It’s hard to feel thankful when you feel like I feel right now.
If you’ve at all been keeping up with my blog for the past week, you’ll know that I brought in the New Year sick as a dog (whatever that expression means; most dogs I’ve known have hardly ever been sick, and I don’t suppose I feel like they did then anyways). Last Thursday I was feeling fine. Right after midnight (now technically Friday) I still felt fine. By two o’clock ante meridiem, I wasn’t feeling so fine anymore, and you’d rather I spare you the details, I promise.
By the same time Saturday I was starting to come out of it. By that same time on Sunday, I felt practically cured. Sure, there were a few residual aches and pains, but nothing not to be expected coming off a 24-hour stomach bug. I thought my year was finally looking up again.
Then Tuesday night, I was feeling fine. Around midnight I started coughing a bit. By the time I woke up Wednesday morning (which itself is out of the ordinary these days, waking in the morning), I felt wretched. So wretched I called out of my first day back at work and then spent most of the rest of the day in bed.
Since then I’ve had my ups and my downs, my moments of nasal clarity and my moments of intense congestion. I felt hot and I felt cold and soon enough I felt like a terribly catchy song by a terribly overrated artist. I felt tired and exhausted and dizzy and disconnected and every other poor feeling I could perhaps imagine.
So knowing this, really, what do I have to be thankful for now?
I take it if I lived a thousand years ago, I’d have died by now. Maybe not from this illness, but surely from any of the others I’ve had. Shingles maybe, and if not that, the swine flu I caught in ’09 (unless the chicken pox I’d had a baby offed me then, which in all likelihood seems a reasonable supposition). The point being, I–like many others–owe my life to modern medication.
I don’t like to take drugs. I like to think that I don’t need them, that I don’t need to put foreign substances into my body to heal, that God has made such an incredible vessel as this that prescriptions and OTCs aren’t necessary. And when I’m not sick, I rarely take supplements. I never indulge (though I’d not call it indulge) in any illegal substances. I don’t gorge myself on alcohol or placebos or any other thing I might willingly ingest (unless you count tea, which I drink fervently).
But the moment I get sick, please give me a pill or a syrup or anything to make this illness go away.
What I hate most about being sick isn’t the feeling bad part. On the contrary, I don’t mind the poor feelings every once in a while. It reminds me I’m human. It gives me a great wealth of experience to write into my books (after all, who’s ever read an epic fantasy that at some point or another didn’t include the hero’s falling deathly ill? I do want to be able to capture the essence of that most critical and crucial scene, after all). And face it, sometimes a bit of ill feelings is just what you need to do those little things you’ve been putting off, like lying in bed all day to read a good book or watching a movie and all the bonus features of your favorite TV show just because you don’t feel up to anything else.
Nay, what I hate most about being sick is that it gets in the way of my schedule. I’m a very ordered and well-to-do person. Perhaps I’ve stopped being as unfortunately neurotic as I was in my earliest youth (though I’ll admit things will still weigh on me until all is set back in order again, and if things continue in such a fashion for an extended time, I can become quite frazzled and frustrated). I despise, with an intense passion, when my plans are crippled. I despise it so much that on certain occasions I can become quite manipulative to make my plans come to fruition. But all that aside, I hate the feeling of failure. There is perhaps nothing worse in the world. Even death should be welcome if it meant an ultimate and everlasting success.
What was worst when I was sick last was that I didn’t finish reading the books I wanted to read in time. What I fear will be worst this time is that I won’t be able to reach the goals I’ve set for myself to finish before school starts on Monday, or that I’ll be sick Sunday morning when I teach next, or that my first day of school will be spent feeling achy and irritable and quite almost unable to move.
Thankfully, there’s medications. The