The Backstory: Part I


Kevin McMullin

Somewhere in the dawn of 2012 –

it was another life –

I started entertaining mysterious dizzy spells.

No longer firm, suddenly the ground would shift.

Walking required focused thought.

Step, stutter, stagger, fall.

“Woozy spells,” I called them.


The doctors began training me

to take their trying tests.

They sucked my veins dry doing various blood panels.

They commenced to eliminate the myriad possibilities.

EKGs, EEGs, CT scans, xrays.

Nope, nope, nope, nope.

“Track my fingers,” they said.


I wore a heart monitor under my shirt

three days, around the clock.

I looked like a terrified suicide bomber.

After disposing of my five thousand dollar deductable

the doctors somehow ran out of ideas.

They frowned, shrugged and sent me home.

“It is surely a virus,” they mumbled.


I didn’t understand it at the time –

but I am wiser now –

this medical manner of conveying cluelessness,

in a polite and professionally knowledgeable way.

They kindly invited me to come again.

Anytime, whenever, feel free,

“If your symptoms return.” Ha.


My symptoms had never gone away.

In my journal I wrote:

“While it’s nice to have eliminated most of the horrific options

(a brain tumor, say),

it’s a bit frustrating to not know what’s going on.”

This was the first time

Irony had taken a personal interest in me.


We have become quite intimate since.



11/01/17    So many things in life have such irony. I always think that re: lupus.  The very first patient I ever took care of as nurse was flown into Anchorage from a small native village in respiratory distress from Lupus.  I really didn’t know anything about lupus, but thought what a dreadful disease. She was 27 years old.  I never imagined that I, at the age of 27 would find myself fighting for own my life due to lupus.

I spent a month in the hospital, and 2 years to recover.  At that time it attacked my brain, but now, like that first patient of mine it prefers to attack my lungs.