A night in the sickbed, a day at the opera

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 6, 2003

Here’s a true example of why you should finish your prescriptions.

I can tell you approximately when it happened: The office was celebrating Andy’s birthday after 4 o’clock this past Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 1. Please mark your calendars now). Soon after the second helping of cake and ice cream, I distinctly felt as if a switch had been turned on in my body. Within 30 to 45 minutes, my head began feeling much warmer, but my hands were becoming quite cool to the touch. Think ice cubes, the kind you craved two or three weeks ago.

This was an all too-familiar feeling – a veritable deja-vu experience, especially considering that I had started becoming ill that Wednesday before Hurricane Isabel.

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I thought to myself, &uot;Glurk! I thought I was done with this for a year. Apparently not.&uot;

I got through the night, putting out the paper and then assisting sports editor Jason Norman in laying out a section for the Peanut Festival.

Surrendering to the sickness that night, I did as much as possible to be as comfortable as possible for the inevitable uneasy sleep. The next morning my delirium was compounded by a sound of people stomping on my roof. This was the day the landlord had arranged for replacing shingles.

I’m not telling all this for more sympathy; I can call my folks for that on any given day. Though this recent bout wasn’t an exact repeat of the previous episode, I cannot help think it came about because I not completed the prescription given a few weeks ago.


By Saturday evening I was doing better, but not enough to join my family in Hampton for dad’s birthday dinner (Oct. 4. Note that date as well, please). I had hoped to greet them while wearing my official Michael Jackson facemask, dark glasses, sequined glove, hat, and then moonwalk to the restaurant table for the occasion.

Sleep is truly one of the best medicines, and after several more hours I felt much better. So well, in fact, that I got up Sunday afternoon, dressed and went to see the Virginia Opera Company perform Puccini’s &uot;Ma-dame Butterfly.&uot;

By the end of that moving performance, I considered myself cured of all ills for the time being. That’s what great art can do for a body and soul.

Stephen Cowles is the managing editor and a regular columnist for the News-Herald. He promises to take all his medicine hereafter.