Last Saturday night, we attended a 50th birthday party for Tom’s nephew. Tom drank. I drove as usual, which proved to be an hour’s drive each way.
On the way home, my lively and animated passenger kept me entertained With his usual jokes, backseat driving and directions, in this case leaving me much better off on my own resources, stone sober that I was. His ongoing enthusiastic suggestions would surely would have taken us to a dead end road to oblivion.
Tom seldom drinks. Tom seldom drinks enough to get noticeably drunk and never has a hangover. Tom is never sloppy or obnoxious. He’s funny, very funny. As a result, I gladly drive when he wants to imbibe on those special occasions a few times each year.
Arriving home, he flopped into bed, snoring softly only minutes later. I poured a glass of ice water to leave on his bedside table, just in case he awoke thirsty during the night, along with the two Tylenol tablets. Just in case.
Sipping iced tea all night, I struggled to fall asleep, finally relenting by taking two Formula 303 tablets, an all natural homeopathic remedy that works wonders getting me to sleep, not necessarily keeping me asleep. (It’s safe to take two more if necessary, that works as well the second time).
Two hours after drifting off, I awakened to the gut-wrenching sound of gut-ripping coughing and relentless sniffing. Darn! He’s got a cold! How will I ever fall sleep with all of this noise, light sleeper that I am?
Awakened no less than 20 times during the night to these “noises,” in the morning I felt as if I was the one with a hangover, struggling to drag myself out of bed and begin the day. How can he be sick now, when we have so much to do?
With his long work hours, he had little time or energy lately to get “his stuff” sorted and packed, mostly tools and memorabilia to give to the kids and grandchildren. Trying not to nag (not my style) I gently reminded him over the past few weeks that time was marching on.
Let’s face it, I tend to “over-prepare” well in advance and Tom, bless his heart, is somewhat of a procrastinator. We accept these differences in one another knowing full well, that when it’s time to go, we both will be ready.
As sick as he was all weekend, somehow he managed to work on his piles of papers, attack his boxes filled to the brim, and help me complete the packing and weighing of his luggage, mine done months ago.
The weekend nights were sleepless for me with his coughing, choking and snorting while he remained relatively unconscious from the big dose of Nyquil PM. Monday morning he dragged himself to work while I remained at home, minus a car to drive, preparing to get back to packing and sorting.
On Monday night it hit me, first a little tickle in my throat, a peculiar little cough and a feeling of general malaise. As the sickness left him, it gathered deeply into my head, leaving me useless to perform even the smallest tasks.
In years past, this degree of discomfort would have driven me to go to urgent care for cough medicine, antihistamines and antibiotics. Not so the case. Practice, practice, practice, I told myself. Practice getting through this illness without a doctor visit, toughing it out, drinking hot tea, eating light, healthy meals, moving about to avoid muscle loss and weakness.
Last night around 3:00 am, I relented and took a half dose of the Nyquil PM when the coughing wouldn’t stop. Without my contacts in, I couldn’t read the label. I searched my night table drawer, now nearly empty from cleaning and packing, for an old pair of reading specs. What I read shocked me!
Oh, no! I had just downed high fructose corn syrup! Is anything free of junk these days? I slugged down the second half of the dose. Tonight, sleep, sweet sleep was more therapeutic and meaningful that my desire to avoid HFCS. I slept until 7:30 am, feeling better, not perfect, but better.
A wasted number of days with little accomplished, I resigned myself to the reality that when we travel the world, on occasion we’ll be sick, we’ll be tired and we won’t accomplish anything.
However, while sick this week, Tom (never missing any work) and I both applied for Railroad Retirement. I researched less costly health insurance plans outside the US, finding a more affordable option (we’ll write more about this later). I contacted social security about my Medicare options, packed several boxes, did more laundry, cooked a fresh dinner each night, made the bed each morning, talked to the pharmacy about purchasing our year’s worth of drugs out of our pocket (sans insurance) at month’s end and on and on.
I can’t wait until we’re gone to be able to spend some time doing nothing. How peculiar that will be. I’ve never “done nothing.”
Today, we’re both feeling better, not perfect, but better.