Happy Birthday to me
I am COVID-free
I don’t have the virus
It did not kill me
Three months ago I made a wish, that I could please live to see my birthday. I made it!
Trying to focus on this rather than the fact that I woke up to a still-untreated rampant respiratory infection of some kind. I’ve been sick all week and this was the earliest day I could get a phone appointment to find out, okay, if it isn’t COVID, what is it?
Old kitchen sponge
Wet sock from alley behind the laundromat
Decaying canned ham
There is a weird streak of bummer events that have happened on my birthday, to the point that several years ago I started celebrating all of July and avoiding high expectations on the actual day. On past birthdays I have stepped barefoot in warm puppy poo, discovered stinging nettles the hard way, organized a party at the amusement park only for it to close due to power failure just as we walked up... Last year we went to Scotland, and wandered around Aberdeen for half a day finding only closed restaurants and a park with a bare patch of dirt where an elaborate floral display was supposed to be.
I’ve learned to laugh it off and try to have more fun the rest of the year instead.
Try to see the irony in a diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia. Gratitude!
Happy birthday to me, and time to open my gifts:
Pills for cough
Pulse ox I bought myself, because self-care! You deserve it honey
This is where I remind everyone of how great it is to live in the 21st century. I just 1. Talked to a doctor by phone who 2. Pulled up my medical records on a computer and 3. Ordered modern drugs for me to 4. Pick up the same day which I can do because 5. There are some in stock three miles away. And 6. They will probably be cheaper than a large pizza because 7. I have health insurance.
[Total cost to me: $6.06]
If I had the same respiratory infection in, say, 1798... I’d probably just continue to have it three years later (if I lived) and I’d just be some sad toothless wretch coughing on a straw pallet.
The natural way!
In the future, I think our phones are going to be a lot more like medical devices than communication units. They can already check our pulse (put your finger over the camera) and track how active we are, how fast we walk, etc. It seems easily within reach for a smartphone to listen to someone’s heartbeat and/or check their cough. Not too far in the future, they might indeed be able to analyze swabs for bacteria and viruses too.
Earlier this week, I went across town for a COVID test. It was just like the last time I went to the COVID hospital, in and out. Last time it was for some blood samples and a chest x-ray. Neither time did anyone check my pulse, take my temperature, put the pulse ox on my finger, listen to my chest with a stethoscope, or even weigh me in. It would have been technologically possible to take some kind of culture to answer the question, “Just what IS in your lungs right now??” ...rather than focus narrowly on, “Is it COVID: Y/N.”
Obviously I understand that the goal is to avoid infecting our treasured medical professionals. That’s why I think robots will be doing all the icky stuff not too far into the future.
This is an exciting time to be alive!
Since last year, I moved from a bad apartment to a pretty great apartment, became a Distinguished Toastmaster, survived COVID-19, and got my dream job.
I try to focus on these things rather than their corollaries, which are being isolated, seeing the indefinite end to the types of public speaking and event planning that I trained to do, and missing a week of my new job because I still haven’t made it back to 100% healthy. All of those things are probably temporary. There’s no point in wasting mental and emotional effort on transitory obstacles.
What’s in the future?
What will I do with my next year of life?
Not everyone has cause to make a formal wish for another year of life, but I did, and recently. It’s fresh enough in my mind that the same 365 days issued to me will probably be more valuable than the 365 given to anyone else.
Hint: Now is your moment to feel your next year as a precious gift
Now I’m going to model my next year off The Princess Bride. Legit, right? [spoilers, skip this section]:
Westley’s story of meeting the Dread Pirate Roberts.
“He simply said, “Please. Please, I need to live.” ...and then he got to be a valet, and every night the Dread Pirate Roberts said, “Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.” Three years went by and Westley learned to live that way, in what I call the Place of Uncertainty, learning everything he could and just going with it. Then he got a massive promotion, a title bump, and a new wardrobe!
Oh, and he always wore his mask. “It’s just that they’re terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.”
So that’s my plan. I have no idea how long this phase of life will go on. I have no idea what my state of health will be like by this time next year, or the year after, or the year after that. Usually I like to make grand plans about things like running a marathon or publishing a book. Right now my only grand plan is to live, to keep waking up every morning, and in the meantime try to be a good valet.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies