Category Archives: Drugs

Tonsillitis and The Old People Section of Walgreens

So about a month or two ago I ended up coming down with tonsillitis, and let me tell you, that’s one deceptively shitty illness to have. Not deceptively shitty in the sense that I never thought that tonsillitis was that big of a deal, but more because when you first get it, you think, “Oh, I’m just battling a little cold, I’ll get over it,” and the next thing you know you’re pulled over on the side of the road vomiting phlegm through your car window. But that’s not where the shittiness ended.

Nor is it where the shittiness began. It ultimately started on a Tuesday. I started to cough a good bit and get a mild sore throat. So I did what anyone would do: get jacked up on Cepacol and go through my day like the goddamn man I enjoy pretending to be. I suppose a good idea would also have been to cut back on smoking cigarettes, but addiction doesn’t give a fuck about sore throats, so I didn’t even bother. I go to work and, go figure, I feel like crap by the time I get out, so I decide to grab a couple of drinks to numb the soreness, and then just fall into a sweet, smooth, Irish whiskey sleep. Unfortunately, luck somehow wasn’t on my side that night (or week), as I ended up waking up about three or four times throughout the night. One time is fine, I suppose. You can refill your water, double check your alarm, crank one out if you need to, take some more melatonin, and pee. Twice? You can’t take melatonin again because you’ll risk sleeping through your alarm and straight into the next night. You could crank it again, but only if it’s been a good while since the first time you woke up and you have really soft and smooth hands.  Otherwise, pee again. It’s probably because of that second glass of water anyway. Three or more times, though, is completely fucking absurd.

The next day (when I finally wake up for good), I feel even worse than I did the day before. At that point, my throat starts to hurt more, and I can’t even swallow without it feeling like I’m trying to swallow a mouthful of Cap’n Crunch with not milk. I go about my day like I did before, getting hopped up on lozenges and NSAIDs. I go to work, and I continue to feel like generic shit. So I decide maybe I should try to drink myself to sleep again. That’s a good idea, right? Nope. As I’m driving from work to the bar, that’s when the phlegm vomiting on the side of the road incident happens, and I think to myself, “Maybe I’ll just go home and go to bed.”

And that’s exactly what I did. I went to bed. I didn’t go to sleep, I just went to my bed. My throat had gotten so swollen that whenever I started to drift away, I started to not breathe, which isn’t really something that works out in the long run. So at around 7:30 AM, I decided that I should just give up on the sleeping thing, get jacked on stimulants, and go about my day. Fortunately, I ended up not having a horrible day, aside from the increasingly painful swallowing, sore throat, coughing, and symptomatic feelings of an oncoming death. I go to work, half-ass most of it, go back home, and try to go to bed again. And like the night before, I don’t sleep. I start to think that maybe I should see a doctor at this point.

So there I was, Friday morning, dragging my ass to the urgent care, barely awake (read: spending all of my energy trying to remember how to breathe), and just wanting nothing more than to get some high end prescriptions to make me a glazed over zombie for a couple of days. And let me tell you something, sitting in the waiting room of an urgent care with half a dozen sick babies and their mothers is a miserable experience. So miserable that even having my name called didn’t help, because it made all the mothers look at me with disgust and anger that I was getting to see the doctor before their little bundles of snot and joy could get their colds taken care of. Whatever. I contribute. I buy American. I’m a non-exempt, full-time employee for a local business. Plus I was checked in first. Sucks to suck, crybabies.

So I go about the normal doctor stuff, and the doctor tells me that I’ve got pustular tonsillitis. When I hear this, I immediately think one thing: How long until this doctor makes an underhand dick-sucking joke? Hell, if I were a doctor, I’d make it a prerogative to tell at least one subtle, backhanded dick-sucking joke per patient. Maybe even one blatant one per week. Then he started describing what pustular tonsillitis actually was. Basically, my tonsils became enlarged and swollen, and were very sensitive to anything touching it, and secreted a whitish puss in the back of my throat, with which I could only do two things: spit or swallow. I couldn’t even ask him any questions because I was just trying not to laugh. I end up walking out of there with a shit-eating grin on my face, partly because I’m still thinking about all the jokes, but mostly because I’m pretty sure that the receptionist had just completely forgotten to charge me the co-pay for my visit (I didn’t pay then, and I still haven’t gotten a bill (Thanks Obama)).

