This time I really was delusional

by Brian Keaney

I’ve been told my whole life I look exactly like my father.  I don’t see it, but I totally understand when they say we act just alike as well.  To give just one example, my mother gets beyond frustrated when we answer exactly the question she asked, and we don’t elaborate and give her the answer she was really seeking.  For example,

Mum: Where are you?

Me: Worcester.

Mum: What are you doing out there?

Me: Driving.

Mum: Where?

Me: Connecticut.

Mum: What’s in Connecticut?

Me: Hartford.

It’s usually about here that she just gives up and moves on.  It’s a true testament to a mother’s love that she didn’t give up on me years ago.

I think there is a reason we have two ears and only one mouth, so in general I try not to speak unless I have something to say.  When it comes to my mother or sisters, however, I have an additional reason for not offering more to them: they are going to talk (and worry) about me anyway, so I choose not to give them more fodder for gossip.  I discovered this at the end of last summer when one of them said something about the girl I was dating at the beginning of the summer.

When I asked what girl she was referring to, she said she didn’t know her name, but Mum was pretty sure there was one.  There wasn’t, but I didn’t confirm or deny this mystery girlfriend’s existence.  In fact, my love life if something I almost never discuss with them.  The last time they met a girl I was dating, it wasn’t until several months after we had broken up.

More recently, I got the flu for the first time in my life yesterday.  I haven’t slept or eaten in any appreciable amounts since Tuesday morning, but strangely I’m not all that tired or hungry.  When one sister called me yesterday, she noticed that I sounded terrible.  I told her I was sick, and my mother has called several times since then.  I finally answered a little while ago, and not long after my other sister called.

She knows I’m not one for idle chit chat and thus doesn’t call unless she has a reason, so I knew exactly what she wanted before I picked up the phone.  After I ran through my symptoms for her, I mentioned that I think that because of the lack of sleep I had gone delusional.  At various points last night I thought my tongue was about six inches thick, that my hands were made out of stone, and that these orb-like objects were flying over me at such a speed that I freaked out and had to get out of bed.

I mentioned it only because I thought it was funny, but the nurse got even more worried then.  It wasn’t the lack of sleep causing the hallucinations, she said, it was the fever.  She’s known me long enough to know that I wasn’t going to do anything about it besides eat an orange and drink some Jameson, but she tried again to convince me of the merits of modern medicine.  Her efforts were valiant but for naught, though I did tell her that if the fever killed me, as she threatened it might, that I would let her tell me “I told you so.”  That didn’t make her feel any better, but I had a smile on my face.

What’s that they say about laughter being the best medicine?

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