Sick day ramblings of an influenzic brain

(For those of you stuck at home, under the influence of Nyquil, without enough energy to find the tv remote . From the archives: Two years ago today, I was sick.)

I’m sick.

How sick?

Really sick.

If the molecules of air would stop attacking my skin, I could finally get around to reading this. (Photo from Wikipedia)

If the molecules of air would stop attacking my skin, I could finally get around to reading this. (Photo from Wikipedia)

Really, really sick.

So sick that the only words I can summon to describe how sick I am are “really, really.”

I’m so sick that yesterday afternoon I had three cups of tea. That’s literal,  not  literary.

I don’t particularly care for tea, except when I’m this sick. It just seems like some magic elixir I’m supposed to be drinking. Maybe it’ll hasten the onset of death.

So  sick that I’m following through on my intention to have a Smash marathon to catch up on last season before the new season begins. My healthier self can never sit still long enough to finish a viewing marathon. A year and a half ago, while recovering from surgery,  I got through the first two seasons of Ally McBeal. I haven’t seen another episode since.

I’m so sick that while I was sleeping through Episode 14 (the one where someone slips peanuts into Uma Thurman’s food) it started snowing here.Instead of my usual happy snow dance, all I can manage is detached ennui.

Oh. Snow. That’s nice.

So sick that my whole body aches. I have sick eyes. And sick hair. And my sick hair hurts.

It was yesterday morning when my hair started to hurt that I realized I might be too sick for work. I was one hour and fifteen minutes into my hour-and-thirty-minute commute.

Turning your car around and going home is apparently the white flag of surrender that this particular strain of the flu thrives on. Almost immediately, all systems started shutting down.

There’s no telling how many traffic lights I ran while pondering the origins of the phrase “sick as a dog.”  I wonder if it started in Kentucky. I made a mental note to check a book I read on Kentucky-isms to see if it’s mentioned there and maybe to find a cure for sick hair that hurts. I imagine it involves polecat grease or some sort of bean soup.Then I wondered where I might stop to pick up a polecat on my way home.

What I’m trying to say is I’m sick.

Really, really sick.

In fact, I might be dying. More specifically, I’ve spent the better part of the last 24 hours praying for the sweet relief of death. I know I caught at least one traffic light because I remember seeing two priests in a Ford Fiesta in my rear view mirror — I’m sure they were real;  I hadn’t had Nyquil yet — and wondering what the Church’s guidelines are for flagging down clergy to request last rites in a five-way intersection.

There are certain disadvantages to being raised Protestant, not the least of which is having no understanding of priest etiquette. I regret that now.

Because  I’m sick. Really, really sick.

It’s times like these that lead us to re-evaluating our priorities. As appealing as the sweet relief of death might be, I realize I have things left to do before I can check out. So I’m working on revising, amending, and fast-tracking my bucket list. Here’s what I have so far.

Revised, Amended, and Fast-Tracked Bucket List (a work in progress):

1. Take a romantic walk at midnight in Paris. Make sure my loved ones know how much I care.

A. To my children: I love you both from the bottom of my heart. Mommies don’t have favorites. I love you equally for your unique talents and individual beauty. I am so proud to be your mom.

B. To my daughter: I know I said Mommies don’t have favorites, but truth be told you have always been my favorite. My first-born. Your smile that lights up a room. Your kind heart. Your thoughtfulness in taking care of others . . .like maybe picking up some chicken soup and a box of tissues for your mother who is sick. Really, really sick.

C. To my son: Pay no attention to what I said to your sister. She’s under a lot of pressure. She needs all the support we can give her right now. In truth, you have always been my favorite. I love the way you have grown into a responsible and serious young man but maintained your child-like view of the world. Also, I forgive you for the tattoos, neither of which mentions, “Mom.” But stop. Seriously.

D. Why are you both still reading this? The woman who gave birth to you is lying on a couch (or sofa or davenport, adjust to your own belief system), clinging to life while simultaneously praying for death. Would it kill you to pick up the phone?

2. Create the perfect workout playlist, custom-tailored to my cardio beats-per-minute Create a funeral playlist. To anyone reading this who might be involved in planning my final farewell, please, for the love of God do not include Bette Midler singing “The Rose.” Or “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Or anything. No Bette Midler. Also, no Celine Dion. And I hope it goes without saying: no bagpipes. I really have to get on this.

3. Take a pottery class and make at least one special piece. Microwave a bowl of soup. (Without passing out on the kitchen floor.)

4. Make an authentic Thai dinner that tastes as good as what I can pick up in take-out. Review list of people who annoy me to see who has peanut allergies. Act accordingly.

5. Exchange meaningful glances with Keanu Reeves across a crowded room. Watch every Keanu Reeves movie available on Netflix. Even The Lake House.

For now I’m off to continue working on the revision and/or to sleep.

Just in case this is the last you hear from me, I loved you all equally.  Be excellent to each other.

(And, seriously, no Bette Midler.)

Let us turn our thoughts today…

I had a dream recently. Nowhere near, of course,  the eloquent and visionary Dream many of us celebrate and cherish, memorialize and continue to long and to strive for on this day in the United States.

Just a regular dream.

In it I was chatting with an old friend. I wish I could remember what we were talking about. I know it was light and jovial and I was enjoying the conversation.

Something struck a chord, though, with some part of my heart that I keep hidden. I wish I could remember. What I do remember is outwardly joking, “Well, I’m not sure my editor would let me write that story.”

Then I heard a voice, not my father’s voice, but in a tone that my father had: loving and quiet but firm. A tone that said he meant for the message he was conveying to be taken with extreme seriousness:

“I AM the editor. Write it.”

It was the tone as much as the message that woke me up. Unfortunately, I mean that literally.

It’s been over a month and the “it” continues to elude me. I can’t imagine that among the many stories and thoughts that “crowd my mind” and my heart there would be any “that really matter,” any that anyone needs to hear, that will make the world or even one person’s day any better.

Instead of chasing “it” with a net, I’ve decided to wait mindfully — and with all the cliché of that butterfly philosophy — to see if it lands on me.

While I wait,  I’ve been clearing things out, sharing old stories and thoughts and enjoying and occasionally sharing others’ stories and thoughts.

If you’re reading this from a phone or other media device, you may not be able to see the “Now Playing” music player over in the right frame.

Just about daily, a song from deep in the archives of my music collection comes to mind, often because of some snippet of conversation or sometimes just because of what’s going on around me. They’re not necessarily “earworms,” those songs someone plants in your head that won’t go away. Please note the restraint I am exercising in not citing examples here. You’re welcome.

If a song qualifies more as a soundtrack to part of my day than an earworm, and if I own it in my collection, I add it to the playlist. (You can click and slide the “play” bar to the right to get to the next song.) I’ve begun to think of it as a sort of Muzak while I wait.

Maybe the “it” will never land on me. Sometimes a dream is just a dream.

But other times dreams and the words used to convey them make the world a better place. Thank you, Dr. King, for your dream and your words.

This is my song for today.


 James Taylor’s “Shed a Little Light” is from his 1991 album, New Moon Shine. This video excerpt is from one of the DVDs I would grab if I had to rush out of my burning house. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. 

At least one of you will get the Jackson Browne lyrical reference in this post, which is why I like you and your way with words.