So it turns out I will NOT be replacing the toilet for the foreseeable future. That was last week’s cute problem. This week I have the stupid Covid #imnotscaredyourescared. I write to you tonight with fever brain, which I can only hope will make tomorrow’s musing extra entertaining. We gamble together. I dream of Las Vegas with YOU, the glamorous outfits, the shows, the champagne Friend, dancing until the wee hours, piano bars, hasty marriages performed by Elvis and MATCHING TATTOOS!!! Oh the matching tattoos, will you promise that if I survive you and I can go for matching tattoos? Even if you’ve never had one. I swear, it will be SO MUCH FUN! Alas, I live in my room now. It is day 7691 of my confinement. In human years that is day 5. Here is the gruesome story, as it played out:
I followed the rules. I cancelled things. I stayed within my small legal group. I drank the requisite amount of hand cleaner. Yes, I was the appointed grocery store warrior. But I shopped my black Friday online. And then Sunday night, misfortune struck. It hurt to breathe. I thought “Oh shit, it’s my asthma”. I missed my allergy shot because my daughter had been tested and of course this was the repercussion. Symptoms. But then Monday night, dun dun dun, I developed a cough. I worked all day Tuesday by phone, not leaving the house and then at 10pm I scooted off to urgent care, where they whisked me in quite efficiently I must say with gratitude. Within an hour of my arrival I had developed a fever. Now friend, I am the kind of girl who works through a flu. Not because I am a martyr, I just sincerely feel better if I get some kind of workout in or do something. It goes with being higher strung, so to speak. So a bad flu is just a thing over here OR ‘aint no thang’. But I never get The Fever. And I did not feel good about the way the temperature taking woman informed the doctor that I had acquired one. She referred to me by bed, bed 134 has a fever now. I could hear her, them, duh. I could hear the sound of her eyes widening. The grit of her blinking, like a low ringing alarm. It was terrifying.
Turns out that all of those fever metaphors are on point. Spread your love like a fever. You give me fever. I had a feverish dream with some hornets and shit. Fevers are like a trance. An altered state. Like right the actual now. But back to the timeline. It seems entirely plausible that when the aliens stuck the white cotton probe up my nose and all the way into my brain, then showing NO MERCY and actually rotating the device in hopes of capturing some DNA to take back to their leader, keeners, they in fact caused my temperature to escalate as sort of a trauma response, the way blood rushes to organs or something like that. My science is sound here. If I survive this I’m taking to calling myself Dr. Erin. I have to say that the first time I was kidnapped by aliens and forced to have my brain probed it was a much gentler affair performed tidily through my car window. That was back in March AC which now stands for After Covid, no offense to Christ. We’re pals and he’s chill with it.
Anyhow, instead of enjoying Tuesday half price wine at Earl’s I found myself huddled around by alien mobsters Zero Dark Thirty making a Q-tip come out my eye via my nose. I’m always saying that anything can serve love. Well anything can be a weapon Friend. That’s what we’re learning today, okay? Get smart. Protect yourself. After compromising my brain they radiated me with a large machine and found a shadow on my lung. This was part of the torture. They wanted me to know that if they didn’t get me with the virus, they were willing to try a foreign mass. Fortunately the shadow is likely only a shadow and not a shadow of something, proving that vampires are real, so there is that. Their final torture technique involved wrapping a rubber band around my arms and squeezing it until I whimpered in hopes that I would not notice the four large containers of my blood that they took back to the mother ship for some evil but non-denominational holiday ceremony. It didn’t work. And just when I thought they might lock me in for good, they let me go. I don’t know which one of you called to negotiate my release, but I am going to need you again because this bedroom is getting awfully closed in by walls if you know what I mean jelly bean.
By the hour after Zero Dark Thirty, so let’s say about One Dark Thirty the effects of their torture were manifest. There was in addition to cough and fever; full body aching; twitchy legs; pain in my eyes; headache; nausea; and indigestion. The cocktail of body aches and leg twitching and fever made me unable to sleep, but too unwell to tolerate EVEN HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIES, the ginger ale of television. I did not even have that much bandwidth friends. SO. I just lied there, until 7 am, eating popsicles, meditating, getting out of bed to stretch, meditating again, and dreaming of that time at 25 when after a dental emergency they gave me Tylenol 3 and thinking, IF ONLY THEY HAD SOME OF THAT ON THE MOTHER SHIP.
The next day was kind of like morning sickness all day and then, twenty four hours after my test the real tragedy struck. Get your emergency tissue ready. I took an innocent bite of protein bar and there was NO TASTE. You know when you have a break up and through all the snot and tears you say things like “If only I knew it was the last time we would ever have dinner together”. Well late December 2nd in the year of our Queen, I Erin Elizabeth could no longer taste. Peanut butter, no. Garlic. Nada. Nor smell. You could wave BLEACH in front of my face and I would shrug my shoulders. I can discern a sensation of sugar or salt, but it’s faint, and sometimes that goes too.
Now I know you are all thinking silver linings. I am bound to get skinny this week, right? Nope. That isn’t how it works for me. The whole thing about not tasting anything has me psychologically wanting to eat all the things I liked back when I could still taste. Call it a stage of grief. Also, the things that are good when one is queasy do not include crudités but do include comfort foods like ice cream and macaroni. Anyhow and never you mind my personal tragedy. I’ll find the strength to go on. Let’s get back to the story.
