Issue #178 – “Sick” – November 1st, 2010

-Last week, I woke up the morning I was scheduled to have a flu shot feeling absolutely horrible. By the time I got to the doctor’s office, I could barely move, so I canceled my shot and got a check-up instead. Turns out I had strep throat. My usual doctor reads this column and comes to my shows, so she knows what I’m all about. She wasn’t there, though, and I’d never met the doctor who examined me. After he reviewed the results of the throat culture, he asked me if I had any idea how I could have been exposed to strep. Imagine his surprise, then, when I answered, “Well, either rampant promiscuity, or flip cup.”

-The last time I was sick was over two years ago when, as you might recall from Ruminations #133, an acupuncturist misdiagnosed my liquor-swollen liver as “emotional pollution.” So being the mature, thirty-one-year-old man that I am, the first thing I did upon finding out I had strep was call my mom. Unfortunately, she and Dad were on vacation in Italy at the time, so I had to BBM them. Let’s just say a mother’s love does not translate via instant message. She wrote: “Too bad. The wine is great. Talk later.” and then didn’t respond to any more of my messages. I made some bland microwaveable chicken soup and cried myself to sleep.

-Luckily, strep is easily curable with penicillin and gargling with salt water. The latter treatment is where I gave this new doctor a run for his money. I just can’t comprehend how anybody could comply with the order “gargle with salt water” without asking any follow-up questions. “Should the water be warm?” I asked. “How warm? How much water? How much salt? How long? How many times a day? How many days?” Through what I perceived to be gritted teeth, he answered each and every one of my inane questions…but I could just tell he was secretly wishing I was allergic to penicillin.

-The doctor said I could also take over-the-counter medications to help relieve my symptoms. Once again, though, I’m a bachelor and thus have no such provisions. My medicine cabinet consists of the following: Centrum Performance Multivitamins (to boost my performance of sitting on my ass all day), the same bottle of Dolce & Gabbana I’ve been using since 2003 (one spritz is all you really need), a stick of female deodorant (in case a surprise overnight lady guest needs to go directly to work in the morning – I’m telling you, the Dolce is irresistible), Benadryl (because one thing I am deathly allergic to is shellfish), and, of course, three types of Purell (because I hate touching…anything). So you could say I’m not exactly prepared for a full-fledged first-aid emergency.

-There’s never a good time to fall ill, but the timing of my infection couldn’t have been worse. My buddy Claudio was visiting from New York and I couldn’t go near him. I couldn’t drink to the Yankees in the playoffs (R.I.P.) or the Giants on Monday Night Football (woo hoo!). I even had to miss an early Halloween party where every girl was under twenty-five and dressed…well, you know how they were dressed. Instead I remained quarantined alone in my apartment, taunted by visions of slutty Chilean miners getting wasted without me.

-Modern medicine is a wonderful thing, though, and thankfully I’ve fully recovered. I’m even going to finally get my flu shot this week. My mom apologized for being curt, explaining that she just isn’t familiar with BBM, and brought me a new wallet from Italy as a peace offering. Hopefully I won’t see the inside of a doctor’s office until my next physical. And when that happens, I bet my regular doctor won’t even bat an eye when she checks my chart and it reads: “October 2010 vitals. Temperature: 102. Glands: swollen. Fragrance: intoxicating.”

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-I think American Airlines’ slogan “We Know Why You Fly” is creepy. Actually, you don’t know why I fly. And maybe you don’t want to know. I do some weird shit.

-My BlackBerry is so old that it’s gotten to the point where I’m ordering individual parts to replace the stuff that’s just broken right off. I have like plastic side pieces that don’t even match the rest of the phone. You know that mismatched car with the plastic bumper that you try to avoid at all costs on the highway? That’s the look I get when I use BBM.

-I love when I go out with a buddy who’s just had a bad break-up, and I catch that glimmer in his eye as we enter a bar and he realizes the world is full of new chicks he can bang. He’s like a kid in a candy store. A kid in a candy store who doesn’t even realize I’m ringing up crazy amounts of drinks on his tab.

-My sister called me up the other night and we had a pleasant chat. After about twelve minutes, she abruptly said she had to go. Turns out she had two shows recording on DVR simultaneously, and needed to kill some time before starting to watch one without commercials. That’s what I am to her: filler.

-I just read an article about how pigs make great pets because they’re clean like cats and fun like dogs. I hate cats and despise dogs. Ergo, pigs are the fucking worst.

-I mentioned this back in Ruminations #89, but a lot of people don’t realize that, in the entertainment industry, the assistant of the person you’re talking to you is usually listening in on the call – either to take notes or just learn the trade. Because of this, I now assume that all of my friends’ assistants in other industries are listening in, too. I was talking to my buddy Pat the other day, and telling him quite the graphic, sexually explicit story. The whole time I was thinking, “I can’t believe he’s letting his assistant hear this. Pat is one nasty mother fucker!” Turns out Pat doesn’t even have an assistant.

-While sick, I asked the doctor what I should be eating. He said I could eat anything my stomach could handle – implying I should stick to the basics. I, however, took this as a challenge, and tried to eat literally anything my stomach could handle. Conclusion? 3.5 Gorditas.

-And, finally, the throat culture to test for strep is an awful procedure where the nurse jams a giant cotton swab down the back of your throat. As the nurse came at me, I instinctively recoiled, which caused her to ask, “Oh, do you have a bad gag reflex?” I remained silent because there’s really no appropriate way to answer that question. But it did take me back to my fraternity days, when we were instructed as pledges to drink to capacity, “pull the trigger” (make yourself puke), and then drink some more. Concerned my old training might manifest itself, I steeled myself and took the cotton swab like a champ. “Nah,” I stammered to the nurse, eyes watering, “my gag reflex is just fine.” “Great,” she chirped from behind a surgical mask, “because I’ve got two more swabs.” Fuck me!