An Important Thing that I Forgot

I don’t know if it’s Alzheimer’s or Dementia or if this is just something that starts to happen when you turn twenty-seven, but I can tell that I’m getting more forgetful lately or maybe it has been going on a lot longer and I just don’t remember, but either way, something a change needs to be made, because the consequences of my forgetfulness are becoming more severe. Like yesterday for instance, I forgot something that had the potential to impact my life in a very negative way. Yesterday I woke up at 7:30 feeling good, having gotten to sleep in until the time I normally leave for work, because it yesterday, it was my short day at the bank. You see, there comes a Tuesday once a month where I only have to work three hours at my job, solely because I am scheduled to work that coming Saturday and cutting my Tuesday short is just a way to prevent me from getting overtime pay. Short Tuesday is my absolute favorite work day of the month, because it’s almost like another day off; I don’t have to go in until eleven and I get to leave at two, and for the most part, it just flies by, and yesterday was no different. I left the bank a few minutes after two, sped home eager to make the most of my short day, and immediately flipped on both fans in my room, undressed and got into bed. There are few things in life that bring me as much joy as taking a nap in the middle of the day, maybe because that’s when I can be my truest and laziest self, so on a day when the opportunity for one of these sought after snoozes comes about, I do everything I can to make the most of it.

The room was cool and I was buried under my comforter, just waiting for that sweet sleep to overtake me and deliver me to Dreamland where I longed to be, but then a thought popped into my head, and no matter how much I wanted it to go away, it was already planted in my brain and there was nothing I could do to get rid of it. The thought was something that I forgot to do at work, something that might get me fired if I didn’t fix my mistake. Due to not wanting to run the risk of breaching any kind of confidentiality or security confidence, I can’t go into the specific details of what I forgot, but it was something of a very important nature that really could have resulted in me losing my job. Luckily, I remembered, and still had an hour and a half until the bank closed so I could get back there and correct my mistake, however unfortunately, that required me getting out of my comfortable bed, getting dressed, and driving back to work. I texted my supervisor to let her know my mistake and that I was coming up there to do what should have been done an hour earlier, and then I was on my way. I drove about forty five minutes through traffic round trip for a task that took fifteen seconds to do, but it had to be done, and today I still have my job, which is a good thing, it’s just an unfortunate sign of the times to come since I’m already just forgetting really important things. I guess the upside is that at least I probably won’t feel bad for too much longer because I’m bound to forget this incident soon enough.

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Timeline of a Sick Day

What follows is the excruciatingly dull timeline of my sick day today. Enjoy.

3:58 am- I wake up though it’s not by design. My alarm isn’t set to go off for another two hours and thirty-two minutes, but here I am, awake nonetheless. My throat is killing me. I grab my water bottle from the bedside table and take a sip, trying to ease the pain. Bad move, the cold water hits my throat and the pain intensifies once I build up the courage to bring myself to swallow. I go to the bathroom and spray three squirts of Chloraseptic spray directly into the back of my throat. It’s the red kind, and it’s disgusting, but it’s what helped me many times before so I rely on it faithfully despite how much I hate the taste. I go back to bed hoping that the next time I wake up I’ll feel better, vowing to never again take for granted the act of swallowing something painlessly.

6:30 am- My alarm goes off and I switch it off. The pain is still there. I go into the bathroom for another hit of the Chloraseptic spray. Still disgusting. I make some hot tea with lemon juice, another attempt at getting my throat to quit hurting. The pain of swallowing keeps my sips short and spread out. The tea is room temperature before the mug is halfway empty.

6:48 am- I call my boss to tell her I won’t be coming into work today. I hate that phone call, probably because I’ve been traumatized from calling in sick at a previous job, only to have my boss yell at me before hanging up the phone. She asks if I’m going to the doctor, to which I have to embarrassingly explain that I can’t really afford it. My health insurance is terrible and each doctor visit costs me a hundred and fifty dollars, so unless I’m dying, it’s hard to justify spending that much money at the doctor.

7:15 am- My wife tells me goodbye and leaves for school. I lie in bed willing my throat to quit hurting, which of course doesn’t work.

