the Mild Misery of the Common Cold
Dare I go on? Or shall I put a sign up that says Closed by a Cold with images of innumerable tissues used throughout the night and thrown onto my bed, doubling for a giant trash can?
“Wait!” you say. “Fever and sore throat….those are Omicron symptoms, yes?”
Yes. That is what I said to myself as I Googled Omicron symptoms. Beyond the symptoms of the common cold are fever lasting over a few days and a sore throat.
Which is why I stood in line yesterday for an hour and a half waiting to get a Covid test from Kaiser with all of my friends, neighbors, and strangers in Riverside, CA. The line for “with symptoms” was five times as long as the line for “without symptoms.”
It is safe to say that if I did not have Covid when I arrived my chances of getting it, or giving it (while standing in the “with symptoms” line) are pretty good.
Still, I am unsure how accurate the home test kit is with the Omrion variant after it named me “negative” on Monday.
What does any of this have to do with me as a widow?
Well, it puts me in the category of sole provider. Which is a funny word since I have three jobs to “sole-ly” provide for my well being.
As a doula, it means that I lost half of my income with a client, could not show up for her during labor since I was unsafe, and had to give her over to a competent back up doula who did a marvelous job of standing in for me. The birthing mom was so kind about my illness and stayed strong, counting on the back up doula to offer support as she birthed her first baby, a boy.
The cold also kept me from going to my 8am to noon job as a sub at a local college, which is another reason I went to Kaiser for an All Clear test to return to work. I can expect that on Thursday if all goes well.
Illness takes me back to a hard time with Dan that lasted three years and included cancer, chemo, and hospice. Though Advil was never his drug of choice, since he was on blood thinners, it seems impossible to experience illness and meds without being taken back to that long time of care….so many meds, so many unexpected turns and twists, and.so.much.pain.
Contemplating the mortality of one of us opens our eyes to the mortality of all of us.
As I sit here contemplating the entomology of the name “runny nose” with a Kleenex shoved into my nostril to keep the body fluids from pouring onto my computer keyboard, I find little joy in the amazing accuracy of the description.
It is messy being human.
How many myths and legends found humans seeking the key to immortality?
How many stories find us trying to trick death and to recapture our loved ones from the underworld?
Trying to find me here amidst the chaos
Though I know it’s blinding
There’s a way out
Say out loud
We will not give up on love now
Don’t you turn like Orpheus
Just stay here
Hold me in the dark and when
the day appears
We did not give up on love today
No matter what is happening in my life it always,
takes me back to my beloved.
Today it is the common cold.
Or the uncommon cold.
Not sure which.
As you think of your beloved, what might they say to you in the moment you are in right now?
What words of wisdom, or words of teasing, or words of regret or tenderness might they speak this day?
Don’t stop trying to find me, love.
I am here still.