Kage Baker was, for most of her life, prone to bronchitis. It was her signature disease. After every Faire (hence, 2 or 3 times a year), during every winter, Kage developed bronchitis.
Even after she finally had her tonsils out at the advanced age of 31 – and boy, was that an adventure, Dear Readers; remind me to tell you – it only reduced her frequency. She knew all the tricks of lying upside down on beds and basically coughing her lungs into her throat; she could spell bronchiectasis and tell horrible stories about all the accompanying side effects of having your bronchia rot. She often said it made her feel closer to Robert Lewis Stevenson, who hacked dismally his entire life until he moved to Tahiti with the love of his life.
That, Kage reasoned, would cure anyone of anything.
Anyway, bronchitis was the disease that was her old friend. We all have one. They usually date back to childhood or at least adolescence; the protist companions who lurk in our interstices, and pop out when we get tired and run down to make us sick as dogs. Maybe yours is allergies, or mystery rashes, or tertiary fevers, or warts. Mine is kidney infections.
However, old age and the fact that I have inherited Kage’s life have played some pretty rank tricks on me. For all the decades of my life, I rarely caught colds. Had my tonsils out, passed kidney and gall stones, sprained my ankles monthly, even smoked a pipe for 30 years and still the simple cold seldom bothered me. However …
Presumably in honour of Kage, I have now developed bronchitis. With inhuman speed. Woke up yestreday with a sore throat; spent the night trying to sleep sitting up and coughing till I puked whenever I lay down. Harry has learned the very rude noises and now coughs back at me. Kimberly, wisely discerning that I did indeed have a DISEASE and not a simple ague, dragged me into the doctor today and got me diagnosed.
So I got to breathe Albuterol vapour through a tiny medical hookah for a half hour, and have been sent home to rest, drink a lot of fluids (that are not hot toddys, alas) and take interesting antibiotics. “Are you sure it’s bacterial?” I queried the lovely young doctor, who looked like Svnae – she rolled her dark eyes and promised me she was sure. Then she probably went out and yanked all the Reader’s Digests with Joe’s Lungs articles out of the waiting room. No point in encouraging us old farts and fartesses.
Anyway, that’s what I’m doing for a couple of days. Being bronchitic. Kage, I recall, used to self-medicate with wine coolers – but I can’t stomach those damned candy boozes she liked. I think I’ll stick to Earl Grey tea, and amuse myself by fishing for kittens with my cane. The little red Maine Coone kitty cannot figure out how things fall so fascinatingly from the sky …
Time to light a candle to St. Blaise and St. Bernardine, too. Just to be on the safe side.