Jan 20, 2006

My adopted aunt passed through Seattle yesterday. At least, I think she did. From the flu-haze, I can produce a vague memory of Kayla laying out water, tylenol and a wet washcloth for my brow. This fairy godmother also left the illustrated Elements of Style, which really kicked the fever-hallucinations up a notch. C'mon: what's with that purple people-eater tree anyway?

Thank goodness she had the maternal authority to put me to bed, so I could mend. Usually I drag around ill for days – if not weeks – in a sort of zombie half-life. Except last winter, when I couldn't stand up for three days, lost ten pounds and coughed so hard tissue in my side ripped. Big fun.

My British doctor is to blame for any stoicism. "If you're well enough to bicycle to the office, you don't need treatment. Take some vitamins," he'd say. A fan of herbal medicine, he once wrote me an NHS prescription for rosehips. He's right there on the front-line against ubermicrobes.

No. I take that back. It's not just the English stiff-upper-lip, muddle-along thing at play here. Self employment and crummy catastrophic health insurance are the other culprits. I can't afford to be seriously ill in America.

But such thoughts are much too heavy for an invalid. So it's back to old Strunk & White, which made freshmen honors English such a misery.

Polly loves cake more than she loves me.


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