Paint it black: Man With A Bat

Another work day ends, feeling drained, glad it’s out the way,
feeling proud, I dare say, I sure earned that payday,
hopped aboard the train following a ten-minute wait,
accompanied by droopy-eyed commuters ready to hit the hay,
among them was a dude dressed in sweats, hardly looking dapper,
carrying a duffel bag with a cricket bat poking through the zipper.
lookin’ like he’d just rolled out of bed and fell to the floor,
staring vacantly at the door, perhaps deep in thought.
The doors closed, the train sighed, then we were on our way,
I sat back and daydreamed, bumpy tracks slightly made my neck sway.

It was a quiet journey to my stop, I was in danger of nodding off,
can’t sleep now, though, after fifteen I’ll be stepping off,
the sun was setting, peak hour traffic had kicked-in,
the cars outside were crawling, must be real frustrating,
sharing this tube with fellow workers coming off the grind,
school students chatting making a racket but I don’t really mind,
then it started, ear-splitting blasts filled the carriage,
One after the other like shotgun blasts, sounds of chaos and carnage,
That man with the bat turned out to be bat shit bonkers,
bashing his seat and tossing up fluff and feathers,
fighting off an enemy only he could see,
perhaps the product of drug-induced fantasy,
he uttered not a word, his face said it all,
eyes wide, teeth bared, had him looking like Jaws

Those sleepy commuters now on their toes dialling triple-0,
I guess the cops will deal with this bat-wielding psycho,
that’s where I get off, here it comes, I make a beeline for the other door,
don’t want no smoke from fool, one swing to the head I’ll be on the floor,
station attendants and police run towards the train, cuffs at the ready,
I leave the station, the heavy beating of bat to seat slowly fading.

Things are gonna get easier: Shaking Off The Rust

Onwards and upwards, I’m makin’ progress,
feeling good, got my groove back, time to regain my fitness,
gotta start slowly, can’t go crazy,
you’re still in recovery, Boy, don’t be too hasty,
be thankful you’re back in business, for now take it easy


Thankfully, there were no serious side-effects from that iron infusion. The worst that I felt were muscle cramps in my back that woke me briefly around 3am the next morning. The pain wasn’t excruciating, there were no howls of pain from me that woke the entire neighborhood, but it was enough to rouse me from my sleep. Dr. R did warn that muscular pain was a possible side-effect so it was no surprise.
I rode that minor disturbance before drifting back to sleep. Fortunately, that would be the very worst that I would experience and I woke up a few hours later feeling as though nothing had happened. It was a relief to know that my recuperative powers were still on point and that this weakened body was still capable of withstanding pain and capable of healing itself.

One week later, during which I went from strength to strength and felt no more side effects from the infusion and continued to react positively from the Imuran and Mezavant, I felt that the time was right to get back into shape. Dr. G and Dr. B had banned me from working out until my blood work no longer triggered alarm bells and now that my iron and blood levels were back to acceptable levels I set out to reclaim what that fucking disease had taken away from me. I woke up bright and early on the 24th day of September and gingerly warmed up and loosened my joints. Thank God for the walking and shadow boxing drills that I performed during my two months in recovery as they kept my joints loose and nimble during my exile. I lightly stretched my legs, arms and back before gently bouncing around on my toes.

So far so good.

I devised a quick and simple workout plan in my head as I warmed up. It needn’t had been anything fancy and elaborate, just a simple routine to shake off any rust that I may have accumulated and get my muscles and joints primed into action once again. I decided on ten push-ups, ten squats and ten pull-ups for at least three sets, five if I had the strength – at this point, a big if.
After warming up for about six minutes I dropped to the floor like a soldier anticipating a grenade blast and set myself up for my first set of push-ups. I took several deep breaths, braced my abdominal muscles and slowly sank to the floor until my chest was just hovering above it. I exploded upwards and exhaled powerfully for the first rep before sinking down again for the second rep and so on. I managed to punch out ten complete push-ups without breaking a sweat and losing my breath.

Cool. I still got it.

