A Trifle Less Well


Borborygmus – this word makes my “top ten best words” list. It means the rumblings and grumblings of the stomach and various innards. Sometimes doctors will stick a stethoscope on your belly and have a listen; they’re  enjoying the borborygmus concerti. A healthy gut is not quiet.

But when I woke up this morning, most of the intestinal orchestra had fled – all the flutes and clarinets and violins suddenly decided they needed to go for coffee – because the tympani section had all indulged in a marathon session of movies like “A Clockwork Orange” and were raising one hell of a rumpus. Kettle drums and huge standing chimes and clashing gongs had replaced the more sedate borborygmus.

“What’s up?” I thought, surprised. Usually my belly is peaceful and placid under its pale, downy layer of insulation. But barely before the question had formed in my mind, I bolted for the bathroom.

Fluid in the solid waste system. Uh-oh. Something’s not right, and I am today rather less well than usual.

As the percussionists in my intestines continue their riot – rumbling over here, suddenly popping up wild-eyed over there – it occurs to me that this is the first time I’ve actually been sick (as opposed to just overtired or stressed or temporarily flattened by a cold or something) since before Jonathan died, more than two years ago. And this is just a stomach thing; the tympani section is going to get tired eventually and will settle down to sleep it off.

My point is – I think all this working out and at least fretting over sugar (if not actually limiting it) has had a tremendous effect on my immune system. Knock on wood. I seem to be pretty healthy for someone with a stomach orchestra run amuck.

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Another favorite word for the Top Ten list? Syzygy. Isn’t that a honey?





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