You barely register the implication or previous trauma. Outside, it’s bright and you are now wearing your glasses again so you can see how hot the sun is today. You barely noticed the close calls–that bus that almost hit you, the way the tv fell into your face and left only a black eye, the time you got taken by a wave when you were seven. You feel your rib cage. I’m emaciating, an old voice says. Nothing is as good as being right tastes.
The grip on your phone has loosened. It has to. You are succumbing to some arthritic curling. Your hand becomes the claw. Like a crone’s wand, the straw is in your pocket but for how long? How long before you whip it out, began to lose yourself in the thin plastic, the repetition. I’m emaciating.
“Ten pounds isn’t alarming for someone trying to lose weight but your thyroid is enlarged,” she placed her hand on the left side of my throat lightly.
And I walked to the ER when I was 24 years old because my throat was closing slowly but rapidly. I walked. When I got there, they said
“Your lymph nodes are swollen. Your sinuses have dripped downwards and created an infection and we are going to give you an injection to make swallowing easier, and then antibiotics to take orally.”
Suddenly I could have killed them all with my eyes alone.
“I’m referring you to get an ultrasound.”
When the ambulance took me to the hospital, I made the mistake of telling them I was anxious.
“And I want to get blood work done.”
When the ambulance took me to the hospital, I made the mistake of telling them sometimes I think I make things happen.
“And possibly an endoscope and swallow test.”
When the ambulance took me to the hospital, I said, “My throat is fine.I want to see a psychiatrist.”
“Your left tonsil is swollen too but I don’t think that’s causing the difficulty. I want the thyroid checked out.”
Years ago, I ran my car headfirst into a parked cement mixer breaking my sternum and experiencing my first major brain injury as I slammed my forehead into the steering wheel on impact. The seatbelt cracked my ribs when it tightened. When the cops arrived, I refused the breathalyzer and made the mistake of telling them
“My life is over.”
So I was put in a cell alone on suicide watch. I refused to get blood work done and they told me
“We won’t take you to the hospital then.”
My friend used the word misconduct to describe it.
“It was like a threat.”
I laid my head on that metal toilet, vomiting and dizzy, bruising up my chest. No one looked at me again. What festers unhealed, balloons.
“dysphagia” or “the act of naming things”