It was much worse than it sounded and it sounded REALLY bad

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As my three imaginary readers know, I have a thing for how-to books. I especially have a soft spot for my Time/Life A – Z Medical Encyclopaedia (It’s alternate title may as well have been: How To Diagnose Yourself With A Bewildering Array Of Alarming Illnesses Without Any Assistance From A Medical Professional.)

I consult it daily, and according to it (and Dr. Google) I suffer from everything under the sun. Except hypochondria.

But when I’m seriously ill/injured, I go into prompt denial.

An example: Years ago, when I still lived in that distant land of stars and bars, I burned myself. I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say it was a grooming experiment gone horribly awry, involving my extremely sensitive (and - it needs to be said, because oh, the irony - hairless) upper inner arm extended towards a microwave oven unwisely situated on top of a refrigerator, and a pot of scalding hair removal wax.

My brain, never renowned for displays of particular logic, somehow didn’t compute that a pot of wax, when heated in the microwave for 10 minutes instead of the recommended 10 seconds (another malfunction of above-mentioned brain) would be entirely liquefied (like water, really), and not the thick molasses which refused to spill from the pot when the pot was tilted or even daringly dangled upside down before it went into the microwave oven. Therefore that brain didn’t register that the wax, when removed quickly from said microwave oven and then dropped from that height, would liberally spill onto upper arm and some other unfortunate body parts that happened to be in the path of its rapid descent to earth and inflict serious second and, in some places, even third degree burns.

I spent the rest of that night and almost the rest of the day in a state of delirium and torturous pain. When the boy finally coaxed me into a coat (it was February in the Northern Hemisphere) and into the Emergency Room, the horrified nurses and doctor all had one refrain: “Why didn’t you immediately call 911?”

This was in 2002. I still have several nasty scars as a reminder of my bravery stupidity.

Forward to late August 2008. I begin to cough. It is annoying and increasingly painful, but I studiously ignore it by turning up the jazz station on my radio.

Days go by. Then weeks. Instead of diminishing, the cough gets worse. People begin to dive for cover whenever I hack.

Finally, last week Tuesday, five weeks after the Commencement of the Coughing of '08, I drag my sorry carcass off to the doctor.

“Urghhhh *cough cough COUGH* arrrgh oorgh,” I wheezed and sputtered in response to her question of what she could do for me.

“Don’t speak!” she immediately ordered (and the whole of Stellenbosch, I suspect, heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing the likes of me receiving that command).

After a thorough examination involving a stethoscope, microscope and even my horoscope, she diagnosed me with pneumonia!

PNEUMONIA! As if I’m a delicate, fragile heroine in a Jane Austin novel!

I was one sheepskin slippered foot away from being hospitalised, but since I’m a poverty-stricken writer, the bug-infested state hospital would have been my only option.

“You’ll die there.” My sister solemnly declared.

I demanded a second opinion, but she told me to shut it (do you notice the running theme?) and put me to bed at her house, which is where I’ve been ever since, taking hundreds of pills (and never mind horse pills, these things were the size of actual ponies) and putting the moan in pneumonia.

*While I wheeze, sputter and cough my way to recovery (which seems to be taking its sweet time, just like the indefinitely delayed arrival of spring here in the Cape Town area), some pimping of and campaigning on behalf of my friends are in order: Redsaid’s very own resident web goddess (she’s had no choice in the matter), the lovely Dee, is taking part of a photography contest. Her contribution, a stunning micro-close-up of a weird but gorgeous Australian plant, is up on this site and she needs all of our votes to win some cool Canon gear. Go read this entry on her blog to see the pic that needs to be voted on and to find out exactly what needs to be done, but PLEASE come through for her?

Then, other loyal friend SilverSabre has been designing cool and clever t-shirts for SpringLeap’s monthly t-shirt design contest. Please visit his page here and vote on his designs? He could make some money! And really, that’s something we all need a little more of these days, isn’t it?


Po said:

I did the same thing when I had bronchitus, went into denial until I was hurling bits of lung. Lovely.

Am I imaginary? I am having an identity crisis right now and have secretly suspected this all along :)

Deeleea Author Profile Page said:

I did a little bit of self-serving stomping around in the post above... only because it gives me such a good rap!! Tidied up the code so that all the lovely links work.

Word really doesn't play friendly with html...

Beerslinger said:

I often confuse bravery and stupidity. I'm convinced they are of the same species.

hey... have been meaning to email you but keep being distracted by literally hundreds of students literally shouting at me literally all the time... ok maybe not so literally.

Glad you felt well enough to drag yourself to a keyboard. I hope you are recovering, but I have kept a stash of smelling salts and leeches close by if you need them!

The Dumpee said:

Crazy. Hope you get better soon. Then get medical!

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • The Dumpee : Crazy. Hope you get better soon. Then get medical!... [go]
  • Aunty Helpful Dictator : hey... have been meaning to email you but keep being distracted by literally hundreds of students li... [go]
  • Beerslinger : I often confuse bravery and stupidity. I'm convinced they are of the same species.... [go]
  • Deeleea Author Profile Page: I did a little bit of self-serving stomping around in the post above... only because it gives me suc... [go]
  • Po : I did the same thing when I had bronchitus, went into denial until I was hurling bits of lung. Lovel... [go]
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