The week started with an assembly of pain. At first I thought that an unexpected attack of sinusitis was the result of going through old audio cassettes, as I chose some of my favorite old albums for transfer to MP3. The cassettes which hadnít been used for about 20 years, seemed to have collected a lot of dust. And Iím allergic to dust, so it seemed natural that I would suffer from my sinuses, which became worse with every hour, and were followed by a head ache and pressure on my eyes. And when I suffered from a pain in my mouth, I thought it was probably a tooth (though the pain wasnít really that close to any tooth I hadÖ but then I remembered having cut the inside of my mouth on something I had eaten a few days earlier. Perhaps it was an infection of some internal wound.

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Another day came and went, and the pain grew worse. And I seemed to have gotten a cold too. Was it the flu, I wondered. No, probably not, because I had just gotten the flu shot a short while earlier. Well then, maybe it was the reaction to the flu shot. Or maybe some other flu, not covered by the flu shot. Whatever it was, it didnít let up, and I was tired a lot, and feeling weak. It was really uncomfortable. And I started remembering difficult winters that Iíve had in the past, and wondering whether this was the start of another miserable winter. Since it was raining, I didnít go out for a walk for a couple of days. And aside from the exercise, these daily walks of mine usually improve my spirits. Itís also a time for contemplation, which I am loathe to give up.

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At the same time, I seemed to be having a problem with my computer monitor. A window for the adjustment of the volume kept popping up on the screen. I thought it might be dust inside the mechanism, and took it to my trusted computer man. Fortunately, when it comes to computers and photographic equipment, I always have backups. I had another monitor, smaller, but it was able to fill in while my regular monitor was getting fixed.

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And my cat, Nechama seemed to sense that I wasnít feeling well, and she kept so close that I it seemed like an intrusion of my own personal space. But it touched me that she was concerned, so I didnít kick her out of my work room, even when I preferred to be alone.

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The pain got so bad one night that I couldnít sleep. I finally got out of bed, because there didnít seem to be any point in lying there, unable to sleep. I thought of Michael Jackson. It was strange, because I havenít thought much of him up till now. But lying there in pain, I could imagine how a person could get crazed by pain, and be willing to take anything to get rid of it, even if it killed him. Iím not used to taking pain pills, and even now I wasnít taking anything stronger than Paracetamol to deal with my physical distress. When youíre not used to taking medicines, you donít look in that direction for a solution, even when you feel bad. And I was beginning to feel really bad. And then the next day, things got still worseÖ until in the afternoon, all of a sudden, things started easing up. It was about the time when a couple of friends had gotten in touch, and been alarmed by my situation, and were beginning to organize help. They said there was something going around, and it included headaches and aches in the sinuses. A doctor was called. Medicines were on their way. But as I say, things were easing upÖ

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I was reminded that for many generations, people got sickÖ and their bodies wrestled with the sickness. Before the great strides of medicine that I have seen in my own life, it was common for people to be in great distress from illness. In some parts of the world it is still fairly common. If they got lucky, they overcame itÖ and if not, they died. There wasnít that great faith that we have now, that the doctor will take care of us somehow. It isnít that long ago, that pneumonia was looked upon as a death sentence. And I remember children that died when I was a child. It wasnít that rare. But now we are more insulated.

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As the week comes to an end, I am feeling so much better. Even took a walk when there was a break in the rain. I enjoyed the winter colors, which Iím sharing with you here. And after being informed that the monitor had an electric short, I bought a new monitor, which Iíve already connected, and everything is working as it should. I had to learn a little about wide screens for computers. They seem bigger than they are when you work with Photoshop. As I approach the Sabbath, Iím very happy to anticipate the restÖ It seems like Iíve passed a difficult week.