Bruce, just that quick, but this drug is legal and was supposed to help me. Ha!"

I realized in those moments that I would die of something that no one could blame me for, as seems to be the fashion these days. Blame the dead guy, he shouldn't have eaten that prime rib, ya know. It's entirely his fault. Here I had a no-fault death, somewhat like a no-fault divorce, inevitable and citing irreconcilable differences. I was delighted. Not to be dying, not yet, but that at least this wouldn't be whispered about as the "poor dumb thing mistook the elevator shaft for the exit door. I told her she needed to get her glasses prescription changed. But after all it was only a matter of time. Did you see her scarf down that plate of fried catfish?"

I lived. For now, as is the case for all of us. And don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled by that turn of events. Although I still look at the person across from me at a restaurant doggedly eating a dry hold-the-dressing salad after determinedly jogging several miles and feel a bit sorry for them. They seem to believe that if they just do that they can stave it off, death won't come for them, oh no, they'll outrun it. It's delusional and decidedly no fun. I smile and eat my shrimp poboy, toss back a beer, order some creme brulee and know my funeral will be filled with recriminations.

Theirs will be filled with astonishment and comments about a life of salads and jogging and no bread or chocolate. If I'm still around, I'll just say, "Hey, it happens."


judyb said...

Thank you! I think as we get older, we care less about "what might get us". Your post brings that home for me. Linking to it. Thanks!

E.J. said...

Hilarious. And SO you! Lol