The Ultimate Defeat of Dr. Squeaky

In a rather frustrating move, my body has decided to betray me further. After taking my days off to get rid of laryngitis (kind of), I went back to work yesterday. No, I was not well, but I had taken the recommended two days, and I had to see Dr. Banks for some follow up from the hydra of medical care that he’d sent me out to slay.

Oh boy.

So, first the summation of tests: 1. Rash–getting better. 2. Dizziness–almost gone. 3. Reflux disease–new diet and drugs. Good job! 4. Esophagal operation–No!!!! Dr. Banks has assisted on both kinds and thinks that the chance of getting stomach cancer from PPIs is zilch. He then quoted tons of statistics, articles and studies to back himself up. So keep doing what you’re doing.

Have I mentioned how much I respect and admire my doctor?

But the star of the appointment was this new cold. Dr. Banks discovered I had bronchitis, and is making me come back tomorrow to make sure I don’t have pneumonia (hey, it’s not going to happen. I’m on two drugs, with an inhaler, and I’m staying home as ordered.) I also had an anti-inflammation shot right on the spot because he was concerned about bronchial tubes. And I’ve been ordered home again, today and tomorrow.


Being me at work is complicated, and I’d just missed two days. I spent the remainder of my day yesterday making an alternative assignment for my students, writing four letters of recommendation that were due Monday, finding a substitute for the key note speech I was to deliver on Sunday (hahaha!), rescheduling my first meeting with my Viet Nam students, ad infinitum.

There was a point yesterday when I was talking to students, and I could barely get the words out. It felt like I was breathing through cheesecloth, and I only mention it so I can find that line later and use it in a story somewhere.

I’m sending Bryon off to have fun this weekend gaming with our Iowa friends while I…sleep…a lot. Well, I had a blast last weekend, and he held down the fort. Yes, I am lonely, but I am not exactly engaging company. He deserves some fun.


Benefits of bronchitis? You can eat a lot of ice cream and not gain weight. And ice cream and pudding are like my favorite foods right now. Good on the chest and throat. And my new super power is that I can sleep with no provocation at all.

But there are many, many more disadvantages, which I will spare details of. It goes without saying that bronchitis sucks, and I have HUGE empathy for the friends I have who had it recently. Argh. Because it is work to do anything. This? This is a small energy spurt. I will sleep for three hours after this, I swear. Don’t even talk to me about climbing stairs.

I think what bothers me the most about this is I probably could have avoided this. This is the part where Dr. Squeaky gets preachy. I had convinced myself last week that I was indispensable, because ELA registration was last week, and I worked and talked all day until late last week. I felt like crap Wednesday night, my cold in full swing.

Then, genius that I am, I went to San Antonio. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I had fun. It was not the experience it could have been, because I spent most of my evenings being ill when others were kibbitzing after hours, but the workshops and lectures were well worth the trip. By Saturday night, the world was surreal. We went to an awesome Mexican restaurant filled with lights and tinsel and atmosphere. I had a Shirley Temple, a bowl of chicken soup, and a flan, and was enveloped in good conversation and noise while hovering somewhat above my body. I felt like I was in sparkly princess land, but I couldn’t quite sparkle myself.

So, I guess, you know, I shouldn’t have gone to San Antonio. The travel days actually were a couple of the most relaxing days I had that week, but getting on a plane is not good for ENT systems, and I traded three days for about six days (I’m estimating at this point. I hope that’s it.) at home. And…I probably won’t pull something like this again when I’m sick. Older, wiser, and wheezier. There would be regrets of a different kind, but I would be well.

Still, it is nice to hear that friends enjoyed that I came out, and I really liked the crowd that was there. I am a lucky writer. I am invited to many retreats and workshops now, and I will have to think about how I want to spend my money along those lines (hey, Kirkwood does like to send me to ELA conferences sometimes!), but I’d love to go back. It was a great place and a good group.

But don’t do this to yourself. You will think you can stubborn your way through with your indomitable spirit, but you owe some support to your body when you are fighting the evil bacterial minions of Dr. Bronchitis as well.


Shoot. Well, I have two pieces to critique, and I’d like to get back to some writing. So, I’d best rest and heal and get back on program. It is frustrating to have been surrounded by writers writing and come home and, you know, cough. I know I’ve promised some of you emails about things like Paradise Icon and so forth. I promise you, as soon as I can, they’re coming.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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