Man vs. mucus

There I was, standing in the bathroom, waiting for the shower to warm up. I was shivering with the chills that often accompany the thick, malevolent respiratory disease to which I had succumbed in the last 12 hours. The steam began to rise. I pulled back the curtain and hopped in, shuddering under the streams of hot water. My body’s temperature adjustments completed, I could now enjoy the comfort of the shower. Or so I thought. But something was not right. Something was amiss. I looked down. For Pete’s sake. I forgot to pull my socks off.

That’s when I knew—I was Spaced Out on Bronchitis.

Things didn’t go much better at the radio station, when the first thing out of my mouth that morning was not a word, but a series of dry, raspy coughs. Nice broadcasting. Man oh man, I was in definite need of some modern miracle pills.

At this point, Neon Babylon wants to give thanks and praise to the Pfizer Company. It wouldn’t be the first time. About four years ago, I worked up a Flintstonian howl of yabba-dabba-doo for Pfizer’s sproingy little voodoo blue pill that need not be named, but simply noted as the wonder stuff that has successfully turned millions of sleepy Dr. Jekylls into randy Mr. Hydes. Well, at St. Mary’s Walk-in Center, the doc gave me a prescription for a kit from Pfizer called a Z-pack, containing six pink pills of a drug called Zithromax. “If these little babies, Pfizer ole buddy ole pal, work as well as your blue bandits,” I thought hopefully and hazily.

If you’re not familiar with bronchial afflictions, the worst thing you can have is a weak, dry cough. That’s horrible. That means all of the bad villainous phlegm-aliens that have turned your lungs into organs of misery are solidly entrenched, and it’s going to be a battle royal to get them out of there. It’s not rocket science: Step one on the long road back is to dislodge and expel those evil sumbitches.

I took the first pinks at 1:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., General Zithromax and his blessed special forces began a major assault on enemy positions. It started with a cough; the same shallow, dry coughing that had been doing absolute zero all day long. But then, with the last cough, I felt a little gurgle down there. To quote Marv Albert—“Yyesssss!!!” That tiny gurgle (future Don Ho tune?) was my signal from General Z to keep it up, so I dug on down with a deep, husky effort and felt that familiar flutter of phlegm on the run, a big one. I focused, and barked off one more cough … HACK! … which resulted in that thrilling CLICK of a confirmed capture, followed by the jubilation of feeling that first wretched gob flying up the throat, and I got your ass, you little evil f***!!!

And there it was, floating, spinning, like a phlegm Andromeda in the universe of my toilet bowl. With the precious threads of these tiny triumphs, the socks of happiness are darned.