Bouncin’ Round the Room

So, here I am, back in the hospital, yet again. I prepared for this one, taking time off work. It’s more of a tune-up or an “oil change” so to speak. I’ve had to accept that I need more frequent hospitalizations to maintain any kind of lung function and normal everyday life. As I sit here looking at these strangely familiar walls of my room, I often think of this song.

It’s a Phish song, written by Tom Marshall, who writes a majority of their lyrics. The origin of the song is about his experience in a bouncy house where he was inadvertently knocked unconscious. Sounds a little dark I know. However, the music is written in a major key, highlighted by a great drumbeat as always from Joh Fishman. When they play this song in concert, the mood is light and the crowd is always into it. The song features all four members singing different lyrics and melodies in a call and response theme. (If you’re not familiar with this, just think of row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream…). It’s a crowd favorite, since everyone can pick their favorite part to sing. The call and response continues to repeat, building up to a crescendo. The energy in the crowd is palpable.

I remember when I first was exposed to Phish. I had heard my friends talking about them, probably Sophomore year of high school, 1994 or so. They were raving about their unique sound, mostly gushing about how great they were live. Mostly, they raved about Trey Anastasio and his guitar solos, and how he was as good as Jerry Garcia (Trey is amazing and all, but I don’t know about that). So I went out and bought an album, A Live One, because I thought that would be the best way for me to hear and evaluate them for what they have always been, a jam band that is best heard live. The first track on that album just happened to be Bouncin’ Round the Room. I liked this song a lot, as well as a few others. Soon I was hooked, and would wind up seeing them more than a couple dozen times in concert over the next several years.

Now, back to the present. As I sit in this hospital bed, yet again, I have a feeling of deja vu. I have been here in these rooms, that all look and feel the same, more times than I care to count. This is the life of a cystic, the constant exacerbations and hospitalizations. This stems primarily from the consistent buildup of bacterial lung infections that will never cease. Just in the past 12 months, I have probably spent 2 of them in here, constantly hooked up to IVs, doing nebulizers, and having the sputum literally beaten out of me. It can be exhausting and demoralizing at times. You sit here and try to keep busy, just trying to keep your mind occupied. It can be really hard to sleep, even though that’s what you need the most. Sometimes, you are just goofy and slap happy. That’s when I hear the lyrics to this song:

Then before and now once more, I’m bouncing round the room
That time then and once again, I’m bouncing round the room
That time then and once again, I’m bouncing round the room
That time then and once again, I’m bouncing round the room

I hear it like it’s being looped over and over again. While I always had enjoyed the song in concert, I don’t always love it while here in the hospital, because of how I feel in those moments. While it can be easy to get into that negative headspace due to the environment and circumstances, it can often be much harder to get out. So I try to transition from hearing those lyrics to thinking about many of the great moments I can remember from those Phish concerts. Some of them are a little more cloudy than others, but still I can remember being part of the energy and community which kept people coming back to their shows over and over again. That time then and once again, I was there in the crowd. And can revisit those times whenever I need a boost of positivity. These are some of the tricks I use to help me through yet another hospitalization. If any other cystics are reading this, I hope you find your own way to remain positive and keep out of the negative headspace that often comes from being in here. Keep calm and carry on!

One thought on “Bouncin’ Round the Room

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  1. So much in here to digest Chad and so easily understood how you can relate to Phish and this song. I especially like the last line in your blog post as I am also a fan of The Chive. Thoughts, prayers and love are on there way to you !


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