I have the glimmer of hope this morning.
This glimmer usually sets me in motion, getting up early..it's 6:30am now, and doing more, more, more.
I have a lot of ideas a lot of the time.
But, this time, even though I dare say I'm starting to feel like I will not have to set foot back in the dreaded ER, I've made the four day pledge.
I made a four day pledge to housemate Rob Genadek that I would stay in bed no matter how good..or bad..I feel.
Just give it four days of real devoted bedrest.
Today is only the beginning of day two!
It feels like the beginning of day five.
I keep remembering the time I got pneumonia in ninth grade.
I was planning to go play the piccolo in my school's marching band for the Bicentennial Celebration in Disneyworld.
Obviously, it was 1976.
I came down with my usual winter chest cold which turned into bronchitis which turned into pneumonia.
I was in bed for weeks.
I missed six weeks of school.
I never even tried to get up and do anything, it was so bad I just laid there and prayed.
I'm not kidding, I prayed.
I was the girl who had sung in the choir since she was six years old and I knew how to pray.
I could do the entire chanted mass that the Lutherans still did in English at that time.
"...for though only art Holy, though only art the Lord...."
I loved that!
I would sing the whole thing through, feebly, under my breath, in my bed up under the rafters in Park Ridge, Illinois.
I missed my birthday in February completely.
But then my mother got a call from the band director saying that the time had come to reserve plane tickets for the trip to Florida over Spring break for the marching band.
That did it.
I told my mother to tell him yes, I was coming.
She said I wouldn't be able to march, I'd be too weak.
The band director and my mother agreed that I would have to complete two full weeks of attending school before the trip in order to qualify for being healthy.
I was taken back to a different doctor.
I don't know how that came about.
But the new doctor put me on a new pill and I was on my feet in a week.
I don't know what happened.
I sort of remember that we never went to the doctor at all that whole time until the end when I said I was going to march in the Bicentennial in Florida.
I hate to say it but I think my mom just hoped I would snap out of it so she wouldn't have to take me to the doctor.
I think he probably just gave me some penicillin or something and that was that.
Anyway, I got better fast.
I went back to school.
I found out that some people missed me, even though I had seen r heard from absolutely no one in all those weeks.
I was that kind of person then, like I am now.
I was the kind of person that everybody noticed and most people liked, but nobody knew very well.
My mom bought me some clothes for the trip.
She bought me some gorgeous clothes because that's one thing she's great at when she's feeling generous or she wants to show off.
She was excited that I was getting to do this so she bought me clothes.
I had never been on an airplane in my life.
I'd only been to Lake Vermilion and back my whole life.
She bought me a white tube top and high waisted bright red cuffed shorts....which got me kicked off the band bus and sent back up to change into something more appropriate during the trip.
I've always liked to go all out in the clothes department and the tube top looked so great on me because being sick for six weeks made me skinny like a model.
She bought me wide legged high waisted peach colored jeans and an embroidered hippie style blouse of pale flowers that tied in the back.
That outfit got the thumbs up from the band chaperones.
She bought me those light tan suede criss-cross platform sandals that everybody wore in the seventies.
I loved those sandals so much.
I got to march and I didn't faint.
We had those huge black fur marching band hats which were heavy and hot.
It was ninety degrees the day of the Bicentennial parade through Disneyworld.
They did the parade every day for a year I think, but this was our day to be the scheduled band.
They brought in marching bands from all over America.
We had black and red wool uniforms, long trousers and high collared jackets.
The tube top came in handy because I wore it under the boiling hot jacket to stay cool.
Kids in the band from my school fainted along the parade route.
I didn't, man, this was my moment.
I played those piccolo parts like they were the most important part of the whole composition.
Personally, when it comes to John Phillip Sousa, I do think the piccolo parts are what totally make it.
And I do want to add that the little black wood and silver keys piccolo that I was playing on loan from the school was one of my most beloved musical instruments ever.
What a great little bundle of joy the piccolo can be!
Going back to the many long days bedridden, maybe unnecessarily, but we'll never know.
I used to lie there on my back on my bed propped up with pillows to breathe.
I would start at my toes and I would tell myself all the parts of my body that were still healthy.
