I have been limping  around with a stomach ache for the last 2 days. In the doing, I lost my appetite and must confess – being a lover of good food – I almost lost my will to live.

There is a small amount of exaggeration to that last bit but the fact is I’ve been sick. Couldn’t eat or sleep. Not even reading or watching a video could take my mind off how miserable I felt.

So I got to ruminating on it this morning and asked myself, why is it when you reach a certain age that every illness feels mortal?

Contrast that to the immortality of youth.

I remember once when I was 18. I was staying with my grandmother. It was summer. And I woke up that morning feeling out of sorts. I unenthusiastically ate breakfast then headed off to the beach. I took a dive into Little Traverse Bay (Lake Michigan) and the shock of hitting that cold water was just that, a shock. I lay around on the beach the rest of the day and could not summon the energy to go back into the water.

Even though I felt like pure unadulterated crap, I still made plans to go out drinking with my buddies that evening; 18 was legal back then (as if that would have mattered).

My buddy, Behan dropped me back at my grandmother’s house. Riding on the back of his 650 Triumph Bonneville just plain hurt for some reason – the jolts, the cold air, the noise – all sent unfriendly harmonics through my body. My bones even hurt. But still I told him that we’d meet up at the Park Garden’s at 8.

My grandmother took one look at me and decided something wasn’t right. She asked me to stick out my tongue, frowned, then went to the medicine cabinet and got out her thermometer.

I had a temperature of a 105. Meaning, as I learned, pretty seriously sick. And I look back on that now and know with great certitude that without my grandmother’s intervention and her taking my temperature – or short of lapsing into a coma beforehand – I would have gone out drinking that night.

PS – However, confronted as I was with the facts, I went straight to bed and didn’t get up for two days.

 

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