May 2019 – The skin covering the abscess had taken on a yellow hue and felt spongy, kind of like a zit ready to be popped. I was young and stupid, but something got through, like, “Dude, take this seriously.” It wasn’t my first abscess, but I had definitely leveled up with this one. Looking at my arm now, I can see the scar, even though it has been tattooed over and has shrunken with time.

It was 2003, and I was living on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Broadway was still pretty much an open-air drug market. I was used to seeing humans in all states by that point. Punk rock/Dawn of the Dead/junkie/tweaker mutants with all sorts of wounds were everywhere, so I wasn’t exactly afraid to go to the emergency room.

Which is to say that I got to the ER and my arm was nothing to them. People were routinely getting pieces of them cut out/cut off/drained because of junkie bullshit. I sat there and waited my turn, and the doctor finally came in. He looked at my arm and said something like, “Well, it’s good you came because if you hadn’t you more than likely would have lost your arm at the elbow.” Well, fuck me, right?


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