For me the first shoe dropped on Monday. That was when my phone started ringing with the soon-to-be-typical news: “We’re sorry, but due to circumstances we must postpone your pulmonary rehab program ’til further notice.”
Oh fuck. See, there’s a program for people in my condition, commonly known as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). I had a couple exacerbations, and the program being postponed was the one to help me not have any more. Oh well. Then the next phone call, “… the second Tuesday of next month…”
I hadn’t given the whole pandemic thing a real lotta thought. Oh, I was assuredly aware, with the elbow tapping and the feet thing, etc., but I hadn’t yet realized how much things would change until these phone calls, like the one from the MaineHealth Learning Resource Center, postponing my appointment for them to teach me to help myself live healthier.
Then I get this real crazy phone call about the “pandemic vacation.” No shit. This motel calls me offering a beautiful vacation package — with everything paid for, of course, except any long-distance phone calls made by me or the friend I can bring to Florida, California, or even Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I didn’t know they did that in a pandemic, but of course I’ve never lived through one before. I guess some wise travel agent had his thinking cap on, right?
Then I stop by the dispensary. There’s a long line. They’re taking one person in at a time, and preferring to take phone orders, or e-mails. I tell him, “I’ll be back,” and he gives me a handy price list before I go. Still, I’d yet to see the craziest thing.
As you may know, I attend the methadone clinic, and it was a daily venture to the clinic for a long time, ’til after I’d earned more trust for good behavior and was allowed “take-homes.” After a spell I’d worked my way up to going just two days a week.
So anyways, I get a phone call from my counselor tellin’ me to bring my lockbox (a metal safe for transporting my meds) and to come a day early. Upon arrival they hand me 13 bottles of meds! I’m like, “Yeah, boy! I’ll see ya in two weeks.” I later learned all the clinics are doing the same for folks with take-homes.
That’s actually a big luxury for me, not having to get up at six every morning to go get medicine. But heavens to Betsy, things must be deep!
And then I go home to get my third and biggest postponement. The Maine Med Cancer Institute lets me know there’s to be a delay in my getting tested for lung cancer. Ain’t this a bitch? Oh well. I’m sure they’ll get to it eventually. I quit smoking tabacky almost a year ago, after 50 years of nonstop puffing. I guess it comes back on me pretty soon.
And then another door-slam. This time it’s my sort-of workplace, at Fresh Approach. They got a little space in there to sit down and have a java, scan the rags, and more often than not I come up with my ideas of what to write about. Boy, ain’t things getting hog-wild: no conglomeration of people is the rule of the day, so I’m out of the office until further notice.
That trip to Puerto Vallarta sounds nice about now. You must agree, sí, señor? Too bad no one can leave the country, huh?
Now I’m sitting here in my pad on Cumberland Ave. and I get to wondering: where’s the noise? Christ-amighty, it reminds me of when I worked in the graveyard. Quiet. Almost too quiet.
But the rumor mill is still churning away — that never does stop much, does it? I’ve just heard from another party in the same boat I am, as far as methadone goes. He says we’re to get another two weeks’ worth! Well, we’ll see about that.
So I decide to take some action. And because I can’t go to the Portland Public Library, I figure the next best thing is back to Wellness Connection, to get something to at least keep my head well. One daytime and one nighttime cone shall do just fine, I think.
Then my pal Cliff called. He is so full of doomsday predictions I must shut him down. I just hope the fuck he’s incorrect.
Well, I got into my dispensary, and man, I see a girl in line with a body to die for. Got me wondering about corona and the impact on folks’ sex life. Will people turn to self-gratification? That’s one question to be taken seriously, I do believe. Are cold showers the answer? Have we seen the end of eharmony? Boy, if I had the dough I’d invest in the adult toy industry.
I don’t know about you folks, but I guess I’ll go fishing.