30 January

1. More college acceptance letters
2. No more PICC line in my arm!
3. Senses of taste and smell still intact (more on that later)

Ladies and gentlemen, I have officially caught my first cold/flu/who-the-hell-knows in three years. So far it hasn’t hit me hard, just a nasty sore throat for about 1 1/2 days and now a highly productive cough (ick). I don’t seem to be running a temperature and I’m feeling okay other than the bark, but I’m taking it slow and not pushing myself at all. I’ve dodged this bullet for a long while – it was only a matter of time before some wily little virus managed to sneak through the cracks of my artificially shored-up immune system. I’m understandably a bit nervous though. After three years of folks imploring me not to get sick, that it could prove fatal in severe cases, yes, I’m a bit jittery. So now every sneeze, every twinge, every little symptom that doesn’t quite fit into the weird-ass box labeled “normal” gets my attention, fast. I think I’ll treat myself to a steam inhalation treatment later on this afternoon. It isn’t what I would call pleasant – it burns like mad, with the essential oil mixture that I add to the hot water – but it really does seem to work to kill bugaboos and cut through glop. Then a mug of orange spice herbal tea with a generous slug of brandy will go down nicely.😄

So, after much confusion, several phone calls to the bone marrow clinic and home healthcare service, and some swearing (not over the phone, I promise), I finally got the stupid PICC line pulled out of my left arm. Hallelujah! Ugh, I hated that thing. I went into the clinic on Thursday thinking that I would be receiving just a dressing change but then I was whisked into the lab and led to a hospital bed for the little mini-procedure. I had been told that this might happen soon but that Dr. Bachier was out of the office and would need to write up orders for the removal. Somehow the orders materialized anyway, and now my arm is blissfully free of annoying dangly plastic bits. I have a rather impressive series of small scars on the inner surface of my upper arm from the many times I’ve been perforated with tubes. Such fun, right? Boy, howdy.

Update on the bug front: Yesterday morning I began feeling genuinely crappy and decided it was time to give the clinic a call. They hustled me down to San Antonio and subjected me to a battery of tests while I attempted to remain composed with a seriously drippy nose covered by an N95 mask. (Unpleasant doesn’t even begin to cover it.) This morning I received a call from Alyssa at the clinic, who told me that I had tested positive for the rhinovirus and negative for everything else, including Covid. So, yes, I have a common garden-variety cold. I’m understandably relieved that I didn’t get smacked down with anything worse but there isn’t anything that can be done with rhinoviruses other than rest and plenty of fluids. Oh, and NyQuil. Seriously, that stuff is magic. I took a half-dose last night before going to bed and slept like a rock.