New Years Day, 2016. I celebrate the final act of a three-week-long, bi-coastal reunion with children, grandchildren, sons-in-law. My idea of heaven.
1/5/16. I say good-bye to California girls. Sadly de-ornament the tree. Next, a holiday custom unique to Manhattanites: Saw off lower branches so tree will fit into shopping cart. Wheel it to curb to join horizontal forest, piled high, thousands of dollars’ worth of discarded pine, soon to become Parks Department mulch.
1/6. Now to resume work on my novel! So excited. All signs point to a great 2016.
1/11. I come down with nasty cough, then succumb to this year’s epidemic of respiratory flu: violent coughing that won’t stop. Lose voice.
1/18. Doctor prescribes five-day antibiotic, steroid inhaler, Mucinex, cough suppressant. Still feel like crap. Stock up on groceries for impending record-breaking snowstorm. Three days, 25 inches. Pretty for a while, then not.
1/26. So bored with my own company, I venture forth. Buried cars. Matterhorns of filthy melting snow. Each crosswalk a lake with ice floes. Find out boots are not waterproof. Small voice advises: This was a Big Mistake.
1/27. 3:00 a.m. Wake up to violent coughing. Wheezing, gasping for breath. Terrifying. Talk myself out of dialing 911. Double dose of vile codeine cough suppressant calms me down. 10:00 a.m. Doctor prescribes powerful new antibiotic, schedules chest x-ray.
1/28. Radiologist diagnoses pneumonia, right central lobe.
1/29. Pulmonologist gives scary advice about dangers of pneumonia, particularly for someone like me, with a long history of spectacularly good health. He sends me away with severe warning: “Do nothing for the next month but get well.”
1/31. So here I am. But here’s the thing: nothing is ever all bad. (1) When I tell perpetual favor-seekers that I have pneumonia, they say, “Oh,” and that’s the end of that. (2) On doctor’s orders to do nothing for a month but get well, I can do nothing. For a month. For the first time in my life it’s not appropriate to feel guilty about doing nothing! For a month! No more of the usual nagging “What’s the matter with me? Why aren’t I well already?” What a unique experience this will be! February, here I come.
Photo credit: Madeline Kennedy
January 31, 11:30 a.m.