Tuesday, April 5, 2022

John of The Mountain Gets Humbled

 I wrote this as a response to an FB post...figured it was OK enough to make it one of my infrequent blog posts. Hope you're all enjoying The End Times. Tip your wait staff.

Roughly three years into my yurt-dwelling off-grid adventure in the hills of The Driftless region of Wisconsin, I experienced a medical issue that, while extremely minor in the vast scheme of things, led to one of those humbling “no man is an island” moments that forced me to revisit some of my notions as a “Prepper”.
I had endured a full winter in the yurt, having slogged through temps of -25F without actually dying (unless I have and this current moment is part of a hell that I probably deserve), and I was feeling pretty full of myself. I was sitting on several years of stored food, seeds, multiple means of treating water, gold and silver, various means of self-protection, cash, and a good basic working knowledge of foraging, gardening, and most of the other ways of keeping oneself healthy and alive during a period of severe systemic interruptions to life as we know (knew) it. It all seemed to be working even better than I had planned.
Until I awoke one morning with a boulder in my eye.
“Why is it ALWAYS my right eye?”, I thought as some horrible little SOMETHING dragged its nails across my cornea. I sat upright, fully alarmed as I pulled my upper eyelid away from my eye, seeking relief. I have blepharitis in that particular eye, so I’m used to a certain amount of pain and irritation, especially when exposed to dust or mold or too much cold air, but this was something different; this was obviously a foreign body that had inexplicably found its way under my eyelid during the night.
Putting aside the relative improbability of such a thing, I spent the next half hour trying all the various tricks I knew of how to make such things go away...to no avail. An ER visit was in order. Having no insurance at the time I was loath to even think about it, but I was alone and in extreme pain and figured that we were close enough to everything falling apart that my perfect credit history could stand to take the hit if the bill was too high.
So I drove to the local rural hospital and my adventure there could fill several more paragraphs as I apparently drew some existential short straw as the people there seemed to not be programmed to deal with something as prosaic as “ow...I dun got sumthin in muh eye, doc!” (Why they would want me to take a vision test when one of my eyes was inoperable was beyond me...but I figured they needed to feel like they were doing SOMETHING and wanted a least a few reasons to charge me an extraordinary amount of money for close to nothing.)
They told me, in essence, that they couldn’t help me...but there was an eye clinic right down the hallway that opened in fifteen minutes, a fact which would have been really useful had they informed me of that when I first showed up.
($1,100 for all their ineffectual fumblings was the outcome of THAT part of the drama. ‘Murica!!!)
As it turned out, it was just a tiny round little white thing of unknown origin that had embedded itself into my upper eyelid. No big deal; the doctor at the clinic had it out in a few seconds...and THAT bill was only $105. Had there been someone else around that could have flipped up my eyelid and swabbed it with a q-tip I’d have saved myself a lot of pain and expense, but I was flying solo at that juncture.
So with all that prepping and all of that planning, my fiercely independent little life was thrown completely off balance by a tiny little piece of nothing roughly a quarter of the size of the head of a pin. It was a comeuppance and a lesson; one of those “for the want of a nail” kind of things...a mosquito in a room full of mosquito-brown tapestries.
So when I hear these ammosexuals wax heroic about their macho visions of a world where they can flex their flabby muscles and let out an off key wolf howl on top of a mountain while waving their AKs in the air over their pointed little heads, I giggle a fair bit.
Good luck with that, Rambo.

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