Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fig'n A

This has been a pretty weird stretch for me lately.  Remember the cold I had 3 weekends ago?  It’s still hanging on.  I mostly feel OK, but I have this chest congestion that won’t quit.  I’ve been coughing and hacking up chunks of butterscotch for two solid weeks now.  It’s getting pretty old, not to mention disgusting.

The act of coughing, itself, has spun off more problems for me.  At first, it was killing my neck, to the point that at the end of the workday, I couldn’t turn my head to either side.  When I coughed, I had to grab both sides of my neck, just so my head wouldn’t fly off.  Luckily, that subsided after a couple of days.

Then my ribs started to hurt.  I felt like I just got out of a dryer filled with rocks.  I went home early from work on Thursday and stayed home Friday, in a last ditch effort to beat it once and for all.  As I continued to cough out all the gunk, I started getting a pain in my lower back, at the top of my sacrum.  (Technical term: the upper ass, just above the ‘old Norge.’)

On Saturday, the inevitable happened and I coughed so hard I ended up throwing up half of my dinner.  I was pissed because it broke my streak of not hurling for more than 10 years.  On the bright side, I noticed I lost 5 pounds over the weekend.  Maybe there’s something to this “bulimia” after all.

So even with a sore lower back, I came into work on Monday, determined to just grind it out.  But then I had to go and refill my ice water mug.  When I bent down so get a scoop of ice, my back went completely ballistic… blinding, crippling pain shot up and down my back and left leg.  If I hadn’t been able to hold myself up with the counter, I’d have been on the kitchen floor.  I didn’t even know if I could get back to my desk.

Yes, the pain subsided enough for me to hobble back to my seat, but it just pulsed and throbbed to the point that I couldn’t really concentrate on anything.  Every cough was like sticking a knife into my back.  My boss, being a kind and merciful sort, put my out of my misery by sending me home.  I picked up some (Walgreen’s brand) Mucinex on the way.

Luckily, I still have the frozen corn I used during the physical therapy I had on my shoulder, so I was able to ice my back.  Then Pinky, a licensed massage therapist, went to work on it for about an hour.  (If you don’t have a significant other that’s a masseuse, I highly recommend getting one.)  After a nap, I put a heating pad, some Advil and several beers on it, before going to bed early.

One of those things must have worked because I feel 90% better this morning.  I still have a twinge but it’ll be OK as long as I watch how I bend.  (I know I shouldn’t have been bending at the waist, but I was trying to save the wear and tear on my knees!)  And the Mucinex is working too because I had a good, non-coughing sleep and a non-coughing day thus far.  I still feel the tightness in there, but I don’t feel the need to cough my head off, or bolt for the restroom.

Did you know that there’s no graceful way to cough out a loogey in a cubicle environment?

Anyway, I didn’t even want to get into this but I wanted to explain why I didn’t post over the weekend.  I suppose a more condensed version might have gone like this:

Sorry I didn’t do a post this weekend; I was sick.”

But doesn’t knowing all about the nature of my phlegm discharge draw us closer together?  No?  OK, forget I mentioned it.  I just wanted to flesh this post out a bit because what I really want to write about is too short.  But here it is…

My dad is a nut.  You know… the good kind.

Remember from last winter when I posted about Dad picking his first orange from a tree in his yard?  Well, he’s having a go at figs now.

It’s an Italian thing… our families often have fig trees.  I’ve never been a big fig eater, but I do acknowledge their importance in the making of Fig Newtons.  But my grandpa used to have a fig tree so Dad was brought up to enjoy figgy treats. 

Up north, there’s a whole thing where you have to bury them in the winter to save them from the cold.  Then you dig them up again in the spring.  Fortunately for my dad, that’s not necessary in Florida.  So a while back, he went out and bought a fig tree to add to his burgeoning orange grove.

Over the weekend, he sent the following email, in celebration of his first fig harvest:

After a long hot harvest season, I hired many pickers, helping the unemployment problem and the economy.  Here it is.”

He sent pictures too, of course.
In case you can’t tell, there is one single fig on the tree.  One.  Fig.    It’s hanging in “ef-figgy.”

I swear it looks like he glued it on.

Time for the Harvest Feast!