And this is when the tonsillitis actually starts to become entertaining. I drag my ass out of the urgent care, hop in the damn Impala, and pull up to Walgreens to pick up my prescription. Now, as many of you know, the pharmacy counter in most Walgreens is located in the back of the store. The part of Walgreens that houses the uncharted areas of old people shit and drug test kits. And sweet Jesus is exploring that area of Walgreens the most hilarious experience when you’re stumbling around having not slept in about 60 hours. If the two packs of cigarettes, four pints of Diet Coke, and a half bottle of Dayquil surging through your veins don’t make your eyes feel like they’re about to pop out of your fucking skull, perhaps the fact that you can play doctor and test yourself for Hep C for the low, bargain price of $34.99 will lend a helping hand. Or maybe the fact that paternity tests are only $40 (Which is really kind of false advertising, because if you read the back of the package (which, of course, I did), you would know that there’s a hidden $120 lab fee in order to get the test results back. And if you’re going to Walgreens to discover who your baby daddy is, then you really can’t afford that extra $120. That’s six 30-racks of Bud Light, which is exactly what people who get paternity tests at Walgreens drink for breakfast. (Bud Light: The Breakfast of NASCAR Champions)).

And that’s not even taking into account the bathroom supplies for old people that are for sale there. Hell, you can buy handrails for damn near every surface of your bathroom. Toilet handrails? Check. Bathtub Handrails? Check. Plastic chairs so you can sit down in the shower instead of standing? Check. Shit, they’ve even got these two-and-a-half foot plastic extenders so you can wipe your own ass more easily. Imagine all the calories I’ve been wasting actually reaching around? Plus, it cuts down on the risk of having your fingers break through the toilet paper, so you can use less. Hell, I could get that thing, save a few calories here and there, have enough energy to go to the gym so I could become healthy enough that I’m not sitting in the back of Walgreens trying to count the amount of calories it takes to wipe your own ass. And I’m not trying to knock old people for being old and having bodies that have become so naturally-deteriorated to the point where they need to resort to this kind of product, but keep in mind the volatile concoction of legal narcotics that I chose to ingest instead of going to the doctor earlier. Plus that ass brush has an extendable head, so I’m more of the mind that it’s really more of a luxury than a necessity.

But I digress. I take my antibiotics, wash it down with a Mountain Dew and a foot-long Spicy Italian, and lay down to watch some Doomsday Preppers, because why the fuck not? (Also, why am I not doing any of that shit? Have you heard about Gaza lately? And has everybody forgot about the Mayans? What about Superstorm Sandy? It’s only a matter of time before we’re all fucked, so why not make sure that when the nuclear winter ends, I’m the one walking around and rebuilding society, slendered down by a steady diet of creamed corn and protein shakes.) I rest, I regain some energy, take a couple hours off from smoking, and let those antibiotics kick in. In fact, I’ve got so much energy that I decide it’s a great time to go grocery shopping. And, dear Panda aficionados, that decision is very important, because going grocery shopping at that exact moment was the landmark one-millionth mistake in my life.

Grocery shopping is always chaotic for me (mostly because I’m really against making grocery lists (mostly because I’m horrible at impulse control (mostly because I really enjoy eating the type of food that will make me so obese that I’ll need one of those extendable ass-wiping brushes by the time I turn 40))). But this was a different chaos. This was the kind of chaos that was caused by the fact that I was starting to lose some of my finer motor skills and couldn’t really read anything anymore, and just kind of had to guess which brand was which by color scheme and the quality of cardboard that it was packed in. And upon realizing this, I decided it would be a good idea to get out of there as soon as possible, so the most logical thing was to speed-shop (walk as fast as possible through the store and not really think of what I was grabbing, and just making sure that the quantity was enough to get me through the next two weeks). Actually, I’m not really sure if that last thing about speed shopping was true, because I don’t remember it. Or most of the grocery store, for the matter. I only remember showing up at the grocery store, not being able to read, and wanting to get out of there as soon as possible. But it seems like the only logical thing that I could come up the next day when I took stock of what the fuck I actually bought.

