Day 17: *Cough cough*
Being that I’m in Boston with not a lot going on, I’ve watched The Departed one or three times in the past couple weeks. What? It’s a wicked good movie. I’ve always loved the opening lines. Jack Nicholson says, “I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.” I’ve always thought it was pretty badass.
Well, up here I have not felt like I’m influencing my environment. No, there’s been something dictating how I behave and feel far more than I’m comfortable with. It’s not that I’m a cancer patient. It’s not having to go through radiation therapy. It’s not even being in a new place. So what’s been this controlling factor? A cough. A relentless, violent, soul-sucking cough.
It started, coincidentally or not, the day I arrived in Boston. I assumed it was my delicate lungs reacting to the filthy Los Angeles/Boston air (I was in LA for a week before coming to Boston). By the end of week one, this stupid !%@#ing cough was waking me up several @#$!ing times a night. I haven’t been able to laugh out loud without feeling like my lungs were trying to jump out through my mouth for two weeks now. If I talk too excitedly with people, it’s a matter of moments before I’m spewing Tom germs all over the place. On the plus side, it’s a great ab workout.
Seriously though, it has affected how I talk to people. If I can’t laugh I can’t joke. And I’m nothing without my jokes! More than that, it’s even decreased my desire to talk to other people. If I talk, chances are I’m gonna cough. If I cough, it’s gonna make me tired and cranky. If I’m gonna be tired and cranky afterwards, the conversation better be worth it.
It’s also made me reflect on how much my body (or my environment! Tying it all together now), determines who I am. I know this cough is temporary (oh god, it better be), but it makes me wonder about how I’d handle things if, say, my surgery hadn’t gone so smoothly. I’ve met people here who have trouble speaking, seeing, hearing and even moving as a result of complications from their treatments. How much have their situations changed who they thought they were? How well would I be coping? I mean, a goddamn cough is bringing me down!
No worries though, my doctors have insisted again and again and again that this cough’s nothing to worry about. And it has been getting a bit better. I can now get out one chuckle burst without wrenching over at the waist! Stephen Colbert makes this tough though. I predict by Saturday, this cough will be a thing I wrote about in a blog once. In the meantime, I’ll try to feel more like me, regardless.
Thirteen treatments down, twenty-two to go!