No one lives forever

Par-a-noia strikes deep
into your life it will creep
it starts when you’re always afraid
step out of line the man come and take you away
Buffalo Springfield

I look better in black and white

I have a plane reservation for Monday. I don’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve flown. A year? Over a year?

Travel with cystic fibrosis hasn’t always been kind to me – hemoptysis over the Atlantic Ocean, German hospital; collapsed lung over Texas, chest tube and chest tube redux; and half-a-dozen or so travel episodes of coughing up blood, even in Hawaii – how screwed up is that?

And recently, I’ve had two embolizations and unpredictable moments of bleeding, sometimes due to exertion.

So, the thought of getting on a plane Monday scares me. It’s fear, pure, simple.

It bothers me to realize I’m afraid of something – deeply afraid.

Bad things happen when I travel.

If my lung bleeds on the plane, how much will it bleed? Will I be able to walk off the plane? Or, will I be carted through the airport to a waiting ambulance, my shirt Rorschach-red, people staring?

My crows fly wild, agitated, noisy.

The icing on the cake of indecision is the head cold I’ve been fighting with nasel irrigation, tea, vitamin D and M&Ms. The decision may not be mine to make after all. The cold may force me to stay home in what I like to call a “career-limiting move,” as if I had a career. But I have job, with health insurance. I’d like to keep it.

There is also the voice inside I like to call the “Train-wreck Watcher.” It gives me courage to go, to get on the plane, and see what madness might play out – to witness a possible derailment: a hospital in NJ; coughing up blood in front of my co-workers; or dealing with breath-taking stress and feeling trapped.

Train-wreck Watcher says: Is there anything the disease can throw at you that you cannot manage?

I don’t know. Is there? Roll the dice, sissy boy. No one lives forever.

14 thoughts on “No one lives forever

  1. I have a theory, because I also have a history: in MI for my best friend’s wedding – in the groomsmen’s hotel bathroom w/ everyone in the room, in Honduras in a third-world bathroom waiting for a ferry, and after 3 flights back to Tampa in the TIA airside men’s room before seeing my woman.

    My guess: it’s the exertion of the airport and baggage that does us in. Arrive really early. Go really slowly. Take it light. It worked for us in September.

  2. I love that Buffalo Springfield song. Now it’s stuck in my head. Especially the men come and take you away part.

    I don’t think it’s the dying soon that is as scary as living an extremely limited life. A quick, painless early death is so much more preferable to years of suffering.

    I’m thinking best case scenario here: you fly, everything goes smoothly, you do your job well, you return and live happily ever after, sleeping comfortably on the island of your couch. Yes? Can we agree to think best case scenario thoughts only?

    Please keep us posted while you’re away- none of your readers will get sleep if we don’t know how you’re holding up. One more thing on your to-do list, but even a simple “thumbs up” post will do (and I know it will be thumbs up, I know it).

    • Lizi said it perfectly. So I say ditto.

      p.s. seeing you with yet another bag-head picture makes me want to know even more what the heck you look like!? This is reverse psychology at its finest.

      • Liz,

        Thank you. Mystery is a good thing. You’ll only be disappointed if that bag ever flies off my head. The good news is that I asked the grocery store to double bag me. So I have a reserve bag underneath. I thought ahead.


    • Lizorro,

      Okay, best case scenarios. My plane gets diverted to Las Vegas because I blow blood everywhere. While they’re taking me out of the airport, I have them stop to let me play a Wheel of Fortune slot machine. I win 10 Million dollars and Vanna White as my maid for a year. I’m thinking that best case scenario sounds pretty good. Thanks for helping me with a positive attitude.

      I’m sure my 8 readers will sleep just fine. But your thought is very nice just the same.


  3. you can do it bud. just take that new bag off your head or you will be off to Customs for some Sexy Time with a couple of Feds

  4. I definitely relate to this post UC. My last big bleed came on a cross-country flight. I have another one coming up in a couple of weeks and to say I was excited about the prospect of being on that plane would be the overstatement of the year.

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