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Subject: Applegate Fall Fun Raiser, third year
From: Butterfly Bill <farfallabillMYAPPENDIX.isp.com>
Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2007 14:25:39 +0000
When I arrove at Applegate at about 5 late Friday afternoon I found about a half dozen vans and dome tents already there, and a sister came around shortly after I had parked to give me a welcome home. Robert had been fortunate to have some energetic people show up early in the week to get the kitchen and the barn cleaned up, and a four foot deep shitter dug to put the body of an old portapotty over. Two of them were sisters named Strawberry and Sister Murphy, who got a good kitchen movie running. Another was Boomer Sirius, the one who posts here on a.g.r.
There was no stage set up, but Lookingheart set up a bug tent and set up his sound system inside. The reggae band that Robert had gotten the promises of to show up and play and who stood him up last year without so much as a phone call explaining why, repeated their performance this year when (to my puzzlement) Robert asked them back this year, and again they failed to show up without so much as a phone call explaining why. Lookingheart played assorted selections off of the extensive and varied library of mp3s on his laptop for most of the afternoon and evening while most everybody sat in folding chairs and talked. (Spiritrising and his wife made good on their promise to come and stayed until dark.) There was talk about having a jam session when dark came, but that never materialized. Lookingheart tried several times to encourage people to dance, and the only response he got were mostly the three preschool kids that were there. It was mostly like a bunch of high holy old farts sitting in their folding chairs (think Down Home Kitchen or Lovin' Oven), and that's what I and most of the people there wanted and we felt satisfied.
Just before going to bed in my van on Friday night, I discovered that, for the first time in the seven years since getting out of hospital, I had forgotten to bring the bag with all of my prescription meds, mostly for high blood pressure, but also diabetes and cholesterol. I wasn't about to drive back immediately, in the dark, so I went to sleep and waited to see how I would be feeling in the morning. I had never been off of them and didn't know what was really going to happen.
I woke up, and didn't feel all that bad, but then I tried to do a wake and bake (I didn't expect breakfast to be ready much before 10, as it is at a gathering.) After about a half an hour into that I started feeling terrible. The high dissipated rapidly, and I resolved to stay off the weed until further notice. I went up to breakfast, and by now is was clearly apparent and logical what was going on: I could feel my blood pressure going up. I was getting slightly nervous and irritable, and the night before I had been giving in to feelings of depression.
I got some directions from Robert to the Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains, a 45 mile drive away. I managed to make it there and I went to their emergency room, showed the receptionist my VA card, a printout they had given me of all my prescriptions, and told her about the Muskogee hospital and my treatment for congestive heart failure, and asked if they could call them up and get my records and then get a few of those pills for me. The receptionist said a nurse would see me, and after about ten minutes one came and put an electronic sphygmomanometer on me and it registered 153/113. He said mildly sardonically, "It is a little high, isn't it. We'll have a doctor look at you." He led me into a room full of curtains where I sat on a chair by a gurney while I could hear voices from some other cases being treated on the other side of the curtains (an elderly woman with a broken toe, and another elderly woman with an undetermined old person's disease who had a country preacher there talking up the Holy Spirit with a lot of hallelujahs). A doctor with a South Asian looking name and face finally came into my cloth cubicle, and after measuring my BP again said he could write me a prescription for some Clonidines, but he couldn't give me any of the rest of my pills because he wasn't familiar enough with my case. I accepted what he had to offer and he came back after about 45 minutes with a prescription for 40 tablets.
Then for the first time in my life, I bought some pills in a civilian pharmacy. I had no idea what the cost would be, and I told them to give me only 20. But the cost was only 7 dollars. I dropped one immediately, and another as soon as I got back to Applegate, then spaced them out at one every six hours. That got me back to functioning for the rest of the day, and the drive home the next day. I was even able to do a little weed again at the afternoon conversation.
So now I know I am indeed addicted to at least one, and more likely four anti-hypertensive pills, and the withdrawal symptoms come on heavy within 12 hours of not getting a fix. My life is currently resting on a thin chemical support that doesn't leave me much to keep from falling into the trash if it is suddenly withdrawn. I can add the pills next to water and oxygen and at least some kind of food on the list of things I can't do without for very long. But unlike water and oxygen and at least some kind of food, I can't find them all around me for free. And now I am on the end of an umbilical cord that has its other end in the nearest VA hospital. If the US Government falls and takes the VA with it, I'm gonna die shortly thereafter if I don't learn how to steal. No desert island or mountain hermitage for me in my future plans. No voting Libertarian either. One more reason to stay in Muskogee where I can walk to the hospital if need be. And a small pill jar with a two day supply is gonna start living in my van year round.
But back to the Fun Raiser, it was a little bit larger than last year, it was enough to maintain Robert's eternal optimism that someday this will turn into a big thing. I got one 20 dollar bill donation for the Rainbow Guide, so last year's increase of infinity percent in going from 0 to $20 went down to zero percent this year in staying at that amount. And I got rid of another box of Guides onto Robert, and many of the guests there relieved him of several handfuls.
Somebody with a rotary lawn mower, the kind that attaches to a farm tractor, needs to do a kind favor for Robert and make a kid's bare feet-friendly lawn that extends at least from the parking places to the campfire and stage if there ever is one again. I was told to "keep away from the sticker bushes" which turned out to be lone cat brier vines scattered around the meadow. As at the gathering this July, there were almost no mosquitoes, much different than some previous years. And I heard few complaints of chiggers either. The forces that maintain the reputation of Camp Itchy Scratchy were slacking off this year. The only big variable I can think of is all the rain we have had all over the Ozarks this year. But you'd think more moisture would bring out more bugs, not less. Well, whatever...
– Butterfly Bill
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