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The Postscript: “Summer Cold”

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So, I got a cold.
If you catch a cold in the winter, everyone is sympathetic. They tell you to drink hot tea and put on another sweater. A cold in the winter just seems like part of the season, and I can turn the thermostat up and wait it out.
A summer cold is totally different.
A summer cold seems like an act of idiocy. A summer cold feels like I’m being difficult on purpose. I feel I must have done something really stupid—because who gets sick in the middle of the summer? And yet, here we are.
My husband, Peter, takes good care of me when I have a cold. He shows up with all sorts of pills and supplements he says I should ingest. And so I do, but I’m not sure they help. They make Peter happy, and that’s the point. But when I don’t get better after two days, Peter starts to frown at me. He wants me to say that I am at least better than yesterday. But today I am not better than yesterday. Today I am considerably worse than yesterday, and yesterday I was worse than the day before.
Peter does not approve of this trajectory. He feels I am headed in the wrong direction and need to do something to rectify my course. But I don’t know what I can do—besides drinking orange juice and trying to sleep a bit more. Colds take time.
And Peter probably has a point about pushing myself. I felt bad yesterday but attended a Zoom meeting with some ladies I’m very fond of. I had almost no voice when I started, and much less when I was done. Peter gave me a disapproving look.
In order to get ready for the meeting, I had to work a little harder to get everything done a little earlier. Then I had dinner and got a stomachache. The stomachache had nothing to do with being sick, so you would think it would have the courtesy to hold off until I wasn’t coughing quite so much—or at least until I had a voice, so I could complain about it.
But this one was terrible. So I went to bed early with a stomachache and a cough and a sore throat and the feeling that I must have behaved very badly to get all these things at once.
And, while perhaps I didn’t behave badly, I suspect I didn’t listen as well as I might have. I suspect, if I’d been paying attention, I would have noticed I was getting more and more tired before I finally got sick. I might have noticed a stomachache forming while I ate a bit more. I might have wondered if it wouldn’t be a good idea just to rest, for a change, to have a day when I didn’t have a goal or a deadline I had to make—and beat—because it was the only way I had to measure if I’d done well that day.
Maybe “doing well” sometimes means doing less, not trying quite so hard, letting myself simply relax. Maybe paying more attention would be a smart thing to do, since my body is going to insist I rest eventually—either voluntarily, or by force.
“What are you doing out of bed?” Peter wants to know as I write this.
“I’m just writing a little today,” I tell him, because I am. I’m going to write just a little. Then I’m going to work very hard at being a little more lazy.

Till next time,

Carrie Classon

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