Cough Cough!

Finally, for the first time in my life I have the chance to kind of, sort of be a tragic heroine whose little cough-cough in the early part of my story foreshadows a more serious–you know, sort of serious sounding, cue-the-Movie Angels, disease–later on.

OK, I am exaggerating–kind of a lot. I’m sure I will be fine. It’s just that I’m in the depths of Day Eight of feeling like crap, and I’m full of woe-is-me self-pity.

So allow me some leeway. I’ve never really gotten very sick in my life. Colds have always come and gone. The flu? Hardly ever, except for those 24-hour gastrointestinal things. I always had a pretty healthy constitution and worked out regularly and slept OK. That is, until I started working as an editor for Patch. But that’s another story ….

Well, now I’ve been bit in the butt by some bug that I think I picked up from my son and is going around. He was down and out for five days

Today, Thursday, I have a fever. It’s hard for me to talk for very long without going into spasms of coughing.

I finally went to the doctor today. Walking up the single flight of stairs to the John Muir Urgent Health offices on Montego Drive, I had to catch my breath. Yes, I was winded and tired after walking up ONE flight of stairs. This is not me.

Then I saw the sign in the office, erected in the post-SARS/Swine Flu age, asking people to wear masks if they have certain symptoms: fever, headache, nasal congestion, coughing, chills, aches….

That was me. Dutifully I put on my mask, took my seat in the waiting room, and thought about how the doctor would likely prescribe me an antibiotic. This thought led to a feverish mental riff on Super Bugs and drug-resistant bacteria–the kind that will one day take over the world and infect us all and turn us into zombies. Oh my goodness, was my desperation to no longer feel like crap, and get some antibiotics in me, leading me down a medical path that could one day lead to a world zombie takeover?

The nurse and doctor found I had a low-grade fever and were concerned that it hurt me to take in a deep breath. Yeah, no yoga or meditation for me in the near future. I could see myself waking the class out of its “moment” with a coughing fit that would make me sound like I needed to be hauled off for some silence re-education in a Soviet-style gulag.

The doctor said she didn’t find evidence of bronchitis or pneumonia–yet. But she was concerned about the ongoing fever and my shortness of breath. The shortness of breath is a new symptom for me. If the antiobiotics don’t work, the doctor said, they will have to take more aggressive measures, and make sure I don’t have either of the above afflictions.

Just hearing that gave me more chills.

But I’m back at home and I’m thinking that if I’m going to feel like crap why can’t I at least milk this cough-cough thing in some

princess fantasy way? We’re all in princess fantasy mode, right?, with commoner Catherine Middleton marrying her prince tomorrow morning?

Why can’t I, in my low-grade fever semi-delirium float along with the image of myself as Ali McGraw in Love Story? With her undefined form of cancer that left her lovely and dewey to the end?

Or better yet: Why can’t I be Greta Garbo in Camille!?!


She doesn’t have cancer, the dreaded mysterious disease of the early 1970s but consumption, otherwise known as tuberculosis, the dreaded but disease of aristocrats and artists of the 1800s.

“Perhaps it’s better if I live in your heart where the world can’t see me,” the dying, beautifully lit courtesan Margueritte, played by Garbo, says to her lover Armand.

But damn! I totally lack an appropriate Camille wardrobe. I can rouge up my cheeks and plump some pillows around myself. But what I really need is a white, cascading Greta Garbo 1930s negligee.

Hell, all I got I got is my burgundy red flannel night gown. And my unwashed hair pulled back in hair clips.

This wardrobe will definitely not work for any Magic Mountain-style high-society health spa trip to let my lungs and spirit clear in the pristine air of the Swiss Alps.

I need to get a better wardrobe. I also need to figure out a more dramatic storyline. We’ll have to see how these antibiotics work. I do hope they work. I’ll get back to you.

6 thoughts on “Cough Cough!

  1. Red flannel, rest and maybe some, what, peppermint tea sounds too ordinary. Red Zinger – remember that? Take care of yourself girl. And to think I kept you occupied on the phone when you shoulda been curled up with People.


  2. Sm. My wife gave birth to my first son last week so we have to wait until he has his 12 week injections and then we are heading straight for W.C. and his christening in St. Helena. If in the pottery barn sbux one morning you should say hello to the little chap.


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