I don’t think I’ve ever wasted over two weeks before. And I see no end in sight. I am just sitting and staring and choking and not writing and not reading and not working and not dancing. I’m not hanging with my peeps – none of whom are enthusiastic about breathing the same cooty-fied air as me. When Judy or Barry brings me groceries, they more or less leave them outside the door.
I’ve had plenty of online support from friends across the world. Many have called, but it has been hard to talk at all without bringing on a coughing jag.
I remind you that I’m supposed to be off in New Hampshire having time alone to write and that I set up this break from teaching months ago. I remind you that I’m starting another term in less than a week and there will not be another chance to write until mid-August.
To add insult to injury, my chair - from which I read, watch TV, eat (on my tray on the chair’s matching foot stool), edit, chatter - the chair given to me by my friend Howard who had it upholstered perfectly, my chair is broken. Its innards are fucked up and something mechanical is awry. It is nearly impossible to find a 50s slider of dimensions to suit a person of my size and I am devoted to my chair. Now I’m stuck at home day after day without a proper perch.
I am unable to do anything productive, not even clean, although my environment is degrading all the time. All I can do is to try to keep up with my copious medications, a profusion assembled over three different Dr appointments. Big Pharma is the only beneficiary of my wretched situation.
I have constructed a kind of spread sheet to accommodate the two nasty inhalers (one requires two puffs twice a day; the other two puffs four times a day – both require that I rinse my mouth thoroughly to avoid Thrush, whatever gross evil that might be), the cough meds (three to four capsules and codeine syrup at night), the antibiotics, the salt-water gargles, the painkillers to help with the stomach muscle strained during violent coughing, and the expensive homeopathic cough remedies I’m hoping will help. There’s probiotic yogurt against the yeast infections antibiotics can cause in women, plus things to suck against the cough and sore throat – from cough drops to Canadian Wintergreens to M&Ms with peanut butter centers. Luckily, I already had a stock of soft tissues.
I can only read about fifty words at a time – so People magazine and The Enquirer suit my simple-mindedness. I can’t absorb the TV news or follow documentaries, so I was only saved from the insidious Millionaire Matchmaker by a sudden run of Portlandia the other day. I’m going to Portland this September, so I can count that as research.
I’m trying to pull together my Will – a document that I’ve been working on since the early 80s and which has gone through many incarnations as friends die or fade, as life and locations change, and as death sneaks closer. My Will is full of lectures and declarations and doling out this, that and the other to my nearests and dearests. There is money for parties in each of my three countries and flippings of the bird in print to those who have betrayed me. I’m halfway through an update and rather stuck. I don’t have sufficient lucid moments to get the job done.
Months ago I watched as many of my friends and students got this flu/cold. It would start like a cold, get intense and then turn into bronchitis and/or pneumonia. I knew many, many people who went through this, unable to shake the scary cough for many weeks. It was so widespread and so devastating that I kept wondering why there was nothing in the local news about it. One gets three cases around the country of the flesh-eating bug and the papers are full of it. The State prepares for a flu epidemic on a massive public scale even though it never arrives. So why no mention of this scourge? And of course, I also bragged about never getting sick in general and not picking this thing up in particular. But the joke’s on me. These bugs have been crouching off to the side, the meanies, awaiting the three weeks I fought so hard to set up for myself to write. They struck on, literally, the last day of work before my break and they are going to continue to drain me until, at least, next Monday when I am to return to my grueling work schedule. They must be right-wing germs.