THE POSTSCRIPT, Carrie Classon


The fact is, I am spoiled.

I never get sick. I’ve never spent a night in a hospital since I was born (and then, my mother stayed with me). I’ve never broken a bone. I’ve never had a major operation. I am absurdly healthy, and I can take no credit for any of this. So, naturally, when I get sick, I am insufferable.

It always starts in the same way. I get a sore throat. First, I ignore it. I have found this is the best way to deal with imminent disasters. When I used to drive old cars, I would turn up the radio when I heard an ominous noise. Loud music and deliberate ignorance can take you for many miles.

But then my throat gets worse. I feel my glands. They are a little swollen.

“But not enough to mean I’m sick!” I explain to myself. There has been a lot of pollen in the air. It is spring, after all. Or perhaps the air quality is poor. Or perhaps it is just dry, and I am not drinking enough water. I come up with a perfectly plausible list of reasons why I might have a sore throat other than the one I know is the truth.

I am getting sick.

“Well!” I tell myself (and I swear, I believe myself every time), “I will not get very sick. I just have a sore throat, and I will feel much better tomorrow.” I promise myself I will go to bed early. I get extra sleep. It does not help. By morning, my throat is still sore and now my nasal passages are filling, and my nose is running, and I know I have a fever — although I do not take my temperature because what good is that information going to do me?

But this will be a short cold, I insist. It will be a mild head cold and nothing more. I will not develop a cough. The fever will not get worse. I will not be using entire boxes of tissues to deal with my faucet of a nose.

None of this is true.

I always get a bad cough. I spend the night unable to sleep, hacking away, blowing my nose, keeping my poor husband, Peter, awake, and still somehow imagining that, by morning, I will be well.

I am not.

But I won’t lose my voice, at least. And then I do.

And I wonder why it is so hard to just admit I’m getting sick when I am. It would seem that by now, even though I am rarely ill, I have been sick often enough to know that I will be sick, and resign myself to it. I might buy some tissues with lotion in them, so my nose doesn’t get quite as red. I might stock up on cough syrup, so I don’t have to make a trip to the pharmacy feeling wretched. But I don’t do any of these things. I hope and try to believe that this time I will dodge the bullet.

“Is it possible to overdose on cough syrup?” I asked Peter last night.

“Probably not.”

So I swallowed a lot of cough syrup and I slept through the night and, this morning, I can say — honestly, this time — that I am feeling better. I have no voice at all, but I am still able to type, fortunately. My fever has subsided. I will be well soon enough.

And now that I am feeling better, I am completely convinced that I will never be sick again.

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28th May, 2024 - 2:58
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