Hindsight is always so much smarter. I now know I was really too sick to spend the weekend flying to and from Atlanta to hang out with some of the best friends I will ever have. It was difficult for me and not fair to them as I coughed and coughed, trying to contain every germ that flew out of my mouth.
Looking back about 45 years I remembered another weekend when I was sick but chose to ignore it and go on with my plans. I was a senior in high school, almost invincible and certainly defiant. Several of those same friends I saw in Atlanta and I had been invited to travel to Gainesville to see our high school football team play in some state-level game, followed by a game at FSU the next night. I came down with something having similar symptoms the day before we were to leave. My mother, knowing she would have a hard time talking me out of going, hauled me in to see the doctor, who prescribed cough medicine and antibiotics for what was a viral infection. Armed with my meds, I took off on my whirlwind weekend, kept alert only by the caffeine of the Excedrin I was freely popping. By the time I was walking back to the FSU dorm where I was staying after the game, I felt the virus suddenly leave me and I was fine.
I suppose that was my hope when I decided to go on Friday. The fever I had early in the day made me delay, but the Aleve I had taken caused me to think I was well enough to go. And so I did.
Everyone was so welcoming and encouraging as we did our pretend hugs at a distance. People made me tea. They let me take a nap while they went off to have fun. It was incredibly difficult to keep myself out of the kitchen while they were cooking dinner. I knew that germs in the kitchen were never a good thing.
I waited patiently for the virus to leave my body as it had 45 years ago, but this one wouldn’t budge. We made our goodbyes, vowing to meet up again sooner than this past time. I’m counting on being well for that rendez-vous.
The biggest challenge was that of getting home. Air travel is challenging enough when one is well. And I couldn’t very well tell Delta I was sick since they have signs all over warning about flying with the flu. I waited around at the airport for 5 hours attempting to get on earlier flights, full well knowing I had an hour’s drive from BWI upon getting home.
I finally walked in the door at 10:30 last night to find homemade chicken soup and a husband two days behind me on the illness curve. The only good news is we don’t have to worry about infecting each other. We could even kiss, but who has the energy for that?