Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's been pouring rain all morning, putting a crimp in my plans to make the three hour drive to Delaware today. I just checked the short term forecast, though, and current thinking is that the heaviest rain will end by 10 o'clock this morning, so maybe things will work out after all. I've got stuff piled next to the back door waiting to be packed in the car, and the cats won't know what hit them when I whisk them up from their peaceful naps. With any luck they'll stay in that state.

I feel a cold coming on, and if it is, this will be the first one I've had in ages. Back when I was obligated to be somewhere whether I wanted to be or not (you know--work and school) I used to welcome the occasional cold. When things got rough, I'd say, only half-jokingly, "what I need is a good cold to lay me low for a while." I could hole up in my cozy house, a little dopey from the antihistamines, eat soup and watch TV. When I was little and had a fever or sore throat, my mother would give me half an aspirin dissolved in a spoon with water and sugar--that pleasant sour-sweet flavor is a memory I can conjure up any time. Being a little bit sick meant being taken care of, even if only by yourself. Once, I got more than I bargained for, when a pleasant little cold turned into a full-blown case of flu, and that taught me to be careful of what I wished for. From that experience I know the difference between being a little off and being Sick. A cold makes you a bit tired. With the flu, you think perhaps you could die and not regret it. Every breath feels like razor blades entering your lungs and every movement is painful. I never want to feel that way again and am religious now about getting a flu shot every year.

I had German measles--the dreaded rubella--when I was in the first grade, and that's as sick as I've ever been. At that age, of course, you have no idea how bad off you are; I just knew I couldn't go to school. I ended up being out for two weeks and having some trouble catching up when I got back. My mother wanted me in her sight all the time, so she made me a bed on the living room couch and that's where I stayed. I had to wear dark glasses, something having to do with my fever. (I've never really figured that one out.) And Dr. Davis, my pediatrician, came to the house--even then, a house call by your doctor was a rarity. One day, Mary Martin as Peter Pan came on TV and I just had to get up from the couch and dance along with the music. That was a very rare thing for me to do as a kid and it still is--I must have really been getting antsy, a welcome clue to my mother, I guess, that I was getting better.

When you're little, if you're lucky you can take your health for granted. It's only when you're older, when you've seen diseases of one kind or another strike loved ones or yourself, that you learn the importance of maintaining your body. We all face the same inevitable outcome, of course, but we do have some control, as well. I mean to make my time as pleasant as possible. That means pain-free comfort, and not having to be conscious of every heartbeat and every breath. I just knocked my wooden desk. With a little work and a little luck--not to mention drugs--I can still make believe that the horizon is endless.

6 comments:

Mim said...

Ralph
Yeah I pressed my luck all winter telling friends I don't get a flu shot. Well somehow flying back last week from SF I contracted a sore throat and cold and all that goes with that. Also being 50ish degrees here this wk and rainy today, it does little to motivate me to go outside and plant all the things I've been buying to plant.
I am surprised your cats don't react more to you putting your things by the door and running to hide. Our black cat Pscyho always knows and we can never find him when we are getting ready to leave. Hopefully this VA rain will clear and you can head to DE. Happy driving.
Mim

Ralph said...

Hi, Mim. Happy to say I got here to DE uneventfully in only light drizzle and here, at least, the sun looks like it's trying to come out.

We have to psych the cats out in order to make the departure less traumatic for them. Leaving in the morning is easy because that's their down time--they're napping. One of them, Ivy, does get the hint if I take Nicky out first. He'll hide under one of the beds. Thing is, there's a board under the bed and he perches on that, and all I have to do is slide the board out, and along comes Ivy. It's so funny to us that he hasn't figured that out yet. He just slides along for the ride with this "WTF" look on his face, just before I snatch him up.

Nan said...

Hope you can kick that cold quickly!

Ralph said...

Thanks, Nan. It's been slow coming so it's either faking me out making me think it's just a mild case or saving up strength to punch me out later. We'll see.
too mbad all yu can do for a cold is treat the symptoms.

"Sweetness" is the word I, too, use to describe Kate and Anna's sound.

Jenny said...

I enjoyed the Kate & Anna song--I should have known you were a fan of theirs since you enjoy Rufus Wainwright's music so much. I've been a fan for ages. Dancer With Bruised Knees was the first album I bought and is still my favorite. There have been a couple of opportunities to see them play live at small venues, but we weren't able to do it--darn! It would have been fabulous I bet.

Ralph said...

Jenny, between Rufus and Martha and Kate and Anna and Loudon, and all their confessional music, a fan can start to feel like a member of the family! In fact, Rufus and Martha and the sisters do a yearly family Carnegie Hall concert at Christmas that I'd give anything to see.