Saturday, January 9, 2016

Pushing luck

"The moral of this story, it's simple but it's true,
Hey the stars might lie but the numbers never do."

New Years Day and Day Eight of my head cold or upper respiratory infection or just plain crud.

Sinc I woke up on Christmas Eve with a sharply sore throat, I've suffered the slings and arrows of nonstop coughing, bouts of sneezing, bouts of congestion, shortness of breath and the sinus headache from hell. I've slept an average of 12 hours a day, gone through a box and a half of Kleenex, and coughed up gallons of bilious green gunk.

I'm not a good patient. You've probably gotten that. I don't get sick often, so my immune system is doing something, but when I do get sick, I have a hell of a time getting better. Neil woke up with a sore throat the same day I did but he had a normal week, doing the things he usually does. I moved between bed and sofa and back.

I did put in about 6 hours of torching because after a year hiatus Beads of Courage asked me to make 100 pairs of carry beads. A custom order while sales have been slow was a needed boost. My head has been so brick-like that I struggled through even simple designs and had trouble with sizing my pairs to match. So I have a few for the orphan bowl, but I'm at least half done.

I might even be able to mail them before we leave for Florida, although I might wait until we get back since it's a short trip.

Other than a little torch time and a few Facebook auctions, I did very little. I wanted to try Neil's strategy for cold recovery. Let my white blood cells fight it out and conquer the invading aliens. I specifically avoided ibuprofen and acetaminophen to give my paltry 100.5 fever a change to roast those viral buggers. But I could not seem to feel any better.

I've done the reading, I know that colds are caused by viruses and that viruses are not responsive to antibiotics. I know that just because you are hacking up green glue does not mean there is a secondary bacterial infection.

And I also know that I've never yet recovered from a severe cold without antibiotics.

So finally, yesterday, I called my doctor and asked for a prescription. I'm so lucky. I may have the last of the old fashioned doctors who respects a patients ability to describe her own symptoms and doesn't make her drive 90 miles round trip to say "ahh". Last night I started a 5 day round of cipro and another scrip for cough suppression. Today is the first day I feel real improvement.

I might have continued the experiment of self-recovery, instead of adding my bit to the advance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I do see antibiotic overuse as a real problem with serious potential consequences. But I'm flying on Wednesday. That's just five days away.

I'm terrified about flying with a head cold. I've had a couple of very bad experiences, including a hemorrhage in my ear and an emergency room visit for a brain tumor that turned out to be an acute sinus infection.

The last time I had a cold that I couldn't shake was in 2012. I came down with it the day we got home from our great Amtrak adventure-disaster. I took that cold on a trip to the east coast about a week later and felt wretched the whole time. The day after I got back I drove the 90 mile round trip to get a scrip for antibiotics.

I figure, if I get a cold bad enough to need antibiotics every three to four years, I'm probably not contributing criminally to the growing army of antibiotic-resistant pestilence. But at some point I stop caring. I've been sick enough, long enough, and I'm over it. Give me drugs. Make me better.

Dum dum dum.

So here I will breach some probable unwritten code of blogger ettiquette, because it's now January 10. I'm over my cold. I'm even over our trip to Florida. And I failed to publish what I've written, but I kind of like it so I'm just going to keep going from here and finish this post.

Florida was a blur, mostly in a good way, just action packed. We left on Jan. 6, landed in Orlando and immediately drove to Tampa for the annual coin show that Neil loves to attend every year. The only objective that day was for Neil to view 5 boxes of coins that were going to be auctioned, so he could decide whether and what to bid.

On the way we stopped at Denny's. I don't dislike Denny's but I have a terrible track record of experiences there and this outing was no exception. I wanted something light so I ordered the club sandwich with "no bacon, please." I also ordered a rasberry lemonade and asked to have it in a to-go cup.

The waitress brought our drinks and mine was in a glass. I reminded her that I'd requested a to-go cup and she apologized in a laconic way, took it away and brought it back in a to-go cup. It actually crossed my mind to remind her about the "no bacon." I didn't and naturally she served my sandwich and it had bacon. I said, I asked for no bacon. She said, "oh, did they put bacon on it?" Well, um, yes, just look at it.

As she took the sandwich away, I commented that you really can't just take the bacon off a sandwich. As much as I dislike waste, I don't eat pork and bacon permeates. She said she'd have it remade and it seemed all was well. But then another employee, maybe the short-order cook, brought the sandwich - with bacon - and an attitude - back to the table.

