Cough

Cough: (v) to expel air from the lungs suddenly with a harsh noise

“Wow. That’s a nasty cough.”

People have said that to me over the years and I to them.

It’s really sad that “cough” has such a bad reputation. Nobody ever praises it for any of its rehabilitating qualities. Once we hear a cough, it remains nasty in ourfunny wisdom on words that begin with a C
minds until it’s gone.

Of course, the reason it arrives is to help us.

Without the cough, our bronchial tubes and lungs would fill up with mucous and suffocate us. Would we like that better? Probably not.

Seems like we’re really obsessed with being critical of the cough. It comes along to remind us—to tickle our awareness—that things inside us need to be expelled. Otherwise we will never get well.

Once a cough arrives, it really is not trying to make us sicker, but would like us to get better as soon as possible, offering its hack to help out with the whoop.

But still…

We hold the cough in low regard.

Maybe it’s because deep in our hearts, we think anything that happens to us which isn’t whipped cream and candy to possess some level of injustice.

When people get sick and die, we complain—and often turn bitterly to the heavens and say, “Why did God do that?”

No one ever thinks to pose the question to the King of the Universe, “Why didn’t you send a better cough?”


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Come

Come: (v) to move or travel toward or into a place

I am tired.

Come.

You don’t understand.

Come.

I mean, I’ve been mistreated–beaten around.

Come.

Did I mention, I also feel sick.

Come.

Sick and tired and worn out.

Come.

I’ve tried everything.

Come.

I really don’t believe there’s a solution.

Come.

No one listens to me.

Come.

Maybe I should say, no one hears me.

Come.

People are sons-of-a-bitches.

Come.

I’m afraid.

Come.

I’m needing comfort and understanding.

Come.

What do you have to offer?

Come.

No–I want to hear the plan.

Come.

Matter of fact, I insist on seeing a contract, negotiating a deal, having long conversations about this and finding the perfect set-up for myself, so I don’t have to go through this shit again.

Stay.

 

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Chablis

Chablis: (adj) a dry white wine from Chablis, France.

Warning to all innocents and those easily influenced by the ramblings of raging writers. I am about to spew from my storage bins of persona
l prejudice, based upon my own experience. It is not racial, ethnic or gender-based.

It is an abiding distaste for wine. Or really, any alcoholic beverages.

When I was a young boy, I had bronchitis all the time–something my parents referred to as “the croup.” It produced this horrible hacking cough that sounded like I had run out of mucous and was banging the back of my throat with a ball-peen hammer.

The only medication the doctor recommended for my condition was Pertussin Cough Syrup.

It tasted terrible. It gagged me. Every time my mother threatened me with a spoon, bottle in hand, I tried to wrestle it from her, spilling the contents, in hopes that the family funds were too depleted to purchase another bottle.

So you can imagine how surprised I was when I went to a party with friends, and they asked, “Would you like a glass of wine?” I had seen people drinking wine in movies, and they seemed pleased with the taste, so I agreed.

Just imagine how shocked my friends were when I started to gag on the wine, insisting it was my old nemesis cough syrup.

They comforted me, saying that some people found red wine to be a bit strong, but that I would certainly like a white wine–a Chablis.

I didn’t.

Finally, at one party, somebody gave me orange juice with a little bit of wine and said, “Try this! It’s a spritzer!”

It was somewhat better–but still tasted like someone had left the orange juice in the sun for three days and was trying to pass it off as freshly squeezed.

Let us just say, I am not a drinker of wine, nor any kind of alcohol. I feel no self-righteousness about it; I don’t even think it makes me unique.

I just feel, if you’re going to taste something that rancid and foul, you better damn well be sick.

 

 

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Blister

Blister: (n) a small bubble on the skin caused by burning, or other damage.

Dictionary B

One of my favorite things to do is to recall the actions of my youth and recollect how in the moment they seemed absolutely logical to me, and now I view them as either hilarious or in abject horror.

When I was in Junior High School I played basketball.

About two weeks after starting the sport, I got painful blisters on the bottoms of my feet. If you’ve ever had blisters, you know they produce burning, stinging pain that just does not let up.

So after basketball practice, when nobody was looking, I developed this sadistic/pleasurable ritual. I took a shower, got my feet really wet, and then I poked the blisters with my fingernail and peeled them off.

It was sick and icky, but in some bizarre way, exciting.

But it’s also why my blisters never actually healed, and it took longer for them to turn into callouses.

I guess the message here is that some people have the patience to scab over and heal, and others, like myself, find joy in ripping off blisters.

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Biopsy

Biopsy: (n) an examination of tissue removed from a living body

Dictionary B

I got sick.

I mean, really sick.