I hopped onto my feet and set myself up to perform my first set of squats. Feet shoulder-width apart, I flexed my knees and allowed my upper body and hips to drop down until my upper legs were perpendicular to the floor and my glutes were behind me as though I were sitting on an invisible chair. Then I pushed off the floor with my heels back to standing position. I knocked out ten reps of those squats before resting for one minute.
I ended up completing five sets of ten push ups and ten squats before I headed outside to perform pull-ups on my old swing set. That I was still alive showed that my fitness hadn’t totally abandoned me.

Would you look at that? Looks like I’m still in decent nick.

The pull-ups, however, would bring me back down to earth rather quickly like an athlete who had emerged victorious in a sporting contest only to be informed that they were disqualified.
I approached my old swing set, grabbed onto the two monkey rings and allowed my bodyweight to fall and hang so as to stretch my upper body, particularly my lats, before the exercises. I had to admit I was a tad nervous since the last time I tried to perform a number of these just for fun I was totally tanked after a rather low number of repetitions. But my pride wasn’t having any of it.

Suck it up, Punk! If your dumb ass can do ten push-ups and squats no sweat then this ain’t nuthin! Quit worrying like a little bitch!

My inner motivator can be quite profane at times, that fucking taskmaster pushes me harder than any personal trainer ever could. Anyway, I took five deep breaths before pulling myself up. I completed ten repetitions during that first set and already my muscles were screaming.

Damn……first set down and I’m already halfway cooked? What is this!?

Following a one minute rest I grasped those monkey rings again and performed the second set, again managing ten reps – but only just.

God dammit! This can’t be happening! I used to do loads of these as a warm-up!

Another one minute rest before the third set. My gas tank was beginning to edge closer to empty but fuck it, I wasn’t going down without a fight. I’d been to hell and back against a far greater foe than this and came out on top, no way was this little fitness challenge going to get the better of me. I grabbed the monkey rings and began the first rep of my third set. I reached the fifth rep of that third set when my arms and back suddenly began to seize up. I tried to block out the feeling.

Ain’t nuthin’ but a peanut! Keep going!

The sixth and seventh reps came and went. My muscles were on fire as sweat cascaded down my face like Niagara Falls. The drill instructor within me became more and more animated.


The eighth rep arrived and bam!!!! My body said ‘no more!’ I let go of the monkey rings, dropped to the ground and doubled over, breathing hard and cursing myself with the type of language that would make my mother weep. I was just about done but decided that I was ok for a fourth set – a fool’s errand at this point as I was just about basted and roasted like a Christmas turkey but I was determined to find out if I could still summon the beast for one more round. The stubborn, pig-headed side of me had finally awoken.

Pick yourself up, kid……let’s see what you’ve got.

I weakly grasped the monkey rings and took several deep breaths. My arms felt like jelly, my hands were jacked to the point where making a fist became a chore and my back and shoulder muscles were stone. I knew that I was never going to make it to five sets but if I could do at least five reps in this fourth set, I would be satisfied. Unfortunately reality sucks sometimes and my muscles tapped out on the very first rep of that fourth set, forcing me to call it a workout and walk away.

That turkey that was basted and roasted? Yeah, I ended up burning the damn bird.

I was disappointed but on the bright side, I still managed to pump out three sets of pull-ups in addition to the five sets of push-ups and squats. Not bad for a first day back to training following a rather lengthy layoff.

I quickly cooled down and stretched before going back inside the house for breakfast. I rested for a while afterwards, quickly surfing the internet, reading and watching some TV before having a second small meal a couple of hours later during which I decided to go for a drive. I quickly dressed up and locked the house before climbing into the family vehicle (Mom and Dad took the other car to the nearest train station). Rather than go on an epic road trip, tempting though it was, I opted instead for a ten-minute drive to the nearest shopping center. Not much had changed, though there was some serious construction work happening nearby, which slightly altered traffic and as had always been the case with that place, finding parking even during early hours was a nightmare. If anything, it seemed to be worse than the last time that I had visited.
I found parking after about ten minutes driving around in circles in search of a vacant spot (and evading all the ‘campers’ waiting for shoppers to load their groceries into their vehicles before taking their spot). I walked around the mall for about twenty minutes, browsing through bookstores and DVD and electronic stores along the way, before calling it a trip and driving back home. It wasn’t exactly a memorable road trip to announce my return to a normal life but it sure did feel good to be able to go out and about again.