In an angry way, she told me she was leaving the sandwich on the table so that I'd know they were making me a fresh one. I said, I didn't doubt it but she spewed more words, essentially repeating the message as though I were a slow second grader. Then she left. Our waitress came by to check on Neil's food and I asked her to remove the offending sandwich.

I'm not sure why I had become the bad guy, why I'd been made to feel somehow that I was the person who had screwed up. The replacement sandwich was delivered and delicious, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth.

We got the bill and took it to the register to check out. The woman manning the register at that moment asked how everything was. I said fine, except for the bacon on my sandwich and the lecture I got for asking for the sandwich to be remade. She asked for details and was properly horrified. She immediately removed the sandwich from our bill, which was nice but not necessary. She asked me for details on exactly who spoke to me. I said I didn't want anyone to be in trouble and left it there.

And off we went to the Tampa Convention Center, where I read in the lobby while Neil looked at coins.

I'll recap the rest of the Florida trip in another post - I'm sure you're on tenterhooks - all will be revealed in time.

I do have one more story now, and it's a bead story. You knew I couldn't get through a post without one.

Last Sunday, before the trip, I dropped off 4 padded kraft envelopes of purchased beads in the drive-up mailbox in Old Sugarland. On Monday I went by to drop off two more and found the mailbox taped closed.

So I parked and went inside and stood in line and asked why the mailbox was taped up. The postal worker said, it was burglarized last night. I asked a lot of questions, mainly about the packages I'd dropped in the box the night before. The employee said he couldn't give me any information, that an investigation was underway, that they'd catch the culprits (right, sure) and that he wouldn't hold out much hope for anything I'd mailed the night before.

I went home and sure enough the tracking information said this.
The U.S. Postal Service was electronically notified by the shipper on January 3, 2016 to expect your package for mailing. This does not indicate receipt by the USPS or the actual mailing date. Delivery status information will be provided if/when available.
It said that on Tuesday too. $120 worth of beads (plus postage) gone poof.

I decided to wait until we got home from Florida to deal with it. Just in case.

This turned out to be a reasonably good decision. Because although three of the packages had no changes to the tracking information, one showed that it had been "Accepted at USPS Origin Sort Facility" on January 6 and "Delivered, In/At Mailbox" on January 9.

Better yet, it was the most valuable of the packages, with $48 worth of beads.

I did let the other three parties know the situation. Each of them agreed to give it a little more time.

I'm planning to remake one set of beads, maybe two. If the originals show up in the system by Monday, I can sell the duplicates. The other three beads would be harder to replicate, so I'll offer a refund or a credit toward a different bead.

But you know, I'm hopeful. Optimistic. Hell, I'm lucky. It's a fact. Denny's be damned.

These are the beads that disappeared in the night.

"Well I woke up this morning, stumbled out of my rack
I opened up the paper to the page in the back
It only took a minute for my finger to find
My daily dose of destiny under my sign
My eyes just about popped out of my head
It said "the stars are stacked against you girl, get back in bed"

I feel lucky, I feel lucky, yeah
No Professor Doom gonna stand in my way
Mmmmm, I feel lucky today

Well I strolled down to the corner, gave my numbers to the clerk
The pot's eleven million so I called in sick to work
I bought a pack of Camels, a burrito and a Barqs
Crossed against the light, made a beeline for the park
The sky began to thunder, wind began to moan
I heard a voice above me saying, "girl, you better get back home"

But I feel lucky, oh oh oh, I feel lucky, yeah
No tropical depression gonna steal my sun away
Mmmmm, I feel lucky today

Now eleven million later, I was sitting at the bar
I bought the house a double and the waitress a new car
Dwight Yoakam's in the corner trying to catch my eye
Lyle Lovett's right beside me with his hand upon my thigh
The moral of this story, it's simple but it's true
Hey the stars might lie but the numbers never do

I feel lucky, oh oh oh, I feel lucky, yeah
Hey Dwight, hey Lyle, boys, you don't have to fight
Hot dog, I'm feeling lucky tonight

I feel lucky, grrrrr, I feel lucky, yeah
Think I'll flip a coin, I'm a winner either way
Mmmmmm, I feel lucky today."

(Mary Chapin Carpenter)

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