Stupid COVID

“Stupid COVID” has been my constant refrain over the past two and a half years, and at long last, it got its stupid hooks in me. Today, I’m supposed to be spending time with a friend who’s visiting from California. We haven’t seen each other in seven years. Instead of giving her a big hug, I’m texting her places to eat, shop, and hang out in my own damn town while I sit at home on the couch. ARGH. Hmph x 1,000,000.

But in the interest of holding grief in one hand and gratitude in the other (thank you, Francis Weller), I’m going to focus on the upsides of my current bout with the plague:

  1. I got sick now instead of next week when we’re heading to the beach.
  2. My dogs are still willing to hang out with me.
  3. For fear of catching the covids himself, JR is cleaning everything in the house. 🎉
  4. I recently started a giant, epic fantasy novel, so I have that to keep me company. And if this sickness lasts a long time, I have another one waiting in the wings.
  5. It’s warm and sunny outside.
  6. I don’t have a fever. In fact, my temperature yesterday was 96.7. What the…is there such a thing as a reverse fever? Or is that just hypothermia?
  7. We have an extra bedroom where I get to sleep without the usual addition of a 130-pound dog in the bed.
  8. The chapter I’m currently writing in the third book of Aret is deeply bleak and disturbing, which is a perfect match with my physical/emotional/mental state. So…yay for that.

All right, I seem to have hit a snarky patch in my attempt to be grateful, so it may be time for a nap. The most important thing I need to remember right now is this: I normally long for downtime to focus on things like reading and writing, so resenting it simply because it’s been forced upon me is pretty stupid.

But not as stupid as COVID. 🤬

The Flu of Doom

WARNING: This post will likely prove to be long, rambling, and unpleasant (perhaps bordering on grotesque), much like my past week has been.

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[I’m using this photo of a beached jellyfish to symbolize what I both look and feel like right now. The other day I caught a glimpse of my reflection and thought, This must be why “in sickness and in health” is included in marriage vows.]

As seems to happen every February, I have been squished by the flu. The flu sucks not only because of its physical tortures (hacking cough; pounding headache; rapidly-fluctuating body temperature), but also because it is so incredibly boring. A couple Februaries past, I wrote this limerick about it:

Harrumph, I hate the flu
For there is naught to do
Can’t play or drink
Or write or think
Or master one’s kung fu.

During that particular bout of flu, since I couldn’t go outside to take pictures, I amused myself by putting together a pinto bean photo shoot.

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I have since been informed that that is an extremely weird thing to do. Next time, I’ll try to find a more appropriate subject. (I’m thinking kale leaves. Great texture.)

Last February, I was at the tail end of my annual flu when I attended a young man’s team meeting in a group home. He was upset about something (as teens in foster care frequently are, with good reason), and he started to cry right as I felt the opening twang of a coughing fit. The situation was extremely tense and sad, so I didn’t feel comfortable excusing myself, and I soon had tears streaming down my face because my throat was being invaded by an army of tiny fire ants. Other team members kept looking at me like, Wow, Kelly’s really taking this to heart. (Or maybe, Wow, Kelly really lacks professionalism.)

By the time I realized I had to leave before I exploded all over everyone, I’d lost the ability to speak, so I just stood up and walked out. I hurried to the backyard and commenced a ferocious, repulsive extravaganza of coughing. By the end, I was a sweaty mess with an accumulated, giant gob of horror in the back of my throat. I knew I had to evict the gob, so after doing a quick check to make sure no one was around, I leaned over and spat it out…right onto my own foot. And I was wearing sandals. Le sigh.

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[I actually like this photo, but I thought it would be appropriate to include here, as it does seem to represent something quite nightmarish. Like spitting something atrocious onto one’s own foot.]

So at least nothing that gross has happened this year. That is the beauty of having had that experience. I can always refer back to it to make myself feel better about my current flu. “Well, at least I didn’t just hawk the viscous contents of my diseased lungs onto my bare toes.”

This year’s flu has featured two primary annoyances: yucky sleep and a lack of suitable reading material. Because of the pervasive fever, I wake up several times a night, soaked in sweat. This led to multiple costume changes throughout each night until I ran out of things to wear, so now I just sleep naked on a pile of towels. And in between awakenings, I am blessed with fever dreams involving lovely scenarios like being incarcerated in federal prison, surrounded by towering piles of giant scissors.

But I think the worst part is not having anything pleasantly distracting to read, because reading is one of the only things I can do right now, and I read my current library book in its entirety during the first day I was sick. Then I turned to my bookshelf and decided to reread Neil Gaiman’s The Kindly Ones, which was a TERRIBLE idea. I mean, it is wonderful, but it is not uplifting, because [SPOILER ALERT!] pretty much everyone the reader has grown to care about dies in it. It would be like choosing to watch the anime series Berserk to brighten your mood, because you forgot that [SPOILER ALERT AGAIN!] almost all the characters get eaten by demons at the end.

In conclusion, I am going to include a cute picture that makes me happy.

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Because truly, what could be better than an itty bitty wolf hanging out with an itty bitty dragon in an itty bitty box? Nothing, that’s what. And their unmitigated cuteness reminds me that someday I will feel better, stop coughing, and not sleep on towels. Hooray.

[P.S. – I have a snazzy new Facebook page. You should like me. I’ve heard I’m quite likable.]