18 January 2008

the plans of mice & birthday girls

Thanks to all who took the time to send me notes and e-cards yesterday on my birthday; they were much appreciated! Because I've been spending all my time at home alone this week, e-mails, blog comments, and phone calls are the bulk of the human contact I've had.

I didn't have any grand plans for my actual birthday since it fell on a weekday and had I been at work, I would have been working overtime anyway. But I definitely did not intend on being sick.

If you had not heard, I came down with the flu on Saturday and have been home ever since. It started out as a tickle in my throat and quickly escalated into alternating fever and chills, fatigue, an aching body, a splitting headache, sinus congestion, coughing, and nausea every time I dared to remove myself from the couch. Sunday and Monday were by far the worst days. By Tuesday I was feeling a little more human, but knew I should probably take Wednesday also. Since I would have missed three consecutive days of work, I called the doctor's office first thing Wednesday morning to get an appointment to obtain the requisite note required to come back to work. My trip to the doctor Wednesday afternoon was the first time I had left my house since Saturday.

I've been anticipating this birthday for some time; I'm excited to be thirty! Over a month ago, I designed a t-shirt for this day so I could advertise the fact it was my birthday: I'd wear it to work, and out to dinner later making sure everyone who walked by me knew. And why not? Even though I was only going to the doctor, I saw no reason not to wear it. So I put it on over a long-sleeved white t-shirt, put on my favorite pair of jeans, and headed out the door.

the birthday t-shirt, designed with the help of cafepress.com

I sat in the patient room for a few minutes before Erica (my doctor) came in. I was on the brink of tears; my good mood diminished when the nurse took my temperature just minutes earlier: at 101 degrees, I was still running a fever. I have no thermometer at home, but I knew this had gone down considerably from what it was on Sunday and Monday, and I wondered what kind of fever I had been running those two days.

waiting in the patient room

so happy about that 101 fever, really. can you tell?

She came in and examined me and noticed a fever rash all over my back, neck, and stomach that had completely escaped my notice. She said that she'd give me a note for the whole week and that I shouldn't go back to work until Monday. Perhaps many would be fine with a full week off, but I was already unhappy about the prospect of seeing all my hard-earned personal/vacation time dwindling because I work in a cubicle farm/petri dish where people think they're heroes for coming to work when they don't feel well. I have a lot of time saved up and glad I have it for situations such as these, but to see 40 hours gone so I could sit at home alone on the couch under a blanket exhausting my DVD collection and feeling sick? Ugh.

I went straight home and called my manager on the way to let him know. Since I have the best kind of manager you could ask for, I was not concerned in the least about letting him know that the doctor required me to stay home and rest for the remainder of the week. He said to take care of myself, that I was missed, and that half of our leadership team was out sick with the flu also.

When I arrived home, I fixed a small lunch of fried tempeh and green vegetables. When my sister called to ask if our dinner & movie plans for the night with Mom were still on, I lost it. I felt like my birthday was shot because I had gotten kicked hard in the rear with this infernal flu bug. While I was thankful I could stay home and rest, spending another day alone and on the couch, drinking fluids and spacing out in front of the TV was not how I wanted to spend my birthday. I couldn't even go enjoy a dinner and a movie, for crying out loud! I was so angry. I knew there wasn't a thing that could be done about it (the flu offers no special treatment for those with birthdays, apparently), but I was suddenly feeling miserable about the whole thing. I went back to my sickbay [aka: the couch], meanly flattened my food with the fork, and ate it begrudgingly between sobs. I don't say this kind of thing often, but for how the day had gone so far, I could not gloss it over: this totally sucked.

my sickbay

my lunch before i attacked it

Kaari came home about an hour later and told me to close my eyes. I heard her walk over to me and felt her place something on my head. I went and looked in the mirror to find a pink feathered tiara had been put on my head, a perfect complement to the "birthday girl." t-shirt I still wore. She had picked up a movie, and my Mom would be coming shortly with some soup.

And then my phone rang; it was Christin, my roommate from college calling to wish me a happy birthday. It was so great to hear her voice and tell her about my sad day, but how it was getting better already. My Mom came through the door while I was on the phone and brought red tulips (my favorite) with her and a cute get well card: Even germs find you irresistible, it says. I had to laugh.

Kaari proceeded to act as photographer, taking pictures of me as I was only too happy to pose (I've always been a bit of a ham for the camera). We ate our split pea soup, watched a movie, and laughed together. A few more friends called and wished me a happy birthday. After Mom went home, I shook vodka-crans for me, my sister, and our roommate Michelle.

I certainly would not have planned to spend my birthday this way, but am happy with the way it turned out. I'm glad I have this week to rest and sleep in and feel and think and give my body a break after seven months of going a hundred miles an hour. When I celebrate with friends for a birthday dinner in Seattle this coming weekend, I will be able to be fully present and engaged, soaking in every moment of that night. When I go to Florida, I will already be rested and able to fully enjoy the time that I'll have there, the time that already feels too short.

e-mailing Christianne!

There have been so many surprises and blessings in this week, some of which I'll expand upon in future posts, and some of which I'll ponder in my own heart for a time. God has been speaking, and I've been still and listening. I'm so excited to see what He has for me this year. I feel as though I'm standing at the edge of a precipice, His hand covering my eyes, with the landscape of His plan in front of me. I can't wait until He lifts the hand, or at least allows me a peek through His fingers.


