Rebirth in Suburbia
It's been a week of torment, a week of tears and pain, trapped in this house of suffering. Last weekend was fine, but Sunday night I started feeling a pain in my throat. Monday morning it had turned from pain to agony. Every time I swallowed, tears were forced to my eyes. I was febrile and lay twisting my bed, praying that I wouldn't have to cough, for coughing elevated the pain to even more hellish levels.
Tuesday I knew I was going to be out for a long count. I went to work early, before others were in, so I could organize things and transfer them around without afflicting others. I went to the doctor, let him poke and prod and give me many "hmm's" as he looked in my mouth speculatively. Clutching a bottle of antibiotics, I made my way home, wincing and cringing at every accidental dry swallow.
I had long since lost the ability to speak.
Wednesday, the first sip of water that morning brought me to my knees and to tears. I was subsisting on a diet of mush - soup, applesauce, overcooked pasta. On the plus side, the Red Sox were winning.
Thursday and Friday saw minor improvements. I began to eat soft breads and an occasional soft taco. I still had to brace myself for each swallow, as it felt like I had broken glass lodged in my Adam's apple.
Friday was particularly difficult. It was, without question, the most beautiful day of the year. The dogs burst outside like kids on the last day of school, prancing and rolling and barking at birds, wrestling and chasing and napping in ignorant bliss. I watched from inside and only wanted to crawl back into bed.
Saturday... I felt better. I could swallow without wincing. And I thought to myself, "ENOUGH!" I made the decision as soon as I stood upright that I would work this damn plague out of my body. I would sweat it into submission. At 8:30 AM I rose, and with purpose I put on my work clothes - cargo shorts, beat up t-shirt, Red Sox hat, and I attacked my long-neglected yard. A yard filled with the detritus of a long winter and an abundant fall.
I raked, I shoveled. I dug up dead trees with a viciousness and force I did not expect. I hauled, I pulled and pushed and sweated, until seven hours later, I stood, hands on hips, surveying my handiwork. A clean, beautiful yard, grassy and with the flowers and buds bravely showing their faces. I choked on dirt and dust, and looked at myself. I was a wreck. I was literally dark brown with earth and grime and mud. My hands were ingrained with dirt. It was everywhere - at the corners of my eyes, between my teeth, in my pockets, in my socks. I stripped down to my boxers, gasping for air, hands shaking from my labors, and walked into the house, cranked the shower to "Scald" and stepped in.
I stood in the shower, letting the searing water tear into me, and it felt like a baptism. as brown water sluiced off of me, I felt the sickness finally release it's grasp, and eventually, I emerged, damp, with skin red and flushed, feeling like a new man.