Kage Baker disliked surprises. She didn’t care for changes, she detested practical jokes, and even “nice” surprises like birthday presents made her nervous.
What if she didn’t like them? What if they forced changes on her routines? What if she had to somehow be seen using them when all she wanted to do was to pitch them in the rubbish tip and forget the entire sordid interlude? Those venerable comedy routines where someone trots out an ugly vase whenever Aunt Mimsie comes to visit filled Kage with sympathetic horror.
The side effects and symptoms and debilitations of her last year were a low-level nightmare for her. She coped with them valiantly, though, mostly by determinedly seeing them through a light of farce and insanity: the entire situation was so ghastly and so weird, it was the only way to survive from day to day. When her assorted therapies required piercings and tattoos (which no one tells you about beforehand, BTW. It was a surprise!), she made the best of it; when they also made her a cyborg, with a port in her arm and a pump in her chest – well, she made notes on the interesting sensation of becoming an Operative.
We laughed such a lot, that year. We found ourselves in lots of weird situations, but that year was the weirdest. It was a case of laugh or give up, and laughing was not only more pleasant, it annoyed the hell out of stuffy medical personnel. So Kage made paper airplanes out of examination drapes, and wore wildly striped socks to surgeries, and we went AWOL from the hospital whenever she got too fed up with it. She always called them to tell them where she was; and it was only funnier when they usually hadn’t noticed she was gone … You have to take your fun where you can find it, when times get desperate.
I have persisted in trying to view my own health disasters in a similar vein. And since my entry into aging seems to be accompanied by most of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and a minor troupe of Furies, translating the whole thing into comedy has been the only way to stay even slightly sane. Amusement is a much better option than despair.
I’ve spent most of the last month battling diverse infections, and exploring the wonderful world of antibiotics. As I’ve never abused them, most of them still work on me: I’ve nonetheless had to try several over the last several week, though, as the bugs have been strengthened by other people’s overuse … horrid little mutants. Luckily, I like yoghurt, and so have had a good time replenishing my alimentary biome; and Kimberly found me a brand of probiotics that are gummy teddy bears! Useful and fun at the same time! I can enact little Grateful Dead parades with my morning pill routine.
And I have discovered that continued use of sufficiently strong antibiotics can erase your fingerprints. They grow back, of course, but first they are simply sloughed away. This can get slightly awkward when you’re also trying to renew your driver’s license – but my thumbprint was one of the tougher ones, and I managed to produce a sufficiently whorled print to satisfy the DMV.
And now the rest of my fingerprints are growing back nicely. I should have no problems if I attract the attention of the TSA when I fly to Seattle later this month, or when I rent a car to drive to Spokane for WorldCon. Though it’ll certainly be amusing if something goes wrong … I’ll have great stories to report, that’s for damned sure.
I’ll keep you all appraised of the trip, Dear Readers. Adventures At The Hugo Awards, with No Fingerprints!