The Travails of Being an Old Fart, Part 1

This being sick stuff really sucks. It’s robbing me of days I can never get back.

I’m almost 58 years old, and this is the very first time I’ve missed more than a day or two of work for being sick. I missed some time for two hernia surgeries in the nineties, a whole summer for the birth of my daughter, and last summer I was out two months with a broken hand. But this is the first time I’ve been out for an extended time just for being plain sick.

It’s a humbling experience.

Welcome to the rest of your life, boy. You’re old now. Best get used to it. Getting old is an irreversible process, or so I’ve heard.

I now know that I’ve had pneumonia for close to a month. I didn’t know then what the symptoms meant, but now I do. I was walking around with pneumonia. Then I got the flu, or perhaps it was just the pneumonia spiking on me, but either way I lost the ability to achieve verticality for a few days. When that passed, I went to the doctor, and that’s when I learned I had pneumonia.

Now I’m on some pretty jumped-up antibiotics, and we won’t talk about what they’re doing my digestive system, but let’s just say it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

The coughing never stops. I’ve heard it could go on for weeks or even months, and that scares me. I need to be the exception to that rule. I can only communicate in single syllables, because if I make a mistake and utter two syllables, the second one starts me coughing again.

Sometimes (usually), a particularly brutal fit of coughing causes my body to instinctively hurl a curse word into the air at its end. If I make a mistake and use a two-syllable curse word, it immediately propels me into another coughing jag.

I learned quickly. I now confine myself to single-syllable curse words when I cough, and you know the one I’m talking about. Don’t judge me. It makes me feel better. There’s no one here to be offended, except the dogs, and to be honest, the dogs are used to it. However, sometimes I feel like all those little f-bombs are still here, floating around the house like little helium balloons trapped against the ceiling. Maybe every time I open the door to let the dogs out, a few f-bombs slip out into the world to entertain someone else. God maybe, although I doubt he’d be amused at my prolific profanity.

I dare him to say something about it, though. If he does, I’ve got my comeback ready. “See here, Big Dude, YOU try pneumonia for a few days and see how YOU like it. Then we’ll talk.”


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