Monday, June 27, 2005

INTERFERON FUNNY GUY: PART 2

Monday is here again. We’re going to see if having a shot of Interferon produces another meltdown. I’m sitting in the bathroom by myself trying to do everything correctly. The only hitch was when I pulled back on the plunger that regulates the dose amount, a geyser stream of the stuff shot into the air and caused me to curse. “Fuck! I blew it all over the floor!” Angela, quick to sense the overreaction, comes in to the room to see what happened. There’s still a lot of liquid in the syringe. Everything is all right. I push the little sharpie into my fat roll at midriff level, and push the plunger the rest of the way. “That didn’t seem like anything happened.” Once again, Angela assures me it was a go. But she also can’t believe how easy it goes in. I took a nap a bit later in the afternoon. This time I said the Interferon made me do it. When I awoke, I astonished Angela with a food request. “ I want a Double-Double and a strawberry shake from “In ‘N Out Burger?” Sounds like loss of appetite to me. I wolfed it; it was great.

I have to mention that off and on for the past year I have been trying to work out. I bought a relatively expensive bicycle after the end of last year’s tour, like I spent a couple thousand on it. It’s a Klein with a beautiful blue/black paint job and some great parts. There’s some carbon fiber and the rest aluminum. It’s sweet. We live right next to The Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl is 3.3 miles around including the golf course. Usually, at the point where I’m starting to feel slightly in shape, we have to go on tour, or some medical thing happens that interrupts the whole process. But now it looks like with only Finland on the gig schedule, I can get with a program for a while. I begin this, the second week of treatment, by doing 4 laps of The Rose Bowl. So that’s about 13 miles, which isn’t much to real cyclists. They do 40+ mile runs routinely. But this old-timer needs to be realistic.

And I bought a month of pool use membership at The Rose Bowl Aquatic Center. This is a gorgeous facility with two pools, three three-level diving platforms, and a couple of one-meter diving boards at the side. On the first day I did 20 laps in a 25 yard lane. It’s a start. By Thursday, I was up to 20 miles on the bike, and 30 laps in the pool. It’s a start. Sometime in the middle of week two, I acquired a nickname. Given to me by my wife, Angela, I became known as “Interferon Funny Guy.”

As I explained at the beginning of this report, depression is a heavy disabling side effect associated with Interferon use. Depression as a chronic mental disorder is classified as a psychosis. Depression as I know it is a state of mind brought about by an event or disappointment that is so severe as to leave me unable to participate in a regular life without constant reminder that all hope is lost. It is very hard to put into words the effect of depression. It’s probably the root cause of addiction. It takes all the fight out of you. It isolates the sufferer from everything and everyone. The world is small and lonely. Nothing has any value. Living is a charade. A psychiatrist on TV once said: ”The easiest thing to tell a depressed person and the most futile thing to say to them is; cheer up.” It’s the one thing they CAN’T do.

So who is Interferon Funny Guy? As week two motored on, I kept looking for a negative trend. I went to The Rose Bowl everyday. I went to the pool everyday. I ate wonderful food, mainly consisting of yogurt, granola, always bananas, salads prepared with all natural greens, and nuts, and cheeses and chicken dishes with exotic flavors, wrapped in lettuce leaves. I’d keep a water bottle going as a matter of course and a glass of fruit juice or a ginger brew occasionally. I never denied myself anything outright, except fast food and processed food, just because we avoid that fare in general. I don’t trust it, or the industry that produces it. I don’t think a once in a while dining of certain fast food items is a death sentence, but I do think using it, as a means to nourish you regularly is suicidal and ignorant. You can eat a few chips and ranch dip, or chips and guacamole is cool, but it’s only a treat. You can have a treat. It’s good for your mood.

So then, when I couldn’t find the pothole in the “Treatment”, I started joking, and being my playful, natural self. “What’s the matter? I don’t drink, I’m on some kind of hell drug that kills any bad guy it can find in my body and maybe some good guys too. I am not obsessed about eBay, or money, or lack of it. I’ve never been so ok in my whole life as I am RIGHT NOW.” Have I been approved? Who approved? When did all this get all right? Well here it is. It got all right when I looked into the pit, saw who was running the show, and said “alright motherfucker, you got to answer to me now. You’re fired! Get the fuck out!” Right then and there I got approved, and went straight to work. This really sounds too simple. All I know is that something is telling me "you got it right."

Tomorrow is Monday again. Yea! What’s this? I’m waiting on Mondays? Yes, tomorrow is Monday. This is going to last for a whole year as far as I’m concerned. If the doctor tells me it’s ok to stop, then that’s when I stop. It doesn’t matter really because I like the fact that I’m standing up for the fight. In any event, we’re not counting the chickens just yet. Anything can happen at any time. So the reason for writing a journal is have a record of the events as they happen. I’ll keep up the entries and try to avoid being monotonous.

Angela calls me Interferon Funny Guy because we all expected this maudlin, self -absorbed, cranky complainer to move in, and what we got was Michael Silver Tongue Flash, or Michael D Flex. That’s my pimp name, but I’m ok with Interferon Funny Guy.

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