Tag Archives: medicine

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

I want a magical forest filled with unicorns

I’ve taken naps at night for as long as I can remember—really hearty ones that last anywhere from six to eight hours. I don’t know much about what goes on during these night naps, but apparently I just lie motionless. The doors to my auditory, olfactory, and oral sensory headquarters are shut and padlocked and my capabilities at controlling drool levels are severely reduced.

If that’s not weird enough, I don’t even remember most of what I do for these periods of time. I’m pretty sure I just lie still, but I could also get up and squirt cheese whizz at the dog. Who knows? I have no control over my body during these dark gaps in my consciousness. It’s quite terrifying.

After waking up from one of these naps, however, sometimes I can kind of remember stuff from the great beyond I just sailed through. Most of it is dark nothingness with wisps of things I’ll never quite remember. Sometimes I think of ham inexplicably. Yet on the rare occasion, I remember a dream and catch a glimpse into the journey my mind sneakily made behind my back.

Dreaming, to put it simply, is amazing. There are endless possibilities of a sleeping mind roaming through territories ungoverned by reality’s mundane laws. The dreams don’t even need to involve hardware or flooring materials. That’s the beauty of dreaming: it’s limitless and free.

This is why I regret almost every single dream I remember. My dreams, far from being fantastic, are disgustingly boring and feel more like a poorly written office memo. Invariably I’m doing the exact same things I do in real life except for sometimes it feels “weird.”  My brain, as a dream-maker, sucks big time. Why can’t it create cooler things for me? Why am I not soaring to a floating feast where I sit in a barrel of spaghetti while eating ribs with Conan O’Brien? Why can’t I zap period clothing into existence and have the sickest privately owned collection of bonnets? Why am I not in the trenches with my best talking animal friends while we defend ourselves against an evil giantess that looks like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz?

They always say something is “the stuff dreams are made of” like it’s a good thing, but this clearly doesn’t apply to all dreams. Mine seem to be made out of dust covered toilet paper rolls, empty ball point pens, generic brand Cheerios called something like Happy-Oh-Nos and the stuff people give away for free on Craig’s List.

I would rather not even remember my dreams if it only means being depressed at my pathetically low dreaming horizon. I mean, I would like to see results from the 6-8 hours a night I put into these naps. All I want to do is wake up and not want to drop acid in order to make my dream life more interesting. Is that too much to ask?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that not all dreams are made of the same stuff, so if you’re buying some you better give the label a good look.

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The Hospital: Come Sick, Leave Sick and Scarred

I think the hospital is in this picture. I almost died getting there.

(partially based on true stories)

Friend: My ears are still shot so I went to the clinic again today but they told me I need to go to the hospital. They have no idea what’s wrong.

Me: Ooo…that’s not great news. I hear Egyptian hospitals are horrendous. Like really awful places. Like I would probably choose to suffer soul-rending pain just in order to avoid stepping inside one of those hellholes.

Friend: (hesitating) Well there’s nothing else I can do…the clinic at the university said they’ve done everything they can for me. The medicine they prescribed hasn’t worked and I can’t hear a thing. Maybe I’ll at least get some better ear drops from the hospital.

Me: (chuckling) The hospital! The only thing they’ll get from them is a rash and a ticket to the insane asylum!

Friend: (confused) I’m going today after class…

Me: (interrupting) So my boss told me about when he went to a public hospital because his employee’s  foot was pierced by an piece of rebar in a freak accident. Just poked right through like a pencil through paper. Pop! Blood gushing out everywhere, really gruesome stuff.

Friend: (concerned) Ewww…. So what was the hospital like?

Me: Well I’ll tell you what happened. They had no idea how bad their situation was until they saw the place that was supposed to treat them:  it was completely disorganized and crowded beyond all reason with desperate, sick people that had been camping out for days just to get into the ER. I can only imagine the haze from the bacteria growing in the air itself.

Friend: Did they get in?

Me: No! They had to go somewhere else, a “private” hospital where they still had to bribe their way in. And you won’t believe this: they had to pay just to use the elevator, even though the guy’s foot was literally a river of blood. Literally, a river of blood! And then they get to the hospital room and find all manner of wailing and chaos going on around them, blood on the walls, doctors frantically pouring liquid after liquid on the wound, which of course does nothing at all. It all seemed like a freak comedy act.

Friend: Which hospital was this?

