Yesterday my 82 year-old aunt Nettie was groaning on the phone. She had just survived a heart attack, followed by a fall in her bathroom (breaking a pelvis) only to have a run in with a stomach virus. It’s “Chepahzuch!” she said explaining it all.
“Chepahzuch?” I asked. “What’s that?”
“It’s bad stuff and it’s sticky. One bad thing happens and other bad stuff sticks to it. And that’s what I’ve got–Chepahzuch.”
“Oh,” I said that explains my November. After arriving home on terra firma last November from my first ever and last ever cruise, I was dizzy for three weeks. For three weeks it felt as if I had never and I mean never stepped foot off the boat. The house was moving. When I tried to read a book or a computer screen, the text was moving. I could barely write let alone think. The only time I felt almost semi stationary was when I was moving. So I walked and bounced and drove around a lot. It’s apparently called mal de embarkment syndrome and I never want to get it again. For some people it last weeks, others months and for the lucky few, it NEVER goes away! How cool is that?
Please, god. I thought, don’t let this be me. I’m a writer, for god’s sake. And I teach writing. I need to be able to write and read but I can’t do that when the words move across the page.
For the first time, I understood what it might be like to have dyslexia–to have words move around when you read. Let me tell you it’s very disorientating and if had been born with mal de embarkment I’d never be a reader. I’d be ADHD all the way. I would have probably have been an athelete instead of a professional klutz.
So I’m dizzy and un-reading and un-writing (my personal nightmare) and then my shoulder starts to feel funny and I’m diagnosed with something called frozen shoulder. Frozen what? I had no idea your body parts could just freeze on you. Apparently, they can. When I went to the see the doctor, he gave me the good news. “It should last a year to a year and a half. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”
What? I’m going to be throbbing in pain for a year and a half? “Physical therapy might help but don’t count on it,” he said. Then the smiling surgeon proceeded to give me some journal article with lots of sorry statistics designed to make him look smart and me feel bad.
No can’t accept that. I was going to do everything in my power to get rid of the old-can’t-move-my-limb-so-I-can’t-write-problem-or-sleep-or-be-nice-to-people-anymore problem. So I’ve been icing and heating and going to physical therapy and accupuncture and massage and taking herbs and it’s slowly getting better. I can now lift my arm to type and I can hold up a book to read and I can even sleep at night and I’m not such a–rhymes with witch–to my kids.
But now I hear about “Chepahzuch!”
Was that responsible for my little girlie problem infection last week?
Does it jump onto other members of the family?
When my stepfather was visting last week, he fell while playing handball with my middle son and needed a dozen stiches on his nose and then his nose wouldn’t stop bleeding so he needed an apparatus inserted to stop the bleeding (apparently it’s not good to be on baby aspirin if you’re bleeding cause it won’t stop–hypochrondriacs please take note), which made his nose look like an elephant nose only not so cute and he broke his finger and will need to go see a hand surgeon. Was that Chepahzuch?I Is it really contagious?
And is that what they mean by a sticky little problem?
I’ve decided that I’m completely over this pit of stickiness. It’s like the laws of bad attraction Yiddish style. I’m taking myself out of the pit and cleaning myself off. But, hey wait a minute, what if I want good stuff to stick to me? Hmm, anyone have a ten gallon jar of honey?