Convalescent Note:
Getting Better, Slowly
9 January 2019

As threatened, I re-read Nora Webster. Then I re-read The Blackwater Lightship, which I was surprised to discover that I’d read in 2014. Now I’m in the early chapters of The Heather Blazing, but, fond as I am of this novel, I may have set it aside. I re-read it in 2014 as well, but the incident seems much more familiar than did that of Blackwater Lightship. I feel that I’ve spent enough time in Enniscorthy. 

Nora Webster was nothing like the quiet charming book that I recalled. Each of the many episodes seemed fraught — doubtless because I wasn’t feeling well. The antibiotic has done a great job on the wound, but it has also made me weak and somewhat inane. I try to avoid sources of anxiety, but literature is not at present an escape from care. Reading about the illness that overtakes Nora after she tries to paint her back-room ceiling was harrowing, and when Maurice, her dead husband, appeared to her in her bedroom — it’s the climax of the story, I think, but I’d somehow forgotten it — I was almost as unsettled as if something of the kind had happened to me.

On the housekeeping front, aside from the pile-up of dust — not yet really noticeable — nothing is in worse shape than it was before the fever struck. I went to Schaller & Weber and to Fairway on Monday — without incident. I took a cane with me for two reasons. One, I have been in bed for two weeks, and sometimes feel unsteady on my feet. Two, canes signal disability, and offer a modest protective advantage in the scrum of the busy intersection that I have to cross twice to get to Fairway. (In the pinball chaos of Fairway itself, the shopping cart provided plenty of stability and caddied my cane nicely.) I bought almost everything that I was looking for, and everything that we needed. But I was exhausted when I got home, carrying only two shopping bags — the rest were delivered — that the doorman took from me as I was walking toward the entry of the building, without asking. He carried them to the elevator — most helpful.

Yesterday, I went down to pick up last week’s wash-and-fold. I dragged the laundry bag upstairs like a child, something that I’d started doing before I got sick. When I had put the clean laundry away, I filled the bag with the contents of the hamper, as well as the bedlinens. (We celebrated my birthday on Sunday by changing the sheets). I dragged the laundry bag back down to the concierge. Along the way, I ran into our very helpful mail carrier. She had noticed the mail was piling up in the box, but also that she wasn’t seeing me. I explained my situation and added that Kathleen cannot open the mailbox eveen with my key, something that we’ll have to report to the building when I feel better. Changing the sheets, shopping at Fairway, and dragging the laundry up- and downstairs each left me as exhausted as if I’d built one of the Pyramids. That’s how it goes with Cipro. 

Tomorrow, I see the wound specialist at Lenox Hill to whom my internist is sending me. I’m apprehensive about meeting with a new doctor in a new location, but Kathleen will be with me (not only for moral support, but to fill out the forms — my handwriting is unreadable), Once that’s behind me, I expect to be something like cheerful.

More anon.

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