Saturday, January 26, 2008


When my department moved to a new floor with the other "creative" departments, the dress code seemed to unofficially segue into "business casual." This week, I would have worn my pajamas if I could have.

I'm at the tail end of my third cold in a month. I have never in my life had three colds in one month. 

I took Nyquil on Thursday night to quell a hacking cough that had kept me awake on Wednesday. Nyquil has a faux narcotic that suppresses your cough, and when it wears off, you get the shakes, just like with a real narcotic. A workout with Dynabands after breakfast and I was able to keep from jittering like a junkie, but inside I was still out of phase. I made a bunch of stupid mistakes on the job which I fixed with a cheerful, "No problem!" But inside I thought, "Oh geez, I'm gonna lose my job and we're going into a recession and I'm too old for anyone to ever hire me again. Forget about staying home sick, because I'm gonna be homeless."

I've been hibernating, shrugging off get-together suggestions like a pill. A movie? A play? Sure, if the other patrons want to be driven crazy by my incessant coughing and sneezing. Dinner? Why bother, I can't taste anything. A long, gossipy phone conversation? Okay, but don't take it personally if I fall asleep in the middle.

I'm going to end up like Burgess Meredith at the end of that Twilight Zone episode. . . You know the one that I mean. God's going to say, "Okay, Miss Grouchy, no more friends for you!"

The people with degrees in social work who have been counseling me tell me I'm doing very well. "You're only six months out! You're still grieving! Take it easy on yourself."

"I bet you say that to all the neurotics," I reply. 

But then I think back to a year ago at this time, when the latest and greatest miracle drugs had failed to work and the doctors said, "Six months," and they were right almost to the day. And I was awake night after night wondering how the hell I would survive Jim's not surviving, and afraid to tell anybody how afraid I was. But I must have survived, because here I am a million jokes and a million heartaches later, the same joker and worrier.

So tonight I'm in comfy old clothes with bowls of comfort food watching Godfather and Godfather II. Hopefully, I have enough of a track record in both work and friendship so that I can be less than spectacular once in a while and still be forgiven. And maybe when the Ice Age thaws out around here, I won't be as extinct as the dinosaurs. Maybe I'll go from being a crawling, fuzzy thing to being a social butterfly.

You're doing fine, so far as I can tell. Both with the colds and the other thing. Hang in there.
Oh, and: Hey hey.
Thanks for the words of encouragement!

Also for the cryptic Monkees reference. At least that's what my Nyquil-tripping brain thinks it is.
My widow mentor warned me that I would probably get sick and get sick often that first year. Something about being laid so bare and vulnerable and feeling so raw, I guess. After that initial six months or so, I've managed to stay pretty healthy until two weeks ago when I got a bad-ass cold. Yikes! Still hacking with lingering congestion although feeling better. Hope you are feeling better soon!
Thanks, Judy!

Whether or not I stay well depends on what kind of creeping crud my co-workers bring into the office, since I seem to be vulnerable to every single strain this winter.

A widow mentor...that's a cool idea. I'm in a bereavement group, and the people there have lost a variety of loved ones.

Every loss would leave a hole in someone's life, and I'm thankful for everyone I have left among the living. But there's something a little different about when it's a spouse or a partner. It's like the entire axis of your world has to shift over and until it's shifted, you don't know who you are for a while.
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