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Drugs, illness, the pro-PED doctor and other fun things in San Francisco

Oct 25, 2012, 4:35 PM EDT

Flask and credentials

SAN FRANCISCO — Can’t believe none of you have called me out for using fancy datelines on these things yet. I started it as a bit of a put-on, but now I kind of like doing it. Too late to shame me for it. You missed out. When I get home I may start every post with FORTIFIED COMPOUND ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF COLUMBUS — and you’ll only have yourselves to blame for encouraging me.

I had some aches, a mild fever and a cough over the weekend. It felt better by Monday night and I felt as right as rain on Tuesday, so I figured I had shaken whatever crud I was harboring. It came roaring back at me during the game last night, however, and as I stumbled back to my hotel room, I nearly dropped, my body wracked with violent coughing and awfulness.  I took a shot from my Batman flask — yes, that’s it in the picture — and hoped that frontier medicine and a night’s sleep would do the trick. Alas, it did not, so at midnight I called the front desk to see if there was an urgent care in the area. Instead, they hooked me up with a doctor they keep on call and we talked.

Doc: What are you in town for?

Me: Covering the World Series.

Doc: Hey, I was at the game tonight! Great stuff, wasn’t it?

Me: I suppose so. So, here’s what’s –

Doc: Three home runs! How about that Panda! [and many more minutes of baseball talk as I neared death]

We talked about my symptoms, he gave me a couple of things I could do in the meantime, and then said the best bet would be for me to come by his office in the morning.

“Is it walking distance from the hotel?” I asked

“Depends how sick you are,” he said.

I tried to sleep but did a poor job of it. When I finally woke up my fever seemed to have spiked and my cough had gotten so bad that I was tasting blood. If this were a 19th century novel there would be “telltale flecks of crimson on his handkerchief, his consumptive doom foretold!”  As it was, I sent emails to all of the NBC people I could find to tell them how useless I’d be today and/or what my last wishes were if I died before I was able to talk to them again.

The only thing that had made me feel moderately better the night before was a little warm food, so I sought out breakfast. I walked towards Dottie’s True Blue Cafe, which is a couple blocks south of where I’m staying and which many have recommended. There was a line of people out the door so I moved on — I’ll get it next time – turning the wrong way down Market Street where things start to get a bit sketchy. There I witnessed a deranged woman in her late 40s wildly swinging two garbage bags full of what looked to be pillows at another women while yelling at her to commit anatomical impossibilities. The other woman, who looked a bit less troubled, was dodging the blows but wouldn’t retreat. Instead, she kept trying to take pictures of her attacker with her cell phone. Not sure who was crazier.

Realizing I was heading the wrong way, I turned around and walked back north on Market. I walked by a group of three guys, one of which asked me if I wanted to buy some pot.  I have been on this Earth for over 39 years and, at one time, knew a lot of people who partook in such things. But never have I literally had a stranger bark out a sales pitch like that. I wanted to look around for cameras to see if it was some kind of joke, but I kept walking.

I found a little cafe where I ordered some coffee and some eggs. An older couple sat down at the table near me and I heard the husband ask the wife if she happened to see the score of the game last night. When she said she didn’t know I said “8-3.” They thanked me and asked me if I went to the game. I said yep. They asked me if I’m going again tonight. I said yep. Then they asked me if I’d be willing to sell my tickets. I explained my situation and the man said “Oh well. I can’t find a pair for under $500 so I’m asking anyone I can.”

After I ate I made it up to the doctor’s office. It’s just off Union Square.  I had a minute so I walked around the Square a bit because “The Conversation” may be my favorite movie of all time. I pretended that Cindy Williams and I were planning Robert Duvall’s murder, that Gene Hackman was listening to us and then I hummed a few bars of “When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob Bobbing Along.” There were no mimes to be seen.

It turns out that the whole practice is devoted to hotel guests and tourists and stuff, which is something that makes sense in such a hotel-and-tourist-heavy area, but is the sort of thing I never considered. Seems like something they’d invent in a Charlie Kaufman film. The doctor saw me right away. He’s a short Chinese-American guy, probably in his late 40s or early 50s, but dressed like he’s 25. A smile on his face at all times. I instantly liked him. Even when he creeped me out a bit by saying that he Googled me before I came in and was happy to see that I had lost some weight in the past few years based on older pictures. That’s … not weird.

Most of the visit was spent with him asking me baseball questions — he was really concerned about Bruce Bochy’s bullpen choices last night despite the victory because he thinks that an 8-0 Giants win would have “sent a stronger message.” Then we talked about PEDs at his prompting. Let the record reflect that if this guy had his way everything would be legal, blood spinning with added HGH would be mandatory and Barry Bonds would be canonized. “Just wait ten years and see what they have available,” he said. “The stuff everyone frets about now will seem like throat lozenges.”  Did I mention I really like this guy?

