Best Birthday Gift Ever!!!

My birthday and our 40th wedding anniversary are this week – I have Covid-19.  About three weeks ago, I started coughing and took a negative test. “It’s the excessive heat or allergies,” I thought.  A week later I was watering the garden when I became really breathless so I made a Saturday morning appointment at the doctors.  He asked if I was anxious but said it in a kind way.  All my medical information tells doctors that my primary illness is anxiety so it is reasonable to ask.  In my mind my files are stamped with ‘DON’T BELIEVE ANYTHING SHE SAYS!!!!’  ‘CRAZY OLDER LADY WITH WEIRD ACCENT’ ‘SHE’S AWAY WITH THE FAIRIES’ ‘DANGER, DANGER!!!’.  He was very thorough given my ‘cyst in the lungs’ history, gave me another negative test for Covid and chest X-rays.  I haven’t seen a pulmonologist since my last one died of Covid during the worst of the Pandemic but the GP urged me to find a new one.

I left thinking it was all in my head – ‘bloody anxiety is the bane of my life’.  Teddy and I went off to Galveston for a couple of days and I felt good.  The sight and smell of the sea was heaven.  When we came back, I decided to book a little trip to one of the Great Lakes (cooler, more water, less tourists) for the anniversary/birthday combo.  The bag was packed instantly and for once I was excited.  Then I got anxious…we are having a drought and every day is over 100 F.  My sprinkler system has not worked for 2 years because I had nothing else to do but hose the garden.  What will happen to my little critters who rely on the various water bowls?  For some reason the birds prefer the blue bowl on the ground and the squirrels love the bird bath to drink out of.  A friend kindly offered to water the garden/critters but using my very sweet voice, I asked the sprinkler guy if he could fit me in – he could!  All problems solved…

We always book at the last minute because of my rapidly changing moods.  The flights could be cancelled but I hovered over paying $70 more for the hotel for last minute cancellation.  Teddy said, “Why would we cancel at this stage?” so I booked the non-refundable option…  This will now become part of the saga of our marriage and brought up every time I am annoyed on vacation.  Then the diarrhea started which was exacerbated by the hacking cough with almost disastrous results.  My nose was running into my coffee, my mask and the food I was preparing.  Then there was a message from the Saturday doctor – there was evidence of emphysema on my chest X-ray.  Really??  Time to take another stupid Covid test which was finally positive.

The hotel allowed us to book another date and the flights were cancelled.  God laughs at our plan, eh? On our 30th anniversary we had to cancel a trip to Panama because Teddy’s Dad had the temerity to die so inconveniently. I got sicker with Covid but the worst symptoms are abating.  I was fully vaccinated with 2 boosters but worked at the airport.  At least I don’t have Monkeypox.  Now Teddy is getting ill.  Nurse Ratched has appeared and he may as well be Patient Zero or Typhoid Teddy.  Is grumpiness part of Covid?  He has just sloped off to bed because he feels weak.  My response was ‘Good’ doublespeak for ‘Get out of my sight’.  Then we got an alert because we used 500 gallons more water than usual when the sprinklers started so I am back to hosing and misting.

Last night I cooked chicken marinated in white wine, lemon and oregano along with spiced couscous with sour cherries.  It just tasted like small white food with bigger white food.  My hair is standing on end with all the sweating and sleeping so I took a shower last night.  As I was drying off, I spotted a small cockroach fall out of my towel and skitter under my bed.  My OCD brain struggled to compete with Covid brain.  Previously a KLAXON warning would have gone off; I would have bathed in a light solution of bleach (joking DO NOT DO THIS), sprayed insecticide under the bed, washed the carpets, changed the sheets and had a small breakdown.  Covid brain won.  I just washed the towels and went to my unwashed bed with my new pet slumbering beneath me.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US!

Modern Love on Prime Streaming – a review

Anne Hathaway
courtesy of Wikipedia

 

This is my first review of anything on TV but one particular episode on this new Prime series, Modern Love, resonated so deeply with me that I had to share it.  The particular episode # 3, ‘Take me as I am, whoever I am’ stars Anne Hathaway  as a young woman negotiating dating and life with a diagnosis of bipolar illness.  Mental illnesses straddle a spectrum and we may share many of the same symptoms if not diagnoses.

The premise of the series is this – individual short stories about love inspired by personal essays in the New York Times column, Modern Love.  This episode followed Hathaway through a funny/sad shift in moods while trying to connect with a new boyfriend.  He couldn’t understand why she was acting so differently because, quite naturally, she didn’t want to reveal something deeply private.  She finally realized that she couldn’t keep hopping from job to job and leaving friends mystified, so started to share her secret diagnosis.  In this story, it seemed to be a rewarding experience.

What impressed me most was Hathaway’s brilliant acting although it might seem contrived to someone who had not experienced bipolar symptoms.  There is a hilarious scene in a supermarket, when she is on an obvious high, and in her head she is in a stage show.  This isn’t exactly how I feel but it is pretty close.  When I am feeling good, the world is vibrant, friendly and buzzing.  Tunes and thoughts are happily dancing in my head.  Everyone is my friend and I talk the pants off every stranger I meet.  I can even tell that I make people happy.

Then there is the abrupt change – going to bed for days on end unable to even look at my blog or emails.  It is physically painful to move my joints or answer the phone.  Most of the time my cell phone is on mute, unless I am working.  What Hathaway emoted, so successfully, was her inability to control this or explain how she was feeling.  My years of dealing with my family and personal mental illness, along with working in the field have given me some terrific masking skills but I can only keep it up for so long.

Thank goodness I met Teddy, who is naturally empathetic and nonjudgmental.  I can only imagine what it is like coming home to ‘who will she be today?’  Sometimes I am curled up on the sofa with dark circles under my eyes and a haunted look.  Nightmares plague me for weeks on end.  Of late, happy Bunny has arrived and Teddy is relieved to return to a funny expression from his beloved or even jumping out from behind the door.

It was such a joy to watch an uplifting short program about mental illness that wasn’t patronizing or dramatic.  I don’t know if Hathaway has a personal experience or the writer had but it was spot on.  She wasn’t homeless or self-medicating and eventually used her common sense to relieve the worst of the symptoms.  Even better, she was educated and attractive – many of us are just that.

An old boyfriend once said, with passion in his eyes, that he didn’t know which version of Kerry he was dating.  I am a chameleon with my style, personality and moods.  My varied career gives the wrong impression of my intellect. In Scotland I worked with my friend’s husband on a project.  He had shared with her that he didn’t realize how brilliant I was in certain work situations, especially facilitation or brain storming.  Clearly my friend didn’t know that either and was surprised.  This isn’t bragging but just an observation that I wonder what I might have achieved without this illness.  Hathaway demonstrated this in the episode by sadly expecting to leave any job quite quickly.  Not many employers are willing to give some leeway although in recent times my bosses have understood my inability to fully function at times.

If you get the opportunity to watch it, please do.  Hathaway’s acting says so much more than mere words can.  Prime/Amazon are not paying me for this review – or anyone else!