09 October 2011

Did I Leave You Hanging?

So it’s been a while, eh? I’ve had a lot going on and though I tend to share personal stories here (much to my wife’s dismay – who, by the way, has told me she is willing to offer her services as editor for my blog. Apparently she has issues with my grammar and spelling. Me?!! Imagine that.) I can’t share everything. Legal crap and all. But what I have been going through is similar to something that I have been through and wrote about before. After talking to a good friend tonight who is going through a similar situation, I thought I would repost the story here. It’s not one of my best blogs, to be honest, but one of my favorites. I’d like to dedicate this to Stephen, to my on-line medical expert Seth (Doc), and Aaron who reminded that you have to actually 'post' shit to your blog once in a while. There is some truth to the saying ‘Misery loves company.’ I like to think I’ve been in some pretty damn good company.

I have discovered something. Something we need, all of us, to find a way to utilize. I firmly believe it could put an end to war, bloodshed, and loss of life. Some of you may say, “That’s nothing new.” when you hear what I have discovered and you may be right. It’s what we can ‘do’ with it that has yet to be explored. So gather ‘round and listen up and for the love of God, don’t let this information fall into the wrong hands.

Now, I have to be careful, because this is a very powerful thing I am about to lay on you. To quote Ben Parker, “With great power comes great responsibility.” So, I will try not to hit anyone with friendly fire. I believe I have stumbled upon what may be the greatest weapon of all time. What is truly wonderful about it is that no one gets killed or maimed. I will admit, it has the potential to be physically debilitating, but it is only a temporary side effect.
What I have discovered is that each of us has the ability to send any living human being into a seizure-induced coma. Not with nerve gas or bio-weapons, but with words.
It’s true. I swear. I personally have watched as people slipped away, right before my eyes, only to return from the Land of Nod with no memory of how they slipped away to begin with.
At first, I thought perhaps this was some epidemic. A virus. The Bird-Flu. People all around me were slipping away. To watch them suddenly overcome was horrifying. It would always begin with a slight eye twitch. Then their entire head would begin to twitch. Persistent clearing of the throat quickly followed this as if their tongues had swollen to some unimaginable size. I would ask if they were okay and they always stated they were fine, so I would continue. That would be when they begin to foam at the mouth. This was quickly followed by the eyes rolling back in the head. Before you know it, they were on the ground, twitching and spazzing. This site would last for a few seconds, but seemed like hours I can assure you, until they were still. There they would lie, comatose, for at least three minutes. I have seen a few stay that way for as long as an hour, but those cases are rare.
I can’t tell you, when this first started, how many I leapt upon, trying desperately to shove my fingers into their foaming mouths in an effort to keep them from swallowing their tongues. I damn near lost an index finger and thumb the first time.
I could find nothing in the news or on the Internet about this. No signs that a strange epileptic-virus was spreading across the land. Yet, people continued to fall victim all around me. I ran into a few people who knew of this phenomenon, and like me, they too were stumped.
It wasn’t until I saw the 68th person fall prey to this before my eyes that I realized what was happening. I was talking to my neighbor, a nice elderly fellow who retired some time ago. His wife is going through some medical things and you know how that goes. Pretty soon you are comparing surgeries and aches and pains…when it hit him. No sooner was he on the ground that I screamed for my wife. As she came running from the house and I had half my left hand in my neighbor’s mouth, I looked up towards the sky and begged God to make it stop. “Not my neighbor, too!” I cried. “Why God?? WHY!!!????”
My wife seemed concerned about the appendage I had now almost completely inserted into the mouth of our 70-something year old, spastic neighbor, but I calmed her when I told her it was okay. That’ this happens all the time’. ” I have experience, dear.” She said maybe I should wait for an ambulance and in my fear and frustration I snapped at her “Dammit, woman. Can’t you see that I am trying to get hold of the man’s tongue?!”
