As the holiday season descends upon us, wait, it’s already here. Shit.
The holidays are a perfect storm of consumerism, love, company mandated parties, family, illness, and Hallmark peddling another poorly written “Christmas” special. On a good year, these elements gel to become a celebration of Christmas/Hannakah/Kwanza/what have you. Other years, it feels like an obstacle course.
Thanksgiving, the first film in the holiday trifecta that is followed with December-religious-holiday-of-choice and New Year’s Day, is always my favorite. Great food is a given. But my fondest memories are of a day surrounded by tons of family and devoting a day to simply enjoying each other’s company. Each year becomes more strenuous with families growing together and smart phones keeping everyone out of the moment. But this year, my thanksgiving was all alone.
Only a scant two days after the football game I mention in my last post, I came down with what the British call “bit of a cough.” Being proactive, I rushed home to bed down sure it was a 24-hour bug of sorts. Normally I had received a flu shot by now, but life had constantly made other plans.
After an evening of respite, I arose with enough health to make it to the bathroom. As I struggled to get through breakfast, and more importantly fathoming work, I came to realization I was incapable of performing my duties. Having a throat sore was one thing, but needing to cough as a form of punctuation wasn’t acceptable. At this point, it was the Tuesday before my beloved holiday. The plan was to arrive in town Wednesday and reconnect with some other family before the big feast Thursday. And of course, celebrate Black Friday, if only I could do so around my normal shift. All of that went to shit.
After a torturous day of Netflix, coughing, TV shows, coughing, and napping, Wednesday rolled around in a manner reminiscent of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. It felt like the day reset. My health and overall ability to function had improved an imperceptible amount. None the less, I trudged to work to appeal to my supervisor as to how to address another day of stagnant productivity.
It was decided to rest up, and with the help of my mother, coordinated to remove myself from all holiday proceedings.
The urgent care clinic I managed to get to diagnosed me with walking pneumonia, a mild case of actual pneumonia (the diet coke of such a thing). Having never had pneumonia, and disappointed it wasn’t a zombie virus like it sounded, I resigned to remaining in the spare bedroom of my apartment all week.
Despite the inability to talk, I tried to make the best of it. Ever the avid filmbuff and desperately devoted to Netflix, I managed to eliminate entry after entry from my queue and supplement with my own collection. Though the accomplishment of seemingly catching up on my movies and TV shows, I still felt lost. My family and my fiance’s family were celebrating love and turkey and all the stuffing. Me, I was merely trying to rebuild as quickly as possible.
Though the concept of a makeshift Turkey day redux was broached, I realized the execution would always be lacking. The turkey wasn’t wafting through the house all day. Generations of family weren’t arguing politics and inserting terrible puns into conversations. The day had come and gone. I had to sit out Thanksgiving.
Now this is not to say that I haven’t been ill on a major holiday before. My kindergarten Christmas break was me versus chicken pox, flu, and two black eyes. My little body was constantly searching for adventure, and my raccoon eyes where the latest memento of it. Being sick was never a struggle for me. Having my mother, who works in the medical field, kept me one step ahead. She has always been my personal WebMD when I need it.
Checking pneumonia off my list of things to experience in life, I look now to get myself back in the fit shape I was before being sidelined. With Christmas celebrations coming up, I look forward to spending it with loved ones. With luck sickness will take its time coming back to my doorstep.