Some people collect stamps.
Some people collect coins.
I, apparently, collect infirmities.
As a child, I went and caught the asthma. As a teen, I went and caught the steroid-induced spinal degeneration. As a young man, I went and caught the diabetes. As a middle-ager, I went and caught the cancer.
And, as a senior, I went and caught the septicemia, which is what you done catch when your blood ain’t right and they done put you in the hospital. So when I went to the doctor a few weeks ago for chronic neck and side pain after my nine-day hospitalization, I wasn’t too surprised with his diagnosis:
“You done caught the scoliosis,” he says. “Along with a side helping of the spondylosis.”
“Is that bad?” I ask, knowing full well that any word ending in “osis” is probably a bad thing.
“Your neck is bent like a cheap spoon, and your spine is twisted worse than Donald Trump’s sense of reality,” he says. “That’s what is causing the pain.”
“So, is that what’s causing this?” I ask, pulling up my shirt to reveal a huge bump on my upper right chest that stands out like a third breast.
“Probably,” he says.
So when I go for my cancer exam the next week, I ain’t too concerned.
“By the way,” I says to the oncologist, real nonchalantly, “I done got a scoliosis bump on my chest.”
“Bump?” he says, though real non-nonchalantly. “What bump?”
After an initial examination, he runs some tests and a CAT scan..
“I got good and bad news,” he tells me a week later. “The bad news is that your bump is likely to be one of two types of cancer, either a localized tumor called a plasmacytoma, or a systemic relapse of your multiple myeloma.”
“What’s the good news?” I asks.
“It probably ain’t due to the scoliosis,” he says, and then tells me to go see my specialist.
My specialist runs a whole series of tests, including blood draws, a bone survey, an MRI and something called a PET scan which, surprisingly, does not require me to bring my dog to the clinic. Finally, she orders a biopsy of the bump, which involves a really long needle and the good sense to look the other way as they jam it in you.
While the blood tests come back slightly out of whack, the scans and survey don’t reveal anything new, and the biopsy comes back as “inconclusive.”
“There’s a slim hope that it’s not myeloma or a plasmacytoma,” the specialist says. “At this point we’re not sure what’s going on.”
But I have my own idea of what’s going on, a good idea. A real good idea.
Let’s see, guy recuperates from medical treatment, seemingly in good health, when all of a sudden something bursts out of his chest.
Hmmm, didn’t something like that happen to John Hurt in the 1979
Ridley Scott film “Alien”? And then again in the 1986 sequel, “Aliens”?
Here’s how it works: the alien (xenomorph is the technical term), affectionately known as a “facehugger,” latches on to your face, inserts an oviposter down your esophagus, (hey, I’m not making this stuff up) and deposits an embryo into your stomach that, upon gestation, bursts from your chest with much blood, screaming and special effects.
I don’t recall any aliens sitting on my face, though I was mostly zoned out on painkillers during much of my hospitalization, so anything could have happened. There is no known cure for alien infestation; once the oviposter has its way with you, you’re 100% screwed.
At this point the only option is to contain the alien outbreak. And currently there is only one known containment protocol: Sigourney Weaver.
Armed with a flamethrower. And a pulse rifle. Perhaps backed up by a squad of Colonial Marines.
Should Sigourney Weaver not be available, only one alternative remains: Fall back to the dropship, take off and nuke the entire site from orbit.
It’s the only way to be sure.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, I get a message from the specialist: “We’ve ruled out the cancer, however we want you to see an infectious disease specialist to make sure you don’t have a residual staph infection.”
So now I got a PICC line in my arm, with instructions to mainline antibiotics three times a day for the next six weeks.
It’s the only way to be sure.
That said, I still plan to keep Sigourney Weaver’s Twitter contact handy. Just in case. It’s the only way to be sure.