I woke this morning at 3:30 a.m. My mouth was dry. I tried to urinate, but something roughly the color of quinoa came out in small quantities. So I assumed I was dehydrated. It could have been the bourbon and scotch before dinner — or the two IPAs at dinner. Or the four IPAs after dinner at trivia. Or the scotch after trivia. But something told me I was dehydrated.
I walked downstairs and retrieved a bottle of water, finishing it before I got back to the bed, still dirty from when my host’s brother had lain his undergraduate filth between its sheets. At that point, I realized this was insufficient liquid to restore me, so I walked back downstairs to get two this time, finishing one before I was upstairs again and spilling part of the other onto the bed — the closest thing it had seen to a wash in many moons.
I repeatedly tried to return to some sort of hybrid state between a drunken slumber and a hangover remedy nap, but the hydration had revived me to the point to that I now felt pain. So the small sledgehammer going off in my right occiput absolved me of any desire to move anything beyond my thumbs to navigate my iPhone to the comforting arms of mother Netflix.
Laying there, starting my 10th straight day of either interviewing or traveling for interviews, I contemplated my life. The pre-interview dinners have left me with pre-cirrhotic liver disease in order to stomach the pain of another conversation about the benefits of whatever “big city with a small town feel” I find myself in on a given night. Additionally, my hosts in each place have thought it would be a great idea to shower me with gifts of the best pizza/burger/pub/Mexican food in the city as well more local beer. The result: I’m not sure I can name a vegetable. One has certainly not passed my lips in the past 10 days, unless you count hops or French fries.
In the midst of the past 11 days, I have been on 10 different planes and two buses. I have slept in an airport on a makeshift bed I fashioned from concrete, my tears and the remains of whatever snacks have been pulverized in my bags. I have slept on a Megabus from Durham to Atlanta (that is, until a 4 a.m. wake up call brought me back to the land of the living in the form of a retching woman and the subsequent splash of the vomitus on the floor. Luckily for me, it only took about 45 seconds for the odor to waft through to cabin to offend my nostrils, but it lingered in the air for more than 30 minutes). I am currently running on a mixture of stress, caffeine/ethanol- fueled anxiety and spite.
The result of the 10 planes is that all small bones in my face have snapped off into even smaller pieces which are currently leaking from my nostrils in a beautifully ironic river of what I can only assume is CSF. Yesterday my ears actually ached at trivia: not from the drivel spewing forth from the speakers but rather the contents of my inner ear rebelling against the repeated barotrauma, the results of which I can only assume resemble Joplin, Missouri circa 2011.
As I laid in bed this morning, I contemplated diving headfirst into a wood chipper as I’m sure it would only improve my current situation. My anxiety has kept me in a mental state of mind equivalent to a cracked out squirrel who just tried Adderall and meth for the first time. Sleep eludes me. There is nothing in this world I do not hate.
After the three bottles of water, my urine seemed to still be completely undiluted Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, which I think may be what my blood currently resembles.
Oddly, the interviews have been the easiest part of this entire process. So I guess there’s some redeeming purpose for this pointless waste of cerebral spinal fluid, money, days of my life, and hepatocytes.
The author is an anonymous physician.
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