13th Anniversary

A thoughtful co-worker pinged me on Jabber today with a condolent note. “Hang in there,” she added.

I hadn’t given much thought to my feelings. But at this conjecture, I realized I was mostly numb to the day. It is as if the darts of reminders over the years have stabbed me enough to grow a scab that was then replaced by thicker skin. One does feel less through callouses. I venture to think that suffering 9-11 trauma has calloused my nervous system.

Perhaps I didn’t think much about the day, because I was stuck at home wheezing after a week with a cold. I’ve had breathing problems since the dust plume covered Brooklyn Heights 13 years ago. Medications seem to make matters worse. This time it was Singulair. I was on my sixth dose when a sore throat prompted more Ricola. WebMD stated a sore throat is a side effect. Great. This side effect turned into a full-on viral cold.

Previously, it was Symbicort, an inhalant containing cortisone, which can weaken the immune system. It weakened mine, and I got a cold then, too. Same kind of cold.

In early 2013, when the nationwide World Trade Center Health program was assessing my needs for their services, one of the questions I had to answer was, “Do you have a cough?” I wasn’t sure. I said, “I don’t think so. But I had a cough before. I didn’t know I had a cough until someone mentioned that I coughed a lot.” The answer the questioner put down was, “No.”

There was period of time when I didn’t cough much. It was when I was consuming a lot of the herb, thyme. During this week’s medical mishap, I opened the National Geographic book, Edible, and found that thyme is good for guess-what: inflamed bronchioles. Reading this got me thinking about the past year and my health. I had had a pot of thyme growing at home from which I seasoned many meals. Since living in San Francisco, I had a thyme plant until I moved to a smaller place, where I let it dry up. There wasn’t enough sun. Not for the plant, but for me to be inspired enough to tend to plants. I’m not sure when exactly my cough got worse, but I do recall buying more Ricola a few months after moving.

On this 13th anniversary of 9-11, I’m looking forward to reviving my thyme plant. I’m also wishing I had more time to write, such as a response to a pending comment, and more time to do things like community activism. I’m also avoiding the media. No TV. No internet surfing. Hopefully, I won’t unfortunately cross paths with someone who asks questions about 9-11 or New York that I don’t want to answer.

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