It’s been 9-10 hours days at the dayjob this week even though I was knocked out for a lot of last week by some kind of lung pox. The occasional cough and sneeze hasn’t stopped karma from arranging things for me to work 9-10 hour days. I’ve been trying to drink plenty of fluids, per the advice of the medical professionals surrounding me. Sort of. Okay, maybe this wasn’t what they had in mind.
I’ve become what I have beheld — in this case, my old high school band director who would regularly accumulate coffee cups of varying levels of fullness on his desk (and cigarette butts; it was the ’80s). There’s really no reason for me to have all this fluid on my desk. The sad part is, the coffee is what took my mind back to high school band and not the old Chicago album I had playing when I snapped this.
Anyway, I’m at lunch this second, sitting at a table next to a group of four students who are just chattering away. Writer Me wants to transcribe every word; the stuff I’m hearing is fiction dialogue gold. But not today. Today, I’ll just sip my coffee (that WON’T be going back to my desk) and soak up the fluid of stories gushing out next to me. Somehow, this stuff is actually making me feel a little better.
|From “An Everyday Horror Story”
by Harvey Pekar.
Art by Gerry Shamray.
Whatever lung pox I had that led to two weeks of paroxysms of coughing has messed up my voice. To clarify, it’s messed it up for an additional week after the coughing is now more or less under control. I’m starting to wonder if it’s one of the two(!) inhalers I’m on. I’m this close to having to having to use one of my Field Notes notebooks to write things out instead of speaking them.
Anyway, it reminded me of a story in Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor (issue 5), “An Everyday Horror Story,” in which our man has a long bout with laryngitis and it starts to do things to his head.
I’ll tell you, I’m starting to relate. It’s not just the voice loss, but these weird muscle spasms I’ve been getting lately.
I try to avoid soliciting curbside consultations from the medical professionals I work with, but a lot of them are just generally helpful by nature. So the other day, some of them dropped some knowledge on me. Now, I knew the muscles that were spasming (my intercostals) are the ones I use to cough but what I didn’t realize is that the reason they can take a long time to heal is because they can never truly rest, seeing as they’re the same muscles I use to breathe.
That’s what’s messing with my head. My voice I can rest, but I can’t stop breathing. Talk about feeling like a supernatural force is messing with you. It’s bad enough fighting my own procrastination, which I do every day. It’s even harder when you can’t talk and have trouble moving, or even sitting. But I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, really. Harvey got his voice back. I’ll likely get my voice back (gonna call the doctor again, though). My intercostal muscles will get better. Maybe I’ll get my groove back, too.