Sloth in Five Syllables
On Monday morning, I reviewed my calendar to get an idea of what the week ahead looked like. It was going to be a busy one following a very busy weekend. There were three evening commitments, an hour-and-a-half dental appointment, a plan for my sick three-year old grandson Liam to sleep over, and a Saturday night reward—a Winter Barn Dance at Tara Firma Farms.
I’ve had my eye on Tara Firma Farms as a place for a family outing, especially for Liam. I imagined there would be every kind of farm animal, maybe a tour of how the farm worked, and maybe fresh produce to buy. I had even purchased a fun skirt and my very first pair of cowboy boots for some two-steppin’. YEE-HAW!
What was the tightness in my chest? I hope I’m not getting sick. No, I have no time to get sick! I’m not letting myself get sick!
Thankfully, I have a full-time job working from home, so my plan was to catch up on house stuff during work lulls as the weekend had been too busy. I also had to color my hair and make a long-overdue haircut appointment. My fuzzy face was sorely in need of threading. I’d squeeze it all in, if work wasn’t too demanding.
Oooh, I have chills, and the chest tightness seem to be worsening. I wonder if I have a fever?
I took my temperature. It was 101.5!
Yikes! I AM getting sick!
I emailed my doctor; she told me to make an appointment to see her. I let my managers know I was ill and would not be working. I cancelled the dental appointment and found people to take care of my commitments. I let Monica know that I wasn’t up to caring for Liam. I doubted I’d be well in time for Saturday’s barn dance.
Once I got to Kaiser, there were signs posted everywhere that anyone with flu-like symptoms was required to wear a face mask. I didn’t think it applied to me.
The waiting room was moderately filled and I found the most remote chair to isolate myself from their germs, and them from mine. It wasn’t too long a wait.
The doctor’s diagnosis was influenza. She prescribed Tamiflu, a new medication that lessens the severity of flu if taken within 48 hours of its onset.
I wonder if I should remind her that the onset of this was on Monday morning? It’s clearly past the 48 hour window…
The prescription meant standing in line downstairs, for-ev-er! After a two-hour ordeal to get medical care, I returned home. I undressed and crawled into bed, feeling worse.
Why don’t doctors do house calls anymore? The last thing a sick person feels like doing is getting dressed and driving somewhere to wait with other sick people.
My symptoms seemed to worsen that week and through the weekend. My breathing was compromised and I was scared. I was running a fever throughout. I emailed my doctor with an update, ending with, “I can’t breathe!” Again, I didn’t hear back right away, when I did, she said she had ordered a chest x-ray for me.
Oh, goodie! I’m now required to get up, get dressed, drive out to Kaiser and I can’t breathe!
Once inside Kaiser, I was handed a pale yellow mask by the Receptionist and I told to put it on. I felt like I was suffocating and had to lift it up to get cool air into my suffering lungs. I checked in at Radiology and didn’t have to wait long. I was home within a half hour.
The doctor emailed me that afternoon; the x-ray had revealed pneumonia in both lungs. No wonder I can’t breathe! She ordered antibiotics and a friend graciously offered to drive out to Kaiser to fetch them for me.
Double pneumonia—the sickest I’ve ever been in my life. My breathing capacity was so compromised that I had to stop and catch my breath when walking from one room to another. I couldn’t talk to anyone because I didn’t have enough breath, and talking promoted a coughing fit. I’ve never been frightened by illness, but this scared the hell out of me.
You live alone, Linda. Don’t bolt the back door at night in case you have to call 9-1-1! Make sure the paramedics can gain access.
If you’re wondering where the “Sloth in Five Syllables” fits it, here goes. I was confined to my home for three weeks, no diversions, incapable of any activity. Held captive, I saw all the particles on the carpet and wished I had vacuumed. My hair was a bushy mess and was nearing two months since its last cut—why didn’t I make that hair appointment? If I had taken a mascara wand and brushed it onto my face fuzz, I would have resembled Michael Landon, the “Teenaged Werewolf!”
This was a lesson that forced me to look at a lifelong character flaw, pro-crast-in-a-tion, “Sloth in Five Syllables.”
Being so sick made me keenly aware that I am not a 25-year old anymore—I am a 65-year old SENIOR CITIZEN. I love that I now get into a movie theatre for $6.50 and I have a Medicare card, should I need it. The fact of the matter is this—I am not resilient. When I get sick, I now get sicker, and it takes much longer to recuperate. I have to be mindful to use my aging body carefully.
My father died at the age of 74. If I were to die at that same age, I’ve got only nine years of my life left!! Nine fucking years!!
My hope is that this epiphany doesn’t fade after I get well and again step into living this full life of mine. Perhaps I should keep this paper handy, as a reminder.