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 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.