A little News From the Hill - Oh, my lovely friends I have had to back track a little to get it all in. And I'm about to hit the road again for South Carolina where I'll be with the beautiful people at Burry Books for A Moveable FEAST tomorrow night for a great evening. If you are on the coast - check it out and see if tickets are still available. Can't WAIT! Now - backtracking on the spider story so I can work my way up to the Snake story, the fireant story and beyond.)
Yes, I was bitten by a brown Recluse. In my bed. At five am. I was not amused. I whipped on the light having known that yes, something has stung me and stung me bad - actually, feels like it may still be stinging me. I suspected Scorpion. I always suspect scorpions. Let's just call it that cabin in the woods writing experience. Once your writing cabin becomes infested with scorpions but you are DETERMINED to stay for a month to finish your deadline you are always suspecting of scorpions thereafter. No Scorpion. I would have fared better. Brown Recluse. How do I know? Cause I found it skutteling on it's spidery legs across my sheet and I gently killed it. Yes, I actually, purposely did this. I killed it with a sock so that I would not obliterate it into a blob of spider goo so that it could be identified by a doctor.
THEN - for the perfect transport I grabbed a box of Michael Farris Smith matches from his book, The Fighter with the cover of The Fighter on the front, dumped matches, stuck the spider in said box and placed it in my crossover bag which I just about wear to bed. Because it is a true crossover that fits like you are crossing over the big ocean and climbing mountains and traveling through the Aussie outback. These are my requirements for the proper purse. Because someone might say - HEY mate! You want to go to Australia today- I've got an extra ticket? And I won't even have to say, wait let me get my purse because I'll be wearing it. But I digress.
Oh, dead spider we will go, dead spider we will go, hi-ho the dairyo-deadspider we will go.
I thought of going to the emergency room at 5:30. But I had an important writerly conference call at 8:30 so I grabbed ice for bit, took Benadryl and drank extra coffee. Could not, would not miss that call. Hung up from call at 9:30 and walked out the door to the doctors. At first they asked, What makes you think it was a brown recluse? Then I pulled the matches from my purse and they were slightly confused by everything. They thought I was gonna light up. Which I can understand if you are sitting in the little room waiting too long after you have waited in the big room. THIS is a COFFIN I tell them and open the box. They are - impressed. Yes, That IS a brown recluse. And all the doctors confer to look at it. I am now The Fighter. I have earned their respect for killing and capturing the creature and bringing it in.Extra respect for not smashing it to smithereens.
The bite is on the inside of left arm. Right where one would receive a blood transfusion. I find all this evil and curious. I am supposed to be leaving in two days to drive across three states for a book luncheon event and to speak. To speak at a book luncheon event. There. That's better. As in - I'm not simply attending - I am the speaker. And showing up is highly favored upon the bookstore owners and the good people who have bought tickets. The show must go on I say. And something to the effect - DOC, you gotta hook me up with some antibiotics. I have read about these things. They tell me that they HATE to give me antibiotics because when the Zombies come and I really need them they won't work because I have built up a resistance. My arm is on fire like a hill of fireants are eating my flesh alive. I tell them I kinda think I need them antibiotics. They give me a tetnus shot. I kinda tell them I'm not leaving without some antibiotics. At this point they see the glazed, crazy look in my eye and consent because they have other patients waiting but me and that spider aren't going anywhere until they give me something. So, they concede and give me a weak antibiotic to take twice a day. Four hours later I call and tell them, JUST FYI - the red line is shooting up my arm to my heart! They tell me to take FOUR antibiotics and they will call in a refill. The weekend arrives. I call the hotline and say - you know, I think this thing is really getting worse. They tell me to go to ER or come into see them the next day. I always have things to do that preclude going to the ER. Like, I'm just gonna read this book and ice my arm and take 47 Ibuprofen and two Benedryl and look at this thing.
Next day. I go to the doctor. I PAINFULLY slide up my sleeve to my bicep. Any sort of thoughts of me saving antibiotics for the Zombie rush have now gone out the window. They order an antibiotic shot STAT and a STERIOD SHOT and call in MUCH STRONGER ANTIBIOTICS and ORDER AN ULTRASOUND at the hospital and SCHEDULE ME FOR BLOOD WORK.
