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Speak up, all you mealy-mouths

Su Lum

Everyone at The Aspen Times is dying from the usual winter tourist germs – coughing and hacking, snogged, feverish and overcome with general lassitude. Despite my flu and pneumonia shots, I got the bug in my good ear and am eagerly awaiting my appointment with my ear doctor in Glenwood.Whatever happened to ear trumpets? In the 1800s, many hearing-impaired people had them: saxophone-shaped devices where you’d put the equivalent of the mouthpiece into your ear hole and your friends and relations would shout into the bell.My daughter Hillery and her husband, Bruce, own an antiques store in Leadville but have never seen an ear trumpet – maybe it was an East Coast thing.I can’t buy one on eBay because a year or so ago I forgot my ID and password and ever since have been in eBay limbo. When I try to re-register, they say I am already registered, but if I try to bid on anything they say I have to register, a cyberspace whirlpool I’m emotionally ill-equipped to deal with under the best of circumstances.Meanwhile, my footsteps echo in my head, ordinary conversation turns to garble and I can’t tell which phone is ringing at work (“Is that my phone? Is that my phone?” by which time the caller is in voice mail).It makes me nervous to get sick this time of year because six years ago when, asked how I felt, I responded with the usual, “I’m at death’s door” and it turned out to be true.The worst appears to be over and my main efforts are now directed to managing the treatment and the meds.At the Times, where my real job is in the ad department, we’re adding two daily papers and changing the size of the weekly, so that is a little bit hectic without having to remember to keep up with the gargling, the unspeakable nasal douchings and the inhaler regimen as well as juggling the pills.I’ve gotten my ongoing pill routine down: the dawn pill (without food), the morning and evening pills (with food). Pills tend to stick in my throat, so this is already something of an ordeal, and now Augmentin, a form of penicillin, has been added twice a day, to be taken with, I was warned, a full meal, not just “with food,” which to me means a couple of Cheerios.The Augmentin pills are the size of my thumb and should carry the warning: Do not ingest without someone present to apply Heimlich maneuver. They are not only hard to get down but to keep down, as I discovered when I threw up not only the Augmentin but the rest of my morning pills after an inadequate breakfast.As they say, the cure is often worse than the disease and in this case the cure part isn’t working except to make me lose my appetite, which is counterproductive, and force-feeding has been added to my list of things to do.On the other hand, the war and the tragic carnage in Asia make my health bitchings seem very petty and I am reminded that there are a lot worse things than being under the covers in paradise.Su Lum is a longtime local who had just gotten used to writing ’04 in her checkbook. This column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.


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