jfk to lax: random thoughts while flying over amarillo

I’m flying over Amarillo right now.

A very long time ago, I used to live in the Texas panhandle. And I have never put Texas completely behind me. I still keep in touch with one of my good friends there. I still like reading about the state-slash-republic’s history. And one of the things I learned in Texas was what it means to live someplace that is not a coastal city. My couple of years in Texas was the only time I’ve lived in Middle America, and it’s the only reason I have even the slightest clue what living in A Simpler Version Of America means. Otherwise, my vision of the United States would be completely metropolitan. And metropolitan is still a limited view of the country.

I think about what’s down there a lot when I fly over America. And if it hadn’t been for my two years in Texas, I’m not sure if I would look over the country, from a plane, quite the same way. As my Virgin America flight passes directly over Amarillo, I think about that kind of less complicated existence, about what it’s like to live someplace that isn’t a major city. I admit, there are some days I think about asking Paul if we can just pack it up and go move someplace in a fly-over state where we can afford for me to be a stay-at-home mom.
My work requires a major urban center; his does not. Some days, I think about living in a small-to-medium city, with inexpensive housing and few freeways and a more tied-together community.

Then I realize how bored I would get NOT working, and how a one-income household wouldn’t be enough to pay for decent colleges and how I would probably end up taking over a local PTA or something because it wasn’t running effectively, and I realize why I’m better off in big cities.

I’m on my way home right now from NYC, which is why I’m flying over TX, of course. I flew in late last night, and then went to the Prospective New Client Meeting in Weehawken, NJ that I flew out for. Then I returned to IMS NYC, and spent the afternoon:

– walking a few blocks, up 5th and back down Madison, to get a salad at Chop’t
– bonding with my NYC co-workers
– actually sitting down in a productive meeting with an NYC account team (I do find face-to-face meetings most effective still)

I did NOT get to go for my usual Early Morning Walk Through Central Park. That was I have been mysteriously ill the last few days – randomly tired, achy, and unable to breathe deeply. I couldn’t sleep properly Tuesday because I was in so much pain. My right shoulder, which is kind of messed up to start with, hurt horribly every time I breathed in. I fell into a deep sleep, finally, around 4am, after Paul massaged the shoulder in question. That, and a couple Advil, helped me get a little sleep. And I felt a little better through Wednesday. When I got to the Hilton on Wednesday night though, I had chills again, and was short of breath, and so I took a dose of the new inhaler. And then, last night, the pain was back. I kept waking up because I couldn’t take more than a shallow breath without pain searing my shoulder. And even when I got up in the morning, I was fuzzy-headed – to the point where three cups of coffee barely got me moving.

Once my head cleared though, I looked up the side effects of the Advair inhaler I’m taking – and found “muscle and bone pain” as one of them. It’s worst in my shoulder, but the rest of me is pretty achy too – it literally hurts to laugh, or cough, or breathe too deeply. That totally explains why I went to pieces so badly on Tuesday night. Or why I’ve felt like throwing up every time I eat something, like my stomach is just rejecting it (I’ve kept meals down all day, I just lose interest in them sooner than I usually do). Last night, I had such severe chills that I had to dive under the covers shivering – in New York, in July! It seems that of all the Horrible Side Effects that could have gone with that inhaler, I had all the worst ones. And, of course, it didn’t help my breathing. It made it ten times worse.

The reason I was prescribed the Advair was because the inhaler I had been using, the Albuterol I’ve been taking daily since March, was no longer effective. The respiratory infection I had in March has never quite gone away, and I’m still wheezing some days when my breathing gets bad. I went back to my doctor last week, and she referred me to an allergy specialist. It seems my immune system is just…broken. Between not vacuuming enough in our apartment, the crappy air quality in L.A., and this spring’s cold that wouldn’t go away, I have been a mess consistently for months. This is what I mean about life being too complicated in big cities – I believe the L.A. smog and pollens and pollutants worsened the problems, and now I have breathing problems and constant sinus infections I can’t seem to shake.

I started to feel better this afternoon though, and now I’m just…tired. Bone tired, and still unable to breathe deeply, but it’s getting better. And soon, I will be home with Paul and Ben, and will be able to take some time this weekend to rest at home, and maybe by Monday, I’ll feel like I can take on life in Los Angeles again.

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