Mary Beth Writes

I started having a big cold on November 12th and I’m not done with it yet. The nasty contagious sneezing and runny nose part was over weeks ago, but I’m still coughing.  Went to walk-in clinic yesterday and now I have an inhaler which seems help my excitable bronchial tubes settle down. I think (knock on wood) this might work.

A lot of small moments in this past year - some mine, some others’ - have sort of woke me up to our background attitude about being sick.  We are so image oriented. We try to do what we see others do, look like others look, see the world the way others seem to be seeing it.  We receive much of our sense of who we are from watching others, watching TV, going to the movies, judging what we like on Facebook and Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

And what do we ordinarily see?  We see healthy people doing active things. So much so that we have phrases and language for sickness that imply when we are not in tiptop health, we are not completely living. “Under the weather” Aren’t we ALWAYS living under the weather? “Feeling off” Being born and dying are our ONLY on and off switches, aren’t they? “Feeling off-color” and “Fighting a bug” and “Coming down with something”

These phrases are descriptive of how it feels to get sick. But do we think that being ill means we aren’t as valuable and as alive? We aren’t failing just because we are on the sofa with a stack of books that we are or are not reading. With the TV or music droning. With medicines and cups of cold tea and popsicle wrappers on the coffee table.

It’s still life. If we are evolved enough to say we don’t judge a person by the size of their paycheck, then we have to deal with the corollary – we are also valuable whether we are at work or under the covers.

I think this is part of what people and families of people who have disabilities have been telling us all along. That we won’t always be strong and able to do everything we want to do. Quality of Life is not defined by whether we are doing it in hiking boots or bed socks.

Consider this my public service announcement as we enter the High Season of Being Sick.  Take your time. Try to drink the tea (with or without the brandy in it) while it’s still hot.  Appreciate what makes you feel most comfortable and engaged in your temporarily quieter life – your favorite TV show or music or solitaire played on the pillow on your lap.  

Take it easy … but take it. 

Or as Len's grandfather Leo would say:  "It's not the coughin' that you're coughin' but the coffin they carry you off in..."  

.....

A friend just sent this!  

Fun fact per urban dictionary

 "under the weather"

During the days when ships were powered by sail, the captains log documented everything that happened during the day. As sickness could spread rapidly on a ship, there were often times where the number of sailors that were ill exceeded the space provided in the log to record their names. During these times, the excess names of the sick were recorded in the next column, which was reserved for the weather conditions of the day. Thus, it was not unusual for an ill sailor to be listed "under the weather".

 

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He’d be proud. Also liked the idea that sick people are seen, wrongly, as not being fully human.

Len’s grandpa was a wise man. Ha. I hate being sick.

Hope you feel bettter soon.....

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Quarantine Diary #15 3/28/2020

The Long-Awaited Groceries (The hymn “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” is in my brain right now) came last night at 9PM – when it was raining. A woman named Sarah, late 30’s, brown ponytail, not-posh sweatpants and hoodie – carried ALL our groceries across the street from her car to our porch. This included 8-packs of Gatorade plus boxes of seltzer water, plus lots of other heavy stuff. Did I mention it was raining?

Quarantine #14 3/27/2020

Last night we did another wild and crazy thing. We got in our car and went for a drive! The first thing we remarked to each other was that we had not been in the car together in weeks.  It felt a little odd to be in there, next to each other, about to GO SOMEPLACE! Maybe this is the way it feels to be the family dog when they let you sit in the front seat and EVERYTHING IS SO AMAZING!

We drove west into the rosy sunset, filled with excitement to, um, see the sky.  Quarantines are easiest on people who have a low bar for excitement.

Quarantine Diary #13 3/26/2020

What do you miss?  What, in our new pandemical world do you miss most from our pre-pandemical world?You know, the one we lived in till two weeks ago?

I don’t mean the heartbreaking realities such as safe medical care providers and enough places to go should one become ill and the loved ones that we are losing.

I just mean, what are we getting used to? Or trying to get used to. What might we never go back to?

Quarantine Diary #12 3/25/2020

Right now it is 11:00AM.  Got up this morning at the regular time. Did regular things. Came to the office to write. Worked (hardly at all) on a project, wrapped an item for eBay. Announced to Len at 10:30 that I was sleepy and going to take a nap.

You know what he said?  He said, “Me, too.”

The following half hour he took the sofa and I took our bed and both of us slept like toddlers on cots.

Quarantine Diary #11 3/24/2020

Most mornings we wake up, get coffee, then sit in bed to read news websites and Twitter on our phones. This isn’t the most spiritually centering way to begin a day but IMHO any morning one can actually rouse oneself at all is good enough.

Except this. Remember when Len and I went to Kearny, Nebraska last spring to see the migrating Sandhill Cranes? (Right here.) 

When I have freaked out enough about the news, I go to this crane cam. 

Quarantine Diary #10 3/23/2020

This was a really good part of today. When my daughter was putting the baby down for his nap, Len and I read storybooks to our 3-year old granddaughter before her nap. Literally, she was sitting on her little bed in Chicagoland while holding mommy’s phone.  I read; Len moved the phone around carefully to show the illustrations. 

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