One thing you probably wouldn't know about me from my writing is that I've been coughing for about a month. It started innocuously enough, somewhere in the middle of the NFL playoffs, and it's been here ever since, steady as a Swiss watch, forcing up lung butter about four times an hour. Apart from that, I felt healthy as a sprig, asymptomatic. So I carried on and figured I could wait it out, as long as I didn't mind that every time I laughed I sounded like I had Stage 4 emphysema.
Time passed, and the butter kept a-churnin', until finally late last week when the muck monster staged an offensive and annexed most of my head. My sinuses buckled under the mucus assault, and by Thursday I had no sense of smell. This was a boon for changing fouled diapers, but a considerable drawback when it came to detecting them. So for the last few days I've had to rely on Robert's anguished cries of "Dad? Are you telling me you can't smell that?" I've also learned to anticipate a poop based on TwoBert's new habit of suddenly leaving the room. If he's been gone for a few minutes, it's a safe bet he's off somewhere in the corner, filling his gutches.
The real problem, of course, is that I haven't been able to taste anything, either. I get hungry, but it's hard to get motivated to eat anything when it's all going to taste like Styrofoam peanuts.
And it's especially perilous when it comes to drinking.
Saturday night I went to an open-bar engagement party and started in with a few fingers of Maker's, neat. Just as I was finishing, an attentive young sprite who clearly meant well handed me another one. How considerate, I thought, as I tucked into Mark Two. Dinner came, as did Marks Three through ... I dunno, a million? And by 10pm I found myself as helplessly drunk as I'd been in 20 years. I was reeling on the way home, bouncing off buildings like Lewis Winthorpe, and when I somehow found my building I staggered upstairs and refunded my dinner.
I was initially perplexed over how it all could have gone so terribly wrong, until I remembered. When you're without a sense of smell, fire water tastes just like water, even though the fire is still burning through your bloodstream.
Enough was enough. Sure, I had endured four weeks of listening to my chest creak and wheeze like the hold of a ship. Sure, I seriously considered eating a dinner of cold hot dogs. But now, I had abased myself like some dipshit in the basement of Sigma Chi. It was time to marshal the forces, arm them with some serious drugs, and unleash hell on the Phortress of Phlegm ...
And you'll have to tune in tomorrow for the inspirational, cathartic, and extremely messy conclusion.