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Spending time on the beach in Florida while sick is no vacation

“You did this to me, Lydia!” I told my best friend, between sneezes on the beach. “You gave me your germs and now I’m dying.”

“Illness is mind-over-matter, Shelly,” she said. “So actually you did it to yourself.”

Lydia never gets sick. She’s superhuman that way. I, on the other hand, am a wimp.

This is why, three days earlier — when Lydia coughed up a lung on an airplane bound for Sarasota — I knew I was in trouble. I shielded my face with my People magazine but her invisible germs found their mark.

That night, my lifelong bestie went to bed at 6 p.m., sicker than I’ve ever seen her. The next morning, she was fine. I believe she purged herself of the virus by giving it to me.

Did I mention Lydia’s nickname is Devileena?

“I’m not sick because I don’t want to be sick,” she told me.

“And I do, Dev?” I said, blowing my nose.

We were sitting poolside now and, though it was 90 degrees in the shade, I covered myself with a beach towel to combat my chills. This was not how I expected to spend my Florida vacation.

Lydia and I had traveled to Sarasota to visit our other bestie, Deanne Bauer. A saint, Deanne cut up onions and put them next to my bedside, because Lydia’s husband had read somewhere that raw onions suck up germs.

So now, not only was I sick but I smelled disgusting. Leave it to Lydia to add insult to injury.

“You’re weak, Shell, let’s face it,” she told me.

“I’m not weak. I’m just not YOU.”

In 30 years as an attorney, Lydia has never missed a day of work due to illness. Her immune system? Don’t get me started. And her pain tolerance is the stuff Bruce Willis movies are made of.

I have watched her give birth and march down to the hospital cafeteria for lunch. (She ate a tuna fish sandwich while sitting on a hard wooden bench. It was 25 years ago but I remember it as if it was yesterday.)

Two weeks after returning from Florida, I am still sick. I went to the doctor a few days ago and she said the bug is definitely viral. Some people take longer than others to get over it. But it is the rarest of rare person who can kick it in a day.

I would like to kick that person. But my luck, she’d probably trip me.

Michelle Schrader: mmeehan2@gmail.com
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