The lyrics to the song that inspired this entry summed up my outlook from that day on;
Some day, yeah
We’ll get it together and we’ll get it all done
Some day
When your head is much lighter
Some day, yeah
We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some day
When the world is much brighter.

Ok, maybe I’m being over dramatic but at the time, it sure did feel like I was coming out of a very deep and soul-crushing hole and had finally tasted the sunlight.
Plus I just happen to like that song!

Because You Loved Me: Secret Wish

Another trip back to memory lane,
This one’s kinda lame,
But a funny story all the same,
Parts of this will hopefully make you laugh,
I know I did, where I once cringed I now smile looking back.

I sat pensively on my seat, intermittently listening to the principal struggling to contain her emotions as she addressed my classmates and I for the final time. It was the closing stages of sixth grade graduation and for my peers and I, the upcoming summer break was merely the calm before the the long, arduous road called high school (and teenage years), with its trials, tribulations and everything in between, would unfold.
Call it youthful immaturity but the significance of this event completely escaped me. As the principal spoke my mind was mostly elsewhere, planning what to do with my next six weeks of freedom. That I was on the cusp of ending a significant chapter of my life barely registered.
Most of my classmates evidently felt the same. Some twiddled their thumbs, others daydreamed while among them, the few whose focus was firmly on the present grinned as the principal paid tribute to our hardworking ways over the past six years and wished us well on our journeys.

Several hours earlier I had sat on my desk, staring blankly at the small piece of paper lying in front of me and the pencil beside it. The room was deathly silent, so much so that the tick tock of the clock hanging above the chalkboard in front of the classroom was audible, as were the cars that whizzed past outside under the summer heat.
I looked around the room, hoping to draw some inspiration but also out of boredom and saw that my classmates all had their heads down scribbling random notes on their pieces of paper. And then there were those who were bored as hell, yawning as they waited for the very last lunchtime bell that we would all ever have to answer to as primary school students.

I turned my attention back on that piece of paper, my mind still blank and beginning to drive me insane.
Come on, Kid! Just write something!
My frustration grew as more and more of my classmates began writing on their paper before submitting it to the teacher, who was seated at her desk at the back of the classroom. She had placed a small jar on her desk for students to drop their pieces of paper and the more students I saw walking up to her desk the more I panicked. Shoot, even those glassy-eyed daydreamers were now dropping their paper into that damn jar.

What exactly is the purpose of these little pieces of paper, you ask?

Well, my classmates and I were scheduled to attend our sixth grade graduation ceremony later in the day, about an hour prior to what would be home time. Our teacher had provided us with a small piece of paper to write down our secret wish or dream for the future before folding them up to be placed inside helium balloons that we would release into the sky at the conclusion of the graduation ceremony.
It sounds cheesy but that’s the way our teachers liked it. Call it the icing on top of a massive cheesecake. Oh yeah, and part of that ceremony would include all of us students singing the Celine Dion hit that inspired this particular entry together as a tribute to our parents.
I wish I made that part up but it was part of the program.
And there I was, just your typical twelve-year old aching to forget about all this crap and waste the rest of the day playing video games or watching TV.
Or both.
After all, with high school looming next year I was anticipating a heavier workload that would limit my free time so I wanted to blow off as much steam as I could with the time that I had.

As a kid I never really looked way out into the future and thought about what path I would take. I can’t say I knew any kid that did. The only thing we looked forward to was hanging out and having fun without a care in the world outside of childhood fantasies of fame, fortune and possibly becoming superheroes.

And then a light bulb suddenly went off in my head. Finally!

