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Postcards from the couch

By Jennifer M. Latzke

10 p.m., Tuesday, somewhere in Oklahoma

It’s no use denying it. I am coming down with something. I thought I could power through with vitamin C lozenges and positive thinking, but nope. I’m sick.

And I’m four hours from home.

Oh, look, Walgreens is open. At least I can get drugs and crackers. And fortunately I have a warm hotel room to hole up in. It’s perfectly normal, though, to feel chilly when the heat’s set at 77 degrees, right?

3 a.m., Wednesday, still somewhere in Oklahoma

Oh, dear Lord, deliver me from this evil plague.

I’m pretty certain that I might become a Centers for Disease Control case study if this doesn’t stop. Chills, fever, aches, nausea—all the hallmarks of a really good outbreak. I feel so awful all I can do is moan and whimper.

I’m pretty sure that my hotel neighbors think there’s an exorcism going on in here.

8 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, still somewhere in Oklahoma

I made it through the night but I’m no better.

It’s perfectly normal to take four hours to get a shower, get dressed and on the road, right? Maybe if I can swing through a drive-thru and pick up something to settle my stomach I’ll feel better for the four-hour drive home.

Nope. Bad idea. You’d think I’d learn.

4 p.m., Wednesday, Dodge City

I made it home. Granted, I took a half-hour nap while pulled into a truck stop halfway here and stopped every 20 miles to rest, but I made it home.

Now I can curl up in my warm bed with a year’s supply of Pepto and a mug of Sprite.

Oh, look, Shiloh the Wonder Schnauzer wants to cheer me up. She just brought me her favorite chew toy and is snuggling in under the covers.

Thanks sweetie, but a slobbery chew toy isn’t exactly what I need.

8 a.m., Thursday, Dodge City

I have migrated to the living room couch. Sixteen hours of sleep and I still feel like death, but I had to get up and let the Wonder Schnauzer out to do her business.

Maybe a little television can help me recuperate.

Oh, look, Superior Livestock has their auction on TV. Some people watch game shows and daytime talk shows when they’re sick. Me, I like the patter of an auctioneer to put me to sleep. Next to the purr of a diesel engine, it’s the best sleep aid around.

Think maybe I might try a little toast and tea. Surely I’ll be able to keep that down.

Nope. Bad idea.

3 p.m., Thursday, Dodge City

I thought I was doing better, but the chills and nausea are back. And just when I was missing that familiar clammy feel of death.

When I find who gave me this, I will have my revenge. And I’ve watched enough crime drama reruns on TV today that I could make it look like an accident.

For now, though, I’m keeping my brain sane by counting the pink tiles in my bathroom, yet again. Dad would call this “Bathroom Mathematics.”

5 p.m., Thursday, Dodge City

Back to the couch again. I found “Dukes of Hazzard” reruns on cable, have a glass of Sprite on the floor beside the couch and Shiloh curled up by my side. Throw in green shag carpeting, some chicken noodle soup and my mother hovering over me with a thermometer and I could be 7 and home sick from school all over again.

Have taken to Facebook on my iPhone in my delirium because I have had some great cold-drug-induced insights that I must share.

Also, because I need to talk to someone other than Shiloh the Wonder Schnauzer.

7 a.m., Friday, Dodge City

I think the worst has passed. I slept through the night, and I’m able to keep some food other than crackers and Sprite down.

I’m able to look around at the devastation being sick has wrought in my home. The bathroom counter looks like a hypochondriac lives here. There are dishes piled in the sink and three half-empty juice cartons sit on my kitchen counter in a sticky mess.

I have 14 messages from my mother and 82 Facebook notifications. Evidently I was a comedic genius while I was sick. Who knew?

Oh, look, there are about 125 emails that need to be sorted and answered. And I’ve got to catch up on two days of writing that I lost being sick.

You know, on second thought, I’m going back to bed.

Nothing will make you sick like the day after recovering from being sick.

Jennifer M. Latzke can be reached at 620-227-1807 or

Date: 2/3/2013


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