But it wasn’t all juice-talk. Another huge chunk of the visit was him giving me a vaguely new-agey lecture about balance — this included him taking pictures of my face with his iPhone to show me how I was “unbalanced on [my] right side” — and him explaining the need to excrete all of the bad things from our bodies lest we have no room for the good.  He then demonstrated the proper way to clear one’s sinuses and to inhale hot steam in the shower — it’s all about being upside down — and it all sounded rather like Annie telling Nuke how to breathe through his eyelids.

That was all nice, but what I was really there for was some weapons-grade pharmaceuticals. Thankfully the Good Doctor had the hookup. After the new age talk ended, he told me I either had a severe sinus infection or strep and that there was no use doing the strep test because either way he’s giving me the same treatment.  He had his nurse inject me with an antibiotic/anti-inflammatory cocktail (although based on the earlier conversation it may have also had some HGH and metabolites of Stanozolol), and then he loaded up a bag full of all manner of drugs for me to take with me.  Come to San Francisco: EVERYONE will give you drugs if you want them.

I took a big swig of the codeine cough syrup and walked down the street past Union Square. As I passed the Westin Hotel I saw a crowd of people with cameras and baseballs surrounding the entrance. Tigers outfielder Quintin Berry was standing there with an attractive young woman. He stopped to sign autographs.  The only question for him that came to mind was “why on Earth are they starting Delmon Young in left when your legs aren’t broken?” but I didn’t think I could ask it with the nuance it required what with the cough syrup and all, so I moved along and eventually back to my hotel room.

Here I sit. The game starts in about three and a half hours, but (a) I still feel like utter garbage; and (b) I have this feeling that my Baseball Writers Association of America application will meet with strong resistance this winter if I cough up blood and mucus all over the membership in the cramped confines of the press facilities at AT&T Park tonight.  Doctor Feelgood told me that it would be about 24 hours of taking the antibiotics and stuff before I’d really be OK to be active and not, you know, be Typhoid Mary. As such, I’m leaning strongly toward bagging tonight and coming back strong for Game 3 in Detroit on Saturday.

If that is what I ultimately decide to do, I will still be posting and tweeting and generally covering World Series business this evening from the comfort of my sick/deathbed, and of course Matthew and D.J. will have all kinds of coverage tonight as well.

See what happens when you leave your mother’s basement? Bad things.

UPDATE: I would like to make a major shoutout to the Intercontinental Hotel San Francisco. They called up a few minutes ago and offered to send me up free tea and soup and things and wanted to know how I was feeling. It sucks being sick away from home, but they’re making it a lot better.

  1. Bob Timmermann - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Stay home to avoid turning into the blogging version of George Gipp. Although I suppose Urban Meyer could try to use you to fire up the troops at halftime. If we could only make your surname catchier.

  2. cur68 - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Dear Dog Almighty: leave the basement and nearly die? Man, skip the game. Get some sleep. Oh and take some advice from a pretty smart lady I have the good luck to know:

    “A banana, a multi-vitamin and a litre of water before bedtime” -Indaburg.

    You keep swigging from that hip flask and you’ll be glad I passed this one along. Get well soon.

    • indaburg - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      Aw, shucks.

      • cur68 - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:00 PM

        I think there’s a market for banana based cures. I may write a book on the topic.

      • raysfan1 - Oct 25, 2012 at 9:48 PM

        Your book needs a chapter on the Macondo exception. I hear bananas get massacred there, or something like that. You better consult with Old Gator.

    • mrwillie - Oct 25, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      Bourbon, honey, sleep.

    • APBA Guy - Oct 25, 2012 at 6:45 PM

      Cur-if he has the dreaded SF sinus infection of death he’ll absolutely need the antibiotics. Since I moved out here from the East 8 years ago I’ve only been sick twice and both of those have been sinus infections.

      Still, his prose was remarkably clear and his whining lacked color. Probably a virus, don’t you think?

      • cur68 - Oct 25, 2012 at 7:20 PM

        He should just eat the banana.

  3. allisonhagen - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    I still think you’re sick because you predicted the Giants will win, and you’re still getting the turkey neck at Thanksgiving and nothing else. Maybe some of my mom’s shitty wine on ice.

    I’m glad you didn’t die, though.

