Empty CVS-labeled pill bottles, blue-topped nebulizers with teeth marks, plastic Xopenex vials and “X” twist tops on the floor. I step on them and curse my laziness yet leave them for the next time I step on them and curse my laziness (my Broncos trash can is two feet away but “da shit” has a way of hitting the edge or catching some invisible air current and going off target.)
My lungs depend on a red Symbicort inhaler that isn’t glazed with rainwater or beside the white chickens.
Measuring devices: Pulseox on my treadmill desktop, FEV 1/6 meter, peak flow meters aplenty – my gift at each hospital stay I’ve had, and a sign of my disobedient nature as a patient – I refuse to use it, I tell the RT, because it’s a crappy measurement of my true lung function. Bad patient, I am.
Colistin months include syringes, half-full bottles of sterile water, empty pink 0.9 saline vials and little glass colistin bottles littering the kitchen table.
Cayston months reveal themselves in tiny beer-bottle brown, sharp metal pull-tops similar to what soda cans had when I grew up, and more empty plastic vials that get squeezed into the brown bottles.
Empty M&M’s Minis packages wait for Cali to steal them from the trash can. Depending on the day it might be an empty chocolate-covered gummy bears container, or the chocolate-covered pretzels I ate that were my daughter’s – I didn’t know at the time, but have no guilt just the same.
And then there are the boxes of hypertonic saline, the sinus flushes, the oxygen tubing I step on in the dark of night on the way to the bathroom. And the grossest of the gross: phlegm-soaked squares of carefully folded paper towel I forget to throw away. Lifeless around the edges, the bacteria glows gold and grows crusty, making me think, this is reason for all of this crap in my life. How is this possible?
I wish for laser eyes to shoot it when I toss it in the air like a skeet, small yellow flames falling to the floor. I hope bacteria scream.
Ah, the mystery. The horror. The mess. The constant need to throw shit away. La Vida Loca, baby.