Another Update

I’ve had several inquiries as to the state of my health – you are all so very, very kind and supportive, bless you. Well, it has been a bit of a saga. When I last posted, I had just scored drugs off my doctor, although I was not keen on taking them as I am no great fan of antibiotics unless in dire circumstances. I decided to start taking them on Saturday morning but when Saturday rolled around I was feeling much better. You may imagine how I cheered. I felt so proud of myself: not only would I avoid taking antibiotics, I had the pleasure of thinking I had fought off the infection by myself, indicating a strong upturn in my general health. So Saturday I was a very cheerful bunny. Then on Sunday I didn’t feel quite so good again, but I thought to myself that often I have a little relapse when getting over illnesses, so it was probably nothing and would pass. But alas, on Monday, the infection was back and worse than it had been last week.

So I started taking the antibiotics. I appear to have neither lapsed into coma nor self-combusted, which is excellent news. Today my symptoms are certainly diminished, which is also good, but I cannot say that I feel fine, exactly. In fact I feel wiped out, sickly and fragile. The problem is that after so many years of chronic fatigue I find it very hard to have patience with myself when ill. I am so bored of feeling unwell and have felt in the past so frustrated by it, that it is difficult to tolerate anything less than reasonably good health. Plus it is my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party next Saturday and I have to be well for that. I’ve even got a new dress to wear, and I can’t remember the last time I bought something new for an occasion.

So I am trying very hard not to stress. As ever, books help. Although I might have to put aside Dorothy Whipple’s They Were Sisters. Not because it’s bad, not at all, but because the domestic tyrant it features is behaving so atrociously that it’s upsetting me (I come over all hyper-sensitive when poorly). I could do with a good robust narrative, one in which nothing terrible happens, or at least it only happens to people who deserve their comeuppance. I have The Sailor’s Ransom, from a new Victorian detective series by Brian Thompson to read, which is a possibility. Or maybe something by Edith Wharton, who isn’t exactly jolly but who writes so elegantly it’s like a long cool drink of water on a hot day. Or maybe a Lee Child thriller. I don’t know; I want something easy and undemanding, but I want it to be entertaining,too. What do other people read when under the weather? Do you have a favourite genre or author you turn to?

31 thoughts on “Another Update

  1. *hug* Poor Litlove, I’m sorry you are feeling so crappy. When I am ill I like to read children’s books, usually not the contemporary ones but older books–L.M. Montgomery, or Daddy-Long-Legs, or the Chronicles of Narnia. Or Rumer Godden! Have you read any of her kids’ books? They are perfect for when you are ill. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower and its sequel, Little Plum, are so, so comforting.

  2. My favourite reading when under the weather is Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie books – comfort food for the mind, and neither stupid nor lurid, so none of the accompanying guilt and queasiness I get from reading Kathy Reichs or even Sue Grafton. I gather from your recent comment to Lilian Nattel, though, that you are not a fan. Hope you feel better soon.

  3. Sorry to hear you had a relapse–you sound like me when it comes to taking medication in that I will try to avoid it until I am in agony and then the pain is worse. But one can always be hopeful that your body will comply with what you have in your mind–doesn’t always work out. I love Dorothy Whipple but she isn’t really an “all occasion” author and some of her characters can indeed be trying. You might like A Vintage Affair right now–just serious enough to be absorbing but not terribly taxing either. I’m very much enjoying Susanna Kearsley’s Mariana, too, which is another comfort type read. I hope you’re feeling better by the time your parent’s celebration rolls around and hope you find something good to read in the interim.

  4. Sometimes when feeling under the weather, a good quick thriller/mystery that is easy to page through without a lot of deep thought is what gets me through — and not sure if you like any of this, but something like Janet Evanovich (funny), or Tess Gerritsen (gory, but good cop/medical examiner thriller), Harlan Coben (mystery/thriller), or straight up chick lit (Sophie Kinsella). Right now I’m actually sucked into a young adult series (I still can’t believe it, either), and you’ve probably heard about the hysteria that’s out there right now — The Hunger Games series. The final book (Mockingjay) came out today. Literally, you can’t put it down, and it’s a quick read.

