My blue plastic chair, when in its proper place with me sitting properly in it, faces the bathroom. Luckily for me, there is a shower curtain that usually is pulled over the eight foot entrance. Usually. Well, say 50% of the time. So, anytime I look up from reading, writing, or reflecting, I have little choice but to see inside the bathroom. And every time there’s a lot going on in there as you can imagine there would be with three urinals, three toilets, and eight showers. I see a lot more skin than I ever want to see again.
I say that to say this: I’m glad that at no point in my life was I morbidly obese. It’s no secret that our country is fat. Well, there are a lot of fat criminals, too. Unfortunately, at a place like this, people tend to lose a lot of fat, but not a lot of skin. It’s … unsettling. It makes me cringe.
And now a short list of things I want to eat my first day out: An avocado, sushi, a Dairy Queen Blizzard ® with both Reeses ® cups and Butterfinger ®, and although I don’t believe it’s technically edible, a large cup of quality coffee.
50 days to go. Have I ever mentioned my fear of needles? I must have. Well, my name was called to go to health services and when I walked down the corridor and rounded into the room, I froze. On the table in front of the bad man wearing blue latex gloves was a pile of syringes. I couldn’t speak and I knew he could see my color draining away so he said, “It’s just Mantoux, to screen for tuberculosis.” This was about the best news there could have been. I can handle a needle going almost anywhere as long as it isn’t a vein.
Only twice in my life has a needle entered directly into my bloodstream. Once in Hazelden in 2001, and once when I went to the hospital when I thought I was dying. It turned out I had Salmonella, which they found out through my feces. I was actually angry that my blood work came back clean. It took four nurses to do the blood draw: one to remind me to keep breathing, two to talk to me while the fourth stole my blood. I don’t think I heard much of what they were saying.
I’m also afraid of surgery. I can’t listen to people talk about it. I can’t watch it on TV, or look at pictures of it. I don’t think I will ever have surgery, however necessary, because it combines my two least favorite things.
[ANNE: I too hate having blood drawn, and I have fainted a couple times, once hitting my jaw on the side of a table while I was going down. Vince fainted once, just listening to someone talking about surgery. I don’t know if it’s a physical or psychological thing (could Vince have learned or inherited this aversion from me?). I’ve learned to ask for three things: 1) a “butterfly” needle, which is thinner than the standard one; 2) that I lie down while they do the draw; and 3) that they talk to me to distract me. Health care folks are always happy to do these things; they don’t want me falling onto the floor any more than I do.]