Several weeks ago, I returned to blogging. Then stopped abruptly. It wasn’t due to writer’s block (again). Nope. It’s something more like catching every wintertime and springtime illness that crosses my path. Every. Single. One. I’ve unwillingly become the crazy cat lady of airborne pathogens. ("Come with me dearie, there's always room for one more.") It's unacceptable. I want to lodge a complaint with some Responsible Adult in Charge of Things:
My immune system is habitually rock solid. I don’t get sick. Therefore, this shouldn’t be happening. By reputation, I just shouldn’t be this sick, this constantly.
Sick time hoses my inner peace. My inner German (ve must verk, verdammt), notices that when ill, I don’t write. The sick obliterates my ability to create, and no amount of goading myself to just be like Stephen King, and just push through and write every day, works.
At that, unlike King—who likely maintained his grueling creative schedule even after getting hit by a car, and regrouping in the hospital—I can’t write when I’m ill. Even if I do write about something happy-fuzzy, writing takes my feeble state to an even darker place. I need to not think about keyboards and watch "30 Rock," instead.
Plus, I can’t sit up straight long enough to find the keyboard.
Despite this realization, Stephen King and Helga the Angry German flog me every day that I don’t write.
So please, please, please, please just make the illness merry-go-round stop.
The Responsible Adult in Charge of Things hasn’t responded to my plea. Leading to a Growth Experience. (It stinks.) Learning about things that previously (when I could still shrug off disease) I could ignore. Like, for the first time, I now understand exactly what an insurance deductible is, and how very high mine is.
This lead to a second harsh understanding: my insurance is ass. I moaned to my friend Pat, “So what’s the point of those regular salary deductions, if insurance doesn't do what it's intended to do?” Pat’s response, “Exactly.” I feel like I’ve scammed by a shell game.
The worst part? Bronchitis. That’s a word with three syllables. That means serious. It’s infection of the bronchial tubes, which connect your lungs to important parts of your body:
Think I caught it on the plane back from Chicago, over Easter vacation. I blame the airplane because someone up front was coughing. Am pretty sure it was his vile cooties that got sucked into the air vents, and then distributed evenly throughout the aircraft. Two days after coming home, I had a scratchy throat that cough drops wouldn’t soothe, and a dry cough that wouldn’t quit. Normally, I’d ignore such things, but Pat convinced me something was wrong. I circumvented my wait-it-out mentality and went to the doctor.
This lead to a third understanding: because I needed my doctor for critical symptoms, it inevitably meant that my normal physician would be unavailable. So I got her substitute, Dr. Hotness. This would have been awesome if I wasn’t crawling into the examination room wearing a sloppy sweatshirt and yoga pants. Hacking like a cat trying to lodge a hairball. What an effort, focusing on describing symptoms. Fighting the chagrin of Amy-losing-sexy-points. Stifling a case of the he’s-so-cuuuuute giggles. Resulting in even greater coughing fits.
Despite mental attempts at sabotage, I got a good diagnosis, $138 that my insurance refuses to pay for said diagnosis, a lowered self-esteem, and a mandate: work from home for 10 days, to contain the contagions.
That was about six weeks ago. I’m still coughing. Bronchitis, like your worst houseguest, takes a long time to leave.
I feel crappy all over again for choosing to write about illness. It’s crossing a line. Into the realm of hypochondria. Discussing ailments long past the point of being worthwhile. Dwelling on conspiracy theories for the ailments’ origin. Blame-shifting. Leading to intensified misery and grumpy dramatic fits. Muttering and brooding over how I was sick. How I have been sick. That I am sick. I’ve had the sick, and the sick had me. None of which are appropriate for the Internet. Hate for you to lose respect of me, but (whenever you see the word “but,” it means to ignore everything that came before), let’s be honest: I’m now past the point of melodramatic acting-out, chronic fatalistic theories, and am flat-out surrendering myself to misery. Including running hundreds of Google searches about "when is bronchitis over?" and "harness mucus as renewable energy resource?"
Instead of finding information about ending my misery fast, I found a knitting pattern (or is it crochet? or maybe latch hook?) for the bronchial virus. That's when I accepted my fate.
Coworkers now tease the dramatic sighs that come out of my cube after yet another round of barking loud coughing fits. What else can they do? They’ve been hearing it for the past five weeks.
All that said, three weeks after bronchitis conquered me, I started feeling better. That meant—huzzah—I could finally write like a normal human being. Was cracking my knuckles, ready to hit the keyboard …
… when a horrid head cold caught up with me.
That's a head cold on top of the lingering bronchial cough.
It lasted two weeks.
I can’t win.