When I met Santos at the Pier Plaza, my foot was so badly enflamed by gout, that all I could do was hobble forward, with a smile on my face like the grimace on a shrunken head. He wondered what was up.
Did I crash my new bike? Hey. Maybe it was a shark bite? Too much jumping in the ocean.
No. Nothing that exciting. Nothing that sexy. It was gout. Gout. G-O-U-T. If you’ve never heard of it consider yourself lucky.
Well, never mind that. What about the doctor? Did he say anything about getting your license back?
No. He was just a kid. I think he was more interested in playing video games than listening to my story.
So, you just have to wait?
No, worse than that. My insurance is messed up. I have to get that straightened out and then get an appointment with a neurologist. Only a neurologist can fill out the paperwork and they’ll probably need to run some tests.
What about everything else? How’s your Mom?
She’s terrified of COVID and never leaves the house.
What about the book? Did your read the Doctor’s Opinion?
Yes. I did read that. I also read the preface and foreword to the first four editions. Well, I was at it, I read the whole book, almost twice now, and underlined every sentence that stood out to me in every chapter. Am I on step one now?
I can take you through the Awakenings, but you will never be finished with them. We can probably start step one in a month or two, when you’re ready.
A month? I’m ready now. I understand I’m powerless. I freely admit it. I’ve never been so trapped in my life.
It’s good to see how willing you are. What did you get out of The Doctor’s Opinion?
He thinks that alcoholics must have an allergy to alcohol, that gives them cravings they can’t control. He’d basically come to regard chronic alcoholics as hopeless cases.
Do you agree with that, that alcoholics might have an allergy, that alcoholism might be an illness, like a disease?
People say that, but I’m old school. What they call diseases now, we used to call sins.
Have you ever considered that you might have been sick this whole time?
To be honest, I figured I was just rock and rolling.
What if you found out you had a serious illness? Would that change the way you looked at your drinking?
Find out everything you can about alcohol and addiction and get back to me. You want work to do, you got it, dog.
At that point, we stood up and exchanged a fist bump. With the COVID pandemic surging across the nation, a bear hug was out of the question.