I am writing this from my sick bed, which is the fulfillment of a childhood dream of mine. It started when my mother gave me a copy of Robert Louis Stevenson's book of poems, A Child's Garden of Verses
. The poems were inspired by his daydreams as a sickly boy stuck in bed, with only his toy soldiers (and a legion of servants and nurses) to keep him company. Add a color TV with a remote, and it seemed pretty okay to me.
Then there was Clara. You remember her? Heidi's friend? Clara had it pretty good, sickly, the center of her family's attention, until Heidi took her up to play with Peter and Grandfather and the goats. A little mountain air, and Clara was cured. She was happy in the moment, sure, but what about when she got back to town and realized that all her nurses had been fired? That she would have to get off her ass and go to school?
There is a downside to being sick, sure. There is the coughing up of phlegm. The chills. The nasal passages that are compacted solidly with snot yet still seem to bleed an unending stream of it. There is the headache. The sinus pain. The lung pain. The it-hurts-to-breathe pain. The sore throat. The sneezing which exacerbates the sore through as well as causing a series of biological responses that results in projectile snot spray. Where does all that snot come from? Can I get dehydrated?
And the age old debate ? to swallow or spit phlegm. I'm a swallower. It's not like you're swallowing it back into your lungs, people. Then, a couple of times a day, hack of a good wad of goop into the sink and take a look at it just to see if there's a color change. Yellow is good. Green is bad. Blood means call your doctor. But this is just my own personal approach to lung pus. I am not a medical professional.
I have seen illustrations of Robert Louis Stevenson in his sick bed and there is very little phlegm. Perhaps he had a not-phlegm related illness. Something possibly related to his constant play with leaden soldiers. In any case he had a lot of time to dream up stories that would become some of the great adventure tales of their day. Me? I have you. So I promise to add a pirate tomorrow. (Or, who knows? Perhaps something germane to writing.) Until then I'm going back to bed. After I blow my nose, take some more medicine, cough up some phlegm in the sink and turn on Perry Mason.