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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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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