It's that time of year again! No, not the holidays, silly people, TIME TO GET SICK! Time to stock up on Kleenex, vitamin C, Zicam, Advil, Tussin, and barf buckets. For me, the holidays mean it's time to start the yearly tradition of getting sick. Germs love me. It's been that way my entire life, except for a strange, brief period of good health in high school. It must have been all of that praying we did before each class. When I think back to my younger years, a lot of my memories revolve around being ill. Thankfully, nothing serious-just your typical stomach flu, colds, throat infections, bouts of bronchitis, and general malaise.
I never got a case of anything that was considered "mild"--the kind of thing that you can just pop a pill and get through the day. No, the sickness always came on in the middle of the night like a freight train. I would wake up, wracked with fever, and wind up laying on the cold bathroom tiles until morning, having weird auditory hallucinations that sounded like someone going "YAYAYAYA" over and over in my head. I had the stomach flu dozens of times for the first 6 or 7 years of my life. It always started around the holidays. I can remember laying in my room in the dark, watching Miracle on 34tth St. on a tiny black and white tv, bummed out that I couldn't bake cookies or help decorate the house. No wonder I hate that movie now. That must have been the same Christmas that my mom set up a little blanket fort for me in the living room so I could lay there while everyone ate Christmas dinner.
Oh, the things I have missed out on because of being sick. It's almost like I would get so excited about something that my entire system would break down. I missed the 1950's style sock hop on the last day of 5th grade because I sprouted Chicken Pox the night before. I was SO disappointed that I didn't get to wear my poodle skirt and saddle shoes. I contracted some kind of fever anytime we went more than 5 miles from home. I remember being quarantined in various rental condos in Wisconsin and Michigan, missing vacation fun. The doctor told my mom my immune system was weak as a result of being born very prematurely, and that I would eventually get stronger and grow out of it. He was right, I did grow out of it--a little. High School went by pretty smoothly, except for a nasty virus that kept me from Pom Camp one summer.
College marked the return of the sicknesses. Spring break '99 was ruined due to acute bronchitis. I spent 4 days laying in a hotel room while my sister mopped my brow and fed me Jamba Juice until it was time to go home. I was so weak that she had to wheel me in a wheelchair through O'Hare airport--so embarrassing! The summer before my senior year I was really busy with a part time job, an internship, and a summer class. I had plans to visit my older sister in Paris the week before school started again. I was so excited! Until I came down with mono a couple of days before I was due to leave and had to stay home--thanks a lot, Danny, wherever you are.
As a result of all of this, I have total sickness paranoia. Anytime there is something remotely exciting coming up for me, I start to worry about getting sick. If I sneeze I'm convinced it's a terrible sinus infection coming on and my whole trip/holiday/fun activity will be ruined. This winter, I'm not going to let the germs ruin my fun. I have decided to concentrate on doing things to keep healthy. I plan on focusing my diet around fruits and vegetables, taking supplements, and trying to be a happier, more positive person. I clipped an article years ago about a yoga teacher who had not been sick in 30 years--maybe I will incorporate yoga too. I will let you know how this works out. I have an arsenal of Kleenex already, just in case.
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