Yesterday I was standing in the check-out aisle at Kroger, struggling to hold five bottles of fruit-punch Gatorade while flipping through the pages of the latest “People” magazine. I was heartbroken to learn, among other celebrity news, that the co-founder of the Waffle House had died at the age of 97.
Joe Rogers Sr. passed away earlier this month in Atlanta. He had opened his first restaurant in 1955 with his business partner Tom Forkner, who is still going at 99.
My first impulse was to head straight to the local Waffle House to raise a slab of hash browns in Joe’s honor. But I was in no condition to think about the All-Star Breakfast just then. The five bottles of Gatorade may give you a clue.
I have felt awful for two solid weeks. I seldom get sick, but I am making up for it now. Late last month, I came down with bronchitis. It’s no mystery how that happened. Whenever somebody coughs on a university campus, everyone within two miles immediately gets bronchitis. Harding should build it into the activity fee. I’m not sure I got it second-, third- or eighteenth-hand. If you got it from me, I am sorry. Just pass it on to someone you don’t care for.
My doctor prescribed a powerful antibiotic. He told me the inflammation in the bronchial tubes would clear up in a few days. The cough, he warned, could last longer. When I asked him to define “longer,” I expected him to speak in terms of days. When he mumbled something about “glacial eras,” I began to worry. But the cough would soon seem the least of my problems.
The antibiotic was so powerful that it wreaked havoc with the bacteria in my system. In case you’ve misplaced your notes from Biology 111, let me point out that bacteria are helpful in maintaining certain functions in the processing department. I would tell you what happened to me next, but I am trying to be a gentleman.
The second visit to the doctor proved enlightening. The nurse told me I had lost six pounds, though I fear that one of those pounds may have been a gall bladder that fell out in the general rush. No matter. At least I got a new prescription to repair the damage of the previous one. Then the doctor suggested that I might want to lay off sugar until things settled down. If he had told me I might want to lay off air, I would have been only slightly less alarmed. My mind immediately went to a ban on sweet tea. I am convinced that I could actually survive longer without air than without sweet tea. I may try an experiment on this some time. But I should hire a graduate student to report my findings to the world. Just in case.
Then to add inquest to injury, the doctor took a sample of blood and sent me home to collect further “evidence.” I spent an hour looking for fingerprints and a murder weapon before I accepted the reality of what this fiendish physician really wanted me to do. Surely it rivaled the labors of Hercules. I’d rather face a Hydra any day.
I set myself to work, but for the sake of my more delicate readers — which at this point would include everyone — I will pass over this part of the story without further comment. As it turns out, the tests were a good thing. I had C Diff, which is a form of colitis and can be pretty serious. The “Diff” stands for “Difficile,” and believe me, it has been.
So that explains why I’m typing away under an electric blanket and ingesting yogurt as I narrate this tragedy. But do not pity me. I only ask one thing of you all. Would someone please drive over to the iconic yellow building on Race Street and raise a waffle for Joe Rogers? And while you’re at it, take a sip of sweet tea for me.
Written by Michael Claxton