Every performer deals with it at some point. Things are bopping right along, going great, and then it hits. Someone gifts you with something you definitely don’t want—a virus. But you keep going because you have to. You may think to yourself it’s just a bug, and after a few days you’ll toss it off because you’re young and healthy. Then comes the point when you realize, yes, the show must go on, but sometimes, you just can’t.
On Sunday I watched as Rebecca performed with Wes Goode at The Green Turtle in Fernandina Beach. She’d been feeling pretty bad all week, but she powered through a gig in Lake City on Thursday and another in Palm Coast on Friday. She’d spoken in a whisper all week when she wasn’t singing. I kept telling her to go to the doctor, but it’s sort of like preaching to the choir. I almost have to be close to body bag status to go myself, and she’s pretty much the same.
Moms develop a knack for knowing when it’s doctor time, and as I heard her on Sunday evening, I knew we’d have a bit of a battle on the ride back to Jax. Her calendar was stacked for October, and because of the wedding, she was trying to get everyone in so she could do something unusual—take time off after the big day. If you do music fulltime, you know time off for any reason is pretty limited.
By the time she got packed up and loaded the equipment, with help from Wes, I was already rehearsing my “Mama knows best” routine. Once we were in the car, I waded in.
“You need to see a doctor. I can tell that virus has gone into an infection.”
Her response was predictable. “I should be better by Wednesday.”
She had three gigs lined up this week. I knew she didn’t want to cancel them. I also knew if she went to the doctor, two things would happen. Any legit doc was going to write her a prescription for the first antibiotic she’d been prescribed in many years. Any legit doc would tell her she had to stop and let her body heal.
Back and forth we went as we headed down the highway. Traffic was light and a gloomy drizzle was coming down.
She kept trying to convince herself all was well.
“I should be better by Wednesday.”
I kept telling her she was wrong and if she messed around with this, she could end up with pneumonia and a longer recovery. I had personal experience with this, having had that happen when I was in college and didn’t want to miss work, because I needed the money, or classes, because I wanted to keep my grades up.
I also told her she’s lucky she’s healthy and rarely goes through something like this, but, as someone once said, it is what it is.
She dropped me off at the house, and then she shocked me.
“I guess I’ll go to the doctor tomorrow.”
I was pretty surprised she caved in at that point, but I realized that told me just how crappy she felt.
This is the first time in a very long time that Rebecca has been this sick. Things progressed exactly as I predicted. The doc prescribed an antibiotic and rest.
Rebecca has set a standard for dependability, and her clients understood the necessity of her canceling her shows. I worked as a self-employed writer for most of my life. I know what it’s like to have to cancel something. I know what it’s like when you fear disappointing your customer. I know what it’s like to be without income you anticipated earning. I also know your health isn’t something you can play around with and right now, the bugs going around are really bad. I’ve talked to many people whose children have been ill, and to adults who’ve got the bug too.
This week Rebecca is on bed rest, meds, and my old standby for all things viral, Hoby’s Honey and herbal tea. She’s still beating herself up for having to miss this week’s shows, but I think she realized there are times in your life when, despite your best intentions and efforts, the show just can’t go on.
She’s already better and will be back in the saddle for shows next week in Atlantic Beach (FL), Kingsland (GA), and Fernandina Beach (FL).
Sometimes, your body tells you you have to stop. It’s a good idea to listen.
(Kay B. Day/Oct. 3, 2018)