My neighbor’s wife came out her front door and went into hysterics. By now, her husband had stopped twitching and was in The Land of Nod. I tried to calm her and tell her, “He’ll be okay. Give him three minutes…maybe an hour, and he’ll be back.”
“Back!?” she cried. “From where?! What did you do?”
“He’s okay. He’s the Land Of Nod and he’s fine. It happens all the time.” I look to my wife for help but she has begun to slowly back up towards the house. I think I see her motion to the neighbor’s wife to come with her. I’m not sure, because I am so upset with God, you see.
Now, other neighbors are coming out. John, form across the cul-de-sac is the first to get to us. “John, you know what’s going on. Remember, the same thing happened to you?”
He nods as he stares down at the neighbor. “Yeah. Three weeks ago.” He looks at my neighbor’s wife. “It’s an epidemic, you know.” He turns to me and says “I’m sure glad you were there to get me through, neighbor.” Both of us try to choke back our tears. I put my hand on his shoulder and tell him “That’s what neighbors are for. We have to look out for one another in these dangerous times. I’ll always have your back, buddy.”
“Okay. Hold it right there.”
WE both turn to my wife, who is standing next my neighbor’s wife. Both of them are looking at us like we just toilet papered the front yard.
“What, dear?” I sniff. I am still bonding with John.
“What exactly was going on when this happened to John?”
John looks at my wife and then me and says, “I don’t really remember too much. We were talking over on my front yard and the next thing I know, your husband was helping me off the ground.”
My wife looks intently at me. Now there are 5 of our neighbors gathered on our front lawn. One, a new fellow that moved in about a month ago says, “It happened to me, too. Last Thursday. You’re husband saved my life.”
I blush and say, “It was nothing. You’d a done the same for me.”
When John chimes in “Why…you must be..immune.”
A hush falls over us in the cool afternoon breeze. Yes, I realize. I am immune. Perhaps…perhaps from my blood, MY very own blood, a vaccine can be made. I could cure my neighbors. My co-workers. The people at my church. My Pastor. The world! With tears in my eyes, I look to the sky and thank God for making me a vessel for healing.
“What the hell are you doing?” my wife asks.
“I am thanking God, dear. He has chosen me to..”
“Crap on a stick!” She snaps. “Will you tell me what exactly was happening when John..uh…”
“Had a seizure and went to the Land Of Nod, dear.”
“Uh-huh. Right. What you said.”
I tell her it was no different than what just happened here. We were standing around, shooting the breeze (No, dear, no one had a beer.) and it hit him.
“What were you talking about?” she asks.
“I really don’t remember. We talked about the kids, school…John asked me if I could Photoshop him a picture of Dick Cheney’s face on Elmer Fudd’s body…John mentioned he had to go in for a colonoscopy..I told him I just had one…then I was telling him about my spinal fusion..”
“Spinal fusion?” asks the new guy on the cul-de-sac.
“Yeah. Remember I told you. I was telling you last Thursday.”
My neighbor is starting to wake up as his wife bends to help him.
John looks at me as he takes his hand off my shoulder and steps back. “I think I hear my wife.”
“John?” I ask, “You know what I am talking about. I was telling you the other week about the spinal fusion in my neck…”
His left eye twitches as he clears his throat. “Uh…yeah, sure. I remember.”
I look around at everyone. “What? Are you all calling me a liar or something? I remember telling you, John. And you. I was just telling him when he started to have a seizure.” I reach to help my neighbor up. “Right? Remember I was telling you about my spinal fusion?” His knees give out and he starts to fall, but I catch him with his wife’s help.
I look at my neighbors who all appear to standing a few feet further away than they were. “What?? I am not making this up. I did tell John and him…” I look at John. “Wait. You don’t think…you can’t..I really did have a spinal fusion. I swear. Ask my wife. “ I pull down my shirt collar and point to the scar on the right side of my neck. “See?! This is where they went in.” Now I really can see them backing up. They try not to look at me, their heads twitching, clearing their throats. “That’s enough, dear.” My wife says softly. She reaches for me and I pull away. “You, too!?! You know I had a spinal fusion! I had to. Remember the back pain I had?”
John hit the ground twitching. I turn as I continue pleading with my wife, to see him on my lawn, helpless and foaming at the mouth. “I was in all that pain. My back and neck were killing me” I suddenly realize what is happening to John, when the new guy drops. Then my neighbor. Then his wife. Soon all five of them are sprawled across my lawn. Foaming at the mouth, eyes rolled back in their heads, twitching.
