Tag Archives: sickness

Plans

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When I was traveling with Mr. Carolina, I’d sometimes ask him about his plans. Whenever I’d utter the word plans, he’d throw back his head and laugh uproariously. Mr. Carolina knew we can plan all day long, but the Universe does what it wants when it wants and our schemes mean nothing.

These were my plans for 2017:

Attend the RTR

Spend a few weeks in the Arizona desert

House and dog sit in MegaBabylon

Work on writing my second book

Spend a few more weeks in the Arizona desert

House and dog sit again for the same woman in MegaBabylon

Work some more on my second book

Get paid to score student responses to standardized tests

Head to California to spend my summer working as a camp host and a parking lot attendant

Those plans were supposed to get me through the middle of October 2017.

I made it to the RTR, but after that, the Universe had other ideas for me.

At the RTR I hit it off with a very nice man (who has a very nice dog companion). We up and decided to go to New Mexico together, where we both came down with terrible colds. I still managed to do two readings from my book, Confessions of a Work Camper. I sold ten copies of the book, as well as some jewelry and shiny rocks. Life was good, even though the man and I were sick.

I had a lovely birthday in New Mexico. The man and I soaked in hot mineral water, then joined two more friends in the park for ice cream and pie. It was a wonderful day.

The next day I was scheduled to leave New Mexico and head back to MegaBabylon for my house and dog sitting engagement. Saying good-bye to the man was bittersweet, but I’d decided to travel back to New Mexico to see him again between my two house sitting gigs. He’s a carpenter by trade and had offered to transform wasted space in my van into storage space. I was going to borrow power tools from my host family and work with the man on a van project. I was excited about the project and excited about seeing the man again.

When I got into the van that morning, there were no messages on my phone. I looked out of my side-view mirror and watched the man watch me as I drove away. I listened to Old Crow Medicine Show sing “Wagon Wheel” and tried not to feel sad. I’d known this day would come. I’d known all aspects of life are fleeting. I’d known all we have is the present moment, and I’d done my best to enjoy each moment I’d had with him to the fullest. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t already miss him.

Before I got on the interstate, I had to stop at Wal-Mart. I was still sick, and the sickness had settled in my lungs as a cough. The coughing had kept me up the night before, so I really wanted to be able to take a big swig of cough syrup when I arrived at the free camping area I’d decided on as my stopover. I thought my best move was to get some cough syrup before I left town.

When I stopped the van, I checked my phone, as is my habit. The screen showed a notification saying I had three messages. Three messages? What was up with that?

I went to my messages and saw they were all from the woman I was supposed to house and dog sit for starting the next day. She said she’d hurt her back and was just leaving the hospital. She’d had to cancel her trip. She didn’t need me until April.

I was reeling. What to do? Head back to MegaBabylon anyway? Stay and spend more time with the man? Something else I hadn’t even yet imagined?

It took me a couple of days and a couple of long conversations with the man to figure things out, but I made some decisions. I could tell you my plans, but what’s the point? The Universe is going to send me wherever it wants me to be.

 

 

I Don’t Want to Be Sick

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Yesterday evening, after I’d worked in the parking lot, after I cleaned my campground’s last toilet and poured a bucket of water on a fire campers had left smoldering, after I cooked and ate dinner and cleaned up after, I thought I might be getting sick. As I sat on the floor of my van and did my accounting of the money I’d collected in the parking lot, I felt really cold.

Of course, the temperature was pleasantly cool all day, after a thunderstorm (and what thunderous thunder it was) the night before. I wore my official company-issued jacket most of the day. But as the afternoon depended into evening, I got colder than I thought I should be.

After I finished my accounting, I took off my uniform and put on my new grey Cuddl Duds leggings (purchased new and on sale for only $3 on end-of-season clearance because to most of California it’s summer now) and my blue sweatshirt (purchased ages ago for $1 at a New Mexico thrift store). I realized not only was I cold, but I was congested too. Oh no! Was I getting sick? I don’t want none of that!

I emptied a packet of Emergen-C (bought for half price because the box was crushed) into my water bottle and chugged it down. I closed my curtain before it was even dark out and crawled into bed under my feather comforter (bought at a Goodwill Clearance Center for $6, using a birthday gift card, since I seem to be giving an accounting of bargains). I finished reading Lit by Mary Karr and turned out the light.

A woman I met at the 2016 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous told me she clears her body of all the nasty stuff chem trails leave behind just by thinking about it, telling her body to get rid of it all. I decided if it works (?) for chem trail chemicals, it should work for the common cold. So I told my body to flush out any invaders. Out, damned germ! Out, I say!  I also gave my white blood cells a pep talk. Come on white blood cells/you can do it/put a little power to it!

I was probably asleep by 9:30.

When I woke up to pee for the nth time (because of all that water before bed), I was warm enough to take off my clothes before I got back in bed. Maybe a fever broke?

I slept well (and I think I had dreams, but I don’t remember a single detail). I woke to birdsong before daylight, but tried to sleep more until a raven (or maybe a pileated woodpecker or a pterodactyl) shouted Crawk! as it passed directly over the van. Ok! I’m awake! I’m writing!

Now it’s almost 6:15, and I don’t really want to get out of bed. (It’s my day off, so technically, I don’t have to.) I don’t quite have a headache, but more forehead feels tight, my eyelids are heavy, and I have an awareness of my lower back I don’t usually have.

I have much to do today, but mostly, I don’t want to be sick. Maybe I can still sleep it off.

I wrote this piece on June 13. After driving halfway down the mountain to get my mail, I spent the rest of the day sitting quietly in the van creating collages. I felt better the next day and thought I’d fought off the cold. I was good during my workweek (Wednesday through Sunday) until I woke up on Sunday with a sore throat. Now it’s Tuesday again, and I am full blown sick. My throat’s not sore anymore, which is good news, but my head is totally snotty and the cough is settling in. Maybe I should have cheered on my white blood cells a little more.