Soup of This Day #325: Deconstruct Me And Consume Me
The guy with the puce face and Atlanta Braves hat is Bobby Cox. Cox was the manager of the Braves from ’78 to ’81, then the Blue Jays from ’82 to ’85 before finishing his career with a 20 year stretch back in Atlanta from 1990 to 2010. Across those years Bobby managed a record of sorts – He got himself ejected 161 times. Mostly it was in defence of his players, but still, if Bobby had gotten ejected from an aircraft that many times he’d be 7’6″, albeit underground and upside down – Photo: Chris J. Nelson, 2009. Chris J. Nelson is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.
Around 10 years ago I went hiking alone along the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia’s South West. I was only doing a short section – Maybe 4 or 5 days through undulating and woody terrain around the former logging town of Donnelly River.
Summer in Western Australia is hot and it’s rarely ambiguous about it – The variation can best be summed up with eggs – Crack an egg on a rock and sometimes it will be cooked in 5 minutes.
Other times it will be nicely done before you even get it out of the shell.
So it’s not the time to go hiking if I’m honest. It’s definitely not the time to climb over something called ‘Heartbreak Hill’, or to camp next to a dry creek bed that is home to thirst-crazed rats.
On the plus side, while I was deliriously wondering what animals lived in those rat-sized holes along the bank of that dry creek, I did discover for myself that I was in love with my girlfriend and this was even before she came and rescued me the next day. Yep, my future wife drove down from Perth unbidden, and checked us into a room at the Pemberton Hotel, where dispirited at the failure of my expedition, I slumped in front of a TV.
She even gently delivered burn cream onto my fried-like-an-egg neck and shoulders while I watched a Discovery Channel special called When Pilots Eject.
Which was what it says it is – Shot after shot of pilots being explosively catapulted from aircraft, interspersed with interviews with those who had lived to tell the tale but were roughly an inch shorter because of it.
Yeah, allegedly being ejected compresses your spine such that you end up an inch shorter – This is: a. Why pilots are apparently only allowed to go through the process 3 times before being grounded (Also 1 time is unlucky but 3 times implies a lack of care with your plane); and b. Why Maverick was so gun-shy after he and Goose had to punch out in Top Gun (He didn’t have too many more inches to give, or any more Gooses for that matter).
All of this has been going through my mind this past week, mostly because I’ve been thinking about autoimmune diseases.
See, I kind of feel like autoimmune diseases would be best represented in a sort of compilation documentary, like When Pilots Eject. The latter might have some comedy overtones but it is really about something that is quite serious – There has to be a compellingly bad reason to get a sane person to be rocketed out into the atmosphere in an easy chair. Whether it’s a bird-strike, a mechanical failure or a drunken bet – Leaving the airframe before it has safely landed is pretty much the last thing that a pilot is going to want to do so it’s not surprising then that a pilot ejecting from an aircraft is almost always at the end of a string of bad stuff.
That’s how I view autoimmune diseases. The premise of them is a little bit funny but the underlying reasoning is serious and most likely bad. So Discovery Channel, here’s your next random compilation program:
When Bodies Reject.
They could feature shot after shot of patients being annoyingly assaulted from within, interspersed with interviews with those who had lived to tell the tale but were roughly shorter in temper because of it.
They could even feature the Australian cricket team…
Recently Cricket Australia sacked men’s coach Mickey Arthur. This was an extreme measure because the Australian cricket team was a couple of weeks out from an Ashes series at the time. Still they must have felt the situation was untenable – Arthur had expected high standards and had most critically fallen out with a group of players, seemingly led by the mercurial but oft-injured Shane Watson. Watson had previously stomped home from the tour of India, peeved at being dropped for failing to do a homework exercise. Once back on Australian soil, which to be fair did coincide with the birth of a child, Shane held a press conference at which he darkly hinted at taking his bat and ball and not using them for Australian good ever again, so there.
Basically, he was slightly less endearing about it than a thirst-crazed rodent would have been if it had been dropped from the team.
Watto did seem to get over it though, at least publicly. In private though it was apparently a different matter – Arthur has now alleged that he was forced to be the meat in the sandwich whose slices of bread were Watson and captain Michael Clarke. Clarkey, he suggested, had even gone so far as to liken Shane Watson to a cancer within the team.
This I’d contend is a bit medically inaccurate from Michael, who I’d otherwise support as being right in sentiment. What Shane Watson appears to be is more of an autoimmune disease, his petulance striking a note of comedy, but his underlying manner really doing some quite serious damage to the body of the Australian cricket team.
The good news is that a lot of autoimmune diseases can be treated, and that this can be done a lot simpler than for cancer – Sometimes it just takes a few overs of a topical ointment, applied precisely, as opposed to the brutal short balls of chemotherapy, that can leave you bruised and reeling.
It’s the former for Watson – The lad is susceptible to LBW decisions, so smear some deliveries around his shins and he does tend to go away.
Sadly that kind of thing doesn’t work for autoimmune assaults on thyroid glands.
Yep, my thyroid isn’t popular internally. Not only am I not for everyone, but I’m also apparently not for me either. Which is not great because the thyroid does regulate the ol’ metabolism thing – If the thyroid ain’t doing its job then you can stand by for some, or all of, depression, weight gain, anxiety and a generalised feeling of having lugged a 30kg pack up Heartbreak Hill on a hot summer’s day, i.e. You end up fatigued and just a bit dazed.
At least there’s no thirst-crazed rats on the other side.
There are tablets you can take which normalise the issue – 1 tablet a day for the rest of your life – and these pretty much replicate the production of a thyroid gland that is gliding runs off the bat with ease. It’s not an exact science though – Every now and then the dosage needs to be tweaked up and it can take a while to notice. It’s not like the autoimmune disease holds a press conference to announce its intentions outright – It just sort of hints at them instead.
My body has been hinting a bit over the past 8 months or so, and just like the work of Shane Watson is now coming out into the open, the increased damage of my own problem is now on show. Maybe even via this blog, where the drop-off in the frequency of Soups suggests a level of mental fatigue beyond what is normal. The will is still there but the energy isn’t.
I’ll be ok though. My tablets have been upgraded and I’m now starting each day with a more solid stance and some decent footwork. I’ll be knocking out some good innings soon.
That’s a fair bit more than you can say for Shane Watson and the Australian cricket team.