Me: (ignoring the question) At last a real doctor comes along and sticks his finger right in the wound and wiggles it around while my boss’s employee is screaming in pain. Finally, my boss gets the doctor to quit it and they stitch they guy up with a dirty needle and some dental floss and then send him on his way. Last I heard, he’d lost all feeling in his foot along with 2 toes due to an infection he likely caught at the hospital itself. He’ll probably be subscribing to Prosthetic Fashions Weekly pretty soon! Hahaha!

Friend: …..

Me: But you’re not going to a public hospital, so I’m sure your case will be different. Catch ya later!

Friend: (sighs deeply, then heads to class)

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New Pile of Dirt on the Block

I literally thought, “That pile of dirt is gold.”

Tonight, on my way to another lung-blackening adventure in Cairo, I noticed a new pile of dirt on my street. I thought to myself, “Huh, that’s a new pile of dirt.” In spite of the Ramadan craziness that ensued in the Hussein area of Cairo (think: Rockefeller center at Christmas but without squishy coats) and throughout the hours of sheesha-sitting, I couldn’t stop thinking about the pile of dirt. Something about it resonated with me.“This,” I thought, “Is what true inspiration feels like.” As the night passed, I kept reminding myself that I must take a picture of it, to keep and to hold.

Hours later I arrived back at my apartment, switched the air conditioning on, threw off half my clothes and suddenly realized I hadn’t taken a picture of the pile of dirt. My innards began to swim in turmoil. Do I let the moment pass, or do I try to seize the pile of dirt handful by handful (so to speak) and leave my apartment at 2 am in the morning to capture it on film? I think we all know what happened. The pile of dirt inspired the following.

Dear Piles of Dirt International, Inc.:

I see you delivered the pile of dirt I requested. I appreciate your patience with my order since my fax machine was broken for some time and kept on sending all of my piles of dirt requests to Toys “R” Us headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey. Apparently there is a hot new toy for city kids called “Pile O’Dirt” so there was quite a bit of confusion on both ends. I am glad to see that one request finally made it through to you, though I do have a few notes on your manner and timing of delivery.

First of all, I requested this pile of dirt almost two months ago. It was supposed to be a belated engagement present for my sister since she is in Physician’s Assistant school and one of her activities is “reconnecting with sterilized nature indoors.”  Through practice, the future P.A.s learn how to simultaneously sympathize with and look down upon people visiting their Wal-mart Clinics who are involved in agriculture. The dirt she is required to purchase and then sit in can be very expensive, so I thought I would shoulder some of the financial burden by providing it for her at a reduced cost. I just want her marriage to succeed. This brings me to my next point.

She is not studying to become a Physician’s Assistant in Doqqi, Cairo. She is in Oklahoma, USA. In fact, she lives a five minute walk away from your main office. I am puzzled, therefore, as to why the pile of dirt has arrived in here in Egypt. The form clearly stated the recipient of the dirt and her location. I even specified that it was to be carefully placed in the newly installed dirt-holding hut at her home. I don’t even recall writing my address or location on the form, though I was experimenting with a different kind of Egyptian peanut butter that night so it’s difficult to remember exactly what happened. Perhaps that has something to do with all the “Pile O’Dirts” I’ve gotten as well. Moving on.

Even had I wanted the pile of dirt for myself, the style of delivery was completely unacceptable. Your workers, supposedly the best in the field, had apparently indulged in Egyptian liquor before the requested midnight delivery. By the way, the one thing your company got correct was the surreptitious delivery at a bizarre time. Nevertheless, because their stupor or extreme ineptitude, they mistakenly deposited the entire pile of dirt outside a coffee shop where anyone could just up and take it. Not only will your workers likely be afflicted by blindness because of the Egyptian alcohol, but the pile of dirt is blocking a total of two cars, the owners of which are likely blinded by rage.

The last and perhaps most important point is that the sterility of the pile of dirt is completely ruined. That is actual litter in the photo. God knows what else has crept into it by now. Even were my sister be present, it would be completely useless for her exercise unless she wanted to better understand feral animals. Needless to say, I would like the pile of dirt removed and placed in front of our landlord’s car, a full refund, and a voucher for two free piles of dirt in the future.

Thank you for your time,


P.S. I will be writing an unfavorable review for you on Angie’s List, noting that there were sizable rocks included in the pile of dirt when I specifically requested only small to medium pebbles.

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