    I hope you start to feel a bit better — and I agree with Jean also that comfort food might be the way to go. Tomato soup and grilled cheese, perhaps?

  5. I’m so sorry you’re still feeling poorly – I do hope the medicine does the trick so you can enjoy the festivities (and your new outfit!)

    When I’m not feeling well, I usually turn to a good family saga (something by Penny Vincenczi comes to mind), or a mystery, perhaps Elizabeth George, PD James, or Peter Robinson. Like Jean, I enjoy the Isabel Dalhousie series, too – they’re rather like a cup of hot cocoa when you can’t sleep.

    Feel better soon!

  6. I started shaking my head right… about… here: ‘… but when Saturday rolled around…’ – oh no, I thought, let me guess – ‘I was feeling much better.’

    That. Old. Gag. Darling, isn’t this antibiotics 1.01??? It’s a good thing I’m not at your house right now, LL, or else you’d have to put up with my brisk disapproval and silent reproaches and swift slaps on the wrist. Naughty Litlove. I do agree – I hate taking anything ever – and empathise, but antibiotics in their place can be a beautiful thing. Much as you’ll be the belle of the ball, no doubt, at your parents’ anniversary now you’re being a good girl and swallowing your medicine.

    GET WELL!!!

  7. I really really hope you feel better soon! I second Jenny’s recommendation of Daddy-Long-Legs. I read it earlier this year thanks to her and it’s one of the most charming books I’ve ever come across.

  8. What a shame you’re feeling so ill, good luck getting better in time for the big event (50 years married, wow, congratulations to them). What I don’t understand about antibiotics is why they have to be so awful. They’re mostly too big to swallow without feeling like you’ve narrowly avoided choking on a sweet and the solution stuff is just awful. If they tasted like wine we would all be much happier. Sympathies for having to take them.

    I think thrillers are the way I go when I’m ill, if possible really creepy ones. Or campus novels, with plenty of scandal. Something that takes you far away from a dressing gown and thick socks.

  9. Litlove, I’ve found that if I don’t take the antibiotics straight away the problem just gets worse and worse. I’ve had cystitis on and off for years – it won’t go away without the antibiotics. Luckily I don’t suffer from any side effects. Once I didn’t take them and I ended up with a much worse infection that kept me in bed for a week. I hope you feel better soon and the infection doesn’t come back.

  10. Oh Litlove, sorry to hear you are still feeling poorly. Being ill is boring and it feels like such a waste of time. But rest you must so you can be well again. When I get sick I am never the kind of sick where I can read in bed. I get things like vertigo where all I can do is lay in bed with my eyes closed and try to will the world to stop spinning. When I am feeling blue though I do like to read books about books, usually memoirs by bookish people about how wonderful books are. Or, as Lilian noted, Terry Pratchett. I hope you feel better soon!

  11. I hope you feel better very soon! When I’m sick, I need something that’s a fairly easy read without too much of a challenge, but that description is very vague. I’m reading Rosy Thornton now, and I think she’d be perfect — it’s a good book, but comforting. I might go for a Barbara Pym or an Elizabeth Taylor.

  12. So sorry that the infection is being so stubborn — I’m sure you already know this, but since I am sometimes a fussy old lady, I will say it anyway; esp. if your body tends to be reactive to drug intervention, be sure you are taking a probiotic along with the antibiotic to protect the healthy flora in your gut.

    I re-read the familiar and beloved when I really feel awful … but my fallback is usually either Conan Doyle or a big collection of classic cartoons from The New Yorker.

  13. Hope this finds you feeling much better. Have you read Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn? It is guaranateed to make you feel delighted and happy. And the good guys win and the bad guys lose, and it is very very clever. I sent a copy of it to a friend who was recuperating from stomach surgery (I just hope she didn’t split any stitches due to it).