I wrote down my secret wish, quickly folded up that piece of paper and then dropped it into the jar on my teacher’s desk, shaking my head in disbelief as I strolled back to my desk. My classmates probably wrote something profound about wanting to be rich and famous or to contribute to world peace and me? Well, my little wish wasn’t quite on the same stratosphere as theirs. Be patient, Dear Reader, I shall reveal all at the end of this post. For now, all you need to know is that if I could speak to the twelve-year old version of myself I would have asked him if that wish was the extent of his ambitions

Following the final lunchtime of our primary school lives and a brief moment in our classrooms to pack our bags and have a final moment with our teachers us sixth graders assembled to the school’s main grounds to kick off the graduation ceremony. We were seated front and center close to the front of the main stage while around us the rest of the student body sat and looked on while our loved ones sat and stood around on the sidelines. For the next hour students listened to speeches from the principal, teachers and student leaders while our parents took pictures and recorded the proceedings with their camcorders (it was still the late 90s. Cellphones weren’t used for anything other than taking calls) and some brushed away at teary eyes hidden behind sunglasses. It was an emotional moment for them and I noticed that even some teachers were tearing up. You never really know how much they care until moments like these.

Many speeches and a few songs and prayers later (including that hit by Ms. Dion), we were all handed a helium balloon each, each one containing those little wishes that we wrote earlier. It was hard to tell if the balloon that we held in our hands contained our notes or someone else’s but they were all going to fly into the sky anyway. In a last show of authority for their students our teachers instructed us to release our balloons into the air and soon, the sky was filled with multi-colored helium balloons that went up and up and up, although one was momentarily caught among trees before the wind gently guided it back skywards.

And just like that, sixth grade and primary school was over.

My classmates all hugged and high-fived one another and I noticed that some of them had tears in their eyes. It was quite an amusing sight for me since most of these kids were going to the same high school the following year and were most likely going to hang out together during the holidays, it’s not like they were never going to see each other ever again although perhaps that was true for some. I guess they were overcome by the moment.
The teachers also joined in, bidding their students farewell, passing on their best wishes and offering quick life advice. It was probably the only time that teachers and students showed true affection for one another and at that moment old wounds and grudges were suddenly forgotten.
As for me, I ran straight back towards my family who were waiting and we quietly slipped away, no fanfare and no good-byes. I know it sounds cold but I just wanted to get the hell out of school and get the holidays started. I wanted no parts of that mushy shit.
Well, I did briefly look over my shoulder as we walked closer to the school gates and saw that a group of my male classmates had all climbed to the top of the little jungle gym located in a dirt area not far from the main stage and were whooping and hollering like drunken monkeys. I chuckled before walking through the gates, leaving them all behind me.

So long, y’all.

You’re probably wondering what I wrote on that piece of paper. Ok, I shall reveal all.

You see, in the midst of my struggle to write something down I had quickly reflected on the last few years of school and somehow my mind wondered over to my physical appearance at the time and how it compared to the chiselled, rippling physiques that some of the characters from my favorite video games and cartoons displayed.

As a boy I was raised on a steady diet of super heroes and fighting games. My cousins and, to some extent, my father made sure of it.

I had started to pile on the weight when I was ten years old and continued to fill out over the next two years and so by the time I sat down to write my secret wish I was a chubby, vertically-challenged kid with pretty crappy self-esteem. In my defense I was a growing boy on the verge of adolescence. My appetite increased as my body grew and soon enough one serving during dinner wasn’t enough, I always had to go for seconds and it didn’t help that my mother was – and still is – an amazing cook. Combine that with a non-athlete’s dogged pursuit of inactivity and strenuous relaxation and boom! Instant chubby kid.
To make matters worse I was the type that looked normal while fully clothed but jiggly once the shirt came off. My school uniform hid the flabby gut and man boobs and believe me, I heard it loud and clear from my friends during mandatory swimming lessons over the past couple of years once we had all stripped down to our trunks. The soft midsection meant nothing – I was hardly alone in that department even among the slimmer boys – it was those fucking man-titties that were the bane of my existence, subjecting me to every man boob joke under the sun.

And the sucky part was that even the fatter kids were snickering at my appearance even if they were in far worse shape than I was and had to put up with some jabs that came their way. Rather than extend a supporting hand and sympathizing with my plight they instead chose to kick me while I was already down.

You hypocritical rat bastards! To hell with all of y’all!