  1. i'm really glad all of your people redeemed your sucky birthday. hope you're well on your way to normal-world.

    lots of love

  2. thanks, terri. they definitely redeemed what otherwise would have been pretty much one of the worst birthdays ever. my family is pretty dang cool that way. and all the phone calls were cool too; those cheered me up.

    but i have to say, posting this just about killed me. blogger is EVIL!!! i totally lost my patience. it screwed up the formatting of the text so royally so many times (i had to go back and edit about 20 times, i'm not kidding). it's a wonder my laptop is not strewn in several tiny pieces out in my driveway right now.

  3. For a sick girl, you look pretty darn cute! It's no wonder those germs find you irresistible!

    Happy 30th! I will be joining you in the no-longer-in-our-20's club in just a few months. And, like you, I'm not dreading it in the least. . . at least not dread it much =)

    Love and get-well wishes!

  4. Hmm, even when you are sick you are very photogenic... Wish I was.

    I hope you feel better, red tulips were a nice touch!

    I love what you said about the cubicle germ farm...so true. I am listening to someone next cube over right now hacking away... someone get the Emergen-C out and keep me healthy!!!

  5. You have such a sweet family. And I agree with Rebecca…you are one cute sick girl. I enjoyed getting a peak into your day.

    Welcome to my decade! I love how you embrace turning thirty (we don’t have the option to hold so we might as well, right?).

  6. Happy belated birthday.
    And poor you. What a sucky way to have your birthday start. Glad to hear it was redeemed a bit with soup and love.
    Thirty is a big year. May it be a year of great things for you. IT will be. I can feel it already.
    And you look amazingly good in those pics for being so sick. :)

  7. Happy belated! I'm so glad you have awesome people to be with you!

  8. Hi Rebecca! Thank you so much for the well wishes. I think you're going to love 30 (especially if you manage to avoid getting the flu). ;o)

    I just have to say to everyone though: on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday ... I did not look so pretty. I was fever-ridden & sweaty, literallly living in my pajamas, unable to stand long enough to take a shower. I looked something like a cross between Caspar the ghost & Medusa with my crazy hair. Sadly, there are not any pictures of me on these days. Shoot! ;o)

    Thanks, Carl! People do need to learn to stay home when they are ill. I am all for sharing, but I have my limits!!

    Thank you, Chloe! I am happy & honored to be in the ranks of the 30-somethings. At first I was not looking forward to leaving my 20s behind (as if I had a choice about whether or not I got older) and now I am SO over that! ;o) It's going to be a great year! And I do have the best family in the world. They really come through!

    Hello, sweet Bella! It was an icky start to the day, but it was redeemed by soup & love. I can feel it, too. I'm thankful for you being here to see with me how things unfold.

  9. Ha, Sarah! You snuck in while I was responding. Thank you for the good wishes! (And ahem everyone ... it's Christianne's birthday TODAY!!) :o)

  10. oh, kirsten! this makes me sad and happy at the same time! :) so sorry you're sick, but what wonderful family and friends you have! i haven't been on facebook in a while and totally forgot your b-day was upcoming (i have a b-day calender on there).

    do me a favor, and send me your mailing address via e-mail. i want to send you a couple of appalachian goodies, otay? :)

    take care, dear one!

  11. A Haiku for You

    the birthday girl flu
    fevers chills thinking all day
    over soon just smile

  12. Thanks, Blue!! It is good to see you in Blogland again!! I will e-mail you my address and look forward to the Appalachian goodies. I can hardly wait!! :o) Thank you.

    Nathan, poetry for me?! I'm honored. Thanks for the poem. ;o)

  13. Hooray! A new post from you! They always make my day. (Which is why it was so appropriate to hand over the Make My Day award to you earlier this week -- how appropriate!) :)

    It was great to see pictures of a day in the birthday life of someone I love so much. Doctor's office: ugh. Sickbay: ugh. Pink tiaras, custom birthday shirt, and e-mails to Christianne: YAY!! :)

    I just knew you were the one sending our beautiful friends my way today. I got a string of birthday wishes and sat there thinking, "Did someone send out a covert e-mail chain or something?!" Of course, I knew it was you. (Thank you!) And of course, I was right. :)

    For the record, I will publicly proclaim that I am aware I ended the last three paragraphs with a smiley face. I seem unable to resist! So here's another one for good measure. :)

  14. Smiley faces ALWAYS welcome here, friend!! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you!! ;o)

  15. Kirsten
    Nate said you had a birthday. Well HAPPY HAPPY BITHDAY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY....that is me attempting sing...HA! Peace to your new year....

  16. He he ... thanks for the birthday wishes, Tammy and for the birthday song!! ;o) Peace to you as well.

  17. Very fun photo! The tiara gives you A "Miss Firecracker" look. (A Holly Hunter film from the late 80's http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097892/)

    Love the t-shirt, great idea. Looks good!

    Your mom and sis are wonderful. Loved the card they gave to you, too.

    Rest well.

  18. Love that birthday card! I guess that's glass-half-full thinking, huh?