In the later years of her life my mother avoided all contact with anyone who had cold or flu symptoms. Her explanation was that she didn’t want to catch a cold because it took her so long to get over one. At the time I thought her attitude was a little unreasonable and her claim a bit exaggerated.
Now I understand what she was saying. I am on my tenth day of intestinal flu followed by a bout of bronchitis. I have been on a regimen of heavy duty antibiotics for several days and, although I am better, I am still feeling miserable and wondering why it is taking so long to return to health and feeling well enough to go to work and engage in my usual activities. I have had bronchitis several times in the past but it never seemed to take this long to recover.
The reason, of course, is obvious. When we are young we recover rapidly. As we grow older our response rate slows down. I feel like I owe my mother an apology.
I don’t know why I so often failed to understand what my mother was saying and I can’t afford therapy to pursue the matter. Maybe it’s just a generational thing that most people experience. My children don’t always seem to comprehend what I’m saying either. Maybe it’s a denial of the changes that are just part of the growing older process. Even with a lifestyle of healthy eating habits and exercising, most of us can’t perform physically as well as we did even ten years ago and certainly not the way we did 20, 30 or 40 years ago.
My mother is no doubt smiling and saying, “I told you so!”