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I was sick with a respiratory virus when the fire came. After the fire, because of all of the things that needed to be done, I pressed on, worrying my family but also thinking I was getting better. I did get better. That wretched cough that makes the cough-er feel horrible and everyone around them want to scream, subsided and then disappeared.A few days later I developed a new cough, one that was entirely different. It sounded like someone who was in the end stages of cancer from smoking. The fire had not only taken my home, it had invaded my body with its ash.

On the morning of the 18th, I woke up at 4:30 am and could not go back to sleep. When my spouse awoke, we decided a doctor visit was in order. My doctor said to go to the Emergency Room.

We went to the ER. It was a long and uncomfortable 5 hours. We came back to our “for now home” at the Marriott Hotel and after pacing in misery for a bit, I slept. When I awoke I found a package from a friend. In the package was the most beautiful teapot one could imagine. I was so appreciative of the gift that I had a tea party for us even though my friend was many, many miles away. My fire-caused cough is still with me but it is not part of me. Tea parties one of life’s great gifts.