"You guys know I got a thing to do right? Like I'm driving out of town tomorrow?"
Alone? they ask me.
"Don't be silly," tell them. "Of course alone."
My sister the nurse comes to look at my arm. I can tell she doesn't like it. Not one bit. And that she is in her stay calm mode. As in don't let the patient know how serious this is. She gives me instructions about - should this OPEN UP while you are on the road alone. (Actually, she didn't scream those words, she was speaking very softly, they just sounded like they were screaming) you need to wash it with this super -anti-fungal medicine from another planet and then PACK IT WITH THIS SPECIAL DRESSING I'm giving you and rub it down WITH THIS HORSE CREAM I GOT FROM TRACTOR SUPPLY. (I'm not kidding about any of that.)
MY SON, my funny, makes me laugh like nobody else tough as nails not much empathy for Mom's foibles son says - OH MY GOD! Do you want to lose your arm? Do you want to type with both hands? They should have sent you to a surgeon! That should have been opened up! You have to get that POISEN out! Do you know how serious this is???? And the most precious thing in the world is - he truly cares that his Mummy might become well, a mummy. He is worried about me and my having to type with one hand. Okay, he is worried that I am gonna die.
MY OTHER SON who just flew in from some television photo shoot desert thing says and calls me on facetime video and I answer in the dark because I have been up all night in pain with spider bite says - HEY - and I can see his face clear as day because it's day but I have glorious CRAIGSLIST BLACK OUT CURTAINS THAT ARE A SHADE OF EGGPLANT THAT I LOVE AND HAVE HAD FOR FOUR YEARS AND WILL NEVER GET RID OF - pulled because of the light and the night and the spider bite - and he says - MOM!!! WHY are you in the dark?????? And I say, 'because of the spider bite and I've been up all night in pain" and he says - What spider bite? You got bit by a spider? And then I say some stuff and love you and hang up. Then I text him a picture of the spider bite arm. And he text back - OH MY GOD MOM THAT IS AWFUL THAT LOOKS TERRIBLE AND YOUR ARM LOOKS LIKE A ZOMBIE ARM!!! (The Zombies. Always the Zombies.)
And these are guys who have been to war multiple times and they are both tough guys and so I appreciate the level of their concern. And I got to hit the road cause I'm a writer and there are people actually waiting who have bought tickets to see me and hear me talk about my book. Imagine that! I am not paying THEM to sit there and listen to me they have actually paid to listen to me talk about a book I wrote and want them to buy that they are buying. Yes, I'm going to take my antibiotics and my ice pack and I'm going to go be with them and tell stories.
So I'm like some lone cargirl cowgirl driving down the road signing, Me and my spider-bite . . . hihohiho - But it's more like Lone Desert Highway, cool wind in my hair - Cause my air is still broke in my car and I drive with all the windows down doing 80 and when I stop and get out people think I have purposely styled all this hair JUST LIKE THIS BECAUSE WHY ELSE WOULD SHE WALK AROUND WITH ALL THAT HAIR STICKING OUT. But they don't realize -
No, that woman is on medication cause her arm looks like the Zombies got her and she looks slightly crazy so we not gonna mess with her. This is true. People don't mess with me. Because they have a sense that all hell will break loose or there will be a Holy Ghost revival rain down and they just don't know but they know its something strange, something not just ordinary right there about that one.
Lone woman, ice bag on left arm where it looks like I had a bullet wound by some Steampunk Dystopian space gun. And I'm trying to ride this horse to the next town and make it before sundown.
The drive is 4000 hours away. I think I feel the fever coming on. The sun is setting and a storm has whipped up on the Maggie Valley side of the mountains. But the show - the show must go on because it's about the power of story. This thing That is in my blood. More powerful than spider. Full of light and not of shadow. It's about brining the story home. And sharing it with the incredible people who support authors and celebrate new novels and memoirs, these offerings of words on paper.
Wishing you incredible, beautiful ordinary days.
All of it. The clean underwear and the dirty underwear. The bad underwear and the Calvin Klein favorite underwear. Last night we came home and he had gotten into the trash and looked like this (Kevin stand in because he now has more hair and his eyes are much prettier and amber which makes it harder to scold him). I had a thought for just a second - Kevin might get into the trash if you leave it there but then I was trying to help mama out the door to the football game with her purse, her secret bag, my purse, and so forth and that's just more commotion than a brain can manage. I left the trash. I came home to this. But this is nothing compared to the destruction of my underwear.
