A spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar.
~ Benjamin Franklin
Readling Lolita in Tehran
BOOKS READ THIS YEAR
Washington Week in Review
Breakfast: Cheerios and strawberries
Getting to know me....
MOM AND HONEY
14 February 2004
Theres something really nice about spending time with my mother when Im sick. Oh not for the loving ministrations she gives, but for the touch of reality she brings.
The cold has settled in my chest, where I know it will stay, in gradually lessening degree, for the next several weeks.
The cough is so bad that sometimes I cant quite catch my breath, and then its so violent that I have to put a rug under me to sit on so I dont wet the chair. Its a very nasty, embarrassing cough.
Anybody who listens to me gets a furored brow and offers well-meaning, impractical solutions, suggestions that I should see a doctor, etc., etc.
My mother, however, listens to me hacking, watches me doubled over trying to get some phlegm up, and shakes her head. "Just like you always get," she says, calmly.
This "thing" that I have been "enjoying" this past week is my annual plague. There are some years when I dont get it, but almost always I can count on at least one siege of this in the year. Fortunately, Im basically healthy, so its rarely more than once and I know the symptoms so well, I know what to expect.
Over the years, Ive sought medical attention, tried various medications, and other home-spun remedies. After nearly 61 years, I have learned that this thing will run its course and that no medication will really cure itor make it better.
I dont know what it is. But weak lungs run in my family most of my relatives have died of lung-related causes (most of them, admittedly, caused by smoking). My father suffered debilitating asthma attacks until the advent of allergy shots. My mother was told that without her twice-weekly shots, my very active sister would have been an invalid.
So this is my version of the family lung condition. It starts with a tickle in the throat, soon involves the nasal passages and on about day 4, when Ive polished off 3 boxes of tissues, it begins to creep down into the lungs. I can even almost visualize the lungs preparing nice soft cushions to house the cough-molecules when they arrive.
When the cough starts, I sound like Im about to die at any moment. But I dont die. Cough suppressents dont. Doctors say to take cough suppressants, but that its not bronchitis or tuberculosis or whooping cough or cancer, though it may sound like all of those things.
So I love being with my mother, because she pauses mid-sentence to let me have a coughing fit, while others around her look on in horror, and when I stop coughing, she starts talking again. Its nice to have someone who understands you!
I went to visit her today, and we went out to lunch to celebrate my birthday a few days early. It was a lovely day and especially nice because her new Ceiva frame had been delivered, after only four months of waiting, and I was able to get it up and running again, so she can once again see the photos that the kids, myself, and her husbands relatives in Holland, send to her.
When I returned home, there was a message on the answering machine, and then a follow-up call. The town curmudgeon, with whom I have had many heated battles fought in the newspaper (weve never met), who writes me angry letters any time I have a letter published in favor of gay rights, lost his wife last week. The obituary was in the paper earlier this week and I dropped him a note. The word "gay" did not appear in it. It just read "So sorry to hear of the loss of your wife. Our thoughts are with you."
He was blown away that I would extend the hand of sympathy to him, and also said that another person with whom he has had heated battles also dropped him a note. I think that perhaps we have put a human face on the names that he has come to snarl when he sees.
It appears that while honey doesnt do much to cure my sore throat or my cough, it goes a long way toward softening the heart of a grieving old curmudgeon.
As a post script to yesterday's entry, please check this link.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Weight Lost to date: 42.8 lbs