His commute to work is long, a long walk through the oatmeal. The bathroom at work is the same distance from his desk as his office is from his house, and he must walk through the oatmeal to get to the bathroom. Room-temperature oatmeal. Viscous and thick.
He has to go to the bathroom all the time. Urgently. Right now. Ten, maybe fifteen times a day. Immediately upon evacuating his bladder, his throat dries up, as if he had swallowed a bucket-full of sand. The nearest water cooler is the same distance from the bathroom as the bathroom is from his desk. Nothing but oatmeal between him and the water cooler.
No amount of water, no matter how cool and ostensibly refreshing, will kill his thirst. He must drink, yet he cannot drink enough. He drinks, slogs through oatmeal to get back to his desk, sits down to work and immediately must again use the bathroom.
In the dream this continues all day long, this insistent and incessant back-and-forth between the water cooler, bathroom, and desk, until the whistle blows and it is time once again to walk home through the oatmeal. How many times will he have to use the bathroom on his way home today? How much oatmeal will there be between him and the bathrooms he finds along the way?
He arrives home, exhausted from a day of labor - the labor required simply to get out of bed and get dressed, to battle through enough fatigue to accomplish something at work and not risk getting fired, to shake himself awake during his commute so that he doesn’t drown in the oatmeal, only to be found dead, soaked to the bone in the gluten-scum ballast...
He hasn’t even attempted to pursue extracurricular activities today, such as, oh, being an engaged father, a passionate husband, a devoted servant of God. He is beyond the point of deluding himself that he will attempt any of these in the sparse moments between the time he turns his key in the door and the time he lays his head down on the pillow.
He lays his head down on the pillow. He must immediately run to the bathroom, slogging through the oatmeal. Then he is getting back into bed for the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth time. His alarm rings almost before he even fell asleep for the first time that night.
But this is no dream. The persistent, oscillating ache in my muscles and joints. The interminable thirst. The constant need to run, not walk, to the bathroom. The comprehensive lack of desire to do anything, no matter how important. The fog that passed as consciousness for months, if not years, on end, that I mistook for mere fatigue. Weight loss without trying to lose weight...loss of interest in food...
Weiss, you have to see a doctor. Because if you don’t, and God-forbid you croak, then you deserve to be called a massive butthead. “What can I say about my husband now that he’s prematurely dead? I can say that he had an opportunity to be the husband and father God expected him to be, the husband and father that we needed him to be, and he blew it. What a massive butthead.”
So I’m at least enough of a narcissist not to want to be called a butthead in public with no recourse for defending myself. I went to see Dr. Goldfarb on Friday, August 24th as much to prevent that from happening as to beg for his help in air-lifting me from Oatland.
For how many years had I prepared myself for this? For how many years had I built this house, heavy brick by heavy brick? Heavy forkful by heavy forkful.
It was time to start over. To tear it down and build it back up. But how? That story needs to be told. It involves a little boy, a Healthy Girl, some guys in white lab coats, and lots - I mean LOTS - of photosynthesis.