My friend Nita thought I should combine my on-going lung ailments with my love for all things theatrical and write a new musical for the stage. I came up with some great (if not precisely original) titles, like My Fair Lungs, The Lung and I, and Oklunghoma!
The heroine is diagnosed with Bronchiectasis. It means her bronchial tubes, instead of being smooth and cylindrical, are, in medical terms, knobbly and wobbly. Her lungs are scarred. Alas, her long-held dream of modeling for anatomy textbooks is over. How this developed remains a mystery. That week of smoking in grade seven? (Don't tell her Mom.) Her twelve years of cleaning houses for a living, inhaling Comet and Javex? Possibly. Mold in the walls of her former home? Could be. In any case, it's a done deal now. The audience grows restless. The chorus breaks into a rousing number called "She Might Get Better, She Might Get Worse." But by this point the plot is so weak, the opening night crowd has left their seats and are demanding a refund.
We've known awhile that I have this condition, but my doc was digging around for something more sinister because Bronchiectasis, while it explains the coughing, is not supposed to hurt. Mine does.
But nothing more dramatic was apparent, so my doctor's latest attempt at earning his keep was a free sample of acid-reflux medicine. Not the problem. So, here I sit with my mystery and a complimentary membership to the "shot-in-the-dark of the month" club.
Cynical as that sounds, I do not resent the medical community. Lord knows, I couldn't do what they do.
On a recent visit to my lung doc, he walked into the examining room to find me wearing a pair of bright yellow glasses with a big red clown nose. "What's up, Doc?" I said.
Poor man probably thought I got off on the wrong floor. I didn't have the heart tell him it was a test to see how long it would take him to notice. Since he passed, I said I just wanted to brighten his day, what with his depressing job and all.
"I don't think it's depressing," he said. I guess that means he's helping at least a few people, even if I have yet to join their ranks. Oops, there I go again. My pastor tells me cynicism is not a spiritual gift.
Anyway, I'm living with some new rules which involve more sleeping and less doing. Religiously huffing my way through Jillian's hateful exercise routine. Trying desperately to not become an old crank. (Don't ask my long-suffering spouse how I'm doing on that front.) And stubbornly rehearsing the list of bodily parts that still work right. It's a surprisingly long list. The one who knit it all together knew what he was doing, and I'll trust him to decide when it's time to let it unravel.
When you come right down to it, isn't it mind-boggling that our bodies function at all? And for that, I can only be grateful.
Thanks for asking.