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MARTHA SEZ: What happens when a columnist gets pneumonia?

March 16, 2012
MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

It was bound to happen eventually: I ran out of elderberry cordial, and now I have pneumonia.

In September I make elderberry syrup, which I mix with French raspberry brandy, as a preservative. At the first sign of a virus I drink a shot glassful of cordial, and everything is fine. Unfortunately, this year the cordial ran out before February did.

The cats, Jupiter and Orangey, are offended by my wheezing, and run away, ostensibly terrified, when I cough.

Since I am supposed to rest, in order to get well faster-I certainly don't want to inconvenience the cats any longer than necessary-I will fill in here with an excerpt from "Martha Sez February 28, 2003," which is surprisingly apt.

I have been lying on my sofa, felled by the flu, for the last several days. It's odd, because I was taking care of myself.

For example, for the first time ever, I answered an e-mail chain letter. It promised good luck in four days, if I sent it to five people within five minutes after I opened it. Maybe I didn't send it fast enough.

It is only now I am able to arise, tie the sash on my dressing gown, and begin to float languidly around the house looking for the cough medicine. I am at the stage where I can make tea and butter toast, if nothing distracts me. Something probably will, though.

It might actually have been the common cold that laid me low, and not influenza. I get a cold every winter, and every time I am amazed how horrid it is. If I say I have a cold, people might not understand the true nature of my symptoms. They might say, "Oh, she just has a cold," as in the common cold, which would be missing the whole point. So I call it influenza, for clarity.

I must say time passed quickly on the sofa, though, and It wasn't really so bad as long as I didn't try to move my head. I kept the remote balanced on my stomach and thought I was watching television, but really I was just riffing endlessly back and forth through fever dreams.

In these dreams, which seemed to go on and on for days, Michael Jackson poured out his heart to some weasly dude named Basher, and national newscasters on prime time network TV discussed the dates of people they didn't know with names like Joe Millionaire and Triskit. Nothing ever seemed to happen on their dates.

Interspersed with Jackson and Basher and these much discussed dates were serious warnings about fat. Are you fat? Are you too fat? Your child is fat your child is too fat too, fat , fat , fat.

While not actually nightmares, the dreams were disturbing enough that I'm glad all I had was the flu. Oh, all right, a cold. Whatever. Can you imagine what malarial fever dreams would be like?

I didn't see any robins in the yard last week, but there was this yellow plastic bag scooting around on top of the snow. Talk about disturbing!

When the bag first caught my eye, it was over in the yard next door. Then, as I watched, it swelled with wind and headed straight for my window at an astonishing rate of speed. It was possessed. Don't tell me it was just any grocery bag.

"Keep back!" I commanded, finger poised above the remote to blast it to kingdom come. Only, in my weakened condition, I couldn't think what button to push. It was enough, though. The cowardly bag made a 90 degree turn, zipped behind the apple tree and disappeared from the window frame. It's good the bag understood telepathy, because my throat was so sore I could scarcely make myself heard.

My friend Devon gave me a book to keep me company during my illness, "The Utter Zoo Alphabet" by Edward Gorey. So nice, but again, a little disturbing:

The Scrug's extremely nasty-looking

And is unusable for cooking

The Fidknop is devoid of feeling;

It drifts about beneath the ceiling.

Kind of like that bag, back now, hovering just at the edge of my peripheral vision. I wish someone would come along and stomp it.

Alas, this virus has fried my brain. I hope you don't get it.

Just in case you do, don't worry. None of that stuff is real. Just close your eyes and try to get some rest.

Have a good week.



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