Today’s Dispatch: The Lost Weekend

Right now I feel a little bit like John Watson, hands still shaking while my fingers hit the keyboard for the first time in 48 hours. Since I have not spent any of that time fighting terror in Afghanistan or getting hit on by Benedict Cumberbatch, I might as well let you know what did happen, off the bat:

I was hospitalized for pneumonia.

This weekend was the culmination of what seemed like a week-and-a-half’s worth of agony over a mysterious cough that would not go away, no matter how hard I tried, and to the point where I actually took a final exam on Saturday morning (for a class that I cannot miss for fear of death… no, literally, I was that scared) while I was still hocking stuff up out of my lungs. I did not come home to the Hacienda until Saturday afternoon, and by 8 pm Saturday evening I felt funny enough to ask to be driven out to the emergency room at the nearby hospital.

The pneumonia diagnosis was a bit of an irony for me, seeing as the GPs at the UP Diliman Infirmary were not exactly looking in that general direction when they told me that it was just a cold with additional allergies that did not require a second round of antibiotics. (I won’t go into specifics here; I know that there are people from the university who may be reading this, and they may be able to figure out exactly what’s going on here. Needless to say, EPIC FAIL on their part.) In any case, this wasn’t exactly a fight that I was going to win by sitting at home with tea and penicillin – especially not with the semester ending in two weeks – so checking into the hospital was the best possible option.

Since I needed as much rest as possible, I decided at the last minute to leave the laptop at home (bad WiFi + craptastic SmartBro signal in my hometown = futile) and leave my waking hours to visits from nurses, food-and-pep talk deliveries from my parents, and those important trips to the bathroom to, um, measure my own fluid output. And since the doctors gave me a minimum of two days for recovery, I didn’t suffer the same kind of crawling-over-a-wall mental experience that I did when I was hospitalized for dengue fever two years ago.

So what was left for me to do, you ask?

I flipped through my iPad playlists, for one thing.  (Hmmm… needs more James Blake, me thinks.) For the most part, however, I thought that this would be a good time for me to watch a lot of TV, where I discovered some new favorites (CommunitySuits, and the “blind auditions” for Season 2 of The Voice), caught some movies (loved The Last King of Scotland; wished I’d watched The Way Back from the very beginning) and made a few surprising insights (as in: whoa, I always knew that Meryl Streep was gorgeous in The River Wild, but I honestly do not remember David Strathairn being that foxy… seriously, I would push Kevin Bacon off my raft too if I had that version of Strathairn waiting for me on the other side, y’know?) And I also did some writing, too, which means that one of my WiPs may actually start seeing actual progress in the coming days.

Curiously enough, my last hour at the hospital coincided with what might as well be the series finale episode of Glutton for Punishment.  (I had no idea that Bob Blumer had already made and/or broken a lot of food-related Guinness World Records – and incurred the righteous wrath of Anthony Bourdain – before I even got a chance to Gary Stu him, so God bless his soul for that epic five-year run.) It was a fitting coda of sorts, too, since this was written before I was confined for the dengue, and the Domesticity Halloween Spectacular came afterward, which later led to NaNoWriMo 2010 and World on a Plate afterwards.

This could only mean one thing: I still have the rest of the year ahead of me.

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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