I had ambitions today to be intellectually productive but am still convalescing from this annoying cold. Since I don’t have a fever and am getting better, I went back on immunosuppressants. This weekend I had a fantastic time with friends including Els from Vancouver who is on a book tour for Purim Superhero and who has regaled us with her children’s librarian ukelele songs!
Nate loves aliens and he really wants to wear an alien costume for Purim, but his friends are all dressing as superheroes and he wants to fit in. What will he do? With the help of his two dads he makes a surprising decision.
Els brought me several books: Greengage Summer, The Mystery of the Whistling Caves, Tink, (all of which I read last night while waking up to cough ) and The Brontës Went to Woolworth’s which she explained as a fabulous feminist sf classic and which I am saving as best-for-last. Greengage Summer was fantastic… Anyway it is lovely to have her here!!! We know each other from early blogging days, back to 2002 or maybe before.
Yatima picked me and Moomin up yesterday to give us a ride, which meant we could go to Hazelbroom’s son’s 10th birthday party. Fabulous. It was odd and beautiful after a week alone and much of it with laryngitis not able to talk at all (writing notes for bus drivers and pharmacists) to have so many people come over or take me out.
I felt very grateful this weekend as I thought about things I can and cannot do. These days I can pick up a teapot full of tea with one hand and pour the tea. It still hurts, but I’m able to do it. Voltaren gel gets me through most days.
Things that especially hurt my hands, that I still do anyway:
* washing dishes
* getting wet laundry out of the washer
* shaking hands with people
* bumping my fingers into anything
* holding hands
* holding a book
* typing (BOO.)
I mean to celebrate feeling better or adapting rather than complain. It is all still there but seems less forbidding than everything was last year.
Last year at this time I could barely shuffle in inch-long steps, was terrified of getting in the shower, and was just beginning the most intensive period of strapping and unstrapping my ankles endlessly from night-boots to walking boots. I think it was October before I was really walking around the house without the wedges and boots – barefoot! And in December I finally started to wear shoes outside of the house. The feeling of coming out of REI with these furry boots (3 sizes too big, so they don’t rub into the backs of my ankles) was indescribable. It was good to have real shoes. It still gets me down to be in pain every day and that I can’t go out and participate in things around town that I’d like to go to. In the mornings it is just crushing pain and sometimes for hours before i wake up. Moving very slowly and stretching, drinking coffee, Voltarening my knees, ankles, and hands, doing very slow light housework or tidying up as a warmup, till I unstiffen. My mid-back is increasingly hard to unstiffen so I can be really straight backed but I can usually get it within an hour or so. This sounds like complaining (and half-way is), but I mean it as part of a package of gratitude that my ankles are good enough that I can walk around the house and move enough to limber up!
This week I also read Melina Marchetta’s fantasy trilogy The Lumatere Chronicles, and am in the middle of another Hugh Howey book I somehow missed on the first go-round — Halfway Home. It’s completely great. Though — I do wonder that the vat-grown blastocyst colonist boys on the ship are specially taught to police each others’ gender roles and sexuality. Howey’s exploration of that is pretty interesting.
I also started (for the 2nd time) to read Daina Chaviano’s Fábulas de una abuela extraterrestre. I read literary prose very slowly in Spanish but I get along decently. Am inspired in this by how my dad re-reads Don Quixote over and over and has now tackled Walter Moers City of Dreaming Books in German!
Moomin and I had an unexpectedly intense conversation as we contemplated what books we would recommend to Els while she came to visit. We both were commenting on how amazing it is that you can be in a book and it is like you are in it, in another universe entirely and then you don’t want to finish the book, and after, are homesick for the book, actually feeling pangs of loss. And that it is miraculous that other people have all this stuff going on in their heads even as we have very boring conversations about it being a nice day or what we had for dinner, and that some people manage to whoosh a whole universe of a story *out* of their heads into a book which then magically comes into our head. We don’t even need magic or telepathy because books already do this. It’s amazing. We both embarrassingly teared up a little.
Listened to Bach cello concertos and Hank Williams a lot as they are soothing when I’m sick. Jimmie Rodgers is also good but mostly it was Bach on repeat. When I was a teenager I used to rig up my record player to play Switched-On Bach on repeat all night — still the most comforting thing I call to mind when at the dentist or having an MRI or something tedious like that.
It is comforting that everyone else in this town is sick too not because of weird disabled person schadenfreude but just so that my own dropping off the face of the earth from a head cold does not make me look completely wimpy. All I ask is not to lose a month out of my life to yet another round of bronchitis. In my head everyone is judging me for not being tougher. They probably aren’t. Pain has worn me down a lot. I wish it hadn’t. I hope I get more mojo back with these new meds. While it is nice to hope for that I don’t count on it and realize (this is so cheerful!!!) that we are all getting older anyway so it’s not reasonable to expect everything to be “fixed” and I have to think fondly on my past selves, what I was capable of and not at different times.
I feel super appreciative of my friends and everyone awesome in my life.