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Front Page - Friday, May 27, 2016

Are We There, Yet?

Jay Edwards

“Pneumonia,” the doctor said. I wasn’t surprised. What did surprise me was the text I received from Karen, our production manager, which came almost the same instance I sent my own text out to her, and others at the office, on my diagnosis. 

“I have pneumonia,” Karen’s text read. 

What was this, a pandemic?

I was attending the UALR Distinguished Alumni Luncheon at the Clinton Library when I noticed something just didn’t feel quite right. There was a bit of a tickle in my throat, but more concerning than that was that I was cold, which I almost never am. 

It wasn’t my first pneumonia rodeo, but the other two times, I was pretty young; plus, I had my mommy there to make things better. The second time I got it I think I was about five and had to spend a week in the hospital. I remember being too sick to move, and also the vivid dreams, of flying monkeys dressed like swanky hotel bellboys and other horrors. Then, suddenly, I just wasn’t sick anymore and the week’s worth of pent-up energy rushed forward like a river from a broken dam. I remember jumping up and down on the hospital bed. Where was that? Sioux City? The nurse wasn’t happy but I didn’t care because I felt great. 

Until today, a half-century later, and I have contracted the vile disease again. There won’t be any celebratory bed jumping when I get well this time though.

When you’re confined to your house for over a week, Stir Crazy and his first cousin, Looney Tunes, visit you. They just come, uninvited, through the achy clammy misery caverns from whence you suck air. (Maybe a bit delirious too)

I tried reading. The book is a David Baldacci thriller called “The Escape.” It’s pretty good fare, as most of his are. 

Then there is cable of course, with a smorgasbord of movies, from every genre. I began in documentaries and was interested in a story of some mountain climbers attempting to reach the summit of K2. It went badly, and 11 died. 

After that, I needed some comic relief, and chose “Superbad.” If you’ve seen it, all I need to say is “McLovin,” and you should be smiling. I also watched “The King and I” somewhere in there, which made me tear up a little when Yul died, etc. etc. etc.

Now it is Monday and I’m back at the old desk, trying to put enough sentences together to fill a column. 

As for an appetite, I’ve still got one. I ate the Ranchero Special from Senor Tequila twice, Chick-Fil-A three times and Sonic once. Feed a cold, starve a fever but be a glutton with pneumonia, has always been my motto.

So I’m on the mend. Thanks for all those healthy thoughts sent my way and I hope none of you get this.


The death of Lou Reed, another musician to depart this year, caused some lines of wonder to be penned by his wife, the author Laurie Anderson, which I think are worth another look.

“The day before he died, we were out swimming in the pool. Looking at the trees. And he was floating and saying: ‘You know, I am just so susceptible to beauty.’

I think of that every day. How to open yourself to the world. And really appreciate it.”

After Reed’s death, Anderson expected to feel totally lost and directionless. “But I felt the opposite,” she says.  

“This is all we have. Right here. So you’d better pay attention. I was not expecting that at all – this feeling of being dazzled by life.”

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com.