The Movie Diary

Sick as a dog

By Dom Cioffi

At this exact moment, as I’m typing these words into my laptop, I am ridiculously sick. This isn’t a run-of-the-mill sickness either; this is the laid up in bed, stomach rebelling, joints aching, head throbbing kind of sickness.

In fact, it’s taking every bit of energy I have to write this column because, in all honesty, I could pass out in two minutes if I closed my eyes.

But alas, duty calls.

Typically, when I’m experiencing some sort of serious ailment, I’ll spend countless hours during my recovery trying to figure out exactly how I contracted the disease that’s invaded my system. In this case, I have zeroed in on the Saturday afternoon lunch that followed my mid-morning round of golf.

As we walked off the 18th hole, my playing partner suggested a bite to eat, to which I agreed. We headed to the small food area connected to the club and started scanning the options. I was at a loss as to what to order so when I heard my buddy request a Chicken Caesar wrap, I quickly followed suit. After our meal was ready, we found a seat on the outdoor patio and took in the beautiful mid-day atmosphere.

I was about three bites in when I vaguely remember chewing on a piece of chicken that felt just a little ‘off.’ I barely thought about it, but upon review I definitely recall a moment of slight awkwardness.

That night I went to the movies with my son, came home and crawled into bed. Other than being a little stiff from a day of golfing, I felt perfectly fine.

By the next morning, however, I was beginning to physically deteriorate.

I first noticed the faintest gurgle in my stomach while my wife and I were having coffee and watching the Wimbledon broadcast. Again, at the time I thought nothing of it, but upon review later, that’s when I recall the first hint of trouble.

A little while later, all hell broke loose. Within a few hours, the headache started. By mid-afternoon every joint in my body ached with inflammation. The longer the day went on, the worse I got. By evening, I was running a 102-degree fever.

Somewhere around 3 a.m., I awoke in a pool of sweat. Obviously the fever was not going away. But as bad as I was sweating, I was absolutely freezing. Unfortunately, as I was lying amongst the drenched sheets, I simply didn’t have the energy to drag myself out of bed.

So there I was, curled up in the fetal position and shivering, feeling like I was in the throes of death. Eventually, I started fantasizing about a hot bath. I knew I had to make a move when I actually heard my teeth begin to chatter.

With all the energy I could muster, I lifted myself out of bed, ran to the bathroom, and began filling the tub with hot water. I couldn’t wait for it to be ready so I hopped in with barely any water and began splashing it over me, reveling in the warm sensation.

Eventually the water collected to a point where I was fully immersed. The relief I felt as my body temperature climbed was profound. That’s when my mind began to wander.

Isn’t it interesting how, when you’re really sick, you can genuinely appreciate the most mundane things in life, like warm water, a cold drink, or the smell of lilacs (even though the lilac smell was coming from a synthetic bathroom spray). And isn’t it funny how we only seem to appreciate our health when it’s ripped away from us.

At that moment (like I have every time I’ve ever been sick), I vowed to never again let myself forget the blessings of good heath. Going forward, I will wake up every morning and praise how lucky I am to be healthy. I will breath in the air, recognize the beauty in my surroundings, and love the people around me with passion.

Of course, I say this now–and it will probably hold true for a few days after I’m better–but then life will get in the way again and I’ll forget how lucky it feels not to be bedridden.

This week’s feature, “The Secret Life of Pets,” highlights how our animal counterparts seem to inherently possess that appreciation for life that we humans so easily forget.

It’s hard to go wrong when you’ve got the comedic underpinnings of talented artists like Louis C.K., Kevin Hart and Dana Carvey driving your ship. But it’s the well-crafted storyline ripe with laugh-out-loud moments that really makes this film a winner.

This is obviously a great film for kids, but don’t be afraid to join them for a viewing. There are enough subtle parent jokes to keep you interested throughout.

A healthy “B” for “The Secret Life of Pets.”

Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at

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