A Theory of Disease

After a triple bypass, two visits to Emergency with arterial fibrillation, I’ve developed a theory. Heart attacks (and other diseases) attack disorganized, messy people more often that organized, tidy ones.

Now that I’m one day away from four weeks after my operation, I’m sitting in my office a few hours a day. I noticed the piles of paper, one the floor, on the desk, the books, the binders, the chaos that goes with my creativity.

I’m positive that diseases lurk. I think they lurk under messy piles of paper, piled up books, dirty clothes in the closet in a corner, clean clothes on the drier waiting to be hung up. I can hear them snickering, rubbing their hands as it were, in glee.
A pile of dirty dishes on the cupboard probably has bubonic plague under it. A bunch of opened and unfilled letters is likely hiding something more benign, like the common cold.

I have a friend who is super organized, is a model house keeper. Nothing is ever messy. No piles of this and that here and there. She’s never sick. “Sick?” she asks, “what is that?”

I do my best. I remember, now and again, that the car needs vacuuming, that when I get gas, I should run it through the car wash. However, that sort of thing is always somewhere just on the edge of my peripheral vision. The need to clean the car, wash it, usually catches me by surprise. It’s the chocolate bar wrappers or the empty ice cream sundae in a drift under the seat that does it.
When I hear voices from the closet, I know that it is time to hang up everything, haul clothes to the washing machine. Either that or there are no more shirts on the hangers.

I get a lot of work done, writing that is, research, but daily life frequently comes as a surprise. When I notice the flowers on the deck have started to droop, I apologize. “Sorry, sorry,” I say, as I bring a pot of water out to drench the shrinking soil. I was going to put a micro watering system onto the deck so the begonia, the Astilbe, the geraniums could depend on being watered instead of suffering drought and floods. Didn’t make it before the operation. When I’m able to haul stuff around, puncture holes in pipes, I’ll do it.

I’m a good cook but hunger sneaks up on me. I’m deep into writing a piece of fiction and lunch time comes and goes and sometime in the early afternoon, if I smell the neighbour’s BBQ, I go onto high alert. Food. Hungry. Eat. Now. My hunger instinct isn’t into grammar. It’s pretty basic. The problem is that by that time of day, something quick is needed. This is no time to be cooking anything complicated. If the dishes in the dishwasher are clean, no problem. There’s always something to put into a pot and heat up or into the microwave. Well, nearly always.

If the dishes in the dishwasher aren’t washed and the dishes on the counter are hiding some terrible possible germ war aspirant, then it’s time to plunge into the reality of life. I fantasize servants who, at a call, appear with plates of exotic food but I probably settle for a toasted sandwich and soup.

I’m convinced all this lack of control, lack of being in charge, lack of a schedule that sees floors washed, carpets vacuumed, dishes washed and put away, meals planned a week in advance, clothes washed and hung up on schedule, is responsible for my triple bypass. No one who is properly organized, in charge of their life, keeping track of what they eat, getting exercise on a schedule that maximizes their physical health, would allow this to happen.

I vow to change. I’m going to file, sort, organize, leave no pile where Beri Beri or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease can hide. I’m going to clean out my car before the floor in the back seat looks like the debris caught in a Saskatchewan barbed wire fence. Hopefully, like rats, the lurking vermin of disease will look and leave, knowing there’s no place for them here.