theory, practice, and a sick man
Sunday, March 1 2020
While I've been suffering from my illness alone, Gretchen had been having a fine old time in California. Yesterday she sent me a picture of her waiting to get into a production of the musical Hamiltion. I've been tempted to tell her to call her book tour off and come home so I wouldn't have to go through my illness alone. But then I think: I'm a grown-ass man; I should be able to care for myself through anything short of a life-threatening illness. But even from across the country, Gretchen has been able to be helpful. Today, for example, Ray and Jack the Dog came over to walk with Ramona and Neville in the forest, much to the delight of all the dogs involved. Gretchen had arranged the whole thing from Santa Cruz, California.
I'd been spitting all my hawked-up phlegm into wads of toilet paper. But I've produced so much phlegm that it seemed like a terrible waste of resources. It would be better for me to just spit into a container instead, periodically dumping out its nasty, clotted contents into the toilet. When I was a kid once I had a sore throat so bad that I didn't want to swallow my saliva. So instead I spit it into a jar. That jar came to contain pretty much pure saliva, a clear fluid. And yet, within a week or so it had gone rancid and smelled like the worse bad breath you can imagine. So I knew it would be important to dump out the accumulated phlegm on a regular basis. I'd just finished a wide-mouth plastic 64 ounce jar of grapefruit chunks, so that would be the container I would be spitting into. If I am ever past this illness, I might keep that same jar in the Subaru for use as an emergency urinal. Its wide mouth will be a lot easier to hit, and I won't have to worry about volume limitations.
It was pretty cold today, complete with unpleasant winds, but despite that, when I was in a brief good phase, I decided to go install my weather station on the southwest corner of the greenhouse roof. Fortunately, whenever I was cold or had something that didn't need to be done at the actual installation site, I could retreat into the greenhouse upstairs, which was well into the upper-80s from passive solar heat alone. Ramona has a better memory for how awesome it is down there than the humans in our household do, and she quickly joined me down there. Diane also came through the pet door at some point.
With installations like this, there's always a big difference between theory and practice. In theory, all the parts can be manipulated with many degrees of freedom and nuts can easily be placed on bolts because, well, it's theory. In practice, though, you find your approach blocked from multiple angles and some things that should be possible simply aren't. I wanted to hang the weather station by using two conduit hangers attached to hanger bolts (which have machine threads on one side and wood threads on the other). I ended up having to use tin snips to cut the side out of one of the holes in the conduit hanger so it could be slid over a bolt from above, since there was no way to install a nut on the other end of the bolt in narrow space available by the way I'd put things together. I managed to complete my installation, but by the end there I was feeling terrible. I really shouldn't've worked in the blowing cold in the condition I was in.
To restore my core body temperature, I took a long hot shower in the upstairs bathroom, which had the advantage of filling the bathroom and adjacent bedroom with steam. My father always had troubles with his lungs, and, being from an age propelled by it, he swore by steam. It really does help to loosen and lubricate the windpipes, precisely the things that in me at this time were clogged with clots of nasty yellowish green mucous.
Despite that shower, at some point this evening my fever had me feeling so chilled that I hooked up our household's ancient heating pad, which looks like something Gretchen inherited from someone in a previous generation (my childhood home was full of devices of this vintage). The pad worked great, but it couldn't do anything about my underlying misery. Later, I heard Neville chewing on something and of course it turned out to be one of the chunky ends of one of the extension cords in the long chain of such cords getting power from the wall to the heating pad. I immediately re-routed the whole thing, and later I moved it down to the Gunther room (where I spent a fair amount of time overnight just to be by myself, away from the demands and intrusions of the various animals).
I ended up spending some of the night in the Gunther room again tonight and having the worst nightsweats I'd had since Friday morning.
The sickbed today. Note the plastic grapefruit jars. The blue one between me and Ramona is for phlegm. Click to enlarge.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next