Thursday, February 14, 2008

Trips and Sickness

It's been awhile since I last posted, and you can blame it on a trip and sickness.

I'll mention the sickness first, since it's the freshest thing on my mind. I've been reeling from a nasty sore throat and general lethargy over the last couple of days. I felt so bad when I woke up this morning that I canceled my class. My throat felt raw, hot and dry. It probably looks like a desert and feels like it's being pricked with cacti. My body aches, as if I'm the Tin Man and need some lubrication to the joints. I just feel pretty crappy all in all.

Unfortunately, my wife is feeling worse. She's got the same sore throat, only worse, because it's rendered her nearly hoarse. She's also got nagging headaches, something I haven't had to worry about. Poor thing.

Michelle was the first to come down with the symptoms. She began complaining Tuesday last week of a sore throat. She missed work on Wednesday, then went in on Thursday. We left for Texas that afternoon.

Ah, Texas. Balm for the sick. I forget how much I miss this place until each time I return for a visit. My dad and stepmom live in the Hill Country west of Austin, a land of rolling hills and long vistas. The trees are scrubby – a mix of cedar, mesquite and oak, the soil is pockmarked like a teenager's face and the terrain has a yellowish tint from all the exposed limestone. Doesn't sound too flattering, but it's quite lovely. It's wide open spaces, just like the country song. Peaceful. Tranquil. At my parents' place, you can sit on the back deck and drink in the quiet. Leaves rustle in the breeze. Birds chirp. And that's about it. You can be alone in your thoughts. Michelle remarked that it would be a perfect celebrity rehab center.

We saw lots of turkey vultures. These are graceful birds, elegantly gliding on the currents, their long, black wings fully extended to capture all that the wind has to offer. They fly in a relaxed way, hardly flapping but tilting their bodies ever so to set their direction. They reminded me of noiseless B52s, lumbering along high in the sky.

Up close, these birds aren't as pretty. I wouldn't call them ugly, but many folks wouldn't share my view. They have loose, flappy skin on their faces, like a turkey, beady eyes and a long, curved beak. They are big birds, and around those parts, you saw them everywhere, circling, circling, waiting for animals to die or looking for those already dead, a carcass on which to feast. Some Texans have jokingly said they should be the state bird.

When we weren't enjoying the vultures or the view, we got a whole lot of rest and simply stuffed ourselves with Texas grub. Enchiladas one night, baked by my stepmom. Beef brisket the next. Nachos and chicken-fried steak another night. We clearly were not paying attention to our fruits and vegetables. After four days, the gorging ended, and we returned to Rhode Island, greeted by brisk winds and bitter cold. So much for those 70-degree days.

Now that we were back to our frenetic lives, the sickness that had gone into hiding reappeared in Michelle. Her sore throat had returned, and with intensity. And of course I was next to get it. And that brings me to now.

Can you pass another tissue?

1 comment:

Leeann said...

Well now I know who to blame because I can't believe how shitty I feel right now. Ugh.
Hope you both get better soon.