Every Breath You Take

Excessive Love

Not that I’m a namby-pamby, but I’ve been fighting a stubborn respiratory infection for four weeks (you read that right), and I’m not well suited to illness. Thank God I lack the ability to suffer in silence or I’d have nothing to write about. Today 
I’m going to use what ever energy I have left to breathe, and maybe cough, that’s it. Excessive love appears to be the culprit (rethinking slobber kisses with sick grandchildren). 

I hate to acknowledge any illness especially to myself, I have this illusionary belief that my immune system is all powerful, impenetrable, secure, but regrettably there has been an undeniable breach, as if Facebook, this must be what it’s like to be screwed by a third party. Streptococcus slithered into my lungs and sold me out. #losing

If that’s not enough to manage, my kids grilled me on our private Slack Channel, as if I were Mark Zuckerberg facing the family Congress (here’s a small portion of the conversation, but believe me when I say it went on and on, as I lie in bed, feverish, with the chills). #dramaqueen #everythingiscopy #myversionofthetruth 

Extenuating Circumstances

Here’s the back story, I was already infected with this nasty bug (slobber kisses) when my rather persuasive husband managed to coerce me into joining a gym (takes a certain amount of chutzpah to even suggest gym membership to a spouse don’t you think), but as if a HeadOn commercial for Walgreens, he used repetition to wear me down. #totalmeta 

  How in the hell did this commercial go viral?

If you read my blog about spin class you probably noticed I was in total diaphoresis (excessive sweating) and therefore further stressing my immune system. I went back almost daily for two weeks thinking I could ‘sweat’ it out. I will never be too old to try something stupid (that’s my motto). Understatement of the decade. #delusional  #totalfail

I told Larry straight up, “exercising is detrimental to my health.” 

He said, “you need to go more.” (alarming, I know)

“I’m thinking of becoming an agoraphobic.” (or is that the one that fears crowed malls – same thing)

I got the look…

I gave the look…while coughing, not as effective. 

The Doctor

When I’m under the weather my first reaction is to deny all evidence. I soldier on after years of self denial, martyrdom, and dogged determination. Oh my God I’ve become St. Bridget of Sweden (in a good way). I have a job, a blog, a dog (not listed in order of importance…obviously), husband, children, grandchildren, and four (I repeat four) birthdays in April. Believe me when I say the world does not stop spinning on command, I tried, (third rate planet with an attitude) 


I finally went to the doctor when death was literally knocking at my door (aka. Larry hounding me all morning). But it took a full day at work before I decided he was right (it’s rare, it happens, let’s move on). 


I practically had to hack up a lung in the lobby before they called me in. The first area of concern was my blood pressure, then my oxygenation (they tried three different fingers), and then I mobilized the entire staff when they stumbled upon my birth year. I was slapped on a gurney like a dead fish and hooked up to a respiratory treatment for thirty minutes. The doctor told me to relax? What? Do I look stressed?

With enormous conviction I made it to the pharmacy located in the Safeway on Hamilton Avenue and had to deal with the new guy! Perfect. First, he struggled to update my insurance information while I stood there aghast at his incompetence, charged me double for several items, requiring an override from the manager on break, and when I was just about to reveal my true nature, he handed me a white bag, “thank you for your patience.” (I consider it a moral victory that I refrained from climbing over the counter and strangling him with his skinny tie)  

NyQuil & Chill

I haven’t put a bra on in days, there are no words for my hair, and the body oder is legit. I left the dishes piling up in the sink, laundry unfolded on the chair, bed unmade, groceries unbought. I didn’t clean up after the birthday extravaganza, adjust the pillows on the couch, return stray shoes to the closet, sort the mail, straighten the patio, open the blinds. I left toys from the grandchildren scattered about the house and the dress up truck in total shambles. Everything’s languishing including the house plants. I’ve lost control of the dog who pimped me for an extra scoop last night and my head explodes every time I cough. Regretting my excessive use of tissues last night and now we’re out of NyQuil? #catastrophe 


The Vows

“In sickness and in health,” I’m compelled to remind Larry of those vows as I languish in bed battling an antibiotic resistant respiratory infection. I’m losing by the way, get the cards and flowers ready. You never know.

At the most basic level breathing is nonnegotiable. When I struggled to sit up in bed this morning Larry decided all by himself that I needed to go back to the doctor. 

“I’m sure I’ll bounce back after three cups of coffee,” which I mentioned repeatedly, along with the fact I need to work today. I have students who depend on me, I’m the AP lady, and that’s happening like it or not. #indispensable #jobsecurity


If you know anything about Larry you know he lacks flexibility, tight as a drum on a cold day
. I call him mulish (you see what I did there). Before my first coughing fit subsided I heard him on the phone in his office making an appointment for me at the Urgent Care? Does this sound a little too familiar? Where’s that HeadOn ointment?

He said in a rather bossy tone, “time to go, I’ll drive.” Trust issues much?


Me, “Oh, don’t be silly, I can drive myself.” And pick up a latte on my way to work.

“No, I insist.” How unusual?

“Sweetheart, it’s going to take all day, you’re much too busy.” Watch him go scampering back to his office, mulish tail between his legs.

