Words cannot express how annoying having Cystic Fibrosis can be. Making room for pulmonary treatments, remembering to bring your medication with you wherever you go, taking them specific times so they don't cause any side effects if combined with your other medications. Ah, the fun of a chronic illness. I can't say it has been all that bad though, since it has been a constant source of entertaining stories. Here is a good story from college that still boggles my mind...
In February 2001, I was living in in Grimm Hall on the campus of University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Having always been up front with my issues my entire life, most everyone on my floor knew I had CF and that I needed pulmonary treatments to stay healthy. I use a device that I wear like a vest which inflates and vibrates my chest to shake up the mucus in my lungs and aides me in coughing it out of my body. When the machine is on it gets loud and obnoxious, so during the week, I would always have my door closed when I did my therapy. The weekend was a little more relaxed and I would open my door partially so that I would get air circulating in my room.
Anyone who has lived in a dorm knows that an open door is an open invitation for visitors whether you want them or not. On this particular weekend, I had two of the unwelcome kind; so stoned from God knows what kind of drugs that they walked into my room and stared at me for ten minutes before one of them managed to spit out the words "Are you some kind of freak or something?" Rather than get offended, I decided to play along with them.
"Sure I am. I am an adrenaline junkie. This thing keeps me going all night long!" I said sarcastically.
"That's f*%#*n' awesome!" Stoner # 2 piped in. "Can we ride it?"
I looked at him like he had just farted in church. Ride it? Ride it?! Does this look like an amusement park? I am in the middle of treatment, for the love of God! Alright, if they want an amusement park, I will give them one...for a price.
"Okay. Twenty bucks and you can ride it for two minutes." I said thinking he'll never give me that and he will go away.
"Really?! Okay, here you go!" Stoner # 1 said as he handed me the money. I turned on my machine for two minutes on a low frequency. This guy couldn't stop laughing the whole time. Stoner # 2 handed me another twenty dollars and had the exact same reaction. It was like Beavis and Butthead were in my dorm room. I was okay with it for no other reason than I had just made forty dollars in four minutes for doing next to nothing. Looking back, I should have charged them more. They actually thanked me and said they would be back. I shook my head and closed the door as the left. They would be lucky if they found their way out of the dorm, forget about ever making it back to my room again. I happily ordered a pizza and shared with some of the guys on the floor, content with the fact that my entrepreneurial skills had put some cash in my poor "college student" pocket.
At about 3:30 AM on that same evening, there was a knock on my door. I looked through the peep hole and saw Stoner # 2. I went back to bed hoping that if I ignored him, he would just go away, but he kept incessantly knocking. I couldn't take it anymore so I opened the door and he had the nerve to ask me if he could ride my machine again. I'd had enough of these morons, so I decided to mess with him while he was again clearly stoned out of his mind. "No you can't because it is very late and I am sleeping right now. Plus, you are missing your feet! How the hell did you get here with no feet?!" He looked down at his feet, then looked back at me and said "Really? Where did I leave them? Oh, man. This is bad. This is really bad." (I can't make these things up, people. I am not that creative.) "You better go find them. Hurry up!" I said. Off he went stumbling down the hall and frantically looking around for his feet. I locked my door, chuckling as I headed back to bed.
I saw that guy a few months later and he said he didn't remember a thing about that night. He also said if it did happen, then I was a bad person for messing with him while he was high. I was a bad person? I try not to judge anyone. What people choose to do with their life is their business. However, when someone is waking me up in the middle of the night because they are tripping out on drugs and want to play with my therapy machine, I feel I am within my rights to make him think their feet are missing. That was the day I started to say that stupid people hurt my brain. Unfortunately, I have said it many times since then.