This whole week, it has been a struggle to get up in the morning. Even for our normally early-rising kids. J and I blearily open our eyes at 7, but don’t seem to be able to get out of bed for another half-hour after that. Today, though, I woke up and started coughing. A tubercular, junky cough, not unlike truck exhaust. J was alarmed. I tried to play it off. (A poppy seed bagel at breakfast, by the way, is not the best choice when you already have junk in your throat. Also, I should have skipped the cappuccino.)
I had a couple of things to do this morning. Move the car for street cleaning (the price of having a car in NYC) and then head to the kids’ school to give a talk on how to do research for the fourth grade class. It is a wonderful school, but they lack a librarian, so I am occasionally called in to pinch hit. Today I got to use my favorite topic as an example, explorers, because the students are starting a research project on the topic, and because there is a fantastic spoof website expressly designed to trip people up and teach them to question where the information is coming from. After a brief presentation in the classroom, we moved to the computer lab. I noticed I was sweating a lot, and chalked it up to a rambunctious group of kids. The computer lab felt like a sauna, as I wandered between the computers and explained the finer points of getting good information from Wikipedia, and what the Library of Congress and the Brooklyn Public Library websites might add to their research.
By the time I walked out an hour later, I felt as though I’d been at the gym. I lurched home and noticed I had the limp-limbed feeling of impending illness. I changed clothes and crawled into bed, hoping to sleep, but sure I wouldn’t be able to, because of the small matter of a scaffold that had been lowered from the roof of the building next door, which happened to be at the exact height of our bedroom window. I think the workers are repointing the brick. This involves a lot of drilling.
I’m not sure how, but I think I slept anyway. It was cozy, if not quiet. I lay in bed thinking of the many infirm hours I spent lying there. It felt like a distinct luxury to be getting sick in this way — I mean, conventionally. Having symptoms treatable with tea, with rest.
After yearning for chicken soup, I suddenly realized that the leftover chicken from taco night plus the broth it made while cooking would have me eating soup in no time at all.
Eventually, I took my temperature, and wasn’t a bit surprised to find it a shade above 100. I tend to run pretty cold, my normal body temperature closer to 97, so breaking 100 is something of an accomplishment.
Why is any of this remarkable? I suppose this entry is what prompts me to write. An entry from more than two years ago, written when I was a couple of weeks away from my next scan, and was assuming I was in good health and just home taking a sick day. A precious sick day.
I of course have no reason to believe I’m not okay now. But, as always, I have every reason to fear everything falling apart again. Cancer has gifted me a powerful sense of faith in science, but also superstition, in equal measure.
(My next scans are on the 13th.)