Life never turns out quite the way we plan

Basset hound with big blue water bottle on its head.

Wish I looked this cute when I was sick.

I’ve already messed up my plan for a healthy June. At the end of my limpy vacation, I came down with a fever, with no symptoms other than feeling crummy. I didn’t even get the benefit of an appetite loss to help me lose that vacation weight. Just aches and pains and exhaustion. Following a slow and spacey walk, I spent the last afternoon at our hotel, sleeping through Food Network repeats.

How did I know I had a fever? Other than those typical aches and pains, I pulled out my handy travel thermometer. Yes, I keep a thermometer in my travel bag for just such occasions. Call me a hypochondriac, but I trust you’ll regret that once I explain.

We’ve all gotten fevers. They go up and then they come down. I used to be fairly nonchalant about a fever until the darn leukemia thing. A major instructional point in Cancer 101 is that fevers are cause for concern. We cancerous folk are supposed to walk that fever straight to the hospital to rule out a more serious infection. Blood disorders and/or chemotherapy can do a number on previously well-functioning immune systems, without which the body is sunk. At that point, you don’t even have to pick something up from someone else; you can just make yourself sick. I can tell you all about it since this scary lack of immunity kept me in the ICU for a stretch. Actually, ask J.; I was pretty out of it at that point.

So you can rescind the “hypochondriac” label now. I know you feel bad.

Why did I get the fever and why did it spike so high? Who knows. I could have picked up a bug or eaten something bad or suppressed my immune system with my gout treatment or chemo or whatever. Does it really matter? All that matters is that that fever wrecked our planned anniversary dinner–the one thing J. really wanted to do while we were away–and killed that last gorgeous Vancouver day. It meant that we spent the day, during my wakeful periods, discussing whether we should fly home early or visit the hospital that was fortuitously two buildings away. J. and I have had these discussions through other vacation fevers before and we’ll likely have them again.

In the end, I disobeyed Cancer 101. (Please don’t do what I do, EVER.) I just stayed in bed and hoped that the fever would break, and it did, 48 hours later. We took a cab to the airport since I wasn’t up to Vancouver’s excellent public transit, and we flew home. All evening, J. ran around like a chicken with her head cut off, doing laundry and cooking dinner and tidying the house, knowing she had to go to work the next day, while I watched from the couch. As if she hadn’t done enough for us over the past gouty month.

When my mood tanked upon realizing I’d already blown my June goal, J. reminded me that we can’t control what happens; we can only control how we deal with events. I’ve clearly got work to do.

Thank goodness someone around here has perspective. And I’m the psychologist?

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