But that’s kids for you. They see something funny, they’ll laugh at it. Mercy doesn’t register too highly in their radar unless someone got seriously hurt. I laughed off their childish name-calling and fired back with my own comebacks but it was as futile as taking on a 1000-man strong army with only a potato gun. The sting of those jokes and the desire to look like a jacked-up warrior collided head-on in my mind as I sat in the classroom and so quick as a flash and with nothing to lose, I grabbed my pencil and scribbled down my wish:

I wish I was muscle-bound.

Man, was that lame or what!? I was pressed for time but surely I could have mustered up something much more profound than wanting to be better looking! Talk about being a twelve-year old version of Kevin Spacey’s character in American Beauty minus the creepy crush on a much younger girl!
I never did give that piece of paper another thought once I dropped it into my teacher’s jar and as the years went by that secret wish became nothing more than a footnote in my life story. But many, many years later it all came back to me. I had scoffed at the idea of these wishes coming true as a chunky twelve-year old waiting for graduation, as did a majority of my classmates, but our teacher insisted that they can and would come true.

Wishes only come true in fairy tales, Miss.

We went ahead with the charade anyway, skeptical of her optimism. As I look back on what had transpired over the past twenty two years, though, she just might have had the final laugh.

I don’t wanna know: First Day Jitters

Another blast from the past, triggered by a hit by Mario Winans
Plenty of airplay during its time, poor Mario since faded to oblivion,
The first step to adulthood starts here, let’s see how it goes,
Good luck, Soldier, get ready to feel life’s true highs and lows.

I sat on a bench on platform one at the local train station, my mind in a world of its own as I shut off my surroundings and sank into a deep daydream. There were people from different walks of life around me, school students loitering about engaged in lively conversation after having decided to channel their inner Ferris Bueller (something that must have been planned hastily as they still wore their school uniforms), professional workers dressed in crisp dress shirts and well ironed pants or skirts, retirees out and about enjoying post-employment life, young mothers with their children…….the typical cast and characters one would encounter on a weekday morning.

Not a single soul with their faces glued to their cellphones and/or taking selfies for the sake of their social media presence. Yeah, it was a different time.

Meanwhile, I was nineteen-years old and on my way to my very first day of work. My parents had helped me find this job, a government position that didn’t take up too much of my time and paid me handsomely. I left home for that first day as a walking caricature of a first-time employee – late teens, a few zit scars on my face, funny haircut, my father’s old (and baggy) work shirt and pants and a crumpled old work bag that had more room in it than I needed.
Oh man, those old work pants. They were too big for my rather slender frame and if I stood with my ankles together while wearing those clown pants it would resemble a very long skirt.

Way to make your debut into adulthood looking like a fool, Bud.

I snapped back to reality when the train arrived. It was half-past nine and so carriages were almost empty, save for a few workers whose shifts began long after the usual 9am, allowing them the benefit of a few extra hours’ sleep, hence why they didn’t wear the same glum, miserable expression on their faces as the earlier birds who got the worm and evidently didn’t like the taste.
I took a window seat near the front of the carriage and an elderly man took a seat across the aisle from me. After a while I noticed that he was taking glances at me in between gazing out of the window.

The hell does this dude want?

I suppose I couldn’t blame him. I looked quite comical in my father’s old work wear and he must have quickly surmised that I was making my debut into the big, bad world of the hard grind. Unfortunately he didn’t sense my reluctance to talk and much to my dismay, he leaned closer to my seat and decided to strike a conversation. I should have taken a carriage with several other people in it, that way he would have found someone else to pour his heart and soul out to.
“Good morning, young man.”
I took a half glance at him before redirecting my gaze to the window.
I really was in no mood for this. But the old timer wouldn’t be easily discouraged.
“Where are you headed?”
God dammit, is this guy stalking me?
“To work.”
“Ah……where at?

You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kidding me……..yeah, no, don’t wanna go there, Sir.

I hid my contempt and smiled back him, informing him of the suburb where my building was located and nothing more. I had hoped that it would end our conversation and while it did not, he didn’t press me about the exact location of my workplace. I would have cursed him out if he did.
“How long have you been working there?”
“It’s my first day on the job.”
Then just like that, the man proceeded to rhapsodize about working conditions during his time, about what had changed since and what has remained constant before taking a step further back in time to his childhood.
I stared blankly into his face and pretended to give a damn about what he had to say. Hey, I was a teenager on my way to my first day of work, I had other things on my mind and really didn’t care about this complete stranger and his impromptu recount of his life story sans the Forrest Gump accent.

