As regular readers are already aware, I got sick the day before Halloween. It followed a busy October in which I probably spread myself a little thin, and I’m sure it’s no more than I deserved.
I’d had a good month, and I was willing to let it tank my birthday and Halloween. What I wasn’t prepared for was that it would hang on for another entire month and then some.
I got, apparently, the same thing a lot of other people have gotten – a cold that went away in relatively short order but left behind a cough seemingly caused by nothing and improved by nothing. I’m not writing this for advice. I’ve had it all. I’ve been to the doctor several times, tried every medication under the sun. They say that it may just hang on for up to six weeks.
So, I lost November. Pretty much entirely. I’ve been able to keep my head above water with freelance work, but everything I had been putting off because October was too busy got put off further because November was too sick. If you’re one of those things, I’m genuinely sorry about that.
Every time I tried to go out, the cough got worse, so I paid for every excursion with rough days and nights. It’s minor, in the grand scheme, but it’s also exhausting, frustrating, and depressing. For the most part, I’ve kept it together decently well.
If it’s gonna last for six weeks, I’ve got another week or two to go. I’m hoping that’s not the case, but we’ll see. Pretty intense rest seems to decrease the severity of the cough, but any activity sets it off.
In spite of that, I’ve done a few things. Put up the tree in the living room, hung Christmas lights inside – not outside, cuz it’s cold out there. I’ve kept caught up on my work, even if I haven’t gotten into some longer-term projects that I had hoped to by now.
Halloween is my favorite holiday. It’s kind of contractually obligated to be. Just as autumn is my favorite season. But Christmas is my (perhaps more unlikely) second favorite holiday.
Not for any religious reason – I’m an agnostic, and pretty much always have been. And not because I like receiving – or even giving – presents all that much. In fact, I rather despise the crass consumerism of the season, just as I rather despise crass consumerism more generally.
But I love the atmosphere of Christmas. I love Christmas lights more than just about anything. I love the cold, crisp nights. The green of pine needles and the red pop of berries. I love driving through town and seeing everything lit up against the long, dark night.
I love Christmas ghost stories and Christmas horror movies. I love the muffled hush of snow piling upon snow. I love the artificial isolation of a snowstorm.
I don’t mind Christmas music or all the Christmas decorations in the stores – if I ever complain about them, it’s only the creep that gradually replaces Halloween earlier and earlier every year.
I like this time of year – from the beginning of October through New Year’s Day. I like to participate in it as much as I can, but if I’m sick I’m sick, there’s not much I can do about it. Today, I put up the tree and watched Krampus. That’s a good thing to do on December 1.
Tomorrow, I’ll do something else. One day at a time, until this stupid cough is gone. That’s all I can do, and for now, at least, it’s good enough.