Whatever You Do…Don’t Kiss The Girl.

Posted by admin on June 24, 2011 in Relationships |
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I’ve alluded to the fact that I had mononucleosis when I turned 18. As you all know, it’s called the kissing disease, though you can get it from many sources. Me, I got mine from wanting to see a pair of boobs.

I had met my girlfriend just before the end of my senior year. She was selling Ojo de Dios (Eye of God) at the Spanish class stand at the International Fair in the cafeteria. Me, I was rolling around in a robot suit. Like any of you should be surprised at that.

When I saw my future ex-wife for the first time, I walked over to my mom and sister-in-law and told them that I wanted them to see the girl who I was going to marry. Well, marry and almost kill me that is. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

A few months after we started to go out, my new girlfriend came down with mono. She was quarantined in her house. I could only visit her at her bedroom window. Not that I was ever allowed in her house. Her mother had agoraphobia. She rarely went out. But on one day, she did and that left a window of opportunity. A very stupid one, looking back.

I snuck her out to a nearby county park. We walked for a bit, then we played a game of I’ll take my top off if you take your top off. Sounds silly now. But when you’re 18 you’ll think of anything. To make a long story short, we kissed and cuddled.

About a week later, I was sitting in my bedroom. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was eating a Bonus Jack from Jack in the Box. I had just told my mom some silly medical fact that people actually died from mono and its complications. Mid bite, I suddenly felt odd.

The next day I was down with mono. Now there’s a surprise. Dumb ass! This wouldn’t have been so bad on its own, but I also came down with hepatitis plus tonsillitis, all at the same time. All because I wanted to see a pair of breasts.

I got steadily worse over the next week. I don’t always remember what transpired and in what order as the raging fever pretty much baked my brain during the time. I ended up at Valley Medical Center, where I spent a week fighting for my life.

I didn’t know this at the time, of course. I was admitted because I had dropped from 165 to 135 in two weeks. I went through 32 IV bottles in no time at all. I couldn’t eat, thanks to the tonsillitis, which were replaying the episode in the park by kissing at the top of the throat. Nothing was getting through.

Worse, the fever and the diseases played other delightful tricks on me, causing hair to fall out, nails to soften and all the calluses on my feet to melt away. Now, if you’ve never taken the time to appreciate your calluses, take a moment to kiss them right now. Without them, I had baby feet. I couldn’t walk. I only found this out when the nurse came in and offered me a little free enema as a parting gift for staying at the hospital. She gave it in the bed, even though I could no longer walk. But I wasn’t about to crap the bed so I lept over the end of the bed and scurried into the bathroom, the IV stand trying desperately to keep up with me in my personal Run for the Roses.

This wouldn’t have been so bad if only it had ended there. But it didn’t. My long road to recovery was only beginning. Back home, I was still sleeping 23 hours a day. For weeks on end. I still couldn’t walk. When I tried, the loop carpeting felt like pins being driven into my feet. It hurt like hell. I could only crawl to the bathroom.

I remember taking a bath once. As I said, I was 135 pounds on a six foot frame back then. I saw the bones in my arm for the first time. I looked like I was a victim of the Holocaust. I burst into tears, right there in the bathroom.

I had to learn to walk all over again. We didn’t have rehab back then. I did it at home, one painful step at a time. Each week I saw the doctor. This was an improvement over daily. I continued to be a human pin cushion for him, as he drew vial after vial of blood, waiting for the mono and the hepatitis to leave my body.

Weeks turned into months. August to December of 1976 is nothing but a blur. I remember going back to Hazen to visit my journalism teacher once. I still was using a cane. I must have looked a fright. I was supposed to start school at Green River Community College that fall. I couldn’t, of course. I wouldn’t be able to start until January of the next year.

Eventually, the doctor pronounced me well on the road to recovery. I would indeed return to normal. The calluses took years to rebuild. I still have trouble walking on hot pavement. And I still don’t have much feeling in my toes.

But he did give me the best prescription I ever got from a doctor. When my mother asked him how I could regain the weight, he said, “Well, what does he like to eat?”

“Pies,” I said weakly.

“Well, then, feed him all the pies he wants. Let him eat the whole damned thing. The more calories the better.”

For a moment, I was in heaven.

And what became of the girl? I suffered from the side effects of seeing her boobs for months and she suffered with me as a husband for the next five years. I figured the score was even and we parted ways. But I still carry the fondle memories of the time I almost died from a seemingly innocent kiss.

Out on the Treasure Coast, suddenly craving pie,

– Robb

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