After eleven days of unrelenting dysentery-like symptoms, I finally turned to the medical profession. But . . .
- THE PORCHES
First and most importantly, I want to go here: The Porches. [CLICK ON IT – REALLY!]
It’s a writing retreat, approximately three hours from me, and a two-week stay is $750. Or, better, a four-week stay is $1500. Well, plus food and such, which one does on one’s own. No cell reception. Five private rooms. I am dreaming of this. Dreaming of this.
- AND HERE IS SOMEONE WHO SAYS IT EVEN BETTER
I came across this via Twitter late tonight, by Andrew O’Hagan, called A Hotel Room of One’s Own, [CLICK ON IT- READ IT- RIGHT NOW] and it is great. Not only does he talk about my idol, Joan Didion, but he talks about loving to disappear into hotels. Once upon a time, for a few brief years in my then quite horrible life, I managed to spend my birthday week at The Algonquin. It was before the Marriott corporation bought it and destroyed the lobby, killing the charm of its historic lobby by trashing all the tattily-upholstered wing-chairs and sofas from the 1920’s & 30’s, discarding the dark wood, unmatched, cocktail-tumbler-sweat and cigarette-scarred side-tables in favor of matching, horrid furnishings and lamps and chandeliers resembling anal-beads, stripping away the velvet curtains and disrespecting the Round Table Legend by coating the place in a veneer of cheap, corporate modernity — AND removing the ORIGINAL Dorothy Parker cocktail from the menu, replacing it with some sweet, sugared sip of saccharine shit. Oh for the olden days, when I loved staying there. When one could easily pretend not only that you were another person but, even better, that you were living in another time, a magical-nother-place. I pretended I was a real writer, a real New Yorker, and I would spend hours in the lobby composing my sure to be best-seller and those pithy, witty, honest, only to be posthumously published journal scribbles, and, dear heaven, watching, listening to the impossibly glamorous people, waiting for fur-wrapped, pale unto ghost-like Karen Akers to float into the elevator – which we once shared.
Oh, I loved it so. I want to disappear like that again, really I do. Would that it still existed, but, alas, it, like so much else into which I long, ache, dream of dissolving again, is gone. Like so many of the loves I have loved, gone. Oh, oh, oh my dears. I need to get away, somehow, to go, somewhere, and New York would be nice, but, I think, The Porches is what I need now. No distractions. Just write. Just right.
- OSCAR WILDE and his FLINGS . . .
I read this brief and delightful article today from the Paris Review about Oscar Wilde’s use – or, over-use? – of FLING in all its forms. [CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE] I have a few favorite words I fling around too freely and frequently as well. Tessellate and all its variations. I actually have to search everything I write and delete it, so frequently do I use it to try to describe a character’s perception of reality.
- NOW, THE MEDICAL SHIT (so to speak) . . .
After eleven days of what seemed like dysentery, by this morning I was feeling that headache and chill thing one gets from dehydration. TMI ALERT: nothing has stayed in my body for more than an hour or so for the past eleven days and the exiting has been rather urgent. I’ve not had a fever and until this morning had not experienced cramping or pain, but, when I woke up today, my abdomen/stomach/insides were just exhausted-sore from all of this and I knew I was getting weak. So, after doing what I needed to do today, this afternoon around 1p.m. I called my so-called Primary Care Physician.
HA! Long-short, when I said I needed to see someone I was told the next available appointment was two weeks from now. I expressed dismay and alarm and explained the symptoms I’d been having for eleven days. I was then lectured that one should never have diarrhea for more than two days without seeing a doctor. I said, “So, you’ll fit me in?” Well, no. The absolute EARLIEST they could see me would be “late next week, maybe.” I said, “So, let me understand, I should have called you after two days because that’s as long as I should have projectile diarrhea without seeing a doctor, so then you could tell me you would see me in two weeks?” She was not amused. She suggested I go to a clinic-type place or emergency room and follow-up with them when they could fit me in. I suggested – well, never mind.
I went to a clinic-type place. I was seen immediately. Upon hearing my symptoms, the nurse lectured me that I should have seen my doctor after two days (DOES EVERYONE IN THE WORLD KNOW THIS TWO DAY DIARRHEA RULE BUT ME? WAS I ABSENT THAT DAY IN SCHOOL? Or, more likely, high?) and furthermore, “this sort of thing requires a lot of blood tests and other tests and we don’t do those here. You should go to your regular doctor.” I explained that my regular doctor had instructed me to come to them and … well, she huffed and puffed and wrote my (increasing) blood pressure down and went on her way.
The marvelous nurse practitioner arrived shortly. Loved her. We talked for forty-five minutes. She was great and treated me as an equal, intelligent partner in my healthcare. She was the first one to ask why I had waited eleven days to do anything. Because she was not judging, I answered honestly.
- I am afraid and distrustful of the medical profession as a result of the years I spent working on health insurance claims; and
- I was losing a half pound to a pound each day – I weigh less than I have in years and am close to my goal weight.
And still, she didn’t judge. She understood my hesitance to do tons of testing – not really what they do there anyway – and my irrational fear of needles, and so, together, after many more very personal questions about my habits and my life – in particular all around the time this started – we arrived at this: she would prescribe two antibiotics usually used for the things it seemed I might have and we would hope these knocked it out. If not, I would follow-up with my primary care doctor for all those tests and such I hate so much and have managed to avoid.
So, here I am, first time in ten years taking antibiotics. Flagyl and Cipro, both of which in just the sort of nonsensical, contradictory way that medicine works, can have the side-effect of causing diarrhea. Go figure.
In any event, need to go to bed – although the massive amounts of water and Gatorade I have been ingesting as instructed to undo my dehydration will no doubt cause me to wake every hour or so for a trip to the bathroom. Oh well . . . until I can manage a hotel room of my own, guess I’ll have to make do.