The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

March 1, 2008

Probably not my most uplifting entry ever

My question is, how do people on bed rest do it? I’m thinking of women confined to the prone position in the last weeks of pregnancy. Or anyone who gets doctor’s orders to stay inside, to remain inert, to rest. Because I’ve been sick with a malicious case of Influenza B (revealed by a delightful nasal swab) since Tuesday, and the depression is starting to set in.

This is what I’ve done in the past five days:
--Read two whole issues of the New Yorker.
--Finished the (amazing) book Enduring Love, by Ian McEwan.
--Had terrible, high-speed, gabbling dreams about Barack and Hillary and people at work and to-do lists and other nonsensical things.
--Watched The Wire, Project Runway, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The Daily Show, and the movies Vanity Fair and Sherrybaby (both pretty good).
--Picked up cough-drop wrappers.
--Tried to keep up with work email, with varying success (depending on how high my fever was at the time).
--Talked to my mother. Three times.
--Wept in frustration.
--Lay aimlessly on the couch wrapped in a blanket, staring at the ceiling.
--Made the bed, sometimes.

Now, I know that very few people would find that schedule enjoyable, especially when coupled with feeling incredibly, incredibly sick. (I actually took three and a half days off work, which I’ve never done before.) But for me, it’s really been torturous. I mean, I love our home, but I am so damn sick of it I can hardly see straight. I miss going to work, seeing friends, running, having an appetite. I’m so used to daily mobility, consistently changing surroundings, having a strong and healthy body. It’s a rude awakening to realize just how fragile that all can be—and this is just the flu, not a true debilitating disease or illness. I know perspective is warranted, but what’s a journal for if not to vent occasionally in a shameless me-centric fashion? It’s Saturday! I want to sit in the coffee shop with a Chai tea and the paper, chat with neighbors, walk to the bakery to buy a cupcake, then go for a nice 3.5-mile run. Instead, I’ve read, laid on the couch, emailed some people, and emptied the dishwasher. (Well, and written this entry. So hey! That's something!)

In truth, 2008 has been a pretty bad year so far. One of the reasons I haven’t written here since January 1 is to avoid writing about Moose. And even now, I don’t think I want to do it. I can point you here and here for the story, and simply say that I miss him so incredibly much. It’s very lonely being home without him. Something reminds me of him every single day, and daily, I wish I could pet his soft, velvety, bicycle-seat head and lay my cheek on top of it.

So there was that. And there’s been extended-family stuff, a terrible falling-out between my maternal grandmother and my parents based on my grandma’s ailing mind and some pretty wicked folks in my mom’s family. Eloquently put, it sucks. And Chicago is being lashed by the worst winter we’ve had in a long time, snow- and ice-wise; spring is a shimmering green mirage that seems laughable at best. Then, this week, the Influenza B. I’m working hard to maintain that “radical optimism” touted so breezily at the top of this page, but it hasn’t been easy.