  14. Usually when I feel ill it comes with nausea so I can’t manage long passages so I gravitate to art books and poetry. I have one art book with a good deal of sculpture in it which I like, and one dedicated to the life and work of Cézanne and another to the Impressionists. I can look, and drift off into the painting. I like poetry too and often return to Wallace Stevens for comfort or Celan and this new(ish) poet Sylvia Legris, especially her book called Iridium seeds.

  15. Oh, I hope you feel better soon! For the most part I am pretty much a pro-Western Medicine kind of girl, working in a hospital as I do and all, but I try to be sparing with the antibiotics as well. That said, there is DEFINITELY a time and a place for them and we are so terribly lucky to have them…this sounds like your time and your place so I hope they do their work so you can enjoy your new dress and the party!

  16. Poor Litlove, Doctordi is quite right but that’s not much consolation is it? I hope you feel better very quickly and have a lovely time at your parents’ party.

    I’m like Jenny, I find consolation in old children’s books I have loved. Elizabeth Goudge, Joan Aiken and Lucy Boston for me. Also a spot of Jane Austen can do the trick – or Georgette Heyer – is it sacrilege to mention them together in the same sentence, will an enraged Janeite come round and stab me to death with a pearl-headed hatpin?

  17. Good – you’re feeling better! Perhaps with the turn of the season, that will help as well. Somehow, the onset of September became fraught with heavy schedules and “doing-ness.” Egads, it’s exhausting.

    What to read when feeling low? Well you may barely tolerate it but I turn to chick lit. Yup, it’s true, though I do like Isabel Dalhouse, like Jeanie, above but have only just “discovered” those little books. Anyway, you could use a romp so if you’ve never tried a Judith Krantz, give one a whirl – her old “classic”, SCRUPLES or even MISTRAL’S DAUGHTER. Or, something currently shallow – Candace Bushnell’s ONE FIFTH.
    I’m just saying…it’s easy, fairly upbeat and good old fluff.

  18. So glad you’re beginning to feel better! That feeling of fragility after the worst has passed is familiar: the air itself seems brittle. In those cases, I frequently turn to kidlit, Alice being my perennial first choice. Or A Wrinkle in Time and also Harry Potter. And if those fail, there’s always a good mystery (I notice from your prior post that we became fans of Agatha Christie at the same time in life and with the same intensity, though you came along a good decade after me). Comfort reading, like soup, should satisfy without being too heavy. Hope your recovery is complete SOON!

  19. In short: Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, To Kill a Mockingbird, any one of which always makes my world look better.

  20. Hope you are feeling much, much better! When I am under the weather, it’s either chick lit or childhood favorites — nothing too taxing. Louisa May Alcott could be my nurse, reading her is so comforting. And you can never go wrong with rereading I Capture the Castle for the umpteenth time.

  21. Oh dear, LL! I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been battling infections again. As for reading, well fantasy novels can be quite soothing (I’ve just finished Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy). Or a good murder mystery. I’ve just realised that the Big Event was this past weekend. I hope it went well and that you looked good in your new dress. And I like David’s suggestions of the probiotics. Let us know how it went. xx

  22. Alice in Wonderland is the best book to read when you’re sick – though I always end up wanting to share my favourite bits with people, so calling up friends at work who consequently make scathing remarks about my obviously not being sick at all if I’m bothering them in the middle of an important meeting with stupid puns about turtles etc. I also love Emma, and take especial pleasure in Mr Woodhouse’s references to the benefits of gruel, soft-boiled eggs, avoiding draughts and damp passageways etc – good homely stuff for convalescence. Patricia Highsmith thrillers are great too – not the Ripleys, the lesser-known ones like The Cry of the Owl. And George Simenon novels, particularly his pyschological portraits of unhappily married Parisians.

  23. I hope you are feeling better now, Litlove. Please do let us know when you can. I always read Jane Austen when I’m not feeling well – easy but clever narrative and she somehow always makes me laugh.

  24. Dear, dear blogging friends – thank you SO much for these marvellous comments and reading suggestions. I have been chronic fatigued again and am only just well enough now to catch up with you all. As ever I am SO touched and moved by your kindness and helpfulness – bless you all and big hugs all round. I’ll reply in more detail very soon.

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