To Our POWs and MIAs: When Life Gives You Lemons…


My foot is as big as a volleyball and looks like a water balloon and I have it propped up on a pillow so that the swelling will go down and I don’t even know how it got that way. I’m usually big on meditating on the metaphysical symbolism of health conditions but I can’t for the life of me figure out what my left foot represents to me so I’ll just say it’s foot cancer. I went to the VA (twice) today but never got in. I think I’d have to be in major pain before I go back in there but it is starting to tingle and feel a little numb so who knows. It is on the leg that had the needle stuck in the knee earlier because that knee had the golf ball sized knot sticking out of the side of it. They weren’t able to draw very much fluid off of it but the attending physician said they were going to send it off to the lab for a “crystal test” even though I told him that would just be a huge waste of taxpayer money because I don’t do any drugs much less crystal and if I did start doing drugs again it would be some combination of marijuana, heroine, and Guinness Stout and for me to do crystal it would pretty much have to be a forced booty-bump situation because I’ve seen what that nasty shit does to people and I want no part of it. Quite a few of my hooker clients back in the day were on crystal and had to hire somebody to have sex with them because, well, as I said before– gross. I mean I have actually watched crystal meth take a smoking hot guy and turn him into street trash in no time flat. No thanks. Like I said, heroine and marijuana for me, chased with a foamy pint straight from the tap. Those ones don’t do anything bad. I can’t help but wonder if the swollen foot is in any way related to the swollen knee (which is much better now by the way). It would seem an odd coincidence that they happened so close together and on the same leg. The resident physician said the swollen knee could be a result of the fact that I had unprotected oral sex with multiple partners. I shit you not. And this guy has an MD behind his name. Don’t get me started.

When I wasn’t at the VA trying unsuccessfully to get some help for my foot cancer, I was at the Vet Center because I had committed to a couple of friends of mine that I’d get back in therapy for the PTSD after I broke my hand on the refrigerator last week.  My family doesn’t have a lot of money lying around since the stock market crash so we really can’t afford to be buying any new appliances. At the Vet Center, they had a white tablecloth on a table just inside the door with a fine china place setting for “the ones who didn’t come home.” It’s a nice sentiment and all but the whole time I sat in the waiting room waiting to see the therapist, I just stared at the single fresh lemon sitting in the middle of that plate asking myself “why?” and trying to find some ceremonial symbolism in the citrus tribute. I finally had to stop thinking about it because I feared for my sanity.

The receptionist had a tattoo of a dream catcher on her arm. I complimented her on it to which she gave the half-hearted thank you mostly commonly offered by a woman who thinks she’s being hit on. “Not today, honey” I thought. She had a coffee table book called Indian Country so I put two and two together and asked her, “Do you happen to know of any Inipi ceremonies in the area?” “Huh?” Maybe if I use the more familiar term. “Are there sweat lodges around here, especially ones where other veterans pray?” “I wouldn’t know. Women aren’t allowed in those ceremonies. I do know a chief up in North Alabama that goes to them but he has those scars because he goes out west somewhere and they hang him from a tree with claws! You can keep that!” Our conversation was pretty much over at that point– except when she came into the waiting room for something and saw the black support socks I was wearing to try and make the swelling go down. “Nice panty hose!” she said. Where do they get these people? I bet she was the one that put the lemon out for the MIA soldiers.

See y’all tomorrow.

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