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Springtime in Tallahassee #blooms #blossoms #pollen

In the roughly two weeks I’ve been retired, I haven’t done a whole lot. I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes at that. I did say I would take a break, but even I didn’t take myself seriously. Nature did, though, so she put out the pollen–nice and thick–to get me to slow down.

Photo by cottonbro on

My first few days and nights of freedom were surreal. I couldn’t sit still during the day, which was fine with my husband because that meant I was doing most of the cooking and cleaning; at night, I dreamt about work. Horrors. The nightmares dreams have pretty much stopped, thank goodness.

The pollen might have slowed me down, but I could still enjoy the scenery, even in my own front yard.

Things weren’t too shabby elsewhere in the neighborhood.

The pollen didn’t keep me from walking and taking photos. But then my body turned on me.

Last Monday we went for a bike ride, about 21 miles round-trip. Although I am a bit out of shape, I was surprised how sore my undercarriage (a euphemism I’m stealing from a British women’s cycling magazine) became. I thought I had plenty of padding going for me: cycling tights with a nice thick layer of chamois, my underpants, and a panty liner because, well, the restrooms are far between on the trail.

That was Monday. Then Wednesday night at 11 pm, just as I was settling into bed, I felt a burning sensation around my undercarriage and lower abdomen. Although it had been decades since I last experienced that sensation, I knew what it was immediately: the dreaded UTI.

For the next 6 hours, I had to pee about every 15 minutes. After the first hour, blood started to appear in my urine. I sat on the toilet with my iPad, reading up on UTIs and bladder infections and kidney infections. With the blood, I figured I had a bladder infection and I was in trouble.

You see, I was scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccination that Friday. The Johnson & Johnson one-shot. No way was I going to miss that! I was devastated, worried that if I called my doctor about an infection, they would delay the vaccination, but also worried that if I didn’t do anything, the infection would only get worse.

I exhausted myself and shortly before 5 am, I fell asleep. The cats woke me up at 7:30 because, you know, they don’t care that I was up all night. They were up all night, too, so it was nothing to them. After their feeding, I went back to bed. When I got up again, it was the strangest thing: my symptoms were gone.

So I kept my mouth shut and on Friday got my vaccination. I was still tired but it usually takes me a couple of days to recover from insomnia. By Saturday, I was getting suspicious. That burning sensation never completely disappeared and now I was bloated. Oh, how much I hate being bloated! It brings back all those awful memories of that time of the month and how miserable I would be.

I looked it up. Yup, bloating is a symptom of UTIs. And, by the way, bicycling can also cause UTIs. It’s the friction and pressure down there and, in my particular case, the fact that I was sitting on too many layers. Apparently, it would be better to go commando with nothing coming between me and my chamois.

So off I went to the doctor, peed in a cup, and got a prescription for antibiotics because yes, indeedy, I had plenty of white blood cells and even a bit of blood floating around in my urine.

Now I’m still tired but I’m improving. My husband has been the best, chauffeuring me to the doctor’s office (twice), the pharmacy, the grocery store and the bookstore (okay, that last one was an indulgence). I told him how I couldn’t have done all this without him, and he said, “Of course not. You’re sick.”

Wow. The irony. First two weeks of freedom and I get hay fever and a bladder infection. Still beats working, though!

I hope you all are safe, healthy and happy. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, I hope you will be soon.

Raji and Junior checking out the squirrels in our backyard.

If you want to read more about the early days of my retirement, check out my essay in Crow’s Feet on Medium:

Categories: retirement

Tagged as:

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

22 replies

  1. UTI’s are the worst! That constant feeling of having to go…but don’t. Ugh! I hope the antibiotics have kicked in, Marie. You can’t mess around with UTI’s. Many years ago, I had one without the classic symtoms, so I wasn’t aware what was going on. I ended up with 104 degree fever and a severe infection in my bladder. I’ve never experienced chills or back pain like that in my life. And I’ve had two back surgeries! The azaelas around your neighborhood look beautiful. We have Bradford pears exploding with blooms. They stink, but they are gorgeous. I’ve glad you got your vaccine. I’ve had the first and will go for the second this Saturday. I laughed at the Brooke Shields video…I remember that. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Jill, that is the scary thing about UTIs: you might not even be aware you have one until it becomes deadly. My mom had a UTI a couple of years ago. No symptoms except fatigue. A cousin came to visit her one afternoon and found her in bed. She took my mom to the ER and she was diagnosed with a serious bladder infection. If my cousin hadn’t been proactive, my mom might not have survived. Another friend of mine delayed getting treated for her UTI and wound up with a serious infection. That’s why I called my doctor even after my symptoms abated … although, in truth, I should have called earlier πŸ˜‰ I’m grateful for my vaccine, especially since it was a one shot and I still have to get my Shingles booster which I really want to get over it. I don’t like needles, even really small ones πŸ˜‰


  2. Your experience sounds lousy– the UTIs not the Covid-19 shot. I’m sorry to read about this, but you have to admit you’ve slowed down now that you’re retired. Mother Nature has her ways of forcing us to sit back and take it all in. Your photos of the azaleas are refreshing to see. Take care, ok?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am impressed with such exuberance starting out your R&R with a 21 mile bike ride!
    Aside from the obvious ‘undercarriage’ (extremely serious & painful) issues, I’ll mention that it is ‘Green Gunk’ Season here in SC through April so I get it about the high pollen count days.
    Gotta pick and choose when to be outside knowing the ‘fresh’ air is filled with ‘fresh’ green gunk!
    That said, we’re still having problems getting ‘the shot’ and yep I’m 66! Oh well, it’ll happen, but what a mess!
    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Laura, I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t been able to get the vaccine. That’s so wrong on so many levels.
      You know, I usually don’t wear a mask outside when I’m alone, but yesterday I wore one while I washed down our pickup … lots of crusted pollen on that baby. I wore the mask because I was expecting someone to drop off a book for me, but now I’m glad I wore it because it probably saved me from inhaling the pollen πŸ˜‰

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  4. I had my first shot a week ago (Moderna) and haven’t had a UTI since I was a girl and gave up baths for showers and devoted myself to cotton undies during the day and nakedness at night. Let the lady-parts breathe! Those precautions might not be the reason I’ve avoided infection, but “too much padding” and sitting on a bike all day sounds like you have nailed yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I think your habits are good UTI prevention. I wear all cotton as well and go commando at night, unless it’s really cold in which I have a pair of loose-fitting yoga pants I wear. I’ve also started drinking cranberry juice regularly. Definitely the next time I go biking, I’ll limit the padding to what is absolutely necessary πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great photos, Marie. Sorry about the UTI. One side benefit of wearing a mask for me has been the reduced symptoms of allergies. I have both allergies and asthma and the mask helps. Work nightmares will go away in time. I think it took me a year. Wishing you the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, John! Gee, I hope it doesn’t take a year for my work nightmares to go away, but at least I don’t have to go to work the next day πŸ˜‰ I’m thinking I should wear a mask outside more often, especially when I’m working in the yard. I did the other day and was pleasantly surprised that my allergies didn’t return even since there was pollen everywhere πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yikes, Marie! I hope you’re feeling better! That UTI experience sounds awful. (But your cats let you sleep till 7:30?! I tell Ricky I’m not getting up before 5 AM, but he thinks 4:30 is time. πŸ˜€)

    I get my second vaccine this week. I feel the same way that I can’t get sick and miss it.

    Your azaleas are beautiful! I’ll be complaining about pollen soon, but that’s OK.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to get up at 5:30 but over the past year, I’ve condition our cats to not expect breakfast before 7 AM. So far, so good πŸ˜‰ I honestly would like to get up earlier, but haven’t had the energy yet. Good luck with your second shot!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Like they say about so many things these days: It gets better.

    Hope you’re feeling good soon so you can enjoy your freedom! And by the way, I can relate on the undercarriage problem. I’ve been biking lately to get ready for spring weather, and the bike seat might as well be an axe blade. 😲

    Liked by 1 person

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