I had only gotten about four hours of sleep that night, but it seemed like eternity when I saw that the clock read seven AM and I peeled my face off of the pool of drool that had formed. I was so excited for the sleep I had gotten that I had forgot that about half of that drool was actually the pustular excrement from my now slightly less engorged tonsils. So I showered, got my laundry ready to take to the laundry shop, and decided to make some breakfast. In my pantry, I found a twelve-pack of canned Sunny-D, which was in-and-of-itself a pretty stellar find in hindsight, but it couldn’t make up for the despicable conglomerate of processed shit that awaited me in the freezer. Stouffers Mac N’ Cheese (which actually made me borderline nostalgically happy, as it reminded me of the good ole college days when I got stoned and made my own Mac N’ Cheese pizzas with my roommates), Banquet chicken finger dinners (that shit came with a chocolate fudge brownie), Banquet riblet dinners (I threw that one away without even trying it), and the piece de resistance, a Johnsonville ring bologna. I remember eating ring bologna as a kid and thinking that it was the greatest thing in existence, like it was a six-year-old’s equivalent of eating a five-course fine dining meal when in reality it’s just a poor people’s family-sized shitty hot dog. And it made me realize that my family was really poor when I was a kid, because I remember us splitting one of those fuckers between five of us at a table that was about the same square footage as the “crappy” TV that I’ve got sitting in my parents basement and didn’t want to take with me when I moved out because I’ve already got a better TV and nowhere to put the second one and I don’t want to expend the energy to carry it anywhere.  Plus I’m not about to go out of my way to buy an extra AUX cable if I don’t have to.

But back to reality, and I’m sitting there with a foot-and-a-half of beef scrap molded into a semi-circular sausage that fucking straightened out when I cooked it so it wasn’t even a ring anymore, but more of a shitty arc that’s too greasy for the ketchup to stick to it, so I have to use the knife to scoop the ketchup onto it and use all of my attention to try and hold the fork steady enough so that the processed sugar-tomato sauce doesn’t slide off onto my hoodie, and I suddenly knew what it’s like to be slumming it. But I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything. I was stoned on antibiotics and weed and I was eating a gigantic low-end hot dog with a can of Sunny-D for breakfast.

So even though the rest of the week and a half that I was on antibiotics wasn’t exactly the most fun or eventful, it was still uphill from that point. I started getting full nights of sleep on the fourth night. I started to get some of my mind back from the brink of insanity. I started to realize that maybe I should have used my illness as an excuse to start quitting smoking instead of just cutting back for three days. But shit, let’s be real, addiction doesn’t care if you’re sick, and I needed all the happy brain chemicals I could get (dopamine, or serotonin, or whatever the fuck it is. I don’t know. I’ve got an English degree, not something of actual intellectual merit). But hey, if lung cancer is anywhere near as miserable as having tonsillitis was, maybe I’ll give quitting a shot at some point (I’m aiming for by the time some poor woman who, for some reason, wants to spend her life with me and give birth to my spawn. You know, so I can be a role model and shit. And have enough money so that I’m not economically forced to feed them ring bologna). Actually, scratch that, “all uphill from that point,” idea, because now I know that extendable ass-wipers exist, and that they are in the same section of Walgreens as the 12-in-1 drugs tests, STI screeners, and paternity tests. It’s like a little piece of West Virginia available to the whole country. I never needed to experience that. Nobody does.

Take it easy,

-Panda


Aimless Driving In Wisconsin

One of my most tried and true stress-relievers is to charge up my iPod, gas up my car, buy a fresh pack of cigarettes, pick a direction, and drive. No particular destination, just away. It’s insanely expensive, it runs the car even more into the ground than my daily driving does, and the chain smoking probably isn’t the best for my health, but hey, it’s the best way for me to learn every Rihanna song in my library word for word. That, and it gives you time to think. Time to think about anything and everything. Sports. Jobs. What cutesy thing you should text next to the girl you’re into. Family. Friends. What the best way is to forget that girl. The course of your life. The mistakes you’ve made. How great you’re life could have been if you hadn’t been a dumbass and instead of listening to what your friends and family told you was your best option, you just did what the fuck you wanted to do and felt like was the right choice. And lest we not forget the immemorially bittersweet and hauntingly sublime task of remembering the girl because hey, sometimes you’ll meet people in your life that make you realize that Snoop Dogg was wrong, and that bitches ARE shit. Oh, and, of course, my new favorite hobby of trying to figure out the best and most creative Saw like way of killing Gotye, like he would have to delete his ex off of his Facebook friend list in order to live or something like that, or forcing him to put some fucking clothes on because he is NOT good looking enough to be naked in a music video. But I digress.