While touching up on his childhood the old man focused mostly on calculators and how he believed that they destroyed many a students’ problem solving abilities. In his view, they made adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing far too easy and thus softened children in the classroom to the point of slacking off and with that, they would gradually and unconsciously apply it to other aspects of their lives. Folks were tougher in his day, he argued, since they were forced to work out large sums in their heads from childhood and that type of necessary evil armed them with more toughness, resilience, focus and problem-solving skills once they were sent out into the big, bad adult world where the weak were often chewed up and spat out.
Of course, as a recent school-leaver with a chip on his shoulder I thought he was a condescending jerk but in hindsight he might have had a point, although it wouldn’t be fair to suggest that all people today are like that.

Before we knew it, the train arrived to my stop and all due respect to this old timer who, bless him, at least made my work commute go by quickly, it was a relief to finally part ways with him. The working day hadn’t started yet for me and already I was sick of hearing other peoples’ voices. I was still young and quite petulant back then and pearls of wisdom from random strangers weren’t exactly what I sought. If I needed any life lessons my parents would have been more than happy to drill some of that into my head.
I exited the train station and as I approached a street crossing, I took a look at the government building that I would call my workplace, staring right back at me from across the street behind a then-functioning car park (which will, in time, be closed off). It was conspicuous from the train platforms, easily one of the tallest buildings in the area, and as I crossed the road and made my way closer towards this giant cream-colored block with many windows feelings of excitement and nervousness attacked me simultaneously. This was it, I was officially a working man.

Ok, let’s get ready to rock and roll!

PS: I would end up ten years at that job, a role that I quite enjoyed, and
I no longer wore my father’s hand-me-downs from the second week on-wards.

Ghetto Cowboy: Iron Infusion


Lovin’ this tune by Bone Thugs, diggin’ Krayzie’s southern drawl,
The war is almost over but I ain’t on my laurels,
One more major obstacle, the last piece of the puzzle before returning to life’s hard grind and hustle,
An iron infusion awaits, let’s see how this shit pans out,
The finish line’s in sight, ain’t no stoppin’ me now.

A month and a few odd weeks prior to this date, I was sitting in a hospital waiting room, body weakened from anaemia and a then-unidentified disease, undergoing a blood transfusion. Fast-forward to mid-September, I was sitting on a reclinable chair at the same hospital, albeit at a different area, body on the mend but not quite ready for a return to action, undergoing an iron infusion. It would be another life experience that I can add to my never-ending scrapbook of memories.

An hour earlier, I had sat in the waiting room, accompanied by my parents as always, playing with my phone when I wasn’t on my feet stretching my arms and back and pacing back and forth waiting to get this procedure over and done with. An elderly gentleman and his wife sitting across from me were among the very few others in the waiting room and for a while the man stared at me, examining me as though I was a rare species in a zoo and I returned his gaze, mystified and admittedly slightly irate that this guy was eyeballing me. He faintly resembled a real-life version of the protagonist from that Disney film Up. Finally, he spoke up.
“What are you here for?” he inquired, his words strained under the weight of his gravelly voice.
“An iron infusion,” I replied.
His eyes widened with intrigue behind his thin, gold-framed glasses, the same look that my former roommates during my blood transfusion weekend wore when they got a view of my sick-ass self.
“Oh…..why would you need that?”
“Anaemia,” I answered.
I didn’t tell him about the colitis. No point telling him more than he needed to know.
“All the best with it,” he said.
“Thank you.”
And with that he returned his attention to his wife who was seated next to him. It was rather hard to tell who was the patient and who was the support system between the pair of them.

Of all the hospital and doctor’s visits that I had gone through during this period the waiting time for this particular procedure was probably the most excruciating of them all. I was still watching the minutes go by fifteen minutes past my scheduled appointment and I was starting to get exasperated. This was seriously eating into my walking and reading time the two activities that kept me sane during my recovery.

What the hell, man!? Is everyone on the block on a late lunch break!?

