Friday, March 07, 2008

The Sickness Never Stops.

That isn't a clever title, more of a comment that for the last three weeks I've had a head full of snot that culminated this week in three days bedrest for crippling bronchitis, and that posting dribble to this blog has had to take a backseat to dribbling dribble on my pillow.

I tried to go to work on Monday, but I felt so ill I turned right around once I got there and, after an impassioned plea to the harridan that guards the gates of Doc Rubbergloves House of Pain, departed straightway for the Quack and thence to bed. The turnaround on this trip meant that though I just came in, fell about and left again, it took me until 1:30pm to get back to the island. Then there was an hour of gasping for air in Doc Rubberglove's waiting room while the staff ordered possibly the largest and most fragrant Chinese meal in the history of Sinogastrophillia. Once Doc Rubberglove had had a listen to my pipes he immediately prescribed a bout on the electric nebulariser. This device uses compressed air to vapourise liquid medication that is then drawn into the patient's lungs with deep inhalations, thereby opening up the bronchial passages that disease, ill health and germs have squeezed shut.

And by Jove it worked quite well. After an hour on Doc Rubberglove's Patent Electric Fog Bong I could draw breath without making a sound like Darth Vader choking on pickles. I still felt like crap and looked worse, so the Doc gave me a note for three days bedrest, a prescription for some extra-hi-test antibiotics, another for a Steroid of Lungpipe Opening, another for a minibong of Magic Dust o' Lungpipe Opening and I made my way to the pharmacy to do my bit for the modern drug industrial complex. Before I left he also gave me a cortisone shot, just for laughs.

A cortisone shot is a sort of medical in-joke. If you have knee pain, a cortisone shot in the knee will fix the sprained ankle you also have but give no relief at all to the knee. Only a shot in the arm, given to ease the pain of a dislocated then reloacted elbow will do that (while doing zero for the elbow of course). It would seem that where cortisone shots are concerned, there is a sort of Chinese reflexology thinking involved in which there is a point on the human body that corresponds exactly with some other point on the human body. The punchline of this joke also only makes itself felt some time after getting the shot, which is, as advertised, painless. The pain kicks in about ten to twenty minutes after getting the shot, by which time you are safely far away from the bugger who gave it to you and unable to describe at fist-and-boot-point the similarity between the site of the injection and the same site after being kicked by an ill-tempered full-grown horse.

Luckily I was too ill to watch television. I say this because the TV companies are celebrating the return to work of the writers, on strike since Christmas over "internet residuals" (which I thought could get you arrested in New York), by showcasing some of the worst television programs it has been my misfortune to view, however briefly. Daytime US TV is notorious anyway, but it comes to something when the Sci-Fi channel is showing eight hour long marathons of "Ghost Hunters", a show in which a bunch of idiots run around darkened houses with low-light amplifying cameras strapped on their heads, all the time making googly faces of terror and commenting on "auras" and "departed presences" in glorious technigreen monochrome. For this I bought a Phillips three-gun tube? Even the Daily Show, a formerly clever light political satire "fake news" comedy show and one that went back into production sans writers with minimal impact, has suffered with newly written "officially sanctioned" material that sounds like it was done by 15 year old boys. What a crock. If I want that sort of witing I'll just read this blog.

Thank Azathoth all I could do was collapse in bed for three days and gasp for air as an invisible giant attempted to squeeze the life from my body by sitting on my chest.

I restarted work yesterday, wheezing and gasping for air like some miner pulled into the light of day after a cave-in, and had just about the worst day at work for some time. Not so much disasterous as short on oxygen and boring. I still managed to miss my train and consign myself to a trek across New York to Penn Station, where I just managed to catch the 6:21pm train for Ronkonkoma.

As I may have hinted once or twice, the trains from Penn at this time of night are generally filled to capacity well before the doors close, so it was no surprise I couldn't get a seat and would be forced to stand, gasping and wheezing, until Hicksville, some 40 minutes away not counting the ten minute delay they were already announcing. I boarded the first vestibule I found with space, made to lean back against the last remaining full-back-width wall only to have someone with a bunch of luggage come in behind me and push me aside. He took my space and left me with a tiny back support on the other side of the vestibule where the wall has been cut away for wheelchair access. I was essentially leaning on a post about the width of my spine. Beautiful. I glowered at the git with the carry-on and made the best of a bad job.

But I was to be given the chance for sweet revenge.

The vestibule I had picked was the one with the lavatory next to it. This was not optimal, due to the ever-present danger of the damn water closet malfunctioning in some redolent manner, but it proved to be a providential source of entertainment this night. No sooner were we moving than the git began tugging on the big door handle trying to get in. He pulled upwards. He pulled inwards. He pulled outwards. What he never once did, at least with enough conviction, was to pull downwards, the only way the door can be unlatched.

Normally I would have leaned forward and mentioned the masonic secret to secluded bladder relief, but as I was about to do so I got a nasty twinge from Mr Back so I decided to see how long he could make it before wet-leg time. I'm not proud of this, but in all fairness I had nothing to read.

Now this guy was also a little self conscious and well aware that everyone in the vicinity had seen him fail to gain entrance to the latrine. He couldn't start rattling the door again without acknowledging his (obvious) bladder distress. Stealth was called for. He would engineer a way of the door bursting open of its own accord so he could fall inside. Over the course of the journey he casually leaned on the handle in a number of ways, each time carefully scanning the car to ensure no-one would see what he was really doing. I, of course was in full attention and making no secret of it. My giggles were also drawing a number of my fellow vestibulers attention to the program of ents in progress.

I think my favourite bit was when he broke down and asked a passing (lady) conductor for assitance. She took his word that the door was locked and used her key to unlock it, at which point, by sheer chance, the flush mechanism fired itself persuading her that there was actually someone inside so she didn't actually open the door. The secret of entry was thus preserved for a few more miles af bladder cramping fun.

I was hoping to see someone come up behind the boob and steal his place by just opening the door, but he had by now begun to spread the meme that the bog was occupied by some fiend who periodically flushed the commode at him to taunt him (it must have been agony each time the flush fired). The flushing was, of course, the same automatic business that I have mentioned before and happens due to some sort of pressure detection issue whether there is anyone in there or not.

Just before Jamaica he somehow managed to open the door to reveal an empty lavatory, whereupon he made a strangled noise before locking himself inside. He was still grimmacing when we got to Wyandanch, forty minutes after he had finally relieved himself. The bladder-stretch must have been Hurculean, I imagine, to leave the owner so discommoded for so long.

Thus are those who would steal the Stevie back support paid the wages of their perfidy.

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