Turning to Mush

Before I retired, one of my fears was that my brain would turn to mush and my days would become an unstructured blur.

For the first few weeks, all was well. I bustled about, undertaking garden projects, getting rid of my working wardrobe (well, some of it) and relishing the prospect of infinite choice.

Then, last week, some sort of pollen allergy hit. I had episodes of these when I was younger, but not for the last decade. (One of the benefits of age, I thought). But last weekend, it was just like old times — runny, itchy nose, sneezing, stuffiness. No question of bustling or blogging, just sneezing, wheezing and blowing.

Enter antihistamines! One that promised 24 hour relief without drowsiness did the trick, although I’m not sure about the “no drowsiness” part. It’s unbelievable and indecent how much time I spend dozing and resting. Bedtime has been advanced an hour too. Old age is sometimes called “second childhood,” but I didn’t think I would regress so fast!

Logically, this is just a passing phase. Maybe my body is reacting to the change in routine. After all, five days of most weeks would start with “Get up, get washed, get dressed, get breakfast, get out the door by seven a.m.” Day after day, week after week, for more than 20 years. No wonder the poor old bod’s dazed and confused.

Between bouts of self-pity, mugs of tea and wads of tissues, I have been revisiting some of the stories of H. P. Lovecraft, in a hefty edition annotated by Leslie S. Klinger. The footnotes, which elucidate historical and scientific details mentioned in the stories, are a distinct bonus, as are the many pictures. I have only two major problems with the book: 1) It’s huge! Definitely flunks the bath and beach tests, and is a bit of a job to read in bed (especially if it has to share lap space with a cat); 2) The absence of one of my favourite HPL stories, “The Strange High House in the Mist.”

Here’s hoping the mush will firm up soon! Gardens don’t wait for gardeners.



    1. Thank God for antihistamines! The stuff I took did the trick after a couple of days. I was back in the garden today, sans meds and sans symptoms. But I do think the bod needs to readjust. On other occasions when I’ve been under the weather I found myself returning to books I’ve already read; less work for the brain to read them.

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  1. My brain turning to mush is something I worry about a lot. I regret coming to all this technology so late in my life, and know the odds are stacked against me. The joy of infinite choice is the bonus though… Hope you get control of the allergies, so you can enjoy your retirement…

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  2. The human body is simultaneously an amazing, resilient machine capable of marvelous feats, and a flimsy, delicate wet tissue trying to hold up a cinder block. Here’s hoping the allergies take the hint and leave you alone!

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    1. Well, either the pollen has blown away, or the stuff I took really worked, but I’m fine today. I know what you mean, though — we can go along feeling like superwoman (well, sort of), then Boom! Total collapse. So far, I’ve always managed to bounce back.


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