I am just now getting over what I call "The Grunge." It’s not the flu, it’s something else–a hacking cough that keeps your spouse (and the neighbors) up all night.

It’s going around like wildfire out here (in Los Angeles, we take the word "wildfire" seriously: we have the wildfire season in the fall when the Santa Anas blow, followed by the mud season in the winter, when heavy rain causes the dry land to give way and multi-million dollar homes with (formerly) scenic views slide down the hills onto the highways.

I mainline cough drops whenever I attend a concert, movie or meeting, I keep talking to other people who’ve had this and it’s like nothing any of us have ever experienced before. It lingers on and on.

I even had to postpone a foot operation that I was all "psyched up" for because of this, because you can’t be put under anesthesia when you’ve got a virus. I learned this several years ago, when I was slated to have some kidney stones removed.

I had a cold, and I was lying on a gurney in one of those butt-baring gowns, ready to be wheeled into the OR, when the anesthesiologist came in. He was a big black man and he saw me lying there, coughing and sneezing away, and said, "Go home–Get out of here!"

This time I didn’t even attempt it. I went to the ER and got some "real" meds, since the over-the-counter stuff wasn’t touching it.

So far, the new meds are keeping the hacking under control. I even attended a tea at which two of my favorite authors spoke. I went up to one of them afterwards and reminded her that I’d arranged a luncheon for her when she came to San Antonio about ten years ago.

I was volunteering at an organization that invited authors to town. We held a luncheon at which people paid to hear them speak up close and personal, which paid for their travel expenses, honorarium and the rental of an auditorium at which they spoke for free later that evening.

This is a famous black author. I’d been assigned to make luncheon arrangements before, but San Antonio is a fairly white world, when it comes to literature, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to attract enough people.

Then I discovered that the town has FIVE black newspapers, so I put a notice in each one and we got a huge crowd.

She remembered the Mexican food there fondly, then I noticed she was wearing a cast, having broken her ankle. Since I was (at that time) getting ready to wear some sort of a cast myself soon, we commiserated on what it was like to hobble around on a single foot.

San Antonio is a unique town, in that it has 3-way segregation: the blacks live in one part of town, the Mexicans in another, and the whites ("Anglos") in a third. But it’s a military town too, and the military is the most completely integrated society in the world.

The last time we were in our favorite San Antonio B & B, I noticed there was an interracial couple sitting at the table next to us. In years past, you never would have seen something like that, so things are changing there too.

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  1. Anne, I must be experiencing
    Anne, I must be experiencing a time warp. Having read this article on your website two days ago, I open Unknowncountry today look at the date on your entry, look at the date on my computer, read your (as usual) excellent article again and tell myself I have been here before. Very strange, hope you are better soon.

  2. Juliana–You’re not in a time
    Juliana–You’re not in a time warp! I took down my original Diary and replaced it with this slightly edited one.

  3. My son has this too, Anne.
    My son has this too, Anne. Just when he thinks it’s gone, it shows up again a day or two later.
    I hope you’re back to your old self very soon. Take care.

  4. This virus travels well. It
    This virus travels well. It came to Minnesota over Christmas and then redistributed itself to parts unknown as relatives traveled to and fro. In January the entire Twin Cities metro area coughed. Seemingly more contagious and long lasting, for sure. I coughed for over a month and I NEVER get anything. I still sometimes cough at night. Almost every public place now has masks available and people are wearing them without apology. Unusual for Minnesotans, believe me. But I hear a lot less coughing in stores now so we must have all gotten the virus and built immunity. Sorry we exported The Grunge to the southwest.

    Be well!

  5. Everyone in Philly has this,
    Everyone in Philly has this, too. We just call it “The Cough”.

    I was embarrassed by a coughing fit on the bus last month and then I realized nearly everybody else was coughing, too!

    I was sick nearly the entire month of January with it and I’m still coughing sometimes.

    Hope you feel better soon, you and everybody else, too!

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