Of course there are problems after chemo is over. Everything hurts. Dana confiscates and hides the pain meds, ostensibly because she thinks i’ll OD but actually because she’s a sadist who loves to watch me suffer.
I look for where she hid the key to the lock box. I know she will have it hidden between waist and shoulder level. I find the key and help myself to pain pills. Then I get another key made and help myself when I feel a need.
This comes to a head, as I knew it would. Unfortunately I am in the car with her driving on the interstate when she snaps. She lets go of the wheel and tries to gouge my eyes out and I have to fend her off and get control of the car as it floats across three lanes of traffic.
She wins that one. I give her my duplicate key but do not give up.
This fine day she is out of the house. I get some intravenous equipment and heat up the smack I bought from a street pusher. I almost skin popped but WTF I hate to waste good dope so I mainline it WTFYOLO. After i’m done I hastily dispose of the needle and hide the paraphernalia. Dana wont look up high so I put it out of sight on top of a cupboard.
When I have enjoyed my high long enough I get a bag of Ringer’s Lactate and give myself fluids. This part Dana knows about and approves of. I do it to have a reason for the track marks. After a while I have a habit and that’s okay. I’d as soon die of that as anything else. But my immune system isn’t full strength yet and despite precautions I get a bug. It’s all Dana’s fault because she brings in all kinds of infections and filth.
I know something’s wrong when I get chills and fever and cant stand up. Dana is such a dumb bitch she thinks it’s appendicitis even though I had mine out when I was eight. She should know that. She calls an ambulance and it pisses me off so bad I backhand her to the face so hard it knocks her to the floor. Then I get in the Navigator and drive to the hospital.
Chemo has wrecked my white cells and I have an antibiotic resistant version of staph. They have to go at it with Vancomycin and late generation Cephalosporins and the doctor tells me I have a forty per cent chance of survival. I tell him I don’t give a shit one way or another.
Events run together. The doctor tells me not to worry, that I will get plenty of pain medicine. All kinds of tubes in my arms and an ng tube in my nose. They wont give me anything orally but ice chips to suck on. Humanoid beings in watery white surround me as my fever climbs a half a degree an hour. Dana pats my brow with a cool cloth and I muster what I can in my mouth and spit right in her face.
They give me oxygen but it doesn’t help. My IV tubes close from vascular shock. They tilt my bed so a doctor can put a subclavian tube in close to my heart. They wheel me into intensive care, or so a disembodied voice says. Clarity comes over me and I know that I am tired from not having slept in many nights…
…and why cant I die? Am I too sick?
The tube in my nose tugs at me when I move. They slip a catheter in me, painlessly. I seem to come to in the middle of a doctor’s sentence as he is saying they have used more exotic antibiotics and my fever is down from 105 but I am not out of danger. The muzzy hospital light annoys me. I see Dana over in the corner crying and I call her over so I can spit in her face again and tell her how much I hate her but I am so weak she doesn’t hear me.
Morphine is a delight. In fantasies barely distinguished from my tenuous grasp of the real I am flying or hopping like Spiderman on the walls of my fellow patients dressed in turn of the Twen Cen suits who cheer me on and tell me that everything is bully. Down mazy corridors of the hospital looking down at my body, wishing that if I have to die I would just get on with it.
Driving down a mountain switchback hauling ass from a sports car driven by the Babylonian demon Humbaba from the Gilgamesh epic. The signs trick me and I go off the road and soar five hundred feet in the air and screaming.
Waking up clear headed and soaked in sweat and the interminable hospital noise in the corridor. A nurse has come in with more Morphine-that is what woke me. After the push I fade out again. Rank odor of disinfectants. Grainy humming sound and graying images. A gray crust forms and breaks at the corners of my mouth. A full moon the color of liver lies in the pit beneath me. Into a cold dimension without time without space where all is Levantine motion.
I think I see tree branches in the night window filled with small humanoids leering at me. Wizened and crouching, barbate and lizard eyed with codpieces of jeweled puce. Have they trestled up my bones on a slab and are they honing instruments for my dismembrance? Wet street, musty smells of trouble.
I half sit up in bed, Tongue swollen and gagging my mortal cries. I see a death gurney outside the door, menials entering with a stretcher to haul away my puling corpse and the stink of the unshrivened dead is an affront to AllahJaweh. Impenitents gouged from their leprous revels. Justice!
Disjunct and just like that I am sitting in a chair in our bedroom swallowing a pill Dana has given me.
I almost lost you, sweetie, Dana says, kissing me quickly but I am ready for this foulness and abomination and heave the glass of water at her and it goes right in her face. She says nothing but smiles and cleans it up. Evidently I am home and will survive. No thanks to my bitchwife.