Remember how last summer I took up running, challenging myself to overcome a severe allergy (possibly phobia) I’d nurtured since several dreadful years nominally participating on my high school’s cross-country team? That was going really well. By December I was running about 3 miles several times a week, and—this is the amazing part—enjoying it. Then I got sick. I’ve had this lingering/recurring flu thing since mid-December. At its height, as I have mentioned, I was delirious in the Rocky mountains. But most of that time has just been a constant state of aches, exhaustion, coughing, throat pain, and an inordinate amount of pill-popping. My voice sounds weird and I may have developed a chemical dependency to TheraFlu. I am terrible at being sick because it makes me angry and depressed and anxious about Work Not Being Done. The news about Trish Keenan had a bad psychological effect on me. Not to worry, friends; I am grown up enough these days to take my meds and sleep 15 hours a day like old people are supposed to. I just don’t like it.
Back when I started running, I set a modest goal to drop 5-7 pounds by year’s end. It didn’t work, most likely because I was replacing fat with muscle, I know. But what half a year of regular exercise could not accomplish, a month of illness has. This suggests all kinds of horrible things about the goals of femininity. I look awful.
But the silver lining: In addition to allowing me the luxury of bad movie marathons, my convalescence has supported a good amount of reading, which is a nice way to start a new year. (Updates being recorded at GoodReads.) I even wrote two long-overdue book reviews for academic journals within one week, confirming that it is possible to read, process, and review an academic book in 12 hours, when no other professional or personal obligations are pressing. This is a useful thing to know. And I’ve spent quality time with Daisy Mae, who follows me everywhere in case her services (which consist of LOVE AND MORE LOVE) are needed. We are in constant contact on the couch by day and my glasses are covered in dog-nose smudges from her occasional sniff-checks to make sure I’m still breathing, or something. Who knows what she thinks is going on. Ophelia has also played her part by learning to open my closet door and peeing in there at least once a day. She is a strange little monster. I get to eat soup for every meal, which honestly I do sometimes anyway, but now I don’t have to worry about whether it’s weird or not. These are the things that sustain the patient.