My friends, I am currently afflicted with pleurisy. Pleurisy, you say? YES, PLEURISY. And while other, more exciting illnesses like H1N1 and gonorrhea hog the spotlight, the motto for this affliction should be “Pleurisy: it IS a real sickness. YES, IN THIS CENTURY.”
I think that this (hilarious and old-sounding) illness does NOT get enough airtime, and so I stand before you today, armed with a (fake) Q & A to inform you all about pleurisy. I also feel that pleurisy is precisely the type of affliction that you’d expect to befall a fusty old dowager at the turn of the century. I mean, remember An American Tail? And more specifically, the fancy lady mouse named Gussie Mausheimer, who was all “wewease the secwet weapon?” OF COURSE YOU DO. Well, the minute they said “pleurisy” to me, for whatever deranged reason, THAT IS WHO I PICTURED HAVING IT. And as much as I’d like for her to host the Q & A, her inability to pronounce most letters would undoubtedly grate after about two questions. So, I’ll have to resort to a totally made-up character for this fake Q & A. I shall name my fake dowager…Miss Vickie, after these here potato chips. Mmm, Lime & Black Pepper...
AHEM. This is my story. (Well, and that of Miss Vickie, the fake Victorian-era dowager):
Merciful heavens! I fear my corset must be laced far too tightly. I…It can’t be pleurisy, can it? Whatever would the symptoms be?
Good question, Miss Vickie! Put simply, the symptoms of pleurisy include, but are not limited to, waking up and feeling as though William “Fridge” Perry is sitting atop your chest, and a tiny Chuckie doll is simultaneously stabbing your ribs from within.
What is this…Fridge? “Chuckie doll”? Are you daft? Need I call the physician for a leeching?!
Sorry. Sorry! I’ll put it in your terms: It feels as though President Taft sits atop your chest, while a wee demon simultaneously stabs your ribs from within.
How dreadful! What did you do once you felt this pain?
Well, naturally, I consulted Doctor Google.
Oh! Is he new in town? Does he make a reliable, robust poultice? Tell me, how is he with his lancings?
Sigh…No, it’s a computer…inter--hey, word up, fake q&a lady: I’m not going to play “What’s that giant metal bird up in the sky?!” all day like we used to do to the actors when we visited the Magical Colonial Village, so get used to words like “hospital” and “x-ray.”
Oh. Surely. I’ll try to follow along.
Good! So, as things got progressively worse, I told J, and he felt very strongly that we should get me to the ER. We were in Long Island by my in-laws celebrating the Jewish holiday (Sukkot). Which: convenient from the standpoint of the whole emergency babysitting thing. NOT so convenient when taking into account that we don’t drive on Sabbath or the holidays (except in cases of emergency). And I hadn’t taken my wallet. Which contained my insurance card and license. BECAUSE WE DON’T DRIVE THEN! SO WHY WOULD I HAVE NEEDED IT HAHA IT’S NOT LIKE THERE’S EVER ANY OTHER REASON TO HAVE IDENTIFYING DOCUMENTS ON YOU HAHAAAA. *maniacal laughter*
As we drove along, I asked J if this hospital was any good. He looked up thoughtfully, and said “It's really closeby. But…I think this is the place where they dump gunshot victims.” I laughed, which hurt my poor ribs, but then it hurt even more when I realized that he was totally not kidding. A small pile of BLOODY ASS CLOTHS was just…sitting there, in the parking lot. Quelle fantastique!
I decided not to fret about that, and instead focused my attentions on the fact that I had no ID whatsoever, and for all they knew, I could be some teen hooker on whom J had taken pity, Eddie Murphy-style. I was all fired up, prepared to deliver a stirring speech along the lines of, “I know you have to treat me no matter what! I watched ER for 30 LONG YEARS!, but it turned out to be unnecessary. They allowed me to hand over J’s insurance card (he’s under my policy, and…I may as well be talking Swahili to my Canadian friends right now, yes?) and I was sent to triage, where I was asked if I was pregnant no less than four times. (Spoiler alert: AM NOT.) I was shown to a room where I underwent a bunch of tests which were inconclusive, and so I was recommended for a chest x-ray. I should at this moment point out that I was wearing nothing but a hospital gown. And so, when the nurse arrived to summon me for the x-ray and said “can you walk?” I assumed she meant IN THEORY. Not in ASS-FLAPPING-IN-THE BREEZE PRACTICE. I mean, I wrapped myself up in the gown and all, but seriously? Give me a robe! A second gown! A cafeteria tray! SOMETHING.
That sounds detestable!
Indeed, Miss Vickie. Indeed. My doctor came back to give me the news of The Pleurisy shortly thereafter. J and I just kind of laughed-- because—what? Pleurisy? --and then immediately decided to append “The” to “pleurisy” because it just made it funnier. I also took to referring to it as “the black lung” and “the consumption.”
How did you treat it? With a stout poultice, right?
ENOUGH WITH THE POULTICES. MY GOD. Sadly, there’s no real cure for viral pleurisy (which I had), other than Motrin, time, and rest.
I know not of Motrin, but I am aware of the concepts of time and rest. Huzzah! Did you spend the rest of the afternoon alternating between your solarium and sauna?
Funny story about that, Miss Vickie. J’s parents had taken the kids off to the synagogue, and the house was fully locked. They were not expected back for hours. J was wearing jeans, and I, pajamas and a toothpaste-smeared hoodie. (I HAVE THE PLEURISY, OKAY?) Not exactly synagogue material, you know? We finally found a basement window we could jimmy open, and I, um, climbed on J’s shoulder and sort of…smooshed myself through the laptop-sized window to gain access to the house. Apparently, we live in a CBS sitcom. As you can imagine, that felt awesome on the ol’ pleurisy-ridden lungs.
It is my hope that in sharing my tale with you, you can attach a face and a voice to the Rodney Dangerfield of sicknesses, PLEURISY. It afflicts real people. And there are dozens of us. DOZENS.