8:00 am- I go to the kitchen and give the tea another shot, and again it gets cold long before the mug is empty, but this time I reheat it, willing myself to drink all of it. When that seems to have no effect whatsoever on my aching throat, I begin thinking about going to the doctor. I come to my senses, or lack thereof, and decide that I really can’t spend a hundred and fifty dollars for a sore throat.

9:30 am- I’m sitting on the couch listening to Geoff Calkins on local sports talk radio. I wish I felt like talking so I could call the show and weigh in on how I would feel if Mike Conley took a knee during the national anthem during a Memphis Grizzlies game and how I thought the fans would react. Would I boo him? Of course not, and in fact I would probably be inclined to take a knee in the stands along with him, assuming that there is enough room for me to do so from my seat in the nosebleeds, which I’m not certain that there is. From what I remember, there’s not really a lot of leg room near the top of Fedex Forum, but I would attempt it all the same. As for how the rest of the stadium would react, I would guess that a lot of people would be upset and a smattering of boos would reign down from the stands, but maybe I’m wrong. Ideally, as a sign of solidarity with the team and the cause that is the focus of the peaceful protest, the entire stadium would take a knee, but I just don’t see that happening. Anyway, it hurts to talk so I don’t call in.

1 pm- I’ve been asleep for the last few hours, thinking that maybe when I wake up I’ll feel like my normal, non-aching throat self. No such luck. I go to the kitchen and put some tomato soup on the stove, because it’s liquids only for me at this point. The Walmart brand soup is pretty terrible, but it doesn’t really matter because I don’t feel like eating anyway.

2:15 pm- I’ve been watching Game of Thrones and forcing myself to take sips of water every few minutes. It’s getting easier to swallow, but still the pain lingers. I get up and go squirt my throat with more Chloraseptic spray. The bottle seems more full now than it was earlier, like it’s taunting me with the fact that it will never run out, a never-ending spray bottle of disgustingness.

3:30 pm- I reheated the soup and have been eating it slowly. It’s still terrible but at least I’m able to eat something now. The throat still hurts, but it’s definitely less painful than when I woke up this morning, which gives me optimism going forward.

4:11 pm- I just finished writing out my day to this point, and if it’s possible, I think it was even more boring to write about than it was to live it. Here’s to a better tomorrow.

The Flu Shot

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Does anybody actually know if getting a flu shot actually works? I’ve gotten mine for the past few years, for no other reason than it was free, and I haven’t gotten the flu, but I don’t know whether or not that has anything to do with getting the shot or if I just have a superior top of the shelf immune system, because I don’t think that I’ve ever actually gotten the flu. I don’t think it’s genetic, because I remember family members being sick with it when I was younger. I remember my mom getting sick and having to take the medicine Tamaflu, and since her name is Tammy, it seemed an appropriate nickname for her. On the other hand, every time the topic of flu shots come up, there is inevitably a group of people who hold fast to the belief that flu shots don’t actually work, and in fact make you more susceptible to the illness. I think those people are crazy, but the truth is, I don’t really know. When I started working at Publix in 2014, it was the first time I ever remember thinking about getting a flu shot, since that was one of the perks offered up by the company, and I’m not one to let free things go unused. I don’t like shots, despite being in my mid-twenties, but I was torn, have someone stab in the arm with a needle, or let this free benefit go to waste. It was literally a last second decision, debating back in forth in my head on the day that the physician was at our store, finally deciding to do it and catching him just before he left. The shot wasn’t that bad, which is probably a good thing, since I tend to let bad experiences shape how I feel about certain things going forward, but this wasn’t one of those times, and the following year I got another flu shot, and then 2016 rolled around, and I wasn’t planning on getting one, but a trip to Walmart changed my mind completely.