I would tell myself that my toes were fine.
I would tell myself that my feet were fine.
I would tell myself that my knees and my legs, my personal parts and my stomach, and all my organs were all just perfectly fine.
Okay, my lungs weren't fine.
But I would just keep telling myself that everything else was totally fine which meant that most of my entire body was perfectly fine.
My eyes, my nose, my mouth, all fine.
And it gave me hope.
I found myself doing this two days ago when I thought this Virus was taking the dreaded turn for the worse.
I've read that some people have contracted this Virus and thought they were holding their own only to suddenly have to be rushed to the hospital turning blue.
I've read that some people are suddenly overwhelmed by worsening symptoms and they die on the way to the hospital.
That'll scare you, for sure, thinking like that when you're already short of breath and feverish.
They've been saying that people over sixty with pre-existing symptoms are the ones who might die.
I'm fifty-nine and counting and I've had all this asthma and bronchitis and pneumonias all my life.
I'm going to keep going with this train of thought because I have nothing else to do right now.
I'm going to tell you that every one...almost every single one of my thirteen tours in Europe I have come down with a chest cold which has turned into bronchitis.
Some of you have witnessed this.
Some of you know that I travel with the z-pack of antibiotics from my lung doctor in my suitcase.
It's usually just a question of when to start the first dose.
A few beautiful tours I've come home with the z-pack still intact in my suitcase.
But many times I've laid shivering in a hotel bed while Rob Genadek opens up the pack and peels out the first does and brings me the glass of water.
We never cancel the shows.
I just keep traveling, keep singing as best I can.
Usually I'm totally great by the end of the tour and the last night gets one of the best shows of the tour.
I think my asthma is about my childhood.
I think my lungs are afraid.
I'm learning to be bigger than all the goddamn fear that has held me back.
My bankruptcy is filed this coming Tuesday.
The bankruptcy for me represents coming out of a long reign of terror.
The money from my marriage, now long over, still haunts me in the form of hovering debts I could never repay.
Those were the debts of a woman of means.
No one would ever have given somebody like me access to lines of credit like that in the first place.
I was in the fancy private banking section of the bank and I didn't belong there.
They didn't understand that I had purposely opted out of the lifetime support alimony.
I broke a man's heart and I left him.
I couldn't take his money the rest of my life when he hated my guts.
I tried to make my music career rise up and wash over all the issues of the divorce but it didn't.
This shocking pandemic has given me the opportunity of a lifetime to ride a wave of crisis and try to harness it to restart my life.
I am forging a new life with no fear.
I love my ex husband for everything he did for me and I beg his forgiven every day in prayer for all the things I did that hurt him.
I love my music and I'm not ashamed of my flaws.
I love how I chose to spend my money and invest in my albums, my tours, my band, my relationships around the globe.
I lay in this sickbed now and I have the audacity to dream bigger than I've ever dreamed.
My son just drove through one of my favorite towns Santa Fe New Mexico.
He knows a lot about Georgia O'Keefe.
She lived to be ninety-eight in Santa Fe.
There's a story that she walked out into the desert with friends and fellow artists, late in her life.
At one point along the trail, she stopped and threw her head back and howled like a coyote.
Afterwards she said to her companions, that "all this beauty" made her want to howl.
All this beauty, my friends.
The piccolo, what a sweet miracle of invention.
The marching band, what a glorious thing to be a part of.
The shining waters of Lake Vermilion.
All the fun clothes that people keep creating, all the fun clothes in all the fun vintage shops.
All the glorious guitars!
All the singers and all the wonderful songs.
All the painters and their beautiful concoctions of exploding color.
All the writers, all the poets, all the dreamers.
These are the lands which I inhabit, laid out across the bedcovers like a map of Santa Fe, and Amsterdam, Paris, and Brussels, and all across Germany.
And I pray that with my gained appreciation of it all that I will have a fearless second chance.
A chance to live it all more fully with much greater appreciation.
The people, their faces, their hearts, their eyes shining with emotion.
I love it all.
I'm coming back like Ebenezer Scrooge, ready to understand the beauty of it all.
I want to be healthy.
I've got three more days of bedrest.
Love and great health to you.