Last Sunday afternoon I took the train two stops to a coffee spot in Brooklyn to meet another new friend from Vina, Julia. There was a sunny nook at the front section, she got a tea and I got a latte. We talked until 2 pm, and she said: "there's supposed to be a snow storm tomorrow." I was skeptical, but she was right. My office closed on Monday for the snow day. I worked from the sofa and the window seat and the dining room table. A busy week was upon me; it was nice to have an easy day.
The rest of the week unfolded in a series of surprises. I knew that I would be at the doctors office on Wednesday, a gala on Thursday, dinner out on Saturday. But none of those things went exactly to plan.
Tuesday night I found myself at the Westfield shopping center. For the non-New Yorkers, it's a beautiful shopping pavilion adjacent to the old World Trade Center site, but filled with high end stores. I was in need of a dress for Thursday night's gala. I'd purchased something plaid and matronly over the summer that I suddenly hated. I went into three stores empty handed, then shuffled into Smythson, my happy place.
"Do you have the bordered correspondence cards?" I asked the shop keeper. It felt especially good to know what I was looking for and ask for it confidently, as opposed to circling the floor at Cos, sweating and telling people that it's "dressy but not too dressy," "long but not too long". The confusion of the abstract. At Smythson, I could be direct. The shopkeeper showed me their newest color: marigold. I took a box and inquired about their leather notebooks.
"They used to be on sale," he said. He pointed to a box covered in DHL stickers. "The sale ended, all of that inventory is going back to the UK." I frowned. Then I sighed. It would just be the cards then.
Wednesday evening I left the office and immediately walked downtown to an appointment with the ENT. I've been struggling for years with ear congestion and eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) but my old ENT had no solutions besides sending me to a pricey audiologist who told me to "watch my salt intake." There was brief period where I was told I was most likely going deaf!
My new ENT held up a nasal endoscopy tool -- thing a big metal thing with a hose coming off of it and a camera on the end. "We'll stick this down your nose and see what we can see."
"Can we not?" I asked. "I'm afraid of throwing up."
"It'll just feel like a piece of spaghetti going down your nose," he said.
"But I don't like the idea of spaghetti going down my nose," I crossed my arms. He sprayed my nose with two solutions and my throat began to numb. I squirmed when he put the tube at the opening of my nose. Then he paused.
"Let me get the pediatric one. It's smaller."
A little dramatic tear ran down my face and when he finished, he said: "Your whole system is inflamed."
He prescribed me six medications (steroids and nasal sprays).
"Can you chew the medicine?" I asked. The doctor looked up from his computer.
"You don't swallow pills?"
"No, I can't," I said. The pediatric tubes and the chewable medicines! I'm always struggling to look older and feel older but everything I do infantilizes me further.
Thursday evening was the big company fundraising gala. I worked the front desk (in that matronly plaid dress I'd picked before). The night went by in a flash and the new meds made me extremely drowsy (even while not drinking). Around 10:45 I left the event, hopped in a cab and went home, where another party was already in session: Alistair was having his coworkers over for dinner. I had a few glasses of Italian wine and they left at one o'clock in the morning. When I woke up for my o'clock in the morning for my French lesson, I was more tired than I had ever been in a long time.
"Weren't we such a New York couple that night?" I asked that morning. "Me popping into your dinner party straight from a fundraiser." We laughed.
We both were in bed that night by ten o'clock. We relaxed and recouped Saturday with a light sushi lunch and dinner with a friend at a Cambodian restaurant. It was warm on Saturday and so I walked as much as possible. Sometime on a sunset walk down Broadway between Houston and 14th Street, I realized my nose was opening.