“It’s no trouble.” Lord have mercy. 


Sorry Not Sorry


So he drives me all the way back to the Urgent Care, sits with me in the lobby in case I harbor any ideas of ditching, all pleasant with the receptionist, “yes, I called a few minutes ago. She’s right here in her bathrobe and slippers. Try not to mention her hair, she’s sensitive.” I made it from the bed to the car there’s no stopping me now. #embarrassingmates

They drag me back into the bowels of the facility. My blood pressure is alarming, I have a fever, no detectable oxygen in my entire body. They slap me back on the gurney, thirty minute respiratory treatment, shot me up with more steroids (which causes excessive chest hair by the way), and sent me downtown for an X-Ray.

Long story short, I have pneumonia. They called in (the big guns) a new prescription to the pharmacy in the Safeway on Hamilton. I sent Larry in my stead. #sorrynotsorry 

Nurse Ratched

Against all odds I’m expected to live, Larry has organized my meds in the dog’s pill box (overkill), he’s worse than nurse Ratched, won’t allow me even a tiny glass of wine. 

Oh how I love this unwavering, stubborn, ox of a man. If we are all irreplaceable to someone, all I can say is, thank God Larry fell for me. 



I’m Languishing in the Gap, feverish, hacking. Stay back! 


Join me in the comments? Being ill shaved my priorities down to the very basics. Love, belonging, mutual care. Thoughts? (And by the way thank you to all of you who have been checking in, offering support, I love you.)


Auxiliary:

  • Slobber kisses are still my favorite. 
  • True love is rare. 
  • God bless Alexander Fleming (interesting last name)
  • Weird coincidence, I did an author interview with Bonny McClain at Across the Board, healthcare specialist, in case you missed it.


10 Comments

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  1. This is totally hilarious! I am a health snob who also brags about my kick-ass immune system and acts totally betrayed and angry on the rare occasion I do fall ill. In other words, I can relate. Feel better!

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  2. And unlike Kara I am not a health snob. I have a bed on reserve at the ER. In fact I proudly wear my “Be Nice To Me I Might Be Your Nurse Someday Shirt,” despite knowing that my ability to take My NCLEX-RN license exam period ended about a year and a half ago. I mean who doesn’t go to Nursing School then realizing “germs-like eww?” Long story longer . Sorry not Sorry-I got you. You and I both wrote that this week if you notice ! I love you. That’s why readers love you . You are amazing & I sort of snorted out loud as I pictured slobber kisses. Sadly, it reminded me of my first kiss-with a puppy…yuck. ❤️ Get well soon ! I’m still in recovery myself. Love you!!

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  3. Kara, we are a rare breed indeed! I consider avoiding illnesses a major skill set. Thank God because I'm rather non-compliant when told to rest, take your meds, drink a lot of water! Thanks for joining me in the comments, recovery is lonely business, and my husband is non-verbal! Here's to good health! xxoo

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  4. \”A bed on reserve at the ER,\” I never thought of that but I do notice every time I walk into Urgent Care the staff slaps on their masks! Rude. What a month it has been for both of us, no wonder we're writing the same statement \”sorrynotsorry.\” I've been praying for your full recovery Shareen, hang in there, I love you.

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  5. Thank you Rebecca! I am definitely on the mend but throughly appreciating the forced withdrawal from a normally busy life. I don't know why it takes such an intense illness to get my attention, pull me off the merry-go-round, and switch me to \”rest mode.\” Larry is a keeper, not sure he loves being married to a writer, but he's holding up well. Thanks for joining me in the comments! Love your work in progress on Kosovo!

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  6. I can relate! My attitude is always that if I just ignore illness and protest loudly enough then I am NOT sick! It works often enough that I'm really and truly annoyed when it doesn't. When it doesn't work, it is nice to have that man who will brave the pharmacy and put up with the complaining.

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  7. Hi Shelley, your attitude about illness is much too familiar! It's funny, but after a while, I've completely forgotten what it feels like to be healthy, strong, energetic. It's a Catch 22, the more time you languish with an illness, the more time it takes to recover. Never mind about my age. Larry has been a trooper! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! It's all I look forward to these days.

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  8. Me: I so seldom get sick, that I forget the typical remedies of my Caribbean household. (vicks, shilling oil, gargling with salt water, bush tea, a rub down with alcohol- especially your feet, etc…) and each and every time, I call my mother for the rundown.Cynthia: Hello (in a thick Antiguan accent and sounding like she's hiding out from the CIA), you have any… (fill in the blank)?Of course I never do, or I've long forgotten where it is, or it's evaporated in the bottle.Also, keep in mind that whatever is ailing you does not matter, the cure is always the same…and she's a retired nurse.All of this to say that I never get sick, or I go straight into denial, in addition to acquiring temporary amnesia.

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  9. Hysterical! I love the family remedies that only our mother's seem to remember – the keepers of all that is holy and sacred! \”The cure is always the same\” so very true and often it has to do with letting go of the ropes that harbor us to stress. I'm sure I'll promptly forget this entire episode as soon as I'm back to normal but I hope I hold on to some of the family cures often left behind in our modern society. Thanks for the beautiful reminder! I so enjoyed your comments!

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