So I have apparently pissed God the fuck off.
And He’s not the least bit shy about letting me know it.
M’kay, so I might have mentioned that I’ve been fighting a cold. Well, it’s more like a gazillion colds, over the course of like three months.
Routine bloodwork in October showed an elevated white blood cell count. No big deal, but my doctor decided to check again in December. And it was still elevated.
Still no big deal, he gave me some antibiotics to combat the infection and we called it a day.
Except the antibiotics had no effect on my symptoms, and I was just constantly sick.
So he ordered more bloodwork earlier this month, and I had the follow-up was yesterday. And my white blood cell count is still elevated.
M’kay, now it’s kind of a big deal.
He said, “Alright, one of two things is happening. The first is that you’ve got a really persistent infection. So I’m going to prescribe one hell of a strong antibiotic, and you’re going to take it for ten days. I’m telling you now, it’s going to suck. This will kill pretty much every living organism in your body. Even all the good bacteria in your digestive and reproductive systems. So you’re going to feel pretty shitty for awhile. Nausea, diarrhea, cramping, headaches, gas, bloating, loss of appetite, oh and you’re female, so it’s going to fuck all that shit up, too, so there’s the possibility of yeast infections, aren’t you lucky, some more nausea, it’ll be great. You’ll have fun.”
And why is he, a man who is usually pretty much against prescribing any kind of medication, prescribing this satanic fucking drug?
Why am I taking this satanic fucking drug, that will likely make the next 9 days a living hell?
I’m glad you asked, imaginary other half of this conversation.
Because after the ten-day course, he’s going to give my body about two weeks to recover from that shit, and get back to “normal,” and then he’s going to check my white blood cell count again. If it’s still high, there’s something else going on.
So as it turns out, there are like 200+ separate viruses that cause what we call “the cold.” And, as it turns out, the viruses themselves don’t actually cause the symptoms. They’re actually relatively harmless. But our immune system detects the virus and freaks the fuck out and goes into overdrive, which causes the congestion, coughing, sinus pressure, headaches, fatigue, achiness, all that fun shit.
The interesting thing is that, once a particular virus is eradicated, the body builds up an immunity to it, and the next time your immune system detects it, there are no symptoms. Your body knows the drill.
Which would be cool, if there weren’t over 200 different specific viruses that cause it (with more constantly evolving and showing up) so there’s no way we can ever build up immunity to all of them. So every time we’re exposed to a new virus, our immune system fucks shit up.
I’ve got cold symptoms, with an elevated white blood cell count. An elevated white blood cell count is *usually* a sign of infection (hence the antibiotics), and the cold symptoms are a sign of my immune system fucking shit up.
However, if it’s not an infection, if it’s not my body reacting to some foreign thing, then that means my body is producing too many white blood cells. It also means that those white blood cells are fucked up and unable to function properly, which is why my immune system is fucking shit up for like 3 months straight.
Oh and I’ve also had some very persistent joint pain in really random places in the last few months, like my freaking elbow, with no discernible cause.
What could cause all that, you ask?
Not a lot, as it turns out.
There are a couple of possibilities, but with me being in otherwise perfect health, those possibilities are pretty damn remote.
So not a lot.
Really only one thing.
And that one thing would be leukemia.
So I’m working on not freaking out. It may not be leukemia. It may just be a series of drug-resistant superbugs that just happened to hit me one right after the other, without affecting either of the other people who live in the house, or any of the inlaws that I’m often in direct contact with, or my chemo patient, immune-suppressed mom, who I spent 8 hours a day in a small room with (although I made a point not to get close to her or touch her), or Steel, who I spent about ten hours with (and yeah, I didn’t make a point not to get close to him or touch him).
The more you think about it, the less likely it sounds. But it’s still possible. I’m an optimist, after all.
Of course, while I am an optimist, I’m also not an idiot. I know what the chances are of the test going the way I want it to. And I’m working on preparing for that. I’ve got to figure out the ins and outs of my insurance, what kind of specialists and resources are in the area, all that fun stuff. I’m not going to be blindsided by some bullshit.
Other than that, there’s really nothing to do but wait, and work on not freaking out. I’ve got 20 days until the next blood test, and then a day or two after that to find out the results. Just have to be patient.
And not freak out.
But you know, I don’t give a fuck what any doctors or tests or statistics say. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. I’m going to live to be 118 and I’m going to achieve my lifelong dream of stealing a watermelon from a grocery store.
I’m actually serious about that, by the way. The one thing that’s at the very top of my bucket list is to steal a watermelon.
Allow me to set the scene. I’m… I don’t know, 75? 80? Old enough that people look at me and say, “she’s an old lady.” Wrinkles, white hair, sagging boobs, all that jazz. I do my little old lady shuffle into a grocery store, wearing something ridiculous and conspicuous, like a neon pink mumu, bedroom slippers, and a shower cap or something. I don’t know. Something ridiculous. I shuffle into the produce department, pick up a full-sized watermelon, and walk out.
