I had just started working with Lynn Book, a performance artist and instructor of mine, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, on her newest piece. At that point it was to be her and I. We had one rehearsal. Little did I know that would be the start of my slow departure from my creative self. Afterwords I met Dan and his family to celebrate his brother John's birthday along with John's future wife Kathleen.
It was July 1st.1986, the last afternoon and evening before I changed forever.
The Devil begins to play. I woke up with the worst flu of my life.
Alone in my small apartment I languished for days. I'd make it to the bathroom and the sink for water. I could hardly talk for the pain in my throat, or move my head due to spasms in my neck. I sadly had to tell Lynn that I could not continue with the rehearsals. She had to move on.
I had 3 visitors: Dan, my brother Al, and my friend Louie Dangelo, bless their lovely hearts. I lay there for a week, not improving. "What kind of crazy flu is this?" I dragged myself to one of the doctors I was able to see through school. I vividly remember siting on the bus feeling alien and detached.
Dr. Sober was new to this doctoring business so he was very attentive with a great bedside manner, which by the way soured over the years. I hope he changed careers because he seemed to hate his patients with a passion. He took some blood, looked at his doctoring books and came back shrugging his shoulders and saying he didn't know what it was but seemed to be some sort of "Mono-like illness". In other words, he couldn't do squat for me.
I went back to my bed and lay there for another week, feeling exactly the same. It was becoming a bit of a bore.
Time seems to move in an un-Einsteinian way during fevers. Reality is not only distorted, but such prolonged bodily temperature rises leaves one removed from self and the planet. After two weeks of this, I was rescued by my future in-laws; Art and Ginny Wasik. Their hearts need to be blessed as well, along with their liver, kidneys and all the rest of their organs for that matter. Art drove all the way from Matteson, an hour south of Chicago, to pick me and my laundry (!) up. So I lay at their house for another week.
Really? Another week?
They kept asking me if I was any better. I felt I was letting them down somehow by saying no.
Week 4 of this damn flu.
It was time to be shuffled along again with my now clean and folded laundry; thanks Ginny, if there is a heaven they better give you a comfy chair, a good view and yummy chocolate chip cookies! So off to another bed, this time it was Dan and John's apartment. I stayed in Dan's room feeling rather awkward and worrying about imposing on John's space and eating their yogurt cups. I don't know how many days I was there. I finally, slooowly started improving and thought I better get back to my little apartment and stop taking up space in other people's homes.
Week 5-damn. I don't want to think about it any more today.
A big thanks if you made it this far and John, sorry about those yogurt cups.