It’s funny how a single trip to Walmart has the ability to influence and change your life in a way that few other things can, like before Walmart, I always looked down on store brand items, but one time my grandmother bought the Walmart brand cinnamon toast crunch, and it became my favorite cereal, and was far superior than the original name brand, or the time I went for a few groceries, and walked away with a new job having spotted the job application kiosk out of the corner of my eye as I went to the bathroom. Unfortunately the job never worked out, and I’m too old eat sugary cereal on a regular basis, but you see what I’m saying about how a single trip to this place can eerily impact the course of your life, and September of 2016, a year ago, was no different. I was walking past the pharmacy, probably to get Aleve, the only brand of medicine that seems to work on my annoyingly intense headaches that I get from time to time, and the only time I ever walk past the pharmacy unless of course I’m picking up a prescription. As I walked past, the pharmacist said hello and asked if I’d gotten my flu shot yet. I said no. The truth is I hadn’t even thought about getting a flu shot since I moved to Memphis and was no longer employed by a company that offered it for free to their employees, and I told the pharmacist as much. She asked to see my insurance card, telling me that most everyone’s insurance covered flu shots, which made my ears perk up immediately, the word free acting for me like the word “outside” does for my dogs, immediately grabbing my attention.

I obliged, handing over the card, and waited patiently while the information was being keyed into the computer to check on my credentials, half hoping I would be able to get the shot for free, the other half of me once again succumbing the voices within me telling me that needles hurt. I was covered, and since I was going to be kicked off my dad’s insurance at the end of the month, I figured the responsible thing to do was to go ahead and get the shot while I had the chance to do so for free. I sat down behind a little divider, separating me from the rest of humanity inside of the store, which I was more than okay with since there was about a twenty percent chance that the shot would sting and would start bawling uncontrollably, so privacy in this case, was a godsend. The pharmacist pulled out her necessary instruments to perform the procedure, a sanitizing alcohol wipe, a band aid, and the needle, setting them down gently on the TV tray that had become the makeshift operating table. She must have seen me wince at the sight of the needle, or maybe like a dog, pharmacists can smell fear, because she immediately started telling me about this new technology, something that made shots virtually pain free. It was a circular band aid looking thing that she stuck to my arm after it was sanitized. In the center of the circle was a see through film that the needle was supposed to be stuck through, and somehow, some way, that was supposed to eliminate the pain of the needle. I was skeptical. Unless that see through film had a very strong invisible pain killer on it that would attach itself to the end of the needle and hit your bloodstream and take effect immediately, I didn’t see it could possible stop the pain. She stuck the needle through and guess what, I was right. It wasn’t less painful, it was worse than any shot I’d ever gotten, and then, the cherry on top, a bump immediately appeared in the spot on my arm where the needle had been stuck, which wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t swollen up even more overnight and become unbearably itchy by the next morning. It was horrible, but I didn’t get the flu last year, so maybe it worked.

I just got an email this morning informing me that I can get a free flu shot this year thanks to the bank I work for, but last year’s experience has me feeling a little bit hesitant. I don’t really want to go through the pain and agony of what seemed to be a clear allergic reaction to the flu shot, especially when I’m not convinced that it actually works. Right now I’m leaning heavily towards not doing it. The worst thing that can happen is I’ll get the flu. I’ve still got more than eighty hours of paid sick time that’s going to be wasted if I don’t use them by the end of this year, so maybe getting violently ill wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Maybe I’ll find out in the coming months.

The Continuing Saga of my Wife’s Hurt Back

It had been a week since my wife’s first visit to the doctor for her back pain. After a surprisingly short time in the clinic, the doctor had concluded without a shred of evidence that my wife had a muscle strain, causing the unbearable pain in her back and her legs to go numb. She prescribed two medications, a steroid and a muscle relaxer, convinced that they would both relieve her pain, and heal her body, but they did neither, which is why I found myself crossing three lanes of traffic at the last second to get into the turn lane for this chiropractic clinic that my wife had found online. We opened the door to the clinic, the lobby was dark and empty, and the girl behind the desk said welcome to “The Joint.” That’s right, the fate of my wife’s back lies in the hands of a place named something that sounds more like a hip new restaurant or a local bar than a doctor’s office, but without many other options, we continued on inside and my wife filled out the seven pages of paperwork, which turned out to take longer than the actual time spent with the chiropractor.

