November 11, 2009


Dear Food,

I hate you.  No, wait, I love you!  You are tasty, cozy, cooling, warming, complex, powerful, subtle, a delicious art form, and possess the power to evoke memories and bring people together.  At the moment, however, I resent you. 

It is because of you and your irresistible deliciousness that I was not able to fit in to my cute little vintage WW II nurse costume this Halloween.  That's how I ended up in my husband's Tigger costume.  It had been in the garage for several years and had thereby accumulated more dust than the surface of Mars.  Halloween was a cold night and the Tigger costume looked warm.  After all, it's made of heavy-duty fleece and is made for a 6' 5" man.  I saw warmth and comfort and I went for it.  Nevermind the fact that I'm asthmatic and that the two greatest triggers for said affliction are dust and cold weather.  What was I thinking?  Apparently I wasn't! 

So I spent the week following Halloween with a head full of snot goblins, which, as always, eventually made their way down to the party in my lungs.  Huffing and wheezing my way through the week I finally had the good sense to call my doctor and request some albuterol refills for my at-home-nebulizer (imagine the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland meets ET when he's hooked up to tubes in the big white tent).  Within about fifteen minutes I went from pallid and pathetic back to feeling like myself again.

So it was at that moment that I realized how lucky we are to be living in the age of modern medicine!  With all the talk lately about our broken healthcare system, the National plan, the hospital lay-offs, the H1/N1 vaccine controversy, the high prices we pay for healthcare and insurance, and the corruption in the insurance industry, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that despite these big issues, we are darn lucky to be living in the 21st century, with all its advances in medicine!

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I can't help thinking of those poor Pilgrims (and even more so, the Native Americans that were wiped out by our Euro-germs).  Had I been a Pilgrim, I wouldn't have made it past the age of fourteen.  At fourteen, my appendix burst.  The discovery wasn't made until a few days later after the deflated organ began to go toxic.  Had my mom not taken me to the hospital when she did, wherein an x-ray revealed that I needed immediate surgery, I would have been a goner. 

If somehow I had miraculously lived to see another day in Plymouth, I would have certainly died half a dozen times due to Asthma. 

And if by the grace of God, the Massachusetts air was allergen free and thereby gentle on my fragile lungs, I would have definitely been one of those poor women who died in childbirth!  This is probably TMI, but Madeleine (bless her little heart) would simply not come out my narrow pelvic area, so an emergency caesarean was in order.  I am so, so lucky to be alive and so is she!

For all its problems, ills, and corruptions, I am still very thankful that modern medicine has allowed me to enjoy not 14, not 25, and not 30, but 37 Thanksgivings...and COUNTING!

vintage postcard of Burial Hill, Plymouth, MA


  1. I agree. In fact, I am hoping that my modern antibiotics will clear up this node issue so I can swallow is hubby.

  2. We are truly blessed. Albuterol is a wonderful thing, isn't it?!

  3. I think about this frequently. How hard life would have been back then. All of our lives would have been so different.

  4. I thought of this when my daughter was born; even 30 years ago we probably would've died, forget 400 yeas ago.

    And I want to see your costume!

  5. It is amazing how far things have come, esp when I think of fertility treatments. Nowadays you can pretty much pick the gender of your child...crazy!!!

    Hope you feel better soon!

  6. Jenn - Great letter! I don't know if I woudl have made it way back when...not because of medical issues but because of so many other reasons (liek I am a wuss)!

    I sure wish I would have snapped a photo of Tigger to share...but you are safe I have none!


  7. Where's the Tigger picture?? After all that, no pic??

    Glad you're feeling better!

  8. Hi Jenn!

    What a cleverly written post! How we got from Food to Tigger to asthma to modern medicine to Thankgiving, I do not know but it was a heck of a ride and I enjoyed it!

    I agree with Miss Dot, though, a tigger picture was a necessity.


  9. i really try keep myself healthy with acupuncture and general exercise and good eating, but i would have never made it without albuterol either! for us asthmatics - it is the miracle drug. (also sad, but true - prednisone has saved me more than one time!) with all the complaints about healthcare right now, it's nice to take a step back and be thankful for all that it does do for us!

  10. oh - also wanted to let you know what i am reading now: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society - given to me by a client for my birthday!


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