I fall to my knees and clench my head with my fists and scream “NOOOOOOOOO!”
I feel my wife’s hand on my shoulder as she leans down behind me and whispers softly in my ear. “Get a grip.”
I turn to her, tears running down my face. “What!? Are you that insensitive? Don’t you see what is happening? But I can save them. I’m immune. My blood…”
“ I must be immune, too.” She smiles.
This makes me jealous. I wanted to be the one to save the world. “You might be. Might. You’ll have to be tested.”
I don’t need a test.”
“How can you be sure? WE have to demand a test.”
“I don’t need a test to know I am immune to you.”
“Me? What are you…Are you saying I’m a carrier!?” I jump to my feet. “How dare you! I never knew you were so low as to try and hog all the glory for yourself. You just can’t stand it, that I may be the one who rescues mankind from this. You’re jealous. I would NEVER be jealous of YOU!. What is it? Are you afraid that I would become a celebrity? That I would get too much attention?”
My wife just smiles and shakes her head.
“I know what it is, woman. You’re afraid of her, aren’t you?”
“Who?” My wife laughs mockingly.
“You know. HER. You’re afraid she will come and steal me away from you. That she will whisk me off to some third world country to help people there as well. That she will fall madly in love with me and you will never see me again.”
I place my hands on her shoulders. “Don’t worry, dear. All the Angelina Jollies in the world could never steal me away from you.”
“Okay. I’ve heard enough.” She brushes my hands away. “Listen up, ‘Brad’. You are not the cure, you are not the carrier. You are The Cause.”
“Haven’t you noticed that every time someone goes into one of these fits that you are in the middle of telling them about your bad back?”
This is where my world caved in. The wind stopped. The birds ceased singing. My awaking neighbors were gathering behind my wife staring at me accusingly. My elderly, retired neighbor kept spitting and asked if I had been chopping garlic recently.
“How many times have I told you not to go into detail about your back?” On the word back, John’s knees buckle slightly. “You can talk about root canal, colonoscopy’s, hernia’s, anything you want with your friends. But you know I told you that the whole back thing was off limits.”
I look at her. “But..”
“No buts. You can ‘mention’ the surgery. You can even explain about the donor bone and plate. But you cannot talk about the back pain, neck pain, what you can and can’t lift, wether or not you can bend,” I hear one of the neighbors moan and she turns to them and apologizes. She looks back at me and says, “Forget it. You cannot mention the back at all. Got it?”
“What about Lee Braden? He doesn’t have seizures.” I have her now.
“That’s because he had had lower ..” she spells it, out of respect for the neighbors “B-A-C-K surgery. He’s immune to you.”
After my wife apologized to all the neighbors and made me apologize…and then had me call up my co-workers, half our parish, our pastor, and the teenage girl at the Wal-Mart photo counter and apologize, I sat down at the computer and started to work on John’s ‘Elmer Cheney”. I thought long and hard about what had happened, and it hit me.
If we could find a way to broadcast the stories and complaints of people like me who have endured you-know-what pain, let’s say, across enemy lines, we could end war. Imagine entire battalions of soldiers falling to the ground in these seizures as we ran in and disarmed them all. WE would no longer need bullets, bombs, land mines or missiles. Just words. Just thousands of people falling to the ground and totally helpless for 3 minutes to an hour. When they awoke, they would be unarmed and unaware of what happened. Having no weapons, they could all just go home to their families and live in peace.
Why, they could use this new power in hostage situations, bank robberies and even..my God, even at soccer riots.
And it wouldn’t have to be someone who’s as bad off as I am to do the talking. Why, anyone who’s ever even HAD back pain could do it. Although, I must say, my story would be very effective. You see, by the time my pain was bad enough to consider surgery, it was so intense…
Hey, are you okay?
You want a glass of water?
No? You’re all right?
As I was saying, the pain, right about here was like someone took red-hot poker and had just shoved it under the vertebrate. I couldn’t turn my head. At all. I swear.

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