Set Blasters to “Kill That Whiny Bitch”

 

The best time to drive-think, I’ve found, is the middle of the night. Unless you’re on a major Interstate, you’ll see maybe four other cars every hour, the stoplights switch to flashing yellow, and you finally get a chance to start living in a Thompsonian manner and drive as fast as you damn well please down the empty streets because the cops that are out give less than one full fuck about you. It’s the emptiness of the road, I think, that really gives you the ability to completely tune out what’s happening around you and just dive into the previously unexplored depths of your head. It allows you to get away from the mindlessness of shitty TV and Internet memes. It allows you to sit there and slow down and actually try to figure out this miraculous little game of “Let’s See How Little We Can Fuck This Up” that we colloquially refer to as life. It allows you to light your fifth cigarette in forty-five minutes, driving at sixty miles-an-hour, weaving in and out of your lane and only be phased by the fact that your voice is almost as gravely as the shoulder that you’re barely holding onto.

But recently I feel I’ve reached a new horizon. I’ve turned down a different road. A road that’s not so easily navigated. Or at the very least the road is transforming into something horribly regrettable. The timers of the stoplights don’t work, so instead of flashing yellows I get solid reds at every intersection. Six beady little LED pieces of shit telling me I can’t keep going, that I need to stop, regardless of the fact that there isn’t another conscious human being within 5 miles of my position. The city has stopped picking up the road-kill, so when you drive over the same road every day for a week, you get to see the stages of decay, from the fresh carcass still intact, legs of the deer still looking as if they’re galloping, to the bloating fly-infested cesspool that forms as the legs straighten out under the influence of rigamortis, and finally ending in the depressing pile of hair, leather, and venison jerky with a center of black and goopy organ nougat.

Even the car itself has started to haunt me. This was the car I learned to drive in. This was the car that’s seen thousands of cigarettes, hundreds of spliffs, a half-dozen blunts and a Crave Case or two. This was the car that saw everything from first dates and kisses to last dates and breakups. This was the car that has the unfortunate experience of seeing me get my first handjob. Hell, with the amount of manual stimulation and fellatio that has gone down (haha, get it?) in that car, I think it’s probably best that we do part ways (I know it’s not romantic, but we were all in high school at one point. As for all that stuff that’s happened after I graduated high school, I really have no excuse). Not even the coolest and most compatible of women have ever stayed with me this long after seeing my penis.

