Monday, March 16, 2009


Can we just talk about colds for a second?  I don't mean to whine but I have been sick, more or less, since November.  It's now mid-March.  That's, let's see, 4 months.  Four months of hacking and sneezing and snuffling and croaking like a toad.  I've had bronchitis and a sinus infection and something that left white pustules on my tonsils.  I've coughed so hard I've gagged. I've had a fever and the chills. I have been sick so often I am actually embarrassed about it.  I show up at work and feel as if there is a collective recoil.  And can I blame them?  No.  Truth is, I'm kinda gross.
Today I went to the doctor to see if maybe there was a reason behind my incessant germiness.  I was hoping they would find something obvious like an unrelenting sinus infection or a horrible black mold allergy.  Even something truly terrible like lupus would have at least been an explanation.  But I'm here to tell you that going to the doctor is no episode of House or page from the New York Times' "Diagnosis" stories. No one is interested in your medical mystery.  No team of doctors approaches with clipboards and medical journals to try to figure out your problem.  Nope.  Instead you are informed that colds are caused by viruses (um, I know) and give a prescription for cough medicine (no current cough). In short, my visit to the doctor was a wholly unsatisfying experience and I still can't breathe through either nostril.  
Any advice out there?  Because I am starting to forget what it feels like to be healthy.

A thing I like
This lovely and true poem about why death is such a loss by the late, great John Updike. It makes me cry.  I hope someone reads it at my funeral. 

Perfection Wasted 

And another regrettable thing about death 
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic, 
which took a whole life to develop and market -- 
the quips, the witticisms, the slant 
adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest 
the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched 
in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears, 
their tears confused with their diamond earrings, 
their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat, 
their response and your performance twinned. 
The jokes over the phone. The memories 
packed in the rapid-access file. The whole act. 
Who will do it again? That's it: no one; 
imitators and descendants aren't the same. 


Hilary Belle said...

i know that the adage "misery loves company" doesn't really apply to being sick because, after all, when one is sick one is convinced that everybody else can in no way be as miserable as oneself. but i do feel sort of comforted by this email. i've been sick since november too. and tiberio, who when we first met told me he hadn't had a cold in 9 years, now looks like he has corks stuffed up either nostril. last night he kept going into apnea and gasping himself awake by taking large gulps of air through the mouth. we can't even kiss anymore because then his only respiratory option is occupied by my tongue. we've done steam baths, vapo-rubs, this disgusting salt-water nasal spray and today i broke down and bought him Sinex Ultra. anyway, i feel ya'. it seems like everyone's been constantly sick for months. um, bacterial warfare?

that poem is so beautiful. I'LL read it at your funeral. (wait, that's a HORRIBLE thought...)

Hilary Belle said...

ps. i didn't mean "email" i meant "blog entry". sorry. it's so hard to keep all these new-media platforms straight with you. are you going to start "Twittering"??

Anonymous said...

Not to jinx myself (knock on wood), this has been our healthiest year ever, maybe b/c the first 3 years of my kids' lives were filled with sicky colds so we are all up to date with cold viruses. Didn't Maggie and Oliver just begin nursery school? That would totally be the explanation in my book. But anyway, the secrets of my success boil down to 3 things: 1) massive amounts of handwashing-me and the kids--like I make them crazy, they elbow sneeze and I make them wash their hands, ridiculous hand washing. 2) clorox wipes--I know, I know, not very green; but I am making huge strides in greening my cleaning arsenal but those clorox wipes are so damn useful for wiping down doorknobs, lightswitches, cabinet pulls, telephones and all the other stuff preschooler put their paws on (I read that in 30 minutes a preschooler touches on average 300 different surfaces! YIKES!) and finally, 3) ZINC--the minute someone comes home with nose dripping I take a zinc supplement every day until the cold has faded. Try it, I never would have believed it but just give it a shot. Good health vibes coming your way--no one should have to feel like crap for that long.
xo, KT

MirandaJ said...

That made me cry too. Thanks a lot.

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