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 my heavily flagged copy of Pretty Babies Grow Up Ugly 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):
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?
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.
Take a pottery class and make at least one special piece. Microwave a bowl of soup. (Without passing out on the kitchen floor.)
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.
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.)
Post-almost mortem addendum:
This map tracking influenza activity from the US Centers for Disease Control suggests Kentucky’s onto something with its home remedies.