Tag Archives: sick

Be still, Cody.

My sister-common-law (because my brother loves her and therefore, so do I, married or not) is in love with Jeff Goldblum. It’s cool to say that here because (1) it’s hilarious to me and (2) my brother is the one who told me about the celeb crush, so it’s not like it’s a secret or anything. Plus, I can totally get on board with the hotness of Jeff Goldblum– turns out, not only is he a fabulous actor in a million and one good movies, but he’s also a crazy amazing jazz piano player. Look it up. Good stuff.

Source: Ummm... Steph's favorite?
Source: Ummm… Steph’s favorite?

One of my favorite Jeff Goldblum characters (besides the “must… go… faster!!!!” Dr. Ian Malcom in Jurassic Park) is Alistair Hennessey in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. He makes me laugh so hard… especially when he meet’s Cody, the dog, asks his name, and then instantly smacks him on the nose with a newspaper and says, super seriously, “Be still, Cody.” Even though Cody was already being totally still and well-behaved. It’s just so ridiculous.

Alistair Hennessey {Source}
Alistair Hennessey {Source}

And I thought about that two Fridays ago while I was home sick from work with a fever and ridiculous cough (I told you, Satan moved into my chest and was not about to leave) and spent the day watching Wes Anderson movies (!!) on the couch while texting my brother and sister. I thought about it because “Be still, Cody.” was going to be the name of my next blog post. My next someday blog post. Which ended up being a really long time away. Yet, here we are. Finally!

Impossible to not think about how much I love my sibs during this one.
Impossible to not think about how much I love my sibs during this one.

I really did get real sick. Don’t worry though, I say that with complete perspective realizing that it’s not like I was diagnosed with cancer or ebola or something real serious. I just mean that I got knocked on my butt by a nasty virus. For two solid weeks. Also by some opportunistic bacteria that took residence in my ears and caused a double ear infection on top of the viral crud. Any amount of walking (and I seriously mean any… like even walking-to-a-meeting-down-the-hall any) caused an unstoppable coughing jag, complete with gasping for breath and tears running down my cheeks and the whole nine yards, and it was two full weeks of that. I couldn’t do anything. I had to be still.

Curly would snuggle a bit, but didn't love the coughing. Can't really blame her. It was obnoxious.
Curly would snuggle a bit, but didn’t love the coughing. Can’t really blame her. It was obnoxious.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally love a little stillness in my life. I love to lounge around and read books without moving for long glorious periods of time. So long as it’s a choice, though. Because as the kitchen rapidly deteriorated and my diet of all cereal all the time became totally boring and the laundry piled up and Curly wasn’t getting walks and, and, and… the stillness got to be really out of control. But the fact of the matter is, I did not have a choice. So stillness it was. For two weeks. No cleaning, no blogging, no yard work, no cooking… just to and from work (also the urgent care), to and from bed (or the couch or the floor, I wasn’t picky for a minute there), to and from Walgreen’s (because I went through three boxes of Mucinex), and to and from coughing fits. Blech.

During the second week of my cold, Seth was in Miami. And as the dishes and laundry and cough drop wrappers piled up, I felt guiltier and guiltier. I really didn’t want him to come home to that mess. The evidence of my laziness.

Except, he told me on the phone, between coughing spells, that he really didn’t care. He was just glad to be coming home. To be with me and our pup. To sleep in his own bed (on which I promised to at the very least put new sheets). He really didn’t care. I was sick and I did what I had to do.

And what I had to do, for two weeks, was be still.

Like getting whacked on the nose with a newspaper, my cold made me practice some serious stillness. I did not love it.

Interestingly, at the same time I was coming down with this cold, I was also starting a local mindfulness class with my friend Emily. And although I missed a week (on account of the coughing), I am learning and thinking about how important some intentional stillness can be on a daily basis. There I am realizing just how hard true intentional stillness can really be. Different from the stillness associated with relaxing with a book on the couch, where my mind is anything but still. But true, mind, body, and soul stillness. If only I could have thought about that and given myself some of those blissful, yet challenging, minutes while I was sick.

For me, what it takes to be still is conditional. When I was sick, it was the cough initially, but ultimately the notion of just letting it going– recognizing my limitations, being patient with my lungs and my ears and my throat. In a moment of mindfulness, it’s a deep breath in and a deep breath out, sometimes a mantra (God is good… Always… Always… Always…). In moments of fury, it’s a relaxed conversation about something else that brings me to a place of good humor (that sentence is about this morning, 5 minutes chatting with Marie and I’m always better). Whatever the cue though, there is definitely something to be said for being still. Letting the rest go.

