It may sound horrible, but it’s true.
I’m laying here in this stiff, uncomfortable bed that feels like a bunch of nails prickling my back and sides. And it aches. Every part of me aches.
The doctors have been coming in and out of my room for the last several days. They keep poking and prodding me trying to determine what’s wrong. There’s nothing I can do to stop them. Louis and Clarence keep coming in trying to relax me. Reassure me. Make sure I don’t snap and “accidentally” hurt one of them.
The thought gives me occasion to laugh a bit. I don’t laugh much these days, so that rare opportunity certainly feels good.
But what kills me is that I don’t really know what the hell they’re saying. It’s like a completely foreign language to me.
I can understand the words of comfort… the terms they use to make me feel better and calm me down. These words and phrases have been uttered to me ad infinitum throughout my life. They may be in a foreign language, but you adjust. You hear something enough times and, regardless of the language in which it’s being spoken, you can eventually understand it. It’s purely contextual. The look on their faces, the way they approach you, the way they act during their examinations. There’s care and comfort in those actions.
You’d think I would like that.
Normally, I would.
Ah! See! He just mouthed “Big Red”! I know that one. And, let me tell you something, I hate that damn name. Everyone around me thinks it’s great. They love calling me that. Well, guess what? It’s not my name! Nobody asked me if they could call me by that name. Nobody secured my permission. I’d gnaw the lips off each person that called me Big Red if they’d just sit still long enough for me to wrap my teeth around their faces.
I’m laughing again. That’s twice in one day. Not bad.
He-e-e-ey! I have a name! It’s…
Oh great. There they go again. The docs just turned to my coach and my partner and started in with the gibberish. Big, long, confusing words that I’m not even sure they understand. And they’re all speaking the same language. Or so I think.
And they become very businesslike. That’s how I know I’m dying. They speak to me in terms of comfort and then talk very professionally to the people who are there with me. I get cut out of the loop entirely on this part of the conversation.
That’s never a good sign.
But what the hell do I know? I’m just…
Oh hell. Another shot! I hate these. And this one’s going right in my thigh.
DAMMIT! That hurt!
Yes, I can think of far greater pains. A shot in the thigh, in the grand scheme of things, is no big deal. But when you get several of these “lesser” pains all in relatively close sequence and proximity, it becomes a bit unbearable. And my legs are my life. Or “were” my life, as the case may be. They carried me to victory. They made me a champion. They made me famous.
I was a god.
Now this “god” is dying. And I’m only 30 years old to boot.
Time to just close my eyes and remember. Think back to the cliché’d “good ol’ days.” Hey, if it helps me get through this, why not?
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