Sequelæ

1816 A.C. HUTCHISON Pract. Obs. Surg. (1826) 115, I had, recently, a case of the sequelæ of this malady.

1883 Spectator 28 Apr. (Stanf.), Those terrible sequelæ which interfere so deeply with human happiness.
—OED

Recent studies have shown that rapid heartbeat may be followed by itchiness (usually within a week to four months) and being alone (within a year). A headache, though resolved, may return gradually as either exultation or a general decline. Untreated anger leads to blindness and/or living for a while in a motor court in the woods. Patients with bad breath have later succumbed to superstition. An individual who feels that someone must have been waiting for him, and grew tired of waiting, and left, will afterward experience sleep and/or difficulty chewing. Neurasthenia (with facial pain) subsequently manifests itself in the tendency to gather Christmas cards in a tray; neurasthenia with no symptom of facial pain recurs as deafness (acute) or an unquenchable thirst for life (chronic). Sham-rage causes trench-mouth. The viper-tongued can expect a gradual softening of the orbits, so the eyes sink inward; in other cases hair loss may result. Fear of the arrow that flies by night is followed by an embarrassing odor. Croup evolves into an acute need to feel accepted, and a chronic state of stealing little things here and there. Poor eyesight gives one onanism; then measles. The short-term sequelæ of glandular fever can include the rending of clothes as well as the habit of knocking on doors so softly no one could hear you. He who suffers from an overwhelming sense that the earth contains him like the cradle its baby, and can never forsake him, even should the thunderclap split its stony mantle, the lightning-bolt shiver its firmament, may expect emphysema. Thrall progresses to pica, then Communism. Citizens afflicted with large feet will come to endure the sense that nobody trusts them since even they don’t trust themselves; alternatively, they shall elicit mouth-breathing. Following a depletion of protein in the physical body, one develops a golden smile and/or bankruptcy. Sweet-tooth causes green thumb. A case of rotten luck sets you on a slippery slope to hydrocephalus, a greased slide to quietism. A devil-may-care mien soon enough drops club-foot in your lap. The sequela of having one’s ashes scattered upon the seven waters is not applicable, though it may involve bee sting. Dreams of the Son of Man riding forth with a Flaming Sword are the result of polio, as is eating lunch very rapidly at a desk. Eczema is the belated mode of priapism. Breach-birth peeks forth its head, in later years, as a seafaring heart and/or numinousness. From shingles: triumphalism (two to eight months), goiter (eight months to a year). A squint redounds as the urge to gather round children for the singing of songs/telling of tales; or as cretinism. When one observes in one’s friend burst capillaries in the knuckles and ears, one observes but the residue of aphasia; another residue of that particular condition is blessedness. What is obesity but the natural result of an inability to say who one really is? Got liver-lips? (You’ll get pusillanimity too.) Talkativeness? (Albinism.) Scrappiness is the forebear of rosacea. Having not felt quite right for a month of Sundays is a certain precedent of blistered hands. The sensation as of red ants swarming all over one’s body is soon enough transmogrified into rancor (acute); or an unproductive cough (chronic). A woolly tongue begets an evil eye. Giving people the same old song and dance leads to ear infection and cavities. Screaming leads to crying. Hope causes fear. She who cowers before life will laugh in the face of heaven (and/or require sinus drainage). Those with a sensitivity to light will, as autumn changes to winter, learn to see that the selves they inhabited in youth, and three years ago, and last month, and yesterday, are no longer their own; that they have left behind them an infinite train of lost, solitary ghosts; that every perception is a memory, every moment a death, every footstep a grave. The child is father to the man. From dust, dust.

User Fiction Cover 8

First published in The Antioch Review.