Wednesday, March 19, 2014

But The Page Was Torn Out

Yesterday morning, I called Derek at work and told him I was thinking about canceling the doctor's appointment I had just scheduled the day before.  His objection to this was a little more... let's say forceful than I had been expecting.

I've been feeling rather poorly for close to a couple weeks now, but, while what I recently mentioned is true, that I do enjoy medical establishments in general, I simultaneously tend to believe that there is generally little that doctors can do to help me.  (This fun little mental conflict is quite indicative of how I view life in general, fyi.)  It felt silly to make the appointment in the first place, as I was certain that I would go, my doctor would check me over, pronounce that "Yep- you have the common cold.  Drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest," and I already know all that, so what's the point of going, again?

Still, there was a smallish chance her years of medical training would enable her to tell her more than I could tell myself (this little brand of hubris is a specialty of mine, frequently warring with my acknowledgement of how often I let completely insane paranoia dictate pieces of my life- see previous paragraph's parenthetical statement), so I made the appointment, made the suggestion to cancel less than 24 hours later, this was brutally rebuffed by husband, admitted defeat, gathered the chilluns (it's spring break, so I got to bring all three offspring with me, making my appointment a spectator sport), and went to the doctor.

She checked me over.  She said I have a nasty cold.  She told me to drink lots of water.  She told me to get plenty of rest.

Then she said that's not pinkeye, it's actually extra juice seeping up out of my eye from the raging infection in my sinus.  (WHO'S HUNGRY?)

Antibiotics were prescribed.  I took my first dose around noon yesterday.  By evening, I still had a cold, but I felt like a member of the human race with a cold.

Have you ever read The Phantom Tollbooth?  (If you haven't, you should.  Like, right now.  It's available at any library or bookstore worth patronizing.  Seriously, don't even finish this post, just go read the book.  It's short, and although written for a younger crowd will teach you delightful things about imagination and dodecahedrons and all manner of really important things.  Go.  This post will wait.)

Now that we're all back and have surely read it, you will know exactly what I mean when I say that it wasn't until last night, feeling more or less human again, that I realized this (miraculously undiagnosed by non-medical school-attending me) infection had turned me into a Lethargarian, a creature who, as we now all know, is a resident of the Doldrums.  In the past, I've always identified Juster's Doldrums as an extremely apt illustration for depression, and while I still do, I'm also able to identify it as the place I've been living the past couple weeks, courtesy of this little illness.

During my recent stint as a Lethargarian, I assumed it was only thinly affecting the people around me.  (Except, of course, for Caedmon's Daily Cry because I couldn't read to him, first because my throat hurt too badly, then because laryngitis robbed me of my voice completely.)  When Derek arrived home last night to find his wife returned to a creature that is able to perform higher brain functions and actually does have a personality, however, he made a charming comparison between Sick Me and Eeyore.  I don't recall ever thanking anyone for noticin' me, but perhaps he does have a point.  HEY.  Eeyore makes a pretty perfect resident of the Doldrums, although a quick peek in my copy of Tollbooth doesn't reveal any sweet pink ribbons tied to the tails of the Lethargarians.  Maybe they're distant cousins.  What a family reunion that would be!

I really don't remember where I was going with all this (much like Milo, a reference which I trust each and every one of you understands now)- we'll blame it on my rusty brain, which is just getting warmed back up after its sick leave, never mind the fact that this is how pretty much every one of my posts go.  Let's wrap it all up with a quote from the book we've collectively enjoyed:

Riding along on the back of anyone who'd carry him was the Threadbare Excuse, a small, pathetic figure whose clothes were worn and tattered and who mumbled the same things again and again, in a low but piercing voice:  "Well, I've been sick-but the page was torn out- I missed the bus- but no one else did it- well, I've been sick- but the page was torn out- I missed the bus- but no one else did it."  He looked quite harmless and friendly but, once he grabbed on, he almost never let go. (p 239)

Have any of you ever known anyone ridden by the Threadbare Excuse?  Perhaps you yourselves, occasionally?  Obviously, I never have!  (Oh, THE IRONY; see every single line of this post.  "Well, I've been sick...")


  1. Where to start - there are so many things in this post I want to respond to.

    First - I just LOVE The Phantom Tollbooth! Oh, such fabulous word play in this book. I have read it at least three times, once to each of my kids. This is the book that made it worthwhile to have kids, so that I was assured I would get to read it.

    Second - I am glad you got treatment for your sinus infection. You say you were a Lethargarian, but I can assure you that if you had let the sinus infection continue, you would have such pain in your face that you would have felt like a Lethargarian in the fifth circle of hell. While Lethargarianism is bad, the fifth circle of hell is worse.

    Third - I have recently been Lethargarianized by vertigo. Again. I am going to claim this as my Threadbare Excuse for not making dinner tonight.

    Stay well!

  2. For the record, all I said in response to my darling wife saying she was thinking of cancelling the doctor's appointment was "No."

    Granted there was no pause or thought before my answer and directly after the question.

  3. There have been many books that made having a child a more worthwhile experience, and The Phantom Tollbooth is certainly one of them. I had read it as a child, but didn't really remember much about it, so re-reading it was even more of a pleasure.

    I remember when Emma was somewhere between 2 and 3, she had a couple of really whiny weeks. Rob and I were getting so tired of it, and then one day I picked her up from pre-school and she had stuff coming out of her eye (which really is very gross). I was kind of shocked, so I took her straight to the doctor, who told me she had a sinus infection, a throat infection, and an ear infection. Now she'd been whiny, but she hadn't been screaming in pain or anything. I felt so bad that I'd not recognized that whininess for the actual infection it was :-)

    Anyway, I'm glad you're feeling better, and I hope the cold goes away quickly too!


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