Pumpkin Spice, Crunchy Leaves, and 8 Other Autumn Staples To Help You Forget About Your Terminal Illness (Even If Just For A Moment)

By Dylan Keeffe

DIGNITY HEALTH HOSPITAL, CA – As the seasons change like the IVs placed into your arms by Margot, the onion-chomping nurse, it’s not hard to see some signs that the world outside of your cold, damp hospital room is looking a bit different. Fall is here, and to distract you from that black phlegm you’re coughing up, The Sack of Troy has compiled a ten-item list of the season’s greatest hallmarks! Let’s hope the following mental images give you a sense of ephemeral joy that diverts your attention away from death’s black shadow waiting by your door: 

  1. Pumpkin Spice

No, you may not be able to taste it because of the 33 tubes placed in your mouth, but oh boy is it yum yum yummy! Let a tear fall from your eye as you are reminded of the taste, reminded of a time before your skin started peeling and your face became a hole. Mmmmmm…

  1. Sweaters

Given that your ‘unknown, horrific illness’ is making you run a 114 degree fever and the other patients are using you like a furnace to keep warm, you clearly won’t be taking part in this one either…but what if you could? You could look like Harry from When Harry Met Sally or the Big Lebowski or something. That would be cool. But no. You can’t do that.

  1. Fall Movies

Oh, cinema! Who doesn’t like a good old-fashioned, spooky autumn flick? Some like Halloween, Night of The Living Dead, or Scream, but we’d recommend to you movies like Contagion, Quarantine, and Outbreak. They’re so cute and mentally calming. Just perfect for a cozy autumn night!

  1. Skeleton Decorations

Now I know you’re only thinking of one thing when you let your eyes graze upon these babies, am I right? Halloween! So exciting and fun! Don’t think about the fact that these bad boys are exactly what you will look like by the time Halloween comes. That would be a dumb person thing to do. Are you a dumb person? No? Good.

  1. Crunchy Leaves

No, your ears don’t work anymore, but what if they could? Oh, sorry. I said: NO, YOUR EARS DON’T WORK ANYMORE, BUT WHAT IF THEY COULD? They’d hear a lot of crunch now! Don’t they look so nice and crunchy out there, seven stories down?

  1. Football

Grrrr go sports! Given that you don’t have any means of watching football, you’ll have to imagine this one in your head. But that just means your team will always win! Yay for you!

  1. Coffee

I know you used to like this one, buddy! We really don’t blame you for trying to see if you could take one final sip before you ‘move on,’ but was pissing all that blood really worth it? The pumpkin cream cold foam can’t be that good. 

  1. Scarecrows

Hey, don’t say that you were like a scarecrow to the schoolchildren that visited the hospital! Sure, they ran away from you screaming. And yeah, you might be strung up in your bed in a freakish position that looks like the last Jack The Ripper victim. But, I mean, the kids needed to have a traumatic Bruce Wayne-to-Batman moment sometime, right?

  1. Bonfires

The reminder of eternal damnation in the fires of Hell sure is easy to forget when you look into the warm, inviting glow of a kindly-lit campfire, adorned by laughter and s’mores. From your position, you might only be able to see the fires from distant unhoused encampments – which give off a bit of a different vibe – but it’s basically the same. More or less. 

  1. Jack-O-Lanterns

Don’t these remind you so much of your childhood? Not the parts where doctors were taking out your organs and replacing them with transplants because your body is a sharpened field of agony. No, the parts before that where you and your family were together cutting big, toothy smiles into pumpkins. The smiles that none of you could put on your own faces after you learned the news. Such a fun and creative tradition! I love it! Go America!