Talk about an extremely slow day at the office.

I wasn’t exactly hyped about having to go through this iron infusion but a massive wave of relief washed over me when a nurse finally called my name and began to escort me towards a vast hospital room, where a reclinable hospital bed with a TV screen attached to it and an IV machine were waiting for me. I guess it took a while before one of those chairs became available. There were other similar beds spread out throughout the room, all with patients having various solutions pumped into them while their spouses looked on, save for one patient who was accompanied by her adult daughter. The room even had a separate space at the back, made all the more appealing with wide windows that offered a decent view of the the hospital complex outside and some of the neighboring houses. This was the space where nursing staff ate and chilled between tasks and the area even had plush chairs, a lunch table, vending machines and a flat screen TV on one of the walls to complete the atmosphere of rest and peace.

My nurse, a lovely lady of Chinese descent in her mid to late forties, checked my weight on a scale before I entered the room to take my seat. Here comes another pleasant surprise.
“Fifty-seven kilos”.
Holy crap. I’d regained five of those lost kilos now.
The good news didn’t stop there. According to the nurse the blood test that I did after my meeting with Dr. R had yielded a haemoglobin reading in the one-hundred-tens. Oh man, I was out of there.


Pardon my language, that was the dormant party animal within me making an appearance.

With that little celebration out of the way the nurse escorted me to my seat and asked me to sit back and get comfortable. She sanitized the area in the crook of my right elbow where the IV will be hooked before tying a clamp around my arm. She then asked me to make a fist with my right hand, raising the vein before she shot a needle through.
Perhaps I was still high from the double dose of good news but I didn’t feel the needle plunge through my vein.
She then hooked that needle onto a tube attached to a bag of deep red liquid that would be pumped into my system. There would be a few more questions before the contents of that bag was set loose into my system.
“You were told of some possible side-effects, right?”
“Yeah. The haemotologist told me.”
“Good. Panadol should ease any pain that you feel afterwards.”
Sound advice but I hoped that, like the Mezavant and Imuran, I would be spared from any of these nasty side-effects. The thought of being dependent on yet another damn drug was not part of the script.
I settled back into my seat and reclined it to a more comfortable level as the nurse switched on the pump.
“This should take about half an hour to forty-five minutes,” she said, “sit back and relax.”

Just as it was with the blood transfusion I felt a surge of cool snake through the veins in my right arm as I sat back and watched some afternoon TV programs on the screen attached to my chair. My mother sat beside me, watching the program on my screen while my father intermittently sat on the other chair but sometimes got up to pace around.
I reclined back on my chair and allowed the IV to do its job. The programs on the TV screen grew boring rather quickly and so I settled for trying to take a nap. Limited mobility, being stuck in one place and the sickening quiet of the room somehow failed to make that happen.

I probably should have brought a book with me.

My parents made occasional small-talk with me, mostly about the positive results of my health tests since the colonoscopy and diagnosis but for the most part, we sat in silence and let the IV do its job. Forty minutes couldn’t come soon enough and once the machine beeped to alert nursing staff that the task was complete, the nurse calmly unhooked me, gently pulled out the catheter and sanitized where it had been placed before covering it with a band aid.
“Very good, Sir,” she mused, “how are you feeling?”
“I feel good.”
I slowly stood up and stretched my limbs and the nurse handed me a small pamphlet that described exactly what they had just pumped into my system, including any possible side-effects.
“If you ever feel any pain over the next few days, Panadol should take care of it,” she said before adding “but if the pain persists or you suffer from dizziness, nausea or anything of the sort, return to the hospital immediately.”
“Yes, Ma’am.”
And with that, my parents and I shook hands with her before leaving.

Well……another procedure done and the bloodwork is yielding positive results. I also hadn’t seen any blood in the stools as of late so I guess the colitis had significantly weakened. My days as a recovering patient were slowly coming to an end and I was chomping at the bit to get my normal life back.
But I wasn’t popping the champagne or doing any victory dances just yet. I still had another appointment with Dr. B coming up to find out exactly how far I’d come. Where I once was a bag of nerves whenever I entered his office I now couldn’t wait to see him to deliver the great news.