125. Sick, November, 2015

When I was a kid (perhaps like you) there was something exciting about being sick: staying home from school, experiencing the household routine, being cared for, holding up in bed with comic books, etc.. My mother was a nurse, so I could not pull of this scam easily or often, but when I could…

You have heard me say before that one of the, “transitions” of going off to college is learning how to care for yourself; how to determine that you are sick; how to judge whether your illness needs a doctor’s attention or just time.

Of course, having “gone off to college”, I was fond of speaking of this transition from the point of view of one who had “transited”.

But now I am sick — perhaps for the first time since retiring. It is not serious, not even worth a doctor’s time. I am stiff, achy, often chilled, and it hurts to comb my hair.

Not only do I have a temperature, (What would it mean to not “have a temperature”?), I have a theory. When I flew back from CA on the 28th I picked up something. The delightful young woman sitting next to me has been transformed in my mind into a petri dish. Then, in my compromised state, I went in for my annual flu shot. (If you have not yet had yours, you should.) That led, I surmise, to a reaction. Now I have the flu.

As I type this I am sitting in our sun-warmed loft, wearing my black, SDSU sweatpants and matching hooded sweatshirt. And, of course, I am learning things — in this case that I over estimated the lessons of going off to college. Turns out, I have been reliant of Susan to tell me when I am sick and to minister to my ailments. It is not that Susan would hover and bathe me in feminine concern — just that she would confirm that I was ill. (Which she would do with the back of her hand against my fevered brow — no thermometers for her.)

And, of course, being sick was often inconvenient. (It is less so now.) I “had to” go to the office, “Had to” attend that meeting. But Susan would know where the line was. She would ask, “Are you sure you’re up for that?” And if I did still not get her “drift”, would sometimes put her foot down declaring me to be a threat to myself and to others, ordering me to bed. She also seemed to know that a warm cuddly robe (which I usually abjure) would be welcome.

I say this because I now actually have to make these adult calls on my own. As I said, I am still basically healthy, so I have little experience with this. Out comes the thermometer.

So I have officially declared myself sick, but that is only part of the process. I still have to “connect the dots” — which I am not good at.

_ IF you are sick THEN you probably should not be cleaning up the garden –

even if it is a mild day.

__IF you are sick THEN, you will not be able to honor the breakfast with

Roger at the Saltbox this Sunday.

_ IF you are sick THEN you will not be able to go with the caravan from

Hancock Point to see the theater production at Lamoine Theater. Etc..

Strangely, each of these consequences had to come as a hard-won insight. Sigh.

PS. A few days of quiet reading, a bit of TV, lots of naps, some home-made soup, and I am now fully recovered. AND feeling rather adult about myself. I am also already taking “feeling good” for granted.

Do we learn nothing? Ever?

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