PANIC ATTACK

So my day starts off as usual, although I’m feeling a tad blue for inexplicable reasons.  The day  progresses and the blueness increases to the point that I’m having trouble concentrating on work, although I still can’t put my finger on anything that would qualify as a reason for feeling down.  I elect to mosey across the street to our company’s health club and do a little exercise, thinking that getting some bodily juices flowing might mitigate the problem.  But by the time I get over there, it’s all I can do to force myself to undress.  I elect to pamper myself rather than workout, so I hit the Jacuzzi – for like 35 or 40 minutes.  My state of mind isn’t improving.  I jump in the pool and splash around a little.  No improvement.  Given that the shower has been my tried and true sanctuary for various ills I’ve run across in my life, I figure there’s still hope.  Wrong.  It’s not long before I experience a somewhat controlled collapse on the shower floor.  Welcome to my panic attack.  

Although I can name a hundred little concerns and inconveniences in my life, I can certainly cite a greater number of joys.  So why am I collapsed on the shower floor, praying that the guy in the stall next to me doesn’t completely wig out if he sees me sitting there beneath the partition?  How can this feeling be so terrible and my ability to describe it be so hopeless?

I’m thinking in terms of how I want to be found.  Mostly how I don’t want to be found, actually, given that I feel an explosive bout of diarrhea coming on.   I have to get to a toilet, and walk in front of 10 or 15 other naked guys in doing so.  I hoist myself up and more or less lean in the direction I have to go, hoping for the best.    It works out better than I thought, and I make it to a stall in a sheet white, zombie kind of way.  Despite the toilet paper coming perilously close to rolling from beneath my stall to the adjoining one a couple of times, I manage to complete my business.  “Now I can be found…” I think to myself, but in that moment I also detected a hint of an improvement.   After a few more minutes I stand up and realize I have at least a 30% chance of making it to my locker, so I go for it.  A worst case scenario would involve my being resuscitated by a group of naked men, but at least I’ll present in a continent sort of way at this stage.

Things improve as I slowly and methodically clothe myself.  I call my wife, she takes me to the doctor, he gives me a bottle of Adivan and sends me off to be tested for the next couple of days.

I show up the next morning for the blood draws – we’re talking major quantities – to the point where I’m suspicious that all or part of it is being shipped off to a black market gravy factory in Central America.  On my agenda as well is a requirement that I collect my urine for 24 hours.  The bottle that the technician gives me looks big enough to function as the collective urinal at a frat party with plenty to spare.  It seems even larger when I take it into public places, and something about the bottle’s construction seems to amplify all the sloshing and gurgling sounds.  Despite the fact that it’s in a plastic bag, I would probably prefer people know that it’s urine as opposed to whatever else they might conjure in their heads.  “What is a guy doing sitting through American Gangster with a 20 gallon bottle of liquid in a plastic bag?” they must be asking themselves (and their friends, perhaps.)

The next day I deposit the bottle at the laboratory with a resounding thump – splash and ready myself for the next round of excitement.  I will be wearing a 24 hour heart recorder, or “Holter monitor.”  Turns out it’s about the size of a pager, with a gaggle of electrodes attached all around my upper torso.  The woman fitting me exclaims – “You’re lucky – I don’t have to shave too much” as she’s attaching the electrodes.  Later, she says “I’m going to have to sand you now.”  Sand me?  Indeed she did, and I leave shaven, sanded, and relentlessly attached.  Who says hairy guys have all the fun?

I’ve been aware that I was nuts for quite some time.  At times the ramifications of raising children so afflicted pop up.  A recent example is the fact that our two year old dances to music just like my man Klaus Nomi, the Charles Lindbergh of German operatic punk, used to.  That stuff ain’t normal, so I know it has to come from me.  But with AIDS education being what it is today, I’m confident our two year old will outlast poor uneducated Klaus.  If she’s got the Bonkers gene, I hope she learns to appreciate it – and doesn’t have to ever suffer through a panic attack.

In the end everything comes back normal except my blood sugar, which is up to the point of being pre diabetic.  So I’m a crazy fat boy, nothing I didn’t know already.  Only now I’m a cocky crazy fat boy since I’m equipped with Daddy’s Little Helper.

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