While she was filling out the forms, a man in his mid twenties walked in and scanned a keychain at the front desk, as if he had security clearance at a top secret government facility. The scanner beeped its recognition and he took his seat. A few minutes later a doctor summoned him to the back, where loud noises ensued. It sounded like someone was picking a heavy table off of the ground from one end, then slamming down against a marble floor as hard as they possibly could. I feared for the man’s life back there, sure that he was being beaten to death, not that I made any attempt to help or avert my eyes from the book I was reading, but after a couple minutes of the mayhem, he walked back out into the lobby like nothing had happened. After a few minutes, my wife was told to go into the back to meet the doctor and the receptionist asked if I would be joining my wife, to which I politely declined, opting to sit in the lobby and strain my eyes reading “Story of a Sociopath” by Julia Navarro. Perhaps the story is about me, the man who refused to join his wife when she went to consult with the chiropractor, but I haven’t read that far yet.

After only about ten minutes, and some more of the crashing sounds, my wife returned, feeling better than she had in more than a week. The chiropractor told her that her alignment was off, that one leg was an inch longer than the other due to some sort of shift that had moved her spine slightly out of place, but not too worry, after a few more sessions, she was sure my wife would be healed. I have my doubts about the legitimacy of the practice, likening the chiropractor to the new age healer that turns George’s face purple in Seinfeld, but after two sessions my wife seems to be getting better and the pain has subsided drastically, so whatever the chiropractor is doing, seems to be working for the moment, and hopefully my wife will continue along this trajectory until she’s good as new, or at the very least, comfortable getting out of bed in the morning.

My Wife and Her Hurt Back

I’m currently sitting in the lobby of a building that looks more like a nice hotel than a walk-in doctor’s office, and watching Sports Center on a TV that is bigger than the one I have at home. I want to live here. As soon as I got off work today, I went home, picked up my wife and brought her here, to the Campbell clinic, so she can see a doctor about her back. I wrote last year about how she’d hurt her back working at Fedex, but luckily after a few days she was back to normal, and it never bothered her again, that is until this past weekend. Saturday morning she woke up with a terrible back pain, and no recollection of what could have possibly happened to have caused it. She took the dogs out to the bathroom before going to work, her daily ritual, and upon returning to the apartment, fell facedown onto the bed, tears in her eyes, due to the unbearable pain. I told her she shouldn’t go to work, but she, as she often does, didn’t take my advice, which usually works out in her favor, but this time would have been a smart decision.

Her back kept hurting throughout the day, and she had to keep stopping as she walked to her car after work, trying to regroup before continuing on in pain, once more. On the drive home her legs started becoming numb, more noticeably the right, which made it pretty difficult for her to drive home, taking great pains to move the leg which felt like a forty pound bag of flour, from the gas to the brake, and back again. She made it home safe, thankfully, but hasn’t driven again since that incident. Over the course of the last four days, the pain in her back and numbness in her legs has continued, to the point where she moves as little as possible because she can’t do so without excruciating pain. She hasn’t been able to go to work, but luckily today, her insurance came through and we are now at the doctor’s office seeking help.

We’ve been in here for only twenty minutes and she just got called back, so that’s a pretty positive thing, at least for me, being the type of person who hates waiting rooms and the people in them with a burning passion. I didn’t ask her if she wanted me to go back into the room with her because I was too busy typing and by the time I finished the sentence I was working on, and paused to ask, she was too far away to hear my question, so I think I’ll go try to find her. Be right back….Okay I found her, sort of. After being led through a maze of hallways by the nurse at reception, we arrived at the x-ray desk where another nurse just told me I could sit in the chairs (gesturing) to the right and told me my wife would be right out.

She’s finished with the x-ray and she and I are now sitting in the little room where the doctor should be arriving sometime soon. I don’t know what the diagnosis will be; my wife is guessing a pinched nerve, while I’m betting on cancer. The doctor just finished up, prescribing my wife pain killers and steroids (I always wanted to be married to someone like my childhood hero, Mark McGwire) and diagnosed her with a sprained muscle, and us on our way, not once acknowledging me, even in greeting as I sat in the room. I think she must have heard me tell my wife the thing about it being cancer and was not amused. Now we’re finally back home and my wife has her medication and I sincerely hope she starts to feel better very soon…It’s been rough on me having to help out around the house.

