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.
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.
If you want to read more about the early days of my retirement, check out my essay in Crow’s Feet on Medium: https://medium.com/crows-feet/spreading-my-wings-fe162c4aaa4d?source=friends_link&sk=d65997596c720b262f0108f7ce3fa0f1
Marie A Bailey
Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.