Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. -Proverbs 27:1
I started laughing when I read this passage.
I had talked to my friend Kathy on the phone the other night and we spoke in our usual, very careful, code that allows us to talk of something without boasting… or even so much as letting the word escape our lips.
It’s my own personal Voldemort – the illness that must not be named.
She said, in her subtle yet knowing tone: “Uhmm… it’s almost the end of February. You know? Don’t say it. But, you know?”
“Yes,” I replied, as I heard her knock on wood and I tried to remember if the salt should be thrown over my right shoulder or my left, “never seeing human beings is really paying off.”
Because I’m not actually superstitious, I feel like it’s safe to tell you all that this is the first winter since 2003 I haven’t either been in the hospital or had home nursing come to my house because of pneumonia. It’s the first time I’ve gone a full year without getting that major illness.
I haven’t had to spend a week in the hospital. I haven’t had to have nurses coming in and out of my house every day. I haven’t had to worry about infected picc lines and breathing treatments. And, above all else, I haven’t had to have rosephin and steroid shots in my hips for 14 consecutive days. And, believe me, my hips are thanking me for it.
That great result hasn’t come without some very diligent sacrifice. I stopped trying to travel home, which was beneficial from a pain standpoint, but also because the strain of it wore my body down too much. I’m certain not going out in public helped from a germ standpoint, but that was an unintentional side effect of not being able to breathe the outside air, I’m afraid. But the hardest part: my friends have had to stay away. A lot.
I have gone months at a time when the only human beings I came in contact with were Dawn, who cleans my house, Linda, who gets my groceries, and Ron, who delivers my prescriptions. Winter is tough around here with colds and viruses and flu bugs… and the plain and simple truth is that someone could walk in here with an ear infection and I can get pneumonia. So when my friends are healthy, I am the happiest woman on the planet. Suz was just able to visit last week for the first time in ages… her cough seemed to hold on forever. And my friend Jenny and I have decided to stop trying to plan a lunch date because, inevitably, the day before she’ll get a cold. A cold that doesn’t lay her out in bed or stop her life, but one that would end up doing that to mine.
So, after I hung up with Kathy the other night I sat down to check some blogs and got on Twitter to chat with a few people, and it occurred to me that this technology, to me, is the same as when people have children. At some point they sit back and say, “What did we ever do before these people came into our lives and kept us so busy? We must have been so boring…”
I sat there and thought, what would I have done all last summer and this winter when I became so confined? Life would have been so boring. So tedious. So lonely. But I get to come here every day and read your comments, which mean more than you know. I read your blogs and have conversations with total strangers who have become dear friends.
I have never had a year where I’ve been more isolated, and it happened to be the year that I’ve met the most amazing people. Thanks so much for keeping me sane, peeps… my life must have been so boring before you came along!