The Attempted Murder by Mother Nature


Nature is trying to kill me. I don't believe it’s intentional. It's just my corporal reaction to Nature. I understand. It’s not personal. It's just genetic.

It began in my toddler years. Sore throats every morning after a night of mouth-breathing due to a genetic post nasal drip. My Mom made me hot tea with sugar and lemon, so soothing. My father started dosing me with chips off his PBZ allergy pills. He was a research chemist after all, a DIY type. Somehow I survived his playing doctor with the dosage. No wonder I was a sleepy-head.

As a child I made it through the now, avoidables; chicken pox, measles, mumps and swollen glands. Tonsils were whipped out when I was seven-years old, and though one child in hospital hemorrhaged and disappeared from the ward, the rest of us survived with only a sore throat. Polio was solved by my school days, another childhood bullet missed.

So the wheezing and sneezing continued, diagnosed as allergies. Shot, pills that made me groggy, I'd beat Nature, I thought. But spring came every year with explosive pollen. Where others saw the beauty of Nature, I just sneezed and snorted.

A few car wrecks I lived through. Pregnancy, the killer of many once not so long ago, I lived also through. Then when we moved to a desert island called Curacao, some thought--NOW you'll be safe. Not so much. Open the windows and the ever present winds blew dust in. Close the windows and run the window units, and the mold spores that had formed moments after the units were cleaned got to me. My daughter and I were sent to the USA to see an allergy doctor, and unheard of specialty on the island.

Not till much, much later, when my adolescent daughter was diagnosed as asthmatic did I get diagnosed as asthmatic. I had thought everyone wheezed after running up a flight of stairs. Apparently not, I was to learn.

Moving abroad, I lived through or ducked almost 20 years of Third World diseases and threats. Diseases like dengue, yellow fever, typhoid, worms, malaria, and rats in the house and iguanas in the swimming pools.  My children too thankfully survived, even that monkey who bit my son in Ecuador turned out alright. The monkey really had had its rabies shot, as they said. Phew.

In soggy Vancouver BC, I had allergies. In desert island, I had allergies. It didn't matter where I lived. My daughter and I did shots for years. In Ecuador, I gave my daughter her shots after the best clinic in town overdosed her. By the years in Mexico, it was DIY. After being okay on a new dosage, I'd give myself shots; my daughter in Argentina did her own. In Mexico City my husband unknowingly brought me a flower arrangement, including ragweed. In Chicago, he tried to open the windows two floors away in our townhouse--till I sneezing, interrogated him, "Did you open the bloody window??" It was closed immediately. At least in Chicago I have that first freeze, when the leaf mold is murdered by Nature. I love winter.

When my now adult daughter moved to land of the ever-lasting mold, England. It isn't the rain that is an issue there for me; it's the dampness and incumbent mold. Where my asthma made me as sick as I'd ever have been, as sick as I ever hope to be.

The UK health system smirked snidely at my American accent, "You must have insurance," said the nurse dismissingly. We were shunted out the door, like naughty children to the over-priced private walk-in in another town. Now I travel to the UK like my friend the RN, with meds and gear just in case.

So rather than live in fear I say-- fiddle-dee-dee to H5N1, terrorism or some Homer Simpson with access to nuclear power—Nature is what will get me in the end. You, too—given the temporality of a human life. Nature always wins in the end. Just look at her temper tantrum that we call a tornado. We destroy her balance, and she throws more oddball weather at us that kills us all.

Mother Nature, I'm sorry that some of my fellow human beings don't want to keep you in a Zen-like balance. But what can we do, it's just human nature for some to wear blinkers and ignore what we are doing to our home planet.

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    Candace Drimmer

    I was an accidental expatriate; love and marriage led me to it. One day I was a bandy-legged kid sitting atop my dogwood tree looking out of my small backyard world in 1950s New Jersey, wanting to move somewhere--anywhere, different. Next thing I knew my father had accepted a job in Houston TX. I was ecstatic, it was a foreign land in 1961 America. After high school graduation, my parents’ gave me a matched set of fawn-colored hardsided American Tourister luggage. Taking the hint, I went to college; well four colleges in five years--it was the 60s after all. Meeting a young hirsute anti-war, soon-to-be-Peace Corps volunteer, I fell in love. After finishing up college coursework for my degree, but before I even walking a graduation stage, I grabbed the paper airline ticket my boyfriend had sent me, my brand-new passport, and was off to the airport and Lima, Peru.

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