Why I’m Grateful for Pneumonia

DaVinci sketchMy ears are plugged.  My breathing sounds like some kid shaking up his marble bag.  And I cough up a fester of frogs.  But, I can’t help but feel grateful.  On so many levels.

I’ve gone ten months without a respiratory infection.  Miraculous!  I could count on at least one a season, maybe more, that might turn as ugly as this one.  Then, I met with an allergist who told me I had asthma and an allergy to dust mites.  I credit his instructions (and my faithful following of them) with my ability to beat back the many throat tickles since then with Zinc and a cheap decongestant.  It became my new Super Power.  Who needs magic Amazon bracelets or a green lantern when you can banish cold viruses at will?  Even Batman needs a Kleenex once in a while.  Gratitude Count Number One.

Unlike my employed and familied friends, I can take as long as I need to get well.  I remember the pressure of Sick Days and Family Medical Leave, watching that span of safety rope grow shorter and shorter until one either goes back to work sick or loses the job altogether.  Stress on top of stress.  I remember the demands of keeping a house and while I never had children, I watched my friends who did.  Parents can’t afford to get sick.

Living on Social Security Disability income may put me 200% below the poverty line, but it does mean I have all the sick time I need.  And as long as I have cat food and litter, my family makes no demands on me.  No one cares if the vacuuming doesn’t get done this week, in fact, I think Emmett would be grateful for that.  Gratitude Count Number Two.

While my body is this sick, it seems to leave off the bipolar business.  There’s sleeping, and coughing, and slurping soup.  There’s watching TV at three in the morning and cooking water in the microwave for tea.  There’re visits from my mom and friends with supplies, and calls from others with concern and love.  But, there’s no depression or mania.  While my body fights this virus, the bipolar ogre sleeps.  Gratitude Count Number Three.

beefsteak tomatoIt’s so dang easy to catastrophize.  Oh, woe is me!  I’m at Death’s Door!  But, really, if it wasn’t this particular ailment, it would be something else, right?  An unexpected bill.  A nasty confrontation with a friend.  A dead car.  Bad weather.  Pimples.  You name it.  It’s the human condition.  Life is a shit-storm if we look at it that way.  But, we do have a choice.  Bemoan the feces raining down or hoe it into the garden for an amazing crop of tomatoes.  Takes a little work, a little creative thinking, and willingness to get poopy, but I’ll opt for tomatoes every time.

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn McCullough
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 19:26:12

    I LOVE the line, “Even Batman needs a Kleenex every once in a while.” Well, said, my fan-fiction-writing friend. And thank God the bipolar symptoms sleep. Hope you’re feeling better soon.


  2. Sheryl Mae
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 20:16:47

    You are so crazy. What an amazing post. I’d bring you a tomato tomorrow but mine didn’t grow this summer – perhaps not enough poop in the garden. Or maybe I didn’t get out there and hoe it while I was flaring. I too am thankful to be able to take as long as it takes now to get better.


  3. littlesundog
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 21:57:18

    I think of that very thing when I’m toiling at cleaning the chicken coop… scraping, scooping and hauling out poop. My tomato garden is the finest around. THAT is what gets me through the coop cleaning!

    This is a great post! There is a silver lining in every storm cloud! I hope you get to feeling better soon. You’ll be getting cabin fever soon!


    • Sandy Sue
      Aug 28, 2012 @ 09:26:57

      Euw. I remember cleaning out our chicken coop. I never liked our chickens in general–they were always so mean to each other. I’m sure they were insane from being in that little coop. Sigh, the things we did to livestock…


  4. pegoleg
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 14:34:10

    It’s really interesting to me that your brain cools it on the bipolar issues while you’re fighting viral demons. I wonder if there’s been any research on that – if it’s a genuine phenomenon?

    Hope you’re all better soon, Miss Sandy Sue Phlegmbody.


    • Sandy Sue
      Aug 28, 2012 @ 17:00:26

      It seems to be common for me–I never thought about it being a “thing.” Hmm. Research to be done here. And thanks for the moniker–makes me sound like a James Bond Office Assistant.


  5. amserendipitous
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 16:09:46

    Love the tomato analogy, very true! Hope you feel better.


  6. Isabelle
    Aug 28, 2012 @ 21:34:26

    “bemoan the feces raining down” hahaha! that’s the choice we have but your wording is choice. i hope you feel better.


  7. Dee Ready
    Aug 29, 2012 @ 13:30:57

    Dear Sandy, I really like the photograph of Emmett. What a handsome cat. I’m glad you are taking care of yourself and can “make lemonade” out of the lemons in our life right now! Peace.


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