    • cur68 - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      Not flying to him in his hour of need? Man’s at death’s door there. Of course he DID pick against your team…tough one, really. What gesture has the right amount of sympathy coupled with the rage of him picking against your rooting interest especially in light of how things worked out last night? I know: send him a banana, priority post. The fruit will do him good and the state it will be in will serve as a lesson to not cross you.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:11 PM

      Ain’t love grand?

    • APBA Guy - Oct 25, 2012 at 6:42 PM

      You should be glad he didn’t make a right off Market before backtracking and end up in the Tenderloin. We’d have to send the Marines in to get him out (they call it an “extraction”).

  4. historiophiliac - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    My mother says with all that talking you are definitely not dying. She wants to know what your fever is. If it’s less than 101, she says to take your rump to the park. She also has this rule where she pretends she can’t understand what you’re saying if you’re whining.

    (PS she once sent me to school for 2 weeks with pneumonia. Hint: If you cough until you throw up a little, she will relent and let you stay home. Just fyi.)

  5. indaburg - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    See, that’s what we love about you, Craig. Even in the throes of death, you still keep a sense of humor. I noticed the dateline but I didn’t comment on it because I figured since you were “reporting”, you needed a dateline.

    That doctor? Sounds awesome. Seriously. The marriage of eastern and western medicine is cool.

    My unsolicited advice as a nurse is to bag the game, stay in the hotel and watch the game from there. You’re not going to get anything from attending the game other than wearing yourself out, and you’ll just be spreading your germs everywhere which is an unkind thing to do. Oh, and lots of fluids and all that jazz.

    Look at the bright side. At least your eyelids aren’t jammed.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:12 PM

      Maybe we can get someone from our group to share their ID and he can join our chat.

      • cur68 - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:18 PM

        I would but I forgot what my password is. My computer knows but wont tell me. I sit here, a 21st century person, a man of means and accomplishment, and all I can think to do is suggest that his girlfriend priority mail him bananas. Clearly I’m suffering some sort of deficiency. Perhaps some fruit will help…

  6. dink53 - Oct 25, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    San Fran? Drugs? Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair… Oh… nevermind

  7. Stiller43 - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    “There I witnessed a deranged woman in her late 40s wildly swinging two garbage bags full of what looked to be pillows…”

    $100 bucks they were cats, not pillows.

  8. acdc363 - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    You should have just bought some pot

    • historiophiliac - Oct 25, 2012 at 7:15 PM

      See, I would’ve just written you off as a loser pothead if you had said: “you should of bought…”

  9. libertynchurch - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Could you atleast congratulate Panda on his historic performance? A nice, firm handshake followed up with one of those man-hug, back-slappings things should do the trick.

    Just kiddin. Plenty of fluids. Get well soon.

  10. natstowngreg - Oct 25, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Not dead? Eyelids not jammed? Definite Hallmark(TM) get well card material.

  11. sdelmonte - Oct 25, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Man, you sure write purty when you’re sick and strung out on cough syrup and HGH.

    I say, stay at the hotel and rest up. And don’t forget to turn off the volume and turn on the radio. Good choice of Shulmam or Miller.

  12. randygnyc - Oct 25, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    As someone who has been fortunate enough to attend EVERY Yankee home post season game, since 96, (except this year), including world series games (and the games at Shea in 2000), I’d advise you to go tonight. NEVER take for granted your ability to attend future WS games.

  13. hojo20 - Oct 25, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    “I walked by a group of three guys, one of which asked me if I wanted to buy some pot.”

    Nice one. That happened to me in Golden Gate Park. I wasn’t shocked as I was a few blocks from Haight/Ashbury.

  14. goawaydog - Oct 25, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    GO … TO …. THE … GAME …. NOW!

  15. mybrunoblog - Oct 25, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Being sick sucks but think how much $ NBC is going to save when you won’t be renting in the room porn.

  16. annaalamode - Oct 25, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    This post is pretty much a hit list of everything I like about San Francisco, short of Crissy Field and Green Apple Books.

  17. Chipmaker - Oct 25, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Once I was in Las Vegas suffering a nasty head cold. I was playing some nickel slots, it was a slow afternoon time, the waitress came around and asked what I would like to drink. I asked for hot tea with honey, she could tell I was off the mark, and when she returned with the blessed tea with honey she mentioned she had slipped in a nip of brandy as well. It was heavenly, and my slot machine soon entered the bonus game where the points can REALLY pile up (and did). And then it went into the bonus game again. When she came back around, I was still nursing my tea, but I tipped her $10 and asked if she’d bring one more next time around. Which she did. I didn’t get into the bonus game again, but I walked away up several hundred dollars. Good service when you’re feeling poorly can be magical.

  18. anxovies - Oct 26, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Not one word about the pathetic Yankee collapse in the ALDS? You must be sick. Get rest.

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