Even more to be said for not coughing. Thank goodness that’s over.

But most of all, this:

Ha! What do you think -- Tom? Steph? {Source}
Ha! What do you think — Tom? Steph? {Source}

A Prayer for My Little Sister

Today… for the past week… I have felt terrible for my poor sister. She is so so so sick. Just miserable. And today she appears to have contracted a stomach bug on top of the back/abdominal pain she’s been experiencing since giving birth 8 months ago plus the sinus infection she was diagnosed with last week. She called me, sobbing, and it broke my heart because there was not a thing I could do. I sent her to the ER via my brother-in-law (thank goodness for him– he’s amazing), and I listened while she cried, but that was about it. My poor sweet sister. I wish so much that there were something I could do!

“It is through prayer… that one will be given the most powerful light to see God and self.” –Angela of Foligno

Is prayer, for my sweet sister, perhaps something I can do?

“‘To see God’ is to care very little about anything lesser. But in prayer I see my own littleness most clearly. I know how cowardly I really am. My voice is but one drop of water in an ocean of oppression. It will not change the ocean. But it may put it in need of explaining the injustice it can no longer hide, perhaps. I cannot not speak what my heart knows to be true.” –Joan Chittister

Here’s what I know to be true: my sister is hurting and she needs me. I cannot do anything for her physically, but I can send her my love. I can throw out a prayer or two. I can ask God, the Creator, maker of heaven and earth, all the Angels and Saints, to wrap my sister in love, love, love. To give her comfort and peace. To let her rest and to take away her worry.

We are so small in the grand scheme of things, like Joan says… in the world, the universe, all of it. And this exceptionally rough time for my sweet sister will pass. But it most certainly does not feel small to her right now. Her whole world right now is pain and discomfort and worry and uncertainty. So my prayer this evening is for her, to know that I love her, that we all love her, that God loves her, that she is going to feel better in the blink of an eye and this will all be a vague memory of struggle, something that Abby and Stu and their sweet little family made it through, allowing them to look back on their strength.


Clap for the Clap!

Ladies and gentlemen, the plague is upon us.

It’s upon me anyway.

I haven’t been sick in a while, I suppose I was due. But my goodness– this cold is miserable! Trying to keep a little perspective, though. Thank goodness for drugs (better living through chemistry!) and the snuggles of my sweet pup. I have a feeling I’ll be on the mend in short order and all will be well by the weekend.

It better be, anyway! Because I’ve got PLANS! Book club on Saturday night… Wes Anderson movie marathon on Sunday. I’m pumped about both– so sickness be gone!

So. Are you ready for a forced and awkward segue? Good!

Sickness… diseases… bacteria… bacterial STDs… I studied bacterial STDs in grad school…

And we’re there.

Some seriously good news on the gonorrhea/chlamydia forefront last week!! My old boss emailed to let me know that my coinfection model has been repeated. And not just once, but TWICE. Once in another strain of mice (in case you’re “in the know”… I did it originally in BALB/c mice, another graduate student just did it in C57/Bl6) and once by another group up in Boston (total burn moment for the drunk PIs who tormented me at my poster in Banff– mwuahahaahaha!!). Both repeated my entire first paper– demonstrated coinfection with gonorrhea and chlamydia in female mice (which is ridiculously and unfortunately common in female humans) and increased levels of gonorrhea in mice that are coinfected with chlamydia (which incidentally, has also been shown in women since I graduated… word).

So, all that’s good news… but the really exciting thing to me is that while I was in grad school, I found the freaking mechanism. I did flow cytometry, I made beautiful figures, I wrote a paper and planned to submit it to PNAS (it’s a big deal), but since I graduated in 2011, that lovely piece of work has sat there in my dissertation on a shelf. HOWEVER, now that others have repeated the findings from my original manuscript, my grad advisor feels comfortable getting this second one out there. YESSSSSSS!!!!!

Gonorrhea’s pretty exciting, huh? Better than whatever virus is hanging out in my sinuses at the moment, anyway.

So let’s celebrate– and CLAP for the CLAP!


(Clap = gonorrhea. But I’m sure you already knew that.)