Those dreaded THREE-letter words…(first published February 7, 2011)

We all know the four-letter words we are supposed to eschew—the “s” word, the “f” word and for some, perhaps the “l” word. But all of those are okay with me—it’s a recent spate of dreaded three-letter epithets that have me bugged. [Note: this blog was first published on February 7, 2011]

Specifically: flu and ice—and sad (as both an adjective and the acronym SAD, for seasonal affective disorder). In short: I have had it with winter and I am thoroughly sick of being sick.

Generally, I am a fairly peppy fifty-three-year-old person. I do yoga, eat healthy and usually wake up with plenty of energy. But a recent bout of Influenza Type A (along with a series of winter weather crises) has left me wobbly, winded and weary.

When I first became sick, I was feverish, shaky and weak—I hurt “back, belly and sides” (as my father’s old Army buddy used to describe it). And I was really down—I felt so sad that couldn’t even imagine enjoying anything. As my fluish (and Jewish) son noted, when you’re sick, everything tastes crappy and you just don’t feel hungry. I didn’t have the energy for books or movies. Even the world around me seemed drained of color (although the nonstop blizzarding didn’t help!).

This is first time I have been sick in bed since my father died last spring, and I was surprised how much I thought about him and my mother—and how acutely I missed them. In some important way, it really mattered that I had no parents to care how I was feeling. I do have other loving people in my life—husband, son, sister, in-laws, friends, but I deeply felt the loss of my parents and their loving concern.

Being sick, even with a transient illness like the flu, also reminded me that wellness can just as transient. I have had the great luck to enjoy good health for most of my life, but my parents both experienced many serious illnesses and I was with them both during their last days. I have been remembering—vividly—the details of my father’s six-month battle against laryngeal cancer—the hospitals, ICUs, nurses, ambulance rides, and especially the crises and the end.

But, the Tamiflu and antibiotics are doing their magic, and as I start to feel like myself—my healthy self, that is—I am grateful for the returning ability to enjoy life and food and friends and films. My losses and memories are still there, but they feel less acutely painful. And although the weather remains dismal, I am starting to be able to think about… (Dare I say it?)… Spring.