I was told to expect a TEXT of my results, so when on Thursday night between client calls I saw the number of the duct cleaning service technician who calls obsessively appear on my phone screen I thought ‘oh no you don’t!” and I let it go to VM only there was no VM and then I realized. And then I realized. Whimper sniffle. Oh yes, I also had the sniffles —that I had missed the results call. NO, HO, HO, HO, HO! I threw myself on the bed. Keep in mind Friend that I was young and naïve then thinking I might be negative and get a pass out of my room, remember those days, when I wasn’t talking to a basketball and I certainly wasn’t dating one exclusively. I cursed reality. I cursed. There was so much cursing. And then I repeated my late night awakathon.
Friday morning I got smart and called my doctor’s office and they told me that YES they had the results!!!! Wow! They could not share the results but they could have my doctor call me, if I lucked out by end of day, and so like at 4:00 pm I was READY to have the call that meant I could return to freedom. “I don’t feel optimistic” my sister said, because you just have SO many symptoms, like from the actual list. But still, it is so ingrained in us to doubt ourselves, to diminish any and all distress cries from within that of course there was still a significant part of my mind waiting for the “it’s negative” at which point I would just have a bad flu and could conduct my life accordingly, starting with walking outside in the summer weather I was missing out on, six feet away from the deer and birds, because no matter how sick I felt, fresh air was going to taste like chocolate or the flavour of heaven. Can birds get Covid?
That did not happen. At 4:30 pm my doctor did call, and he said “I am calling to talk about your positive test”, and I started to respond but after a few words I had one of those delayed hearing moments and then it went something like this “Wait. I am positive? Fuck.Fuck.” And then I tried to move onto a more meaningful thought point but arrived again at “Fuck. FUCK. Sorry I am swearing” AND then “It’s okay Erin. Don’t panic. It’s okay” I said this as if it was only me on the line and then again, “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” I’m gonna tally about 15 F bombs. You know that scene in Love Actually, when she swears to the Prime Minister, then confesses that she has “gone and fucked it up” well that was me, only I won’t be starting up a romance with my family doctor any day soon, so there’s no meet cute factor. Did I mention that I have a fever?
I mean my doctor is amazing. He pointed out to me that I LOOK much healthier than Boris Johnson, therefore I won’t end up in the ICU. Bless you Dr. Vaughn that did calm me down. Fear of respiratory distress can cause respiratory distress. Anyhow, there was a lengthy chat about never leaving my bedroom again, and then I joined the ranks of Sandra Bullock, Matt Damon, and Tom Hanks; left behind on an uninhabited planet with nothing but the Hallmark channel for socialization.
The real pain followed, when I had to break it to my kids. Merry Christmas mom will be in her room until further notice and you can’t leave the house for two weeks, assuming all goes well. Cancel everything! All those cozy plans to make the best of the times watching movies together and decorating and baking. Cancelled. I am the only one who drives and shops. Driving and shopping cancelled. Now I am Rapunzel waiting for her Prince. A slightly less youthful version. That’s all I’ve got for plot points. But if anyone wants to collaborate we can write me up my own Hallmark special. Here are some names for the brainstorm sesh: A Covid Christmas; The Feverish Dream; That’s When the Hornet Stung Me; Covid Actually; It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Covid. Now you go! I am sorry was that in bad taste? I can’t tell, because I seem to have lost mine, remember? Now is the time to impress me with your cooking. Regift your fruitcakes to me!
The children took it in stride. One cried hysterically. The other remained calm but did write my eulogy later that night. She likes to prepare for a crisis.
Which brings me to the wisdom impart of this musing. You were wondering, weren’t you, whether there would be a take away! Well hold on to your reading socks!
If you don’t have Covid please fix your toilet now, while you’re still young. Don’t make the same mistakes I made in my misspent youth. If only I knew then what I know now.
Now that my skin hurts and my eyes feel like pinballs being shot by some alien wizard around and around my head.
Now that Barefoot Cellars is indistinguishable from Amarone *cue funeral march.
DIY plumbing and Covid are not good bedfellows.
Awww Friends, we’ve had joy, we’ve had fun, we’ve had seasons. They weren’t really in the sun, but now is not the time to mince words, nor pie, not with a sick woman. The wine and the song like my tastebuds are all gone, which doesn’t explain why all 24 days are missing from the advent calendar, except to say that I was determined to be wrong.
Truth be told I have been having feverish dreams about you for a solid month; three weeks before I succumbed to the plague and the night sweats. So many of you, day after day, night after night cavorting with me in my deep unconscious mind. You’ve been freaking me out. And now, upon God’s threshold I am here to tell you what it all means. Life, love and the aftermath:
I’m not sure.
Just kidding. It means we are becoming one. DUH! Enfolded by angel wings. Embraced by Love.
In case I don’t pull through, I was planning to give you each a holiday miracle. Whatever that means to you. For you pocket or your stocking, or a moment of need.
A good one. The holy kind.
Hurry up and take it now before my super powers wear off.
The light is getting brighter now. We’re not in Kansas anymore Juno! It’s just so beautiful here. Even the hamsters have wings.
Is that you Friend dancing in my street in only your halo, yelling up love poems and delivering champagne?
You shouldn’t have.
But I am glad you did.
But you shouldn’t have.
But I’m glad you did.
I’ll meet you in that big tattoo parlour in the sky *evanesces into ethereal vapour. I’m gonna get your name on my butt!
P.S. 2021 I am bringing on the love. I’ll be featured in a podcast all about better loving, from healing your broken heart to intentional dating to creating a relationship that thrives, and I’ll be launching a sister site for all of you relationship and love enthusiasts, with all kinds of insights and offerings. Stay tuned!
P.P.S. One of the kindest things you can do for me is to share my writing. If you enjoyed today’s Monday Musing and know someone else who would please forward it to a friend.
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