An employee will invariably see me and stop me, and tell me I can’t just take the watermelon, I have to pay for it. And I’ll look at the employee with a completely straight face and say something like, “Andrew? My goodness, you’ve gotten so big! Where’s your mother? I brought this watermelon for the picnic, I know she likes peaches better, but your uncle Dave always gets in a tizzy if there’s no watermelon. When did you dye your hair? Are you still playing the banjo?”
And the employee will feel so bad, and so awkward, that he’ll just let me go. And I will have succeeded in stealing a watermelon from a grocery store.
Sounder pointed out that it’s possible, even with the conspicuousness of something as large and random as a watermelon, that I won’t get stopped. And if that’s the case, then I’ll just put the watermelon in my car and go back in for another one. Rinse and repeat, until I’ve either taken all their watermelons, or someone stops me.
And then I’m going to take all my watermelons to a bowling alley, carry one in, and attempt to roll it down a lane. Again, rinse and repeat. They won’t get very far, of course, and I won’t be rough, so they don’t bust open and make a huge mess. But I want to see how many watermelons I can roll down a bowling lane before someone stops me.
Why? Because you can get away with shit like that when you’re old. And fucking with young people is going to be the best part of my day.
Oh, and I told Sounder I want to go to the mall with him, when we’re not quite as old as 75 or 80, but close. We’ll separate and find two nice-looking young people, like in the food court, but on opposite sides of the food court so we can see each other, but the young people won’t notice.
I’ll hand my cell phone to the young person and say, “I’m sorry, dearie. I’ve got such bad arthritis. Would you be willing to text my boyfriend for me, if I tell you what to say?”
The young person will say sure, because she’ll think it’s just so cute that a little old lady has a boyfriend, and she’ll take my phone to text what I tell her.
And then I’ll say, “You filthy rat-bastard, you gave me crabs! I had to shave off my landing strip!”
Her reaction will be priceless.
So she’ll text it (I keep envisioning a girl), and across the room, Sounder’s phone will go off and he’ll approach another young person and say, “I’m so sorry to bother you, I can’t see very well. My girlfriend, the love of my life, just sent me a text. Would you be willing to read it to me? I can’t really work those buttons, either. You know, old fingers. Could I bother you to reply, as well?”
The young person will think it’s so romantic that old people are in love, so she’ll say, “Sure,” and take his phone to read the text message out loud to him.
Her reaction will be priceless.
He’ll ask her to type his reply, and he’ll say, “That’s what happens to cheating skanks. It’s karma, bitch.”
So my phone will go off, and my young person will read it, and I’ll reply with, “Well it was your idea to get that prostitute in Mexico in the first place! It’s not my fault I have an insatiable sex drive! Oh, honey, it’s ‘insatiable,’ …s…a..t…i… there you go. Mad face emoji. Thank you so much, dearie, you’re such an angel.”
So his phone will go off, and his young person will read it out loud, and we’ll just go back and forth until the young people are just too hysterical to type anymore.
Also, did you know they’re not teaching kids how to read and write in cursive anymore? People are seriously pissed off about this, but dude, I’m fucking stoked. Just imagine it. I’ll be in a nursing home one day, and I’ll coordinate all kinds of shenanigans, and we’ll communicate in notes written in cursive, and none of the young people working there will have a clue what we’re saying.
And dude, there will be so many shenanigans. I’m thinking a random flash mob in the cafeteria at 3 in the morning, I’m thinking every single resident hiding all of their left shoes, I’m thinking everyone speaks in pig latin for a day (you’d be surprised how few younger people know it, even now. It’s a dying language, and that makes the linguistic anthropologist in me sad. But it makes the psycho rebel in me happy because that means none of the young people at the nursing home will be able to understand a damn word we say). I’m thinking everyone whose name starts with a consonant dyes their hair blue, and then the next day everyone whose name starts with a vowel dyes their hair green (it’s not like we need to look professional for jobs or anything, why the fuck not?).
Oooh, or spending an entire day speaking in nothing but “oldies” song titles (since our music will be oldies then), and then correct the staff when they say anything. Like, “I need you to sit down now, please.”
And I’ll respond with, “Sit down, stand up! We can wipe you out anytime!”
Or loudly argue with another resident about what we’re going to watch on the TV in the main community room area. He’ll want to watch BBC and interracial, and I’ll want to watch gangbangs and double penetration.
Alright I need to stop, because I’m just going to keep thinking up fucking awesome ideas, and this’ll end up being like 8,000 words.
The point is I cannot wait to be old, and I’m not about to let some bullshit fuck that up for me.
Again, it’s still possible that it’s just a really, really bad cold. That’s what I’m hoping for.
But regardless, if it’s leukemia, I’ll just deal with it. That’s all it is. Some bullshit to deal with.
My dad had stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was straight-up cured. He did the chemo, did all the treatments, and lived for like 10-ish years after that, and it never came back. He died of completely unrelated shit.
A shit ton of my relatives have had different types of cancer and were cured after chemo and/or whatever other treatments. It’s some bullshit I’ll deal with, and then I’ll move on.
And on the bright side, I’ve taken four doses of the antibiotic so far, and the side effects have actually been really mild. Just some minor cramping and nausea off and on throughout the day. Totally manageable. So hopefully I’ll be able to avoid at least most of the crap my doctor described. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.