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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Friday, 2 November 2012

It's a Battlefield*

* With apologies to Graham Greene

I am not well but that’s a good thing, I can write about drugs.

Normally drugs bore me stiff: in fiction they’re a licence for irrationality, in non-fictional confession there’s always that sneaky residue (OK, I lost my septum but deep down I was hip, truly hip.)

These are the drugs that go up against the prowling hosts of Midian on my behalf. Like my good chevalier Nurofen Express 400 mg liquid capsules, evoking Joni’s line “a ruby in a black man’s ear”. Cough at fifteen-second intervals for most of the afternoon and your chest feels like a sherry cask burned out to create a charred interior, the better to age scotch. The call is for an analgesic and, lo, your chest is chemically removed. Someone else’s burden.

Then there’s the antibiotic, Amoxicillin 500 mg capsules, smartly dressed in deep beige and mahogany, carrying the warning “contains a penicillin”. The product of big bad pharma but frankly it could come from the Devil himself for all I care. I take “a course” as if being taught geography; much as I’ve always resented formal education I am a lamb to the slaughter.

There are others but let’s finish with Night Nurse capsules, not a serious name even though they boast paracetamol, promethazine and dextromethorpan. Best taken when suffering from PUO (pyrexia of unknown origin) and with the mind switching on an off like a cheap bulb. On a good (ie, apoplectic) night you may well find “Sand-strewn caverns cool and deep, where the winds are all asleep.” The beginnings of a trip and, honestly, you don’t give a toss whether you return or not.

Joe (né Plutarch) telephones and we discuss mucous. Bad stuff (especially when yellow) but a good descriptive word. Almost onomatopoeic

8 comments:

Avus said...

Hard luck, RR. I empathise since it has taken me 6 weeks to get rid of mine (and still hack it in the mornings)

Julia said...

Only RR could write about Amoxicillin and make it interesting. Do take care of yourself!

marja-leena said...

Yes, do take care. From one who just came through from such a battle, minus prescriptions thankfully.

herhimnbryn said...

Heal well.

The Alchemist always suggests whisky with meds. It seems to work (although doctors tell us otherwise) and as he says "better living through chemistry", but then he would!

Have hopefully answered your comment over at my place. Re: waking in one's own bed, see Robyn's post here.....

http://artpropelled.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/a-curious-gladness.html

The poem she found expresses it far better than I ever could.

Joe Hyam said...

Phlegm is another word for mucous, almost as onomatopoeic, one of the four humours of ancient science characterised as cool and moist. I wish you well in ridding yourself of it whatever it is called with the help of e that medicine.

Roderick Robinson said...

Avus/M-L: My dears, I appreciate your good wishes but forgive me if I say that on this occasion they were not what I sought. In our discourses illnesses must be transformed otherwise they will get us all down - sufferer and commenter alike. We must look to transmute base mucous (or, indeed, phlegm - see Joe (né Plutarch)) into the the pure platinium of revelation. Avus must evoke a Brough Superior, seemingly broken now gloriously restored, while M-L must do a print which somehow suggests viruses on the back foot. Each to his/her own transmutation. In the words of the hymn:

Here a little child, I stand,
Heaving up my either hand,
Cold as paddocks though they be,
Lord, I lift them up to thee.


Which is totally meaninglesss but will have diverted your minds from your bodily weaknesses for a microsecond, or at least it did mine.

Julia: And trust you to pick out Amoxicillin which I deliberately didn't emphasise, treasuring it close to my breast, seeing it as a butterfly sort of word, fluttering into higher realms, encouraging my soul to... well, not just yet.

HHB: Yes I have now read Kunitz's poem (thanks to Robyn) and, for obvious personal reasons, am struck by the line:

down blue-spiked veronica

though I am uneasy about the l/c v. Also appreciated Alchemist's rambunctious recommendations regarding uisge beatha and even more that slogan: Better living through chemistry. In celebrating many aspects of industry, technology and science in an earlier life I rather missed out on chemistry, mainly through pure ignorance. I regret this now; had I been better informed I might have taken up cudgels since chemistry suffers through misunderstanding andeserved my support.

However, here comes the lightest of wrist-slaps: I am appalled by the last eight words of your comment. Appalled, no other word. I'm not looking for "better expressed" I'm waiting eagerly for what you have to say. See how easily I overlook your terrible spelling (although Joe - né Plutarch is worse) in my rush to know what you and Alchemist are up to. Sorry, that sentence has ended improperly. But you know what I mean. For me you sit ever cross-legged on a mosaic floor.

Joe: It's no good. You had difficulty when I ceased to be BB and I'm having similar problems of transition. For a little while, or until I get tired of finding the accent from Character Map, you will have to be Joe né Plutarch. Think of it as one of those Welsh name with "ap" in the middle.

Lucy said...

Poor old sausage, no wonder you're a bit grouchy. (I know you don't want sympathy but I thought I'd bring you some anyway.)

I liked Christopher Plumber's alternative title for the musical through which he meandered looking somewhat embarrassed: The Sound of Mucus.

'Paddock' is also somewhat onomatopoeic.

Rouchswalwe said...

Gesundheit!!!