It’s almost like a fairy tale romance. For the past two months, my life has been consumed with my new little acquaintance named Pseudomonas. He has been my constant companion, day and night, night and day. He is always there for me in good times and bad, and in spite of my brutal attempts to eliminate him from my life.
I have heard him described as “vicious” and “nasty,” but apparently I can’t get enough of him. Truth be known, with a friendship like this, I don’t need enemies. So, if you consider yourself my enemy, you can stop now.
The doctors say that we were most likely introduced during a surgical procedure. I was asleep at the time, and have no recollection of that fateful moment, but it seems unfair that I am in a committed relationship that I had no choice in starting. When it’s all said and done, I’m hoping to collect alimony.
After weeks of antibiotics, both oral and IV, he is still hanging on. So, it was suggested that I start wearing a wound vac to try suctioning him out of my body, and hopefully close up the wounds that he has inflicted. Eegads! As much as I hate running the vacuum, I couldn’t imagine actually wearing one.
But for the next three weeks, I am strapped to a suction device that makes weird gassy noises. I wear it in a little backpack that reads “Happy Camper,” even though a happy camper I am not. I don’t know which I enjoy more — lugging the thing around all day, or sleeping perfectly still so that I won’t come unplugged from the wall at night.
Hubby is on an extended business trip (smart guy), and we have been communicating via Face Time. We were having a perfectly lovely, kind of romantic, face-to-face conversation when he suddenly began to snicker.
“I’m sorry, honey,” he said without any legitimate sound of apology in his voice, “but you keep farting.”
“I am not farting!” I insisted, “It’s the stupid machine!”
“That’s okay,” he replied, “You don’t need to be embarrassed.”
After that conversation I decided to unhook the vacuum during church on Sunday. The last thing I want is an entire congregation of people snickering during the pastor’s sermon. Besides, the happy camper backpack didn’t match my outfit.
Pseudomonas has given me so much: open wounds, embarrassing situations, and friends in the medical profession. He has also taken from me: time, dignity and showers. Yes, my showering is now limited to three times a week. With temperatures hovering in triple digits, I kind of wonder if he planned this all along. I mean, a really nice bacterium would at least have the courtesy of befriending me during the cooler months.
I hate to say this, because I consider myself a friendly person, but if Pseudomonas sent me a friend request on Facebook, I’d have to reject it.
Every time he calls, I send him straight to voicemail. I’ve marked all of his letters, “Return to Sender,” and when he invites me to dinner I consistently say, “I’m washing my hair.” (In the sink, because he took away my ability to shower.)
He might be seeking permanent residency, but I am desperately trying to deny his visa. I want out of this relationship, and I want out now!
But I must wait, and waiting is the hard part. I know he is leaving eventually, but I am wondering when. I wish I could dump his belongings on the curb and change the locks on the door, but recuperation is not that easy. What I really want is a divorce, but at this point I’d settle for legal separation. Or maybe I can get an annulment based on the fact that I was snoozing when this marriage took place. Sometimes, fairy tales aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. I sure hope Sleeping Beauty didn’t wake up to Prince Pseudomonas.
Truitt is an author, speaker and mother of five. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.