i've been infested.
a horde of rodents has gathered, restless, ready, clawing the sides of my stomach, tunneling through my small intestine with incisored insistence. eventually they collapse into furry balls, nestle against each other in an exhausted lump of love, and i am able to stand up straight, walk and have a thought that isn't totally underscored, like some discordant russian melody, by clashing and startling pain.
but they are relentless buggers, awakened by my slightest stir. they erupt with aimless energy; drunken direction, flailing their pronged paws around with a puppy's poise, clumsily clutching at my insides for balance, scraping my pink, pulpy walls to angry shreds as they collapse onto my stomach's floor.
no, they do not rise with the feigned humility of cinema's polished princesses, so precious in their collection of the gleaming, golden grail of their bubbled world - gummy, latex-slick walls i cannot pop with heavy longing or piercing envy. they project a world of morning glorious health, tastefully glowing with sunrise dew until the fabulous makeup artist backstage limp wrists them dry with a frantic, rice paper pat.
this vermin has burrowed my insides with the dedication that chipped our cabin's sandy compound into an 18-hole course.
except up here in the foothills, burrows are called ulceric stomach abrasions.
with every breath i take, they talk back, nattering non-stop at commercial-level volume, screeching with "buy! buy! buy!" intensity. bent over in surrendered spasm, i am unable to change the channel back to regular scheduled programming.
diagnoses whirl faster than a rebellious child gleefully orbiting, in self-imposed exile, the glassed world of a revolving door. with guerrillaed rage, i jam my foot into his joy, watch his face smash up against the glass, as he drips to the floor in a heap and scream,
"WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!?"
and we spin from burst ovarian cyst to intestinal infection to ulceric stomach abrasions...
with a terrorist's tempered patience, i calmly lock and load a congress-approved AK-47. then i shoot them all in the head. one. by. one. stilling their envied exuberance into the deep, deafening silence of the desert, where i lay them neatly in a row - releasing my frustration with a yell heard only by the nocturnal critters i tiptoe to avoid. i bend and calmly explain into their blood-stiff ears, with a whisper dripping with the residue of release, that i boiled all my rage down to a resentful powder, packaged it into silver slugs and greased them with my juicy kiss of death.
i revere every new drug prescribed with lip-biting anticipation, wiping away rabid froth with the back of a shaky hand. fingers too twitchy, palms too sweaty to touch 'n tweet my excitement. could this be the magic pill? the cure worth blitzing social media with abbreviated, exclaimed astonishment?
[LMAO!!! LOL!!! WTF!!!]
could this pill rank in astonishing, headline-howling revelation with other proud and popular pills?
the 28-day, anti-catholic circle game. the moldy cure-all. and the little blue pill that could.
my bff is a rubbery analog of the wine bottle, filled not with irony, but boiling hot water branded onto my tummy wherever i lay my hate.
an accidental tourist to my body, i gypsy around from doctor to doctor, test to test, unable to firmly plant the flag of decisive diagnosis upon the rocky, cratered surface of my insides.
under health arrest, i drag a monitoring device like anklet, weighted down by accumulating visits and tests as charms; bitterly collecting those i can't unclasp, rubbing at the putrid green tarnish of the undiagnosed.
...connect the ER to the CTscanwithrectaldye to the abdominalultrasound to the bloodwork to the gynecologist to the perinatologist to the pelvic/abdominal4Dultrasound to the nephrologist to the gastroenterlogist to additionalbloodwork to another gastroenterologist to the breath test to the parasitetestbywayofstoolsample to furtherbloodwork to backtothefirstgastroenterologist to the endoscopy to 7 different medications to the upperGIxraywithbarium scheduled for the 12th...
with this list as crayons, we draw no conclusions, only a crazed, random line with no real start and no real finish.
behind the smiley, social media wallpaper i plaster with heavy shoulders and kneading hands, there is fear. yes, shake out all the poetry and pronouns and what you have is a girl, a little red-haired girl, who is scared. and in pain.
and feels jipped.
if you "forget" to schedule your yearly physical - you are lucky.
if you watch Grey's Anatomy, House or ER and think it's entertaining - you are lucky.
if your pharmacist doesn't know your name - you are lucky.
over 31 years, i have built up a collection.
in my velvet, drawstring bag i have collected, as glassy marbles, physicians, soothsayers and healers, all valuable and unique in their own way.
[nephrologist, neurologist, urologist, gynecologist, perinatologist, transplant surgeons, nutritionist, opthamologist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, dentist, psychiatrist, therapists, tens of technicians, dialysis and rehab.]
i am proud of my collection, and the various respites from chronic illness and pain it's yielded. but today, the sack is drawn shut. and the month of february is filed under "another one bites the dust".
because the irony in treasuring such a valuable collection is that today, there is no respite.
i do not have my health.
and my trigger finger's itchin'.