I have been plagued with pink eye for about four days now. I've been working through it, explaining to clients that my refusal to shake their hands is out of consideration for their own eyes; trying to convince them that, no, I have not been on a three-day drunk. If that were the case then, surely, both eyes would be equally bloodshot. It's been okay, but certainly I have not been working up to par.
In addition to having a watery, itchy, sore, unsightly left eye, I am also feeling very like flu coming on. It is that achy feeling riding just beneath the surface of the skin. Still, duty calls, and I have gamely persevered through work--until yesterday.
Yesterday morning I had a short hearing in a court two counties away which means a little over an hour's drive. When I arrived, the usual schmoozing lawyers were gathered in the judge's chambers to preview the docket and glad hand and gossip. I walked in and "Whoa!" was the exclamation. Someone said, "Who clobbered you?"
"Pinkeye," I replied, and they all shrank back. (Sissies, every one).
"Aren't you a bit old for this?" one of them said, "I mean, we used to worry about this when my kids were in daycare."
"I quite agree that I am too old," I replied, "But I'm suffering--and I do mean suffering--with it, nevertheless." I reached for a tissue from the box on the judge's desk. "Is it me, or is it cold in here?" I asked. It was true that outside it was chilly--had hit the freezing mark the night below, but I was assured that it was toasty to everyone else. Bad sign.
By the time I waited through the cases scheduled ahead of me and then did the song-and-dance of my own case, I was feeling really, really bad. My client was a dear, and she said, "You need to go to the walk-in clinic down the street." She gave me directions, I called the office to say I would be later than expected, and went in search of medical aid.
Yep, my self-diagnosis was correct. I had pinkeye. I also had a touch of fever and the nurse noticed enough to ask, "Are you having some chills?" Truthfully, I felt like hell and, thanks to my eye, looked like hell as well.
Her advice: "Go home. Warm, wet compresses on the eye. Use these drops. Just relax, get some rest and see if you can ward off the cold that is threatening to come on you."
I called in to cancel my appointments for the afternoon and made a beeline for home. I had sweet visions of warm comforter on the couch, having the illicit enjoyment of watching Oprah for once, and just resting. It was not to be.
When I got to the house, it was like a refrigerator. The heat was off. Heck, it was warmer outside than it was inside. We had had a little stumble with it earlier in the week, but the repairman (a neighbor) had come in and pronounced it fixed. Now what? I put on fuzzy pajamas, socks, fuzzy house shoes, and two robes and began to try to reach my repair man, to no avail.
I sat on the couch pondering my next move, warm enough, okay, but certainly not lolling in recuperative relaxation as I had imagined. Nothing to do but wait on the repairman's return call. I flicked on the television for diversion. MSNBC was giving out their usual election predictions ad nauseum, and I had just about decided to turn the channel in search of something salacious when blink! all went dead. No power. (We're in the country, remember. At the "end of the line").
Well, here I was: red eye, achy body, freezing house, no electricity. And alone. I was feeling very, very, very alone. This is the time when single life sucks. I imagined my husband and his little tart going about their day with the modern conveniences of electricity and a source of heat. It made me mad all over again--these are the dangerous times in domestic travail.
I built a fire in the fireplace (do you know how little that dents a thoroughly-chilled house?). There was not light enough near the fire to read. I had a choice: sit by the window and freeze while I read or be warm by the fire with nothing to do but dwell on my situation and the sorry man who had left me to deal with it alone. It was really boring and really depressing.
Just when I thought about option three, which was redressing and getting into my warm car and going to the office, the lights mysteriously came back on. And with them came the heat! Ah, glorious heat!
The phone rang. It was the repairman. He was just certain that it was working well--maybe I just had not set the thermostat right (insert tap dance here). Anyway, it's working now--I could just call him if I had any more trouble.
What is the point of this little essay? Well, obviously, to moan about the sad state of affairs I was in yesterday and rake up any sympathy I might get from you. It feels good to moan to whomever might read this. But, really, I want to share it because I know, beyond doubt, that there are others out there in cyberspace who feel the kind of aloneness I felt yesterday. Life is so very much easier when you have a life partner at your side. Even if you can't change the circumstances immediately (snap the fingers and the house is warm, for instance), you have someone in it with you. If you, too, are "single again," then you identify, and I want you know that I identify with you. And if you ever feel like moaning to me, well send those comments--I'm all ears and sympathy! And it's really cheap therapy.
My son came home to a warm, inviting house and a mother not-quite-up-to-snuff, but better than she was a couple of hours before. "It's going to hit freezing again, Mom," he said. "Let's have a fire in the fireplace!" He proceeded to lay in the logs and we had a cozy evening at home, early to bed for ailing me.
It is now 5:10 a.m. There is no heat in my home. It stopped again somewhere in the dead of night. It is 35 degrees...think I ought to wait an hour to call my repairman? Nah!! - C 10/29/08 P.S. That hair dryer is going to feel mighty good. It's the little things...