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‘Tis the Season (Cold & Flu Season)

By Heather Herrick

My vision blurred as I stepped from the run-down station platform onto the downtown A train. Luckily I’m close to the beginning of the line so there were still plenty of places for me to sit and continue asking myself the questions, “Is my head actually going to split open? If it doesn’t what will relieve the pressure?” I concentrated on breathing, through my mouth since my nose didn’t have any clear passage left. I tried to let the rocking of the train in motion lull me into a half-sleep as I waited for my stop. The train was express, so I only had seven more to go, 30 minutes if all went well. I opened one eye to look at my watch and I had 12 minutes until my appointment time. The only miracle I could hope for was that they wouldn’t all be gone to lunch by the time I did get there, I was already late.

I spent the ten-minute walk from the train to the Dr.’s office struggling to stay composed on the phone as the receptionist told me the appointment time had passed and he didn’t think Dr. L would be able to fit me in today. I started croaking out some form of, “Can I wait until . . .” to be shushed with an impatient, “Hold on a minute!” I didn’t know what he had to be so annoyed about; I was the one who bundled up my kids, took the bus, dropped them at my friend’s house, walked back a half mile to the train and rode the blaring, noisy, stinky train 45 minutes while my body oscillated between burning up to freezing, all the time with the threatening to split open headache only to have to turn around with no miracle drug and come back the next day. I stopped on the corner of 7th Ave. and waited for his verdict because if I could walk a block less back to the train to go home and crawl into my bed, then I’d do it. The cold wind whipped down 57th Street like it does out of the canyon at my mom’s house. Man-made vs. nature-made wind tunnels, both have the same effect=bitter cold. My fingers ached as I held the phone and the tears that I could no longer hold back stung my cheeks. He told me to come in and wait in the office.

In the waiting room my head could only search for a place to rest. I couldn’t even muster up a crusty look for the cranky receptionist. I found a corner, balled up my coat and leaned over to close my eyes, hoping for relief and if a long wait stretched before me, some time to sleep.

Sometimes the irony in my life is crazy. The things I need to do most I want to do least.

Dr. L saw me, gave me antibiotics, sent me home to bed with an additional prescription for a Prince Charming to wait on me. (Luckily I already have one of those! I don’t think our insurance would cover it.) I’m on the road to full recovery. Now my three kids have fevers and some form of coughs, runny noses, aches and pains.

I didn’t write all this to get your sympathy. In fact I know we’ve all got our struggles and a sinus infection and kids with colds and flu’s is not unmanageable. I even hesitated writing it because there are other things to think about and worry about that are more pressing, less fleeting. But since this illness has taken up most of my week I couldn’t help but muse and record a bit. It’s amazing how much I take my health for granted and how when I’m sick I cannot even remember what it feels like to be well. I’m trying to learn from this. How is it possible to be continually grateful? I feel like such a heel when I’m sick and then suddenly telling my Father in Heaven how much I really did love being well, and trying to repent for not being grateful enough. I’m kind of a slow learner . . .

About Heather Herrick

Heather currently lives in the center of the universe (she’s not being egotistical, it’s true—ask any other New Yorker). She loves NYC, but misses the mountains of Utah where she grew up. Heather and her husband are glad that the baby from her poem now sleeps alone; baby two spoils her mama by having the cutest dimple ever, and hopefully will not become a kicker like her sister.

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