On numerous occasions this past month I’ve felt like my body was betraying me in some egregious sort of way. I’ve come down with serious bouts of the cold and flu twice in the span of four weeks, leaving me pretty much down and out for a week at a time, sometimes more.
It’s rare that I get this sick for such a prolonged period. While I enjoy quiet and alone time, I have to say that, even for this introvert, the time alone, doing very little because I was without the necessary energy to engage in even basic ‘untaxing’ activities, was difficult. I’m already pensive, but let’s just say that I’ve been pensive to the nth degree these last few weeks!
In the moments when I felt really weak and when getting up in the morning to take a shower felt like a victory, I couldn’t help but feel – oddly or not – thankful. I was thankful because my state was temporary. On the nights when I couldn’t sleep because the coughing was so bad, or when it hurt to swallow, and I had pain in my ears, I knew that it wouldn’t last. I wasn’t going to be sick forever.
Whenever I’m in the midst of some sickness, I’m always reminded of people for whom illness is a constant state – whether it’s due to chronic disease or cells that became tricked out of doing their proper job because cancer invaded the body. In the hierarchy of sickness, a cold and flu is nothing. It’s a minor irritant or annoyance; it’s a blip on the otherwise steady health meter. Whatever medicine I take to reduce the symptoms won’t make me feel ill – unlike say, radiation or chemotherapy. My sickness requires no stay in the hospital. There’s no need for a gown that will expose my backside to the world.
My energy might be low, and I may long for the company of friends, even strangers, when I’m no longer contagious, but I know that in the days to come I’ll be better. In fact, I’ll be perfect. I’ll no longer be in sickness; I’ll be in health.