I watched as my temperature crept higher then lower for several hours while I was equally fascinated and horrified that my steadfast body temperature was out of whack.
“What?” I questioned my thermometer as my mood went from good humored to suspicious, swinging with the changes. As I studied the numbers, the possibility that I was nearing a COVID emergency made me move my Last Will and Testament and my Living Will to the front of my file cabinet.
I cleaned the kitchen and changed the sheets on my bed figuring that I might need someone to come in to help me and didn’t want anyone to know how messy my house had become since I had closed my doors to all visitors.
I laid in bed as my face burned hot and my body shook with chills and thought that this was a perfect example of being grossly uncomfortable: hot and cold and thirsty but too tired to take a drink from my iced water glass that sat on my nightstand within arm’s reach.
It’s interesting the way illness gives me a perspective on my life. One regret burned brightest: It was something I was going to do and never did.
I never shared the emails my niece sent to me when she was 14. She didn’t know that I’d saved them in a random file on my computer for the past ten years. If I died from COVID as hundreds of thousands of people had already, the emails would be lost forever; she would never see them.
After a few days in bed, I felt better.
I collected the emails, created a document, printed it, bound it with a long black spiral and mailed the bulky package to my niece who lives an hour away in upstate New York.
She said it was the best gift she ever received.
I didn’t have COVID but thinking about the possibilities got me to do something I’d put off doing for many years.
The second time I thought I had COVID, I lay in bed on a hot summer night shaking with chills and trying to remember if I should take aspirin or Tylenol for a 103 degree fever. My body ached, my head hurt and my food tasted like mold. I lay in bed and thought about how life had become an Agatha Cristy novel: we were all looking around the room wondering who would drop next.
In the morning I went for a COVID test where the doctor at the Urgent Care berated me for not taking medication for the high fever. (She told me which one to take. Alas, as I write this I’ve forgotten. Was it Tylenol or aspirin?)
As I waited for my test results, a new regret came into focus: I never finished writing that book about my travels in Turkey. What a shame to not publish that story—it was such a good one.
The following week as I celebrated my negative COVID test and being suddenly symptom free, I started working on that book, Cheese for Breakfast: My Turkish Summer. I finished it some months later and it is currently for sale all over the world.
Why does the threat of illness propel me into action?
The third time I thought I might have COVID, I watched a rash take over my body and wondered why I had never written about the way children learn how to write. Teaching children how to write has always been my specialty, yet it’s the one thing I’ve never penned.
Isn’t it interesting that my regrets weren’t about having access to medications to heal whatever I suffered from or missed travel opportunities or never having children; my regrets were all related to creating more.
Interesting. Creating more.
The possibility of illness pushed me. That old adage that time would stretch itself for my convenience dulled; I could lose full mental capacity at any time; I pushed myself to start on the writing class.
Most nights after working as a kindergarten teacher, I wrote for at least four hours and on weekends it was customary for me to write for at least twelve hours on both days.
After weeks and weeks of writing and rearranging, I had a basic outline. In November I started recording the video, having no idea it would take me two whole months to record it all or that the final video would be over three hours long.
Chopping bits and pieces brought the class down to two hours and forty minutes. The audio quality was loud, then soft, then just right—sometimes in the same sentence. There was nothing I could do about that.
I had to stop fixing and let it go: good enough.
I finished the Writing Masterclass for Parents of Young Children a month ago. It’s long. And filled with information And I don’t know if anyone will watch it.
But that’s not why I wrote it. I wrote it to share with the people who wanted the information. The entire program is free of charge with no strings or even an email address required
Currently I am feeling lighter as I chisel away at my To Do list. How fortunate I am to have the time and stamina to do the things I always thought I would do, hello self-isolation.
And then COVID’s shadow taunted me again. This time in my house, which seems unlikely since no guests have visited in the past six months. But there was standing water in the kitchen sink. I ignored it for a week before I texted my brother-in-law and asked for a recommendation for a plumber.
He said he’d come over and have a look before his family flew to the Caribbean at the end of the week.
It was one of those problems homeowners dread. No, not a simple leak under the sink: a crazy block behind a wall. My brother-in-law returned with a crew from his construction company and they cut and repaired pipes for most of a day until there was a splash of water and the groans of workers covered in the sludge from just before the blockage.
I happened to be home the day they were here, lucky me!
The following day my brother-in-law who had zero symptoms got the results of his COVID test which is a requirement for flying.
His test was positive. He had COVID. He was sick and he was in my house on two different days.
Strange timing, amiright?
So I spent ten days working from home and eating down my food supplies wondering about the irony of having time to make elaborate meals, but lacking… food. I found a grocery store that delivered, but by the time the food arrived several days later, I didn’t feel like cooking any more.
Several friends asked for refills on the moisturizer I make with organic plant-based ingredients. Sure. Fine. Several more asked for refills, too. I made them all wait a few weeks which made them suggest I start selling it so they could get it when they need it.
One friend reminded me that maybe the moisturizer could help someone the way it helped me. Help someone else?
I opened a business Worthy Skin Care (The story of how the moisturizer helped me is on my ETSY shop, if you’re interested.)
And so my creative phase continues. My Worthy Face Serum is in the shop and the moisturizer will be added shortly.
There’s always more ideas on how I might show up. How I might create. How I might try something new.
For now it’s skin care.
This is going to be fun.
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Holly Winter Huppert is a writer, a photographer and a kindergarten teacher living in upstate NY. Along with teaching and writing, Holly runs two small businesses: a publishing house (Winuply Press) and a Skin Care Company (Worthy Skin Care.)
Check out Holly's Writing Masterclass for Parents of Young Children, a work of heart that Holly did as a service to parents during the pandemic. Holly's area of expertise is in teaching writing to children, and she shares her knowledge in this video. No charge. No signups. Just information. (Want more connecting children and writing? Check out Holly's book of children's writing prompts: Write Now: Ideas for Writers.)
Our readers love Holly Winter Huppert’s latest book: Cheese for Breakfast: My Turkish Summer. Huppert writes with her signature humor, honesty and insights.
"This book is a joy ride of surprises; a perfect escapist read." Winuply Press
Join Holly as she finds adventure everywhere she goes as climbs castles, eats from communal bowls, joins a 40-minute water fight from the back of a truck, lives with a Turkish family, visits remote areas and marks two lifelong dreams off of her bucket list: visit the ancient city of Ephesus and watch the Whirling Dervishes whirl in prayer
Follow Holly's personal page on Instagram, Her page for Winuply Press on Instagram, and her page for Worthy Skin Care on Instagram. Or e-mail her at mshollywinter at Gmail dot com to book a speaking engagement or ask any questions.
Holly Winter Huppert hollywinter.com
Winuply Press Worthy Skin Care Upstate New York 845-481-3859 www.winuplypress.com
(C) 2021 by hollywinter.com and Holly Winter Huppert