“There’s no earthly way of knowing. Which direction we are going. There’s no knowing where we’re rowing. Or which way the river’s flowing. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a blowing? Not a speck of light is showing. So the danger must be growing. Are the fires of hell a-glowing? Is the grisly reaper mowing? Yes! The danger must be growing. For the rowers keep on rowing. And they’re certainly not showing any signs that they are slowing!”

— Willy Wonka, “Willy Wonka

 and the Chocolate Factory,” 1971

When it comes to medical care, sometimes the cure is worse than the illness. In my case, the cure was definitely worse than the illness that had found me seeking medical care.

I had been dispatched on my way from the doctor’s office with a prescription in hand for what I can only describe as the scorched earth mother of all antibiotics. Side effects were rare, I was told. As it turned about, I had them all — in spades — for eight days.

From feeling a little under the weather at the doctor’s office, the first dose of the prescription packed a wallop the first night that laid me low as I mentally ticked off all the rare side effects in short order from the pharmacy fact sheet while in the bathroom pondering the vicissitudes of life. Guts tied in a painful Gordian Knot? Check. And I checked on from there as I drifted in and out of lucidity.

Things really took a decidedly scary turn for the worse in the bathroom as I mentally took a wild ride on Willy Wonka’s deeply dark and psychedelic tunnel ride to hell, with disassociated words, phrases and images racing through my mind at lightning speed, my own personal charter ride into Hollywood madness in all its technicolor glory. 

Picture being on the discharge chute side of a woodchipper as an entire bound set of encyclopedias is being run through and you get a picture of how fast and furious everything was flying at me. Pretty much all that was needed to make it complete was Slugworth’s ugly mug. 

Thankfully, I lived to tell the tale, though I got a few more punched tickets on the psychedelic tunnel ride to hell through the chocolate river in my mind.

Some nightmares become realities and some realities become nightmares. I’m still trying to sort it all out. That being said, I’ll take a hard pass on another trip.