But I know it’s not the car. It’s not the road. It’s not those bastard stoplights. It’s me. It’s my life and my choices and my situation that are getting all fucked up. It’s at the point that I can’t even bring myself to lie about it and tell everybody the same old throw-away, pre-packaged lines that I dole out whenever I don’t want to put the weight of my problems on other people. I can’t even muster up the breath to say, “I’m fine,” or, “Everybody has shit in their lives,” if it’s someone I can’t bring myself to lie to. Now when I drive, it’s like there’s this overload of stuff to think about. It’s too much to be able to sort out and think about in my head as the car ticks over 170,000 miles. How am I supposed to pay 25 grand in student loans making $9.25 and hour? How can I ever make it in the world as some type of writer if I let the shit in my life debilitate me to the point that this is the first thing I’ve written for my pathetic fucking blog in four months? How am I supposed to tell the girl that’s currently fucking me that I really don’t want anything remotely serious to develop out of this? And then the realization that, due to work and sleep and booze and drugs, I haven’t actually seen or talked to that girl in like, two weeks, so I guess she knows I’m not looking for anything and now I’m back to just masturbating. Then there’s the fact that I’ve finally come to the conclusion that moving back home after graduation was the worst possible decision that I could have ever made in my life, as it has pretty much destroyed any chance of a positive relationship between me and my family. And on top of that, slowly my friends have started to move away or get real jobs and have their own lives and issues that they need to deal with, not to mention that I’ve got to deal with being cut out of people’s lives that I actually, genuinely gave a shit about. And then there’s the fact that I kind of want to start going back to my therapist to try and figure out what the fuck is wrong with me and why I constantly feel this more or less even, steady, slow-burn depression and relatively large anxiety issues, but I can’t bring myself to do it because of the resentment that I feel toward him ever since he called this whole shitty downward spiral fall that I’m in the midst of, all the way down to what set it off in the first place. Then there’s the question of whether or not I’m going to get around to the whole quitting smoking thing, and then there’s wondering exactly how far back I’m going to continue to push the line that separates the drugs that I’ve done from those that I’m not comfortable with taking yet. And then there’s the fact that for whatever reason, I’ve got this habit of being really shitty at letting things go, and I have a tendency to, even years later, rip previously healed wounds back open just for shits and giggles to try and remember why it hurt so much, just to find out that if you do such things, all those horrible events in your past, all your wrong choices and bad decisions and unfortunate circumstances and years of being treated seemingly unfairly still fucking hurts, so that when you start to think about life too much, it starts to become overwhelming, and you end up doing more harm than good for yourself. And on top of all of that, I start to wonder why the fuck I know every single word to “Call Me Maybe” and actually got legitimately mad at work the other day when my coworker changed the radio station as soon as it came on.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the blogs that I follow, AdamsDaugther came back from a bit of a hiatus (I don’t care that your blog is kind of girly at times, I like girly stuff. Like Gilmore Girls, Andre champagne, your blog, and Nutz Over Chocolate Luna Bars). She had a post about how she was coming off of a rough patch in her life and decided to rededicate herself to blogging (and cooking). And, with the exception of her using The Notebook as the source of her revelation (Sorry, I like girly stuff, but I made a promise to myself long, long ago that the only time I would ever watch The Notebook would be if I found myself in the position that watching it would help me get laid), I realized I needed to do something, too. I need to get back to doing what I love, to what I want to do with my life. I need to get back to writing and making these amazing connections between seemingly unrelated aspects of life. I need to get back to bringing everyone a little bit of Panda insight. I need to get back to reveling in the awesome things that happen to me, and publicly crucifying those who wrong me. There have been too many boozed out shenanigans and too much regrettable sex in strange places and too many drugged up adventures that have taught me too many little-known rules of life to just keep them to myself. I haven’t spent all my money on bad decisions to just remember them. I need to tell them.

These are fucking delicious.

And it makes complete sense for me to do so. Even though I maintain that, in some ways, I needed a break from reality to post up inside my head, it’s time to get back to being me. Even though this road has been littered with those now-dried up and blowing in the breeze deer carcasses, they’ll eventually be gone. They’ll fix that fucking stoplight on 124th and Capitol to actually match up with the green lights on the road so you can drive from Peawaukee to downtown Milwaukee without stopping once. The rest-stop outside of Johnson Creek won’t have a car just creepily chilling in the parking lot with nobody in it. I’ll drive around Wisconsin at four in the morning and not have to wonder about whether the car coming toward me is a drunk driver or just another fuck-up like me, driving aimlessly to try and drive all the shit and demons from their head. There will be a time that I’ll stay out until five in the morning and drive home as the sun rises into the lavender-indigo sky as I speed past the unfortunate lot of my service industry brethren who are chosen to open the places of employ head off to work propped up by no less than 500 mg of caffeine, and the phosphene-like death throes of the LSD I took earlier that night streak across my perception as the drugs slowly meet their demise in my well-overworked liver, and I’ll realize that, no matter how badly I manage to fuck it up, no matter how much bullshit I’ll have to deal with on account of others, no matter how many people or stoplights continually tell me what I can’t fucking do, and no matter how many times I willingly let people hurt me with the vein hope that they’ll truly realize what they’re doing to me and my psyche and change their mind, maybe my life is way too damn interesting and beautiful to not write about.

Take it easy,

-Panda