Reprieve

The windows are open and James Brown belts “I Feel Good” on our local NPR station as I write at the dining room table this Monday evening. Earlier today, I took a walk without a coat, without a jacket, without gloves or a hat. All the trees on our street are leafing, the magnolias are in full bloom, joined by forsythias and rhododendrons, tulips and violets.

NYC SkylineIt actually hit 79 this afternoon when I was out running errands, although my Prius recorded the outdoor temp as 64. I think it was as shocked as I, that it finally looks and feels like spring.

Even better, I’m down to only four bandages on my fingers. Still on oral antibiotics to ensure that one very persistent infected ulcer continues to recede, oh so slowly. Both thumbs will also take more time to heal and a chronic spot on the inside of my right ring finger has acted up. But compared to where I was just a month ago, it feels like my hands are nearly bare.

This is all the more amazing, given that I did a lot of traveling last week. Business took me to Manhattan for an overnight and then a train ride back to Boston for another overnight, to conserve my energy for a writer’s conference the following day. I schlepped my wheeling carry-on bag around Midtown and Chelsea, down and up subway stairs (why are there so few escalators and elevators?), over curbs and streets and sidewalks being torn up and repaired, in and out of hotels, up and down train platforms. One very considerate New Yorker (yes, they do exist) helped me carry my bag up a second flight of subway stairs, but I did much of the hauling myself.

My hands, for the most part, did okay, since I was extremely careful with how I grasped the bag’s padded handle. But my right arm began to protest by the end of the trip. What a relief to discover that there’s a working escalator from the Amtrak platform to Boston’s Back Bay Station (not so for commuter rail tracks) when I arrived late Thursday night—and only a three minute walk to my hotel.

I was also compulsive about wearing gloves and using hand sanitizer throughout the trip. It paid off. No new infections.

I’m getting better at travel logistics. Definitely easier to pull this off as the weather improves. My new coat was just the right weight and protection for cooler, 60ish temps last week. And the travel blanket I carry with me provided the extra layer of warmth I needed on the train, which was way too air conditioned, per usual.

Coming home on the commuter rail to our home station, after a stimulating, rewarding few days, I was wiped. No energy left to read much or write on the train, just watched the scenery fly by. I was grateful I wasn’t driving. I was very glad to see Al, standing near the platform, as we pulled into the station. We enjoyed a lovely Shabbat dinner together at home. I slept soundly.

Tonight, the windows are open and its still 70 degrees. Soul Serenade is wrapping up with “Lord, I Feel Like Going Home.” It’s finally spring.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.

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