Fever Dreams & Hallucination Chill
God bless science.
On Thursday I was back home from the Clown Factory and in bed with a fever before ten am. I had gotten in around 7:15 for a meeting and felt fine but by 8:30 I was absolutely shagged. An hour later I was being pushed out the door. I pretty much slept for the rest of the day, waking up at seven am on Friday, feeling like hell. My throat was as swollen and raw, I had soaked the bedclothes with sweat and was shivering. Calling in was a baffling ordeal. I couldn’t eat or take my meds. I was able to drink water and got myself somewhat hydrated and drove my ass to the doc in the box around the corner. This is what it is like for Americans who have decent health insurance coverage; I have a primary care physician but he’s not in on Friday so I didn’t even bother calling. The doc in the box is connected to a great hospital and I had little wait and friendly care. The nurse took a culture and ten minutes later the doctor came in and looked at my throat. He said it was a particularly ferocious case of strep and that straight up penicillin was the gold standard and that if I didn’t feel better in a day go to the emergency room. Because I am blessed to have a job with bennies all I had to do was wave a card and nobody asked me for money at any point.
Well, obviously I’m not in the hospital. But I did get worse before I got better. I got the penicillin down with the most essential of my daily meds and crashed in front of a seemingly endless run of ‘Parks and Recreation’ (I just loaded the first three seasons onto my PS3). Then, when night fell, I dragged myself into bed and the dreams came marching in from every corner of the darkness bending me inside out and all around, falling through spiral timewise segues into sigue sigue sputnik, seguir? Then, awakening in the vividity of Oz Park on a midsummer day I spun dancing over the heads of the assembled multitude of my beloveds, all adorned in their finer finery and my brother the firefighter on my left, tall and radiating calm brave strength, his noble bearing perfectly revealed and his wife my sister ahead of us a winged Valkyrie in golden light and on my right my brother the musician and artist and teacher walking with his own flock his smile beaming across the world our parents carry the grandchildren who frolic and jump from each of us like monkeys and in my arms is a child that is not my own about whom everyone has a question for which there is no answer and he is so beautiful and from him radiating golden light, and behind my parents filling the park is everyone I’ve met and many others I do not now know but they are of the beloved. And I walk north up Lincoln avenue and Netheria is next to me in a black lace gown with purple roses and a top hat and she is pointing to a storefront where Cab Calloway and his band is playing a show, and we listen to him sing the Ghost of Smokey Joe and this is when I notice how much my dad looks like Jor El and my mother like the Virgin Mary. And she is talking to Kenny, who is wearing a monks robe. And I am explaining to my brother in his golden fireman’s helmet that this is the music district and I point out one of my friends behind a window playing cello between Rostopovich and Yo Yo Ma. He sees me and is by my side explaining himself to my brother and then I am describing a costume I want to design for him to wear in a performance of a play I am writing which consists of these huge batlike wings that are attached to his arms and move as he plays, the costume puppet would be twenty five feet tall and be lit from below and he would be at the edge of the stage playing the Devil’s Sonata. And then we were walking up through narrow side streets and then through alleyways and backyards, and I peered ahead through some trees and I saw a barbecue with baseball game in progress. And the people were very nice and the food was delicious and everyone had a very nice time. There is so much more detail I could convey but our dreams are never really interesting to others. I just want to get across that fourteen or so hours later I remember it all more vividly than Parks and Recreation.
I woke up so soaked in sweat that my hands were pruned as if I had been in a bath too long. Not just my fingers. My hands. But my fever was gone. Showering has seldom been so glorious nor doing laundry so satisfying. I just finished Winston Grooms excellent ‘1942‘ and thinking of men on the Bataan Death March running fevers, sick with dysentery while being laid flat by my small sufferings put in perspective for me. I am so grateful to live in this place and time.