Doctor’s orders

The good news is that my doctor has ordered me to read. Not a bad outcome of a visit to the doctor’s office, is it? The bad news, however, is that I’m not allowed to exercise. This means more time as a race spectator rather than a competitor, I’m afraid — but I guess the cyclists will be happy to have an additional person cheering them on.

My doctor thinks I have either Lyme disease or a thyroid problem, and I strongly, strongly suspect it’s Lyme. It’s rather surprising that I haven’t gotten it already; after all, I live in the state that gave Lyme disease its name, I have a dog who’s in the woods every day, and I’m in the woods pretty often myself. Plenty of chances to get tick bites (although I haven’t noticed getting bitten recently and had no rash). I’m guessing I’ll find out for sure early next week, and in the meantime, my doctor says I must rest and read.

Actually, if I have to get sick, this isn’t a bad way to do it — except for my inability to ride, things aren’t so bad: I get to laze around and do no work whatsoever and have Hobgoblin take care of me, and I’m really not feeling all that badly. I have a tiny bit of fever, a few aches here and there, a racing heart, but I’m not miserable. I should milk this as much as I can.

So, okay, I began Sigrid Nunez’s novel The Last of Her Kind recently, and so far it’s excellent, a good book to curl up with. It’s about two friends who attend Barnard College together in the late 60s, following them as their paths intersect through the 70s. The main character, Georgette, comes from a poor, failing town in upstate New York, who experiences culture shock when she arrives in NYC. She and her friend Ann negotiate their way through the late 60s counterculture and student unrest. The story is told in the first person, from Georgette’s point of view; she is writing at a time close to ours, looking back on her youth. I like this method of describing the 60s and 70s from today’s perspective as it gives the narrator a chance to think about how things have changed, how surprising some of the habits and beliefs of that time appear to us today.

As to what else I’ll read during these days of doctor-prescribed reading? I’m not sure. I’ve been thinking of picking up Geraldine Brooks’s novel The Year of Wonders if I’m in the mood for more contemporary fiction. I’m also considering reading Balzac’s Cousin Bette if I want something older. Or maybe The Accidental? Maybe some more Virginia Woolf? We shall see.

I’ve been meaning to write about Alison Lurie’s novel Foreign Affairs, which I finished recently — perhaps that’s a post for tomorrow.


Filed under Books

18 responses to “Doctor’s orders

  1. SFP

    I hope you start getting well soon, Dorothy, but yes, milk it for all it’s worth now while you can!


  2. Might be a good opportunity to just chill, listen to music and read. Take care. See what the doctor has to say.


  3. Sorry to hear you are ill! I like the prescription your doctor has given you, however. At least you can be a spectator at cycling competitions without feeling guilty! Hopefully you’ll find out for certain what it is that’s ailing you and they can treat it with certainty! Take care of yourself. And by the way, I really liked the Nunez book. I thought it was a really interesting look at the times and a good character study. Sometimes Ann would make me so mad, but I sort of coud see where she was coming from at times. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts when you finish. Year of Wonders is good,too (and the Accidental as well). It sounds as though you have plenty to keep yourself occupied.


  4. I hope you recover very soon, Dorothy. I don’t know anything much about Lyme disease but I hope it or the “thyroid problem” isn’t serious. (You don’t make it sound very serious so I’m taking that as a good sign.) That Nunez novel sounds familiar — I think I read an excerpt of it somewhere, probably in The Paris Review.


  5. Cam

    Hope you’re feeling better soon. Take care; rest; follow doctor’s orders.


  6. I am really sorry you’re not well, but I have to say that is the kind of doctor’s prescription I dream of! I hope you are able to enjoy it. I know that you will be well looked after.


  7. Yikes – glad to hear you are allowed to read and sorry to read you can’t enjoy your favourite sport the way you’d like to. Hopefully things will sort themselves out.


  8. maggie

    Hi Dorothy, I followed you over from Stefanie’s blog. So sorry to hear you’re not well. I have taken to my couch today as well and will be indulging in tea and biscuits and Jane Roger’s unusual book ‘Mr Wroe’s Virgins’ to cheer me up. Mind yourself.


  9. Hope you get a final diagnosis and begin a recovery soon!


  10. A prescription to read is always good. Thyroid or Lymes, hope you are feeling better again soon. And enjoy the guilt free reading time!


  11. LK

    Take care of yourself and feel better soon. I’m sorry to hear you aren’t able to ride, but at least, you are able to read. Always a nice alternative. I have the Sigrid Nunez book in my TBR pile somewhere — I will be interested in hearing how you like it.

    Oh, and I see you have something by Proust on the docket (something I haven’t heard of). That should be fun…


  12. Sending you lots of healthy vibes your way! At least the prescription so far is an easy one to take 🙂 Hope you get to do a lot of resting and reading this weekend. I know I’ve got The Last of Her Kind on my TBR list.


  13. Oh Dorothy! You poor thing! I’m just so glad you are not feeling too ghastly with your illness, and you should certainly follow your doctor’s advice very closely! Don’t worry – I’m going to be sending over some fun questions for you to keep you entertained!


  14. See? You spoke too soon when you said you’d never had Lyme Disease (it’s part and parcel of being a “Connecticutite,” and you, unfortunately, have lived here long enough not to avoid it). Hope that’s all it is, that you get the antiobiotics (and all the reading time) you need to get rid of it, and are back on your bike soon. If it’s thyroid disease, no biggie there, either. You can talk to Bob: he’s been there, done that. And if you run out of ideas for what to read, I’ve got plenty of reocmmendations.


  15. hepzibah

    Hi Dorothy! Reading is the best perscription that I have ever heard of 🙂 I hope that you feel better soon, read a lot, and I’m sure you’ll be racing again soon. I have just finished The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, and I would recommend it to you if you haven’t read it– it was excellent novel and I feel as though it is a great comfort, have you read it?


  16. Thank you everyone! It’s wonderful to have some blog support 🙂 I’m feeling about the same today, but am now on antibiotics, in case it is Lyme, and so I’m most likely on the way to being cured.

    Oh, and I’m enjoying the Nunez book quite a lot.

    Emily, I should have known, the moment you spoke, that you were right about the Lyme (at least it looks that way …)

    Hepzibah, I’ve read bits and pieces of Tan’s book from anthologies, but not the whole thing. I like what I’ve read so far, but should probably read it all — thanks for the recommendation!


  17. I hope you get well FAST!

    I wasn’t allowed to read for two months after eye surgery once. I’d rather skip biking than skip reading! (It was during grad school; not fun times.)


  18. Yes, take care of yourself, & I wish you a speedy return to exercise, that sounds insanity-inducing! Read a lot of good books in the meantime!


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