I lost my sanity many years ago. CF ran off with it like a toddler wound up on Red Bull, clutching a stuffed animal. I’ll never see Bobo Bear again.
It’s feels uncomfortable knowing that I’ve gone mad. I thought it would feel like the iodine contrast they give me before a CT scan, that warm feeling that rushes through my body and makes me nauseous. But it was more like an earthquake. The ground started shaking and there was nothing I could do but hide under the table.
Here’s how I knew my marbles had rolled down a hill never to be seen again:
I’m not a Doctor, but I play one in my head. When friends and co-workers catch anything respiratory, who evaluates their treatment plan? The conversation: What did the doctor prescribe? Albuterol? Good. You may feel jittery. That’s normal. What else? A Z-pack? Take that with food if your stomach gets upset. Buy some probiotics, too. How often are you coughing? Productive? Temperature? Oh, that medical degree on my wall? Yeah, my daughter drew it.
Hugh Hefner in the Hospital. When I get assigned a hot nurse, I actually believe I have a shot. That’s despite the fact I never shower in the hospital, my hair looks like there’s mold growing in it, I stink of man musk and I’m married. Not that I’d want to ruin my marriage, but something inside me says, “If I tried hard enough,this room could turn into the grotto at the Playboy Mansion.” Because nothing attracts nurses like hospital-patient repartee, a PICC line in the bicep, and a crushing badger-like smell. Sponge bath, anyone? Anyone?
Labrador Syndrome isn’t a medical condition, but it should be. I have the nervous system of a hunting dog. I’m constantly monitoring every little signal in my body. What’s that ache? Did my lung collapse again? Am I having a heart attack? Exacerbation? Stroke? All of them at once? The irony is that I’ll probably miss the signals for one of these when it does happen. Or, one sunny day, they’ll find me on my front lawn on all fours, looking for birds. Bird, bird, where’s the bird, I’ll say, drool dangling from my chin, as the dog catcher puts the loop around my neck.
I can read my own fortune. I can stare at my sputum like I’m reading tea leaves. Thin or thick? Color: Sea Sponge Green or J. Crew Sticky-Forest Yellow? How much? What’s that speck? Blood? Is that McGriddle or sputum? In public, I have a method for running off somewhere so I can stick out my tongue and inspect the specimen, looking cross-eyed and crazy. I wonder how many drivers in front of me have ever wondered, “Why is that guy sticking his tongue out at me? WTF is he looking at? Oh, gross.”
Open Sesame. Germs are everywhere, especially on door handles. I reach for the door in places no one else touches. Or, I use my t-shirt covered hand to open the door. But sometimes, someone has designed a door that exceeds my MacGyver-ness. I go back to Labrador mode and wait for someone to open it for me. And wag my tail when they let me in or out.
Animals talk back. I write a blog where I talk to an imaginary fox named Fox. [Message from Fox: Why do I feel like kicking your yellow-Labrador ass right now? Don’t make me show you who’s real. I invented you, Unknown. That’s right. And I can delete you at anytime.] That’s confusing. Perhaps, Fox has a point. Am I the creation, or is he?
Stay mentally well.