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Just A [Gasp] Game

Sometimes a game is just a game. I did not attend last Thursday’s Tech loss to Boston College. It was the first home game I had missed in a very long time. And, not only was I not among the rain-soaked Hokies witnessing fifty-six minutes of good football, I wasn’t watching on television, either.

The latest episode in my ongoing battle in what has become a very irritating bout with pneumonia was kicked off Wednesday morning. I was heading out to yet another visit to yet another quack, this one an Ear Quack recommended by the Quack after he spied what looked to be some infection in one of my ears and an opportunity to enrich his cronies in the medical profession through fee-splitting.

Displaying a malicious sense of humor at which one can only marvel, the deity chose the exact instant I walked out the door to unleash a torrential downpour that had me soaked to the bone by the time Ear Quack told me to stay out of the rain.

By the next afternoon, around the time I was exchanging e-mails with a godless commie who let me know he was headed to the tailgate I was unable to attend, I began to feel very bad, not only about missing yet another tailgate. By this time, the assorted aches, pains, fever, etc., have become as familiar as the result when Frank goes up against a top five team. This time, there was the added bonus of difficulty in breathing.

While there are physical discomforts that I and most people will ignore, breathing is not among them. I called the offices of the Quack and was told to come in. Again putting aside his distaste for dealing with sick people, the Quack took one listen to my chest and told me I needed to go to the hospital.

These are not words one generally desires to hear. This is especially so when ‘going to the hospital’ means having to deal with the local one. While I had had a fairly decent experience there during my surgery, that seems to be a minority view. It has a terrible reputation and is heartily disliked by many, including the Quack, who refuses to have any dealings with the place, apparently for reasons other than it usually contains large numbers of the very sick people he attempts so strongly to avoid.

The Quack was aware, as was I from last year’s experiences with my Mother, that the way to avoid the usual 15-hour wait at the emergency room is to arrive by ambulance. After a five-minute chauffeuring by the local rescue squad, I was reclining in an emergency room room, sucking on an oxygen mask and staring at the sign on the wall informing me that if I desired treatment I had better have medical insurance. I did.

After an examination by ER Quack and a quick phone call by hospital staff to determine that my insurance was indeed in force, it was determined that I needed to be admitted in order to have fluid drained from my lungs. I can tell you that this is not the most pleasant of procedures.

Around the time ESPN determined that Tech and BC would kick off, I was in a hospital room relating my life’s medical history to yet another quack, this one on the hospital’s staff. NuQuack told me that I would need to hang around for a couple of days in order to get all of the offending fluid out of my lungs and maximize the hospital bill. I was slightly mollified when NuQuack, in response to my question of whether I was going to die, smiled and answered, “Eventually, but not tonight.” Around the time Ryan was leading Fredo’s charge, I was declared ‘resting comfortably.’ I am not sure how much more comfortable I would have been had I access to ESPN. I didn’t, as my roommate, who, by means of seniority, had seized control of the television and planted it on BET. It was probably just as well.

Thursday evening and all day Friday was spent in the hospital. I was medicated to the point of being comfortably numb. There was one tube carrying the liquid from an IV bag in and another carrying the goo from my lungs out. Although I was pleasantly stoned, I did attempt to remain alert and watch like a hawk whenever it came time for the nurse to change the bags. I certainly didn’t want the same fate as that of the Soldier in White.

It took until Saturday for the hospital to milk everything they could from my lungs and insurance company. NuQuack told me I could go. I returned home Saturday by then aware that Tech had lost in a very disheartening manner but not much caring. While this might seem an odd attitude from someone who usually spends autumns traveling around the countryside to watch the Tech football team instead of back and forth to quacks and hospitals, perspectives do have a way of changing.

The Hokies and the Clubhouse Tailgate will travel to Atlanta this week for the annual multi-Tech game. Once again, for the fourth straight game, I won’t be there. Once again tailgates and games will go on without me.

The knowledge that Virginia Tech is perfectly capable of conducting a football season without my being on hand will be reinforced Thursday night. It remains irksome that jimmy steadfastly refuses to postpone the games until such a time as I can attend, as does his continued thwarting of my ‘If I can’t go to the tailgate I will bring the tailgate to me’ scheme by not moving Tech home games to my back yard. But, other than engaging in the popular sport of blaming the Athletic Director or Offensive Coordinator, what are you going to do?

Watch the game on television is what I plan to do. After last Thursday’s experience, it will be a step in the right direction. I’m also convinced that whether or not Frank can reverse his history of having a season fall apart after a tough loss is not all that important, at least from where I sit, lie, or recline. It has been brought to my attention that there are things more important than football. It is indeed just a game.

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