The last one kills me… setting up the place setting for one freakin’ fig.  It’s totally something I would do, so now you know why.

Obviously I had to respond to the email, so I wrote back, “Glad your crops came in.  Now go fig yourself.”

That’s just a fig-ure of speech.


  1. post script. We did have another fig that I had to fight off a cardinal for. He did get half. So we actually had a harvest of one and one half figs. That's 3/4 for Mom and 3/4 for me. Now for the oranges, there are six green balls on the little tree, don't know how many pickers to hire, some may fall off. But we will survive.Nice blog, hope you are feeling better.

    1. Those cardinals can be tough characters. Pray they don't bring any blue jays next time.

  2. Dear Bluz, please see your doc about that cough. Bless Pinky for her good ministrations. You are courting pneumonia.
    That fig thing is bizarre. The Italian Compulsion.

    1. Let me see how this week goes. I hate stepping into the medical realm unless absolutely necessary.

  3. I'm sure if they ration properly, they could live off that fig for a whole afternoon. I bet it was delicious!

    Coughs are the WORST!! I had one like that last year and went to the dr for it. They gave me pills that suppressed my coughing instinct as well as my gag reflex. I bet hookers buy them by the truckload. Then the warning on the side said some kind of warning about choking on your own vomit whilst you slept. So I just took the cold medicine instead.... Mama didn't raise no fool.

    Feel better soon!



    1. Oh geez, so now I got THAT to worry about now. Thanks for the heads up, and hey! Welcome to the club!

  4. Thank you for the gory details of your congestion situation. How many synonyms are there for phlegm? Hope you continue to improve. I tend to agree with Mary Ann that you may be on the brink of something more serious but also share your aversion to the "medical realm" (sounds sci-fi like to me). My hubby and I LOVE figs so I got a real kick out of your dad's efforts.

    1. I love synonyms, almost as much as I hate the word “phlegm,” (which runs a close second to “smegma”).

      For you, and everyone else that reads this far, I saw a doctor this morning. My chest x-ray was clear, I don’t have pneumonia; it’s probably a mild bronchitis. He gave me an anti-biotic, steroids and an inhaler. I also took an inhaling treatment right there in the office. I should be OK in a couple of days.

    2. Glad to hear you're okay and glad you got good drugs!

  5. Sorry you're feeling horrible. I hate when sickness comes in and will not go away. I'm jealous of your masseuse!

    Fig trees grow rampant here, no burial needed!

    1. I didn’t know they had figs in the bayou… Swamp Figs? Sounds like a Syfy Channel movie of the week…

  6. Damn, you're old. Throwing out your back coughing? Yeah. Sorry about that.

    I swear that fig looks like a little red apple on the tree. It looks more fig-like on the plate, though, so good thing he included that pick. Quite the bounty.

    I'm catching up! Been out of the blogosphere for a bit. Sorry!!

    1. Welcome back!

      Yes and I thought that the knife and fork were a nice touch. I guess one gets civilized in retirement.

  7. Could have done without the butterscotch comment.

    And that's coming from a nurse.

    Feel better! Emergen-C, boy! Drink it!

    1. I thought I was being delightfully descriptive… painting a picture with words! OK, how about “Lung Cheese?”

      What is Emergen-C?

  8. To everyone:
    My mom provided a little "behind the scenes" info regarding My Dad vs. The Cardinal:

    "You would have liked his encounter with the Cardinal, happened one evening as we sipped drinks on the porch. "...blahblahbla...whaaa! OH! The bastard is...eating our FIG!!!!" He jumps up, runs around the pool, yelling and swatting. Of course the poor bird fled and Dad returned, smiling, with one fig with a big beak hole. It was delicious."

  9. You're still sick? I hope you feel better!

    I'll bring you soup if you promise not to breathe on me.

    1. I’m actually feeling much better… have hardly coughed all day today. The meds are working.

      When I went outside for lunch, it was so hot it was like walking through soup, so I’m not up for any more. You can bring me some beer though… And I promise not to cough OR burp on you.

  10. So sorry to hear you're sick! Get better soon. Hopefully in the next post? I'm off to read the next post now...

  11. Feeling better every day now! I think I should be good to go by Monday. Thanks for looking in on me.


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