You would think if you are down to two pairs of underwear and there is a pattern that you would recognize it and not do this again but not so. My life seems to run at LUDICROUS SPEED. Yes, ludicrous speed! So when I suddenly need to lock rescue dog Kevin in my room because he can be whack with his little odd wire loose and there is twenty seven and half people in the living room and some of them are small children screaming and running around with sharp things part of my little brain says - you know - it'd would be a good idea to lock Kevin the rescue in your bedroom. So I run upstairs with him and do that. The part of my brain that says - You know, he has eaten ten pairs of your underwear so you might just want to close your closet or move that basket of clean clothes somewhere else. NO! That part does not speak at all as I am running back down the stairs. It kicks in when I go up to let Kevin out and all the wild little wolf pack are gone and he is standing on a mountain of rags that were previously underwear with all the important middle parts in tact.
I want to yell BAD DOG!!! Very BAD Dog! But Kevin the Rescue has heartworms and is going through treatment and supposed to be taking it easy and I don't want to give him a heart attack even though right now he is sitting in the middle of all the destroyed underwear like he is Jackson Pollock and has gone on some wild, artistic binge liberating me from all my contraints and is darn proud of it - so I say, Yes, of course, this is all my fault. I should have prepared better for this moment.
Which led to the GRANNY PANTY incident.
I had a doctors appointment to follow up with my real doctor because I had gone to the local clinic when a forty eight hour virus tried to kill me and take me out of this world by making me throw up my toes while at the same time make me feel that eight gorillas were playing ping pong with my body as the ball and I went to clinic and climbed up on the table and the nurse turned the light out while I curled up on the table. She said she was keeping it out of my eyes but I think she was trying to ease the moment the doctor walked in and saw me so he didn't scream. So he says - Oh, MY! And I grunt something. And, he says when is the last time you felt this bad? I say Sixth Grade because It wasn't hard to remember the last time you felt that bad. And he says you are very sick and I'll give you a shot so that you can keep from throwing up your toes and send you home. And oh, by the way - you have also caught Bronchitis from taking care of your Mama so I will give you some horse pills. Just see if you can keep those bad boys down. Then I fell off the table and left my car in the parking lot because sister got off work and came to get me because I couldn't drive home.
Then I went to follow up with my regular Doctor like I was supposed to and I was getting dressed and went to get UNDERWEAR but they were all rather artistic at that point and since I wasn't trying to go on some kind of radical match.com date I thought I'd just go downstairs and borrow some clean undies from my Mom so I say Hey Mama - Kevin ate my underwear and she says AGAIN? and I say yes, and I think she is trying to tell me, You should put up your underwear . . . when I grab an old pair of hers that is white and stretched out and come up to my arms pits. And Then I go to the doctor on my lunch hour so they can pat me on the head and send me home.
The doctor says, I see, when I tell her about the virus and the bronchitis and the coughing and she says now - take off your clothes -all but your underwear and get on the table. I try to tell her this is not important and she just acts like a doctor and leaves the room like I will do what she says. So I take off my clothes and put on the paper and climb up on the table while she talks in the hall to a nurse about another patient for a looongggg time which she doesn't normally do but I keep thinking - well, that person must be very sick and even though I am on my lunch hour and really in a hurry I will be patient so I sit on the table cross legged Indian style with the paper around me and I realize at that moment I am wearing white granny panties that come up to my armpits and bag around my drethers and that I want the doctor to not think I just don't care anymore that I haven't given up all hope of romance. But then she comes in with her scope and tells me to breath and breath some more and in and out breathing and I almost pass out so she says - Let's take a break. So I stop breathing. And then I breath some more and she tells me I have Pneumonia and she is giving me STRONGER HORSE PILLS. And because I find out that I have PNEUMONIA which my grandmother always said - then you will get the Pneumonia and die. No one in my grandmothers lifetime ever seemed to get the Pneumonia and survive I realize that I could die with my mother's granny panties on and it's all because I rescued Kevin and he eats all my underwear.
And I was late for work so I forgot to tell my doctor about this and I'm sure now she thinks I just don't care.
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