I Don’t Want to Get Old

A customer came into the bank today, someone my supervisor knew pretty well and they talked for a few minutes. We probably won’t ever see her again. The customer, an elderly woman, was being moved to Mississippi to live in an assisted living community, because she no longer feels comfortable living on her own. Recently she found herself in her car, waking up to someone tapping on her window at a stoplight, with no recollection how she ended up in that part of town. She had left her house that morning intending to go one place, but ended up somewhere completely different, causing her to come to the conclusion that she could no longer live by herself, so she’s giving her house and car away to her grandkids and moving to live closer to one of her sons, and while this is a very sad story, it’s not that uncommon. I had a man approach my window at work when I first started. He had thinning white hair with bruises and cuts all over his face. He walked slowly up to the counter where he withdrew money from his bank account. I had a nice conversation with him, and before he left, he asked if he could give me some advice. He told me three words, that I’ve been thinking about ever since, “Don’t get old.”

I have often thought about getting older, but the longer I work at the bank and see a lot of elderly people who struggle to do things that once came so easy to them, like fill out a withdrawal slip, add up the money they are trying to deposit, or even walk through the lobby, I can’t help but hope that I never reach that age. One of the saddest things to see, in my opinion, is an old person getting confused. They left their home knowing exactly what they wanted to do, but when they arrive at the grocery store or the bank, the struggle to remember why it is that they are even there. It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their independence, to live for so many years as an able human being, only to struggle to do basic things once they get older. I see the pain as they walk, the sadness in their eyes, as they try to accept that this is the way their life is now. I think a strong argument could be made for legalizing medically assisted euthanasia, because if you are constantly in pain, why should you be forced to continue living through it day after day.

The thought of dying is pretty scary to me, but the thought of living a life where I’m no longer able to do routine things, like drive or use the bathroom on my own, is even worse. I don’t want to die for a long time, but I hope that I’m lucky enough to do so before I come to despise living. Life is rarely easy, but there just comes a certain point where it gets so tough that it just isn’t worth it any more. I’m sure there are people out there who think that medically assisted suicide should never be legal, that it is a selfish act leaving loved ones behind to deal with the pain of loss, but I think it’s selfish to expect someone else to live in unimaginable pain, prolonging a life that will end eventually anyway, solely for the benefit of those around them.

Lying

I lie a lot, like every day. I’ve done it so much throughout my life that I hardly even think about it anymore, I just do it, and you know what? I really don’t even feel bad about it. I’m not sure that I actually ever did. Everybody lies, that’s a fact, so why shouldn’t I get to do it too? I was told growing up that lying was bad; every week I went to church and that message was hammered into my head time and time again, but still I couldn’t help myself. I was told that lying leads to more lying, which seemed pretty obvious to me, but supposedly that was supposed to keep me from doing it. The people telling me not to lie were hypocrites, they did it every day. Whether you want to admit it or not you lie too, and that’s just a matter of fact and there’s really no denying it.

Even the most sanctimonious people lie; Gandhi, Mother Theresa, the Pope, I know he lies constantly. Why is something that is so natural considered to be so morally wrong. Jesus said not to lie, but I’m willing to bet that in the days leading up to his death he did so on multiple occasions. I’m not trying to commit sacrilege, I’m just trying to expose the truth. Every human throughout history has been caught lying, and that doesn’t make them any less of a person. I actually look up to people who admit that they lie, rather than trying to hide this obvious truth. If someone says that they don’t lie I want to laugh in their face and call them a liar because I know with one hundred percent certainty that they do.

I didn’t wake up this morning with the desire to shed light on this subject, but over the course of the day it has eaten away at me, and I think it’s about time that the truth is out in the open. Just admit it, you lie as much as I do, maybe even more, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Lying is as natural to humans as eating, or using the bathroom, it’s something that we have to do to survive. Don’t you get it? You wouldn’t be able to make it in this world without lying, so I’m calling everyone to just be honest about it. I honestly don’t even remember the first time, but I know that in some way I was lying from the time I was born and now I continue that refreshing habit on a daily basis. The truth is about six to eight hours of each day I spend lying. I do so in the comfort of my bed as I sleep soundly. Heck, I’m even lying right now as I type out this blog about lying, because for me, maximum comfort is achieved when lying down. If this seems controversial to you then you are just lying to yourself because I bet at some point tonight, you too will lie in bed until it’s time to wake up in the morning.