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 #142 Swimming Lessons

“It's a good idea to begin at the bottom in everything except in learning to swim.” Unknown author

I was well into my 40’s when I realized that one doesn’t have to wait for perfect weather if one wants to go into the water. 

Quarantine Diary #141 8/5/2020 "Red Dust"

I just finished reading “Red Dust – A Path Through China” by Ma Jain.  It is a remarkable book that asks more questions than it answers.

Ma Jain was born in the 50’s and grew up grew up very poor in a small Chinese city. He remembers when his mother would simmer stones for dinner so that the neighbors would see her cooking and not realize how poor they were.  (A whole different take on the children’s tale “Stone Soup.") The violent and terrifying Cultural Revolution that Chinese citizens lived through is over but memories of it are in everyone’s minds.

Quarantine Diary #140 7/31/2020 Wishing you a Merry Quarantine Weekend

When I’m in a certain mood I love how-to articles – and I’m in that mood right now. I think it happens at the intersection of reasonable weather and Friday ... when happiness still seems possible.

I googled “How to have a nice weekend in the time of Covid” and guess what? There are no Wiki-How articles on how to be happy in a pandemic.

Let’s invent this right here, right now.

Quarantine Diary #134 Written while sweating …

My best coping skill for appalling weather is to show it who is boss. 30 below?  Cool. Let me put on all my clothes plus a hat down to my eyebrows and another one up to my glasses, and I’ll go out there.

Quarantine Diary #131 7/23/2020 "Becoming Labrador"

Yesterday I forgot to write about a movie we watched which I think many of you might like to watch, also.  We’ve been talking here about what one can stand to read and watch these days when our spirits are stressed and anxious.

I thought I wanted to reprise some of our Canada travels.  FYI, if you’ve traveled in a place you loved, put that place into your streaming service Search window, find some great or mediocre documentaries about that place, and revisit your memories.  It’s fun.

Quarantine Diary #130 7/22/2020 What's in your glass?

In the last few weeks one of my knees has decided it is the current star of the MB show. I overused it one day, I know when that was, ever since it’s been wonky. I have to baby it otherwise it hurts more than a little. Aging isn’t for wusses. 

I am walking less because walking a lot makes it worse.  I CAN ride a bike as much as I want since that doesn’t exacerbate the situation. I’m trying to weigh less, which is its own comedy.

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