My buddy Don came through town last week en route to San Francisco where he has taken a new job. He got in on the 30th. Neither one of us was worth beating. He had somehow contracted pleurisy and I was taking an involuntary walk down memory lane as I returned to the consumptive ways of my youth. Eventually, I too was diagnosed with pleurisy and bronchitis. But I needed to get through New Year's before heading to the doctor.
Of course, my puny condition is pretty much due to having lived in a house with a man who smoked 3 packs a day which I eventually turned into a short story that you can read here if you are so inclined: http://www.aymag.com/March-2012/Tales-from-the-South-Asthma/.
This last bout was as bad as I can remember in years. Even as I type every time I cough I feel like somebody is stabbing me in the back ribs on both sides. I'm trying to lay off the codeine because I hate taking that shit. But I am getting better. I react well to steroid injections and horse pill antibiotics.
I cannot for the life of me imagine driving cross-country with this. But one does what one must do. Don's first day on the job is Monday. As I understand it they have many files for him to dive into right off the bat. So absent an attack of double pneumonia he had to soldier on.
Things are tough out there. He had to close down his law practice in North Carolina due to the slow economy. Don is one of a handful of lawyers that do insurance coverage work for environmental issues. To make a vast oversimplification, which is the only way I can understand it, when the company he defends receives a claim based on an environmental problem, like a gas leak- or something going boom!-Don is one of the lawyers that decides if coverage exists. If it does fine. If he decides that no coverage exists than that decision gets his company sued.
Which is kind of a big deal since if he's wrong and loses in court his company can be held liable for "treble damages" or 3 times the amount sued for.
Like I said, he's considered one of the experts in this somewhat exotic field. And it took him almost 2 years to find work. It's a tough world out there, boys and girls. And it seems to be over-run by lawyers looking for work. So he's grateful and relieved to have gotten back in the game.
He's back in a city that he loves. His oldest daughter Caroline flew out to help him get settled in. What a comfort that must be. Transitions are hard, no matter if they are for the best. Being sick as a dog doesn't make if any easier.
As for me, I was glad to have him for a couple of days. Don likes Hillcrest and he has friends here. We had a nice get together New Year's Eve. Neither of us felt at all well but nothing like food and fellowship to take your mind off your troubles. The Tylenol 2 I popped an hour before the party didn't hurt either and suppressed my cough nicely. My doctor is the "go-to"guy when it comes to getting through the Holidays with an upper respiratory problem.
But he's gone now and he won't be back anytime soon. But that's OK. Transitions are hard and he needs to keep his eye on the ball. These jobs are tough to get.
But it wouldn't surprise me if sooner than later his friends from this neighborhood don't find their way out there for a visit.
Hillcrest is great and everything. But it ain't no San Francisco. I predict that his popularity will somehow increase under the circumstances.