There are so many times that we are convinced that we are ill or have contracted some mysterious disease, or contend that we are presently “under the weather” that we fail to recognize what it means to be in trouble.

The body is a great megaphone of its own condition.

In other words, when you’re ailing, every single part of your anatomy sends a memo, an email, and even tweets, “Danger.”

There’s little doubt.

I found myself in the hospital under the care of a lovely female doctor from China. She was beautiful in all ways. We immediately struck a chord of friendship, even though by cultural standards we had little in common. For some reason, she liked me, and I certainly appreciated and loved her for her soul and gifts.

She scheduled a series of tests. I could tell by her demeanor that she was worried that I had cancer and that we had caught it too late.

I will never forget lying on my hospital bed the night before my colonoscopy, alone in the dim lights with a few machines whirring and tweaking in the background.

It was just me…and me.

I thought about my own death.

I thought about dying soon.

I realized that to a barbarian fighting in Gaul in 32 B. C. that my death was insignificant, whether it happened next week or forty years from now. After all, what’s forty years to a Gaelic barbarian who’s been dead for over 2,000?

Of a certainty I was going to die. The question was, which ailment, disease, condition or speeding bus was going to perform the task?

Gradually, peace settled into my soul. It was a peace accompanied by an unexpected comedic, jovial sense of well-being.

For certainly, unless an angel of God was going to enter my bowels and produce a miracle overnight, what was in me was soon going to be made evident–and all I had left was the class and style that I could muster, to deal with the biopsy.

As it turned out, there was no problem and my young doctor came bouncing into the room with tears in her eyes, speaking half English and half Chinese, which I translated as “all is well.”

Yes, my friend, all is well until all isn’t well.

Between those two stations lies the possibility for some beautiful living.

 

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Bedridden

Bedridden: (adj) confined to bed by sickness or old age.Dictionary B

Perhaps the greatest problem with the word “sick” is that it always travels with its two companions: “tired” and “discouraged.”

So if you try to be sick but hopeful, it is very difficult.

For a very brief season I found myself bedridden due to illness. I will reserve the details of this confinement for another time.

But my main memory is that I was in a hospital on the fourth floor, looking out the window at life below me, and realizing that I had been extracted from it. Efforts at optimism, prospects of prayer and sensations to plan my future seemed pointless.

If I were going to escape the hospital, I would only find myself in a limited capacity, unable to pursue my dreams and travel around, sharing my heart.

Although the term “bedridden” refers to a physical position, it is not long before your brain, your spirit, your talent and your hopes lie down in submission. I was convinced that the things I had set out to do in my life were being “tabled” in favor of a “chair.”

I don’t know what shook me out of it. Maybe it’s because self-pity tried to smother me to death.

  • I fought back.
  • I disagreed with my own negative prognosis.
  • And eventually, I regained my life.

This is why on some nights when I feel particularly energized I find it difficult to sleep. The idea of reclining in a bed is not always a positive one to me.

And because of that experience, I will always believe that getting up is better than lying down.

 

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Anoxia

dictionary with letter A

Anoxia: (n.) an absence of oxygen.

I felt like crap, if by saying that, you mean a discarded pile of useless waste lying in the corner, needing disposal.

I didn’t know why.

I knew I was sick. That doesn’t help very much. Being aware of illness only makes you clamor for a quick solution to get back to normalcy.

Sometimes that’s possible. A good night’s sleep is often the perfect elixir. But I had several opportunities to sleep and felt no better.

So I went to the doctor, who sent me to the hospital, and the first thing they did was put oxygen into my nostrils.

I felt very stupid having tubes coming out of my nose.

They explained that my oxygen level was not sufficient for me to get the air I needed to recover from my physical ailment. I tried to argue, but after a while felt silly objecting to something as simple as a breathing mechanism.

It was astounding.

Within an hour, just having oxygen put into my body and having the levels rise, made me feel so much better. It gave me the will to want to get well again instead of commiserating over a gloom of pending doom.

It was just oxygen–yet I needed it. I wasn’t getting it from the air. My lungs apparently had decided they were part-time labor.

But the introduction of the good stuff set in motion “good stuff” for my healing.

It got me thinking.

We’re so critical of people who are depressed, angry, poor or unmotivated.

  • We never consider that there’s a certain emotional oxygen required, the ability to tell the truth without fear.
  • How about spiritual oxygen? God is our God so we can find out how to be better people.
  • Certainly there’s a mental oxygen, which clears out the cobwebs in our brain, allowing fresh ideas to seep through.
  • And the simple physical oxygen of breathing, exercising and eating well can make us feel invincible.

I’m no longer afraid to be in need–because discovering the better things I can breathe in empowers me … to be made whole.

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