I woke up yesterday morning and became vaguely aware that my right toe felt like - well, the best way to describe it would be "dying-death-kill-maim-destroy-ness."
This was only slightly more annoying than the fact that it was 6:00 AM on the only day I could sleep in and I could not get back to sleep. I tossed and turned until 6:37 and then decided that going to the ER would be a good idea because I was 96% sure that there was a firemonster in my toe.
So it was that I found myself competing for medical attention with a burn victim, a dying six-year-old and a man with what appeared to be a dragon-conquering wound. They were all looking at me like I did not deserve to be there.
When it was finally my turn to be seen by the doctor, he asked me what was wrong and I had to look him in the face and say "my toe hurts."
He asked me if I had a blister. I was a little offended that he had so grossly underestimated my ability to accurately assess pain.
"It's not a blister," I told him with what I hoped was an icy glare.
He proceeded to ask me if I had a splinter.
"It's not a splinter," I said in a low, menacing tone. I wanted to tell him that it was probably a firemonster, but doctors don't like it when you beat them to a diagnosis. I decided to play it cool.
The doctor asked me to remove my socks. Upon seeing my bulbous, throbbing toe, he appeared to take me a little more seriously.
After asking me about several pleasantly legitimate possible sources of pain, like hammer wounds, rabid spiders and gout, he said "I'm going to order you some antibiotics just in case..."
As it turns out, I may have an infection in my bone. This means that I have to take a ludicrous amount of antibiotics every six hours to prevent death.
My body doesn't seem to understand that the antibiotics are on its side. So far, it has tried virtually every trick in the book to violently expel the antibiotics from my system. I've tried to talk to my body about its behavior. I told it that it was going to die if it didn't learn to get along with the antibiotics. It didn't seem to care. It is a stupid, stubborn little body - the kind of body that would die just to prove a point.
I have since changed my angle. I am now trying to appeal to my body's competitive side. I told it that death means failure. I asked it if it wanted to fail. It made a gurgling sound which I interpreted to mean "no." I said "Okay then, if you don't want to fail, I would suggest not dying. Nobody wins if you die."
I don't know whether or not I got through to it, but I am encouraged by the fact that my body has yet to follow through on dying. Though I'd like to give myself credit for convincing my body not to die, the truth is there is another more plausible explanation for my continuing survival: For all of its stubbornness, my body is also lazy - so lazy that it may forgo dying simply because it is too much work.