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Weird and wacky week for Kevi
7/12/07

It’s been a weird and whacky week in Kevin’s World, folks.

It started more than a week ago, when I felt myself coming down with the same stomach virus that sidelined the Publisher on Tuesday. I knew that alone was serious stuff. When the Publisher takes any Tuesday off, something’s up and it’s not all good.

I was about a day behind her in regards to the symptoms, which was going to put the peak of illness on a Wednesday, which is press day at the Leader and not allowed.

Ask any weekly newspaper employee. You don’t die on press day. You don’t have babies on press day. You don’t get married on press day, and you don’t have mental breakdowns on press day.

Well, you can have a mental breakdown, but it can only last five minutes, and during your lunch break.

My oldest boy’s mother went into labor bright and early one press day years ago in Iowa Park. At the time, I was doing reporting, advertising, and traditional (non-computer) pasteup.

I had a full page grocery ad to built, a couple of sports stories to write, and some pasting up to do. Somehow, she managed to wait until after I finished sometime after lunch to take her to the hospital.

For some reason, she never quite forgave me for that episode. Somehow, I don’t blame her.

Ok, back to the present past.

I went to bed Tuesday night feeling pukey but survivable, feeling deep down that a good night’s sleep might enhance the chance for survival once press day rolled around.
At just about 2 a.m., I woke up in that weird state between blurry and alert.
I was heading to the bathroom and subconsciously rubbing my stomach, and remember pinching something off me the size of a Coco Puff.
As my head cleared, I realized a spider had come to visit in bed. He didn’t just visit. He tried to murder me.
I found this out as the initial itch in a handful of places around my bellybutton started to swell and redden and burn over the course of the next several hours.
And here we were, sunrise on press day.
Crap.
I’ll say at this point that I’m not a very good sick person. I’ve had my share of breaks and knocks in this world, but being sick just doesn’t suit me.

And here I was with a double whammy, attacked by a stomach virus and a spider that was unrecognizable after I rolled and smushed it for a good 30 seconds.

By noon, the office was filled with stacatto shrieks and moans. The coworkers were doing their best to show concern, eventhough after a while I’m sure the bleating sounds were driving them nuts.

By mid-afternoon I couldn’t take anymore, and neither could the coworkers. With a few pages left to complete, they decided the extra work was worth it, and kicked my tail out the door and towards the clinic.

Dr. Stutte started treatment for a worst-case scenario, despite the fact we couldn’t positively identify the culprit responsible for the swelling red welts on my tum tum.
Worst-case would have been either a Brown Recluse, or a secondary staph-like infection that in both cases eats flesh.

I’ll mention here that one of the worst symptoms was a constant burning sensation around the bite area. Cold packs were the only thing that alleviated the pain. It made sleeping almost impossible, and I do love my sleep.

Add to this joint pains, chills, fever, headaches and a general feeling of being near death.

I’d be up at 2:30 in the morning, with the cold pack, watching television with two eyes and scanning the ceiling with the other two, shaking my head here and there – and here’s the clincher – doing running commentary. I’d talk about anything and with no one in particular to hear it. I didn’t care. It didn’t matter. Most of it was nonsensical and some of it probably even philisophical, and it all ended up in never-never land.

I didn’t do much of anything I considered routine. I couldn’t mow the yard. I sat through the flooding when I should have been out at Chapparel or other places along the flood plain, waist deep in muck and shooting news.

Other events over the weekend, including the annual golf tournament and the street dance, I less covered and more survived.

It was a completely frustrating experience.

One thing that started to shake me out of the building funk was a 60-minute feature on the emergency medical personnel working in Iraq. Scenes of our boys suffering ghoulish wounds from an IED made me feel extremely guilty for my own self-pity.
‘No matter how bad you’ve got it, somebody’s got it worse.’

Even locally, there are those who suffer quietly and bravely through the burns of radiation treatment, or the debilitating effects of chemotherapy. Others with chronic and painful conditions that made my own laughable in comparison.

The only consolation from that knowledge was to respect those people even more for what they go through. Otherwise, I still hurt, and hurt bad.

This Tuesday is press day at The Leader, early one day because of the 4th of July.
I woke up feeling like I might have gone over the hump. The antibiotics and other medications were finally gaining the upper hand. I certainly hope so.

I cleaned my room of all the piles of dormant clothes, and every crack and crevice was met with a vacuum hose.

I forgave that spider because experts say most of the 20,000 species want nothing to do with humans, and bite only when they are backed into a corner and out of fear.
On the other hand, I didn’t invite that little punk into my bed last Tuesday night, so fair is fair.

Much thanks for the patience and understanding the girls at the Leader displayed this past week. I owe you big time.

And Happy Birthday, America.



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