>Viral but Virile

24 May

>I should be preparing for a big meeting tomorrow, but no. Why get work done when there are oh-so many options available for procrastination?

First up, let me address West Nile Virus. It’s a serious disease. One bite from the wrong insect and you die. (Or sort of.) I am the exception to that. Four years ago I was sitting outside, licking my wounds after a particularly brutal critique of my writing — drinking wine, whining to the hubby, and minding my own business when WHAM! Damn mosquito. A lot of my Boulder friends protested and said that it “HAD to have happened during the Wyoming camping trip.” That’s just self-preservation, people. It happened —TO ME — right in my own backyard. And I’m not even one of those particularly delectable types that gets singled out by the aforementioned insect…so there.

Bottom line is, I was feeling particularly vulnerable at that moment and the damned thing sensed it and attacked. I didn’t even know until three days later when I had flu aches/dizziness and then got a belly rash. The hubby, who always remains calm in the face of anything (I do check his pulse regularly), freaked. His eyes flew open into large-saucer-size as he reached for the phone. “You’re going to the doctor. NOW.” (He NEVER speaks in capital letters, so I knew he was serious.)

I should also explain that this was back when the virus had not struck many and was mostly honing in on eliminating the weak and infirm. Which I wasn’t. So the doctor thought I had rubella. German measles. Like someone from King Arthur’s freakin’ court or something. But I knew not since I had been vaccinated. Next I hear them conferring in the hallway, “It could be HIV. We should test for that.” I’m thinking, oh my god, poor dude in the next room. Has the Big A. Then they open MY door and walk in. Sh**. And the questions start: “Is it possible that you have HIV?” “No! I’ve been married for almost 10 years!” “Well is it possible that your husband could have contracted it OUTSIDE of the marriage?” “So, wait, are you telling me that you think I have AIDS and that my husband is cheating on me?” “Possibly. But mostly we’re telling you that you have West Nile Virus and that just doesn’t happen to people who aren’t immuno-suppressed.”

By the time I left there, tracked down the hubby and Miss 6 (Miss 2 at the time) at the park, I was having a hard time breathing through sobs. Once the hubby had a moment to process it all, he let me know — in no uncertain terms — that he had been 100% faithful. And then, “West Nile Virus? What the hell?” Now breathing normally again, I went on to explain that in between the shock and awe campaign waged by the good doc and his staff, they had made it clear that I was to severely limit my activity level. They knew better than to suggest that I miss James Taylor at Red Rocks that night, but other than that I would be limited to ONE BIG THING per day — like walking to the kitchen — and that was it. Otherwise, my mild-ish form could turn worse and I’d die. And since we had officially ruled out AIDS as the cause, I was hoping to have a go at living a bit longer. So we stocked up on books and the hubby manned the girlie while I stayed in bed. For THREE WEEKS. I was officially Typhoid Mary. And it was freakish.

It was so long ago now that I barely remember it all. Except on rainy days like today when the tricky ‘West Nile Finger’ starts to ache. Then I go, Oh Yea. But just that one lonely digit is my reminder of what could have been. That and the phone calls I keep getting from researchers. First came the CDC. Then there was some local group. Now, for what’s been well over a year, it’s the University of Texas at San Antonio. They started calling before I even knew I was pregnant and after various missteps and missed messages, I’m eight months post-partum and they were JUST coming to do the blood draw today. The nurse called to confirm and to make sure I had the kit they sent — OVER A YEAR AGO. Who the hell keeps stuff like that just lying around for years on end? Am I right? So the lab was called off while they send another one. By the time it’s all said and done, my blog will have been picked up by a big publisher and I’ll have my life running on the big screen across the U.S. (and I will have had to move to either Manhattan or Hollywood to be closer to the powers that be.) Seriously, the odds for completing this test appear to be about the same as for either of those scenarios ever happening…

And now I am watching more lightning out of my window — this after the house around the corner was struck on Monday. Last week a bear was prowling the neighborhood and before that was the mountain lion pack that had Miss 6’s school on lockdown. The b-partner says, “Just add in the endless feet of snow that never got cleared off of your street this winter and it’s starting to look like you need to move to the mountains just to get away from it all!” She has a point. And the people who live up there actually CHOOSE that life.

I am nearly bursting with pride. Miss 6 won the Principal’s Award this week for “the lovely and thoughtful way she tells us about her life in her writing.” I wonder if I should just let her take over the blog. Call it a day. Then when those book and movie deals come pouring in, she can quit school and do the book tour while I stay home and savor the quiet. (Okay, that really was a joke.)

So from pride to pissed, I also have to mention that one of Miss 6’s best friends (italics used for sarcasm) told her, “Tell your mom that I said if you wear your Crocs again, I am going to kill you.” How’s that for getting an education. I said, “You tell HER that your mom said YOU will wear whatever you WANT to wear.” That’s after I told Miss 6 that I had sent an e-mail to the police. (I didn’t.) I admit to not really knowing what to do. I thought I had at least until middle school before Mean Girls happened.

Lions and tigers and bears and bullies and lightning and mosquitos…oh my!

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Hey There Delilah. Plain White T’s. 1000 miles seems pretty far, but they’ve got planes and trains and cars.


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