Ill health — which had granted me quite a long spell of leave — has attacked me without warning again.

— Seneca, “Asthma”

I feel Seneca’s pain, and then some. For while I don’t doubt that the inability to fill one’s lungs is a harrowing one, I might be willing to trade him for the acute pancreatitis that I’m currently enjoying. I’ve been ensconced at the hospital since last Saturday, which, coincidentally, is the last time I ate anything. Still, I’ve managed to gain eighteen pounds of water weight from all the IV bags they’ve emptied into me, which has led to the excruciating edema afflicting my belly and all points south. How much I would have loved an enforced week off from work to do nothing but read and write! What’s that, you say? I can have that? All I need to do is wish upon this monkey’s paw? Great! Hey, wait, the pain is too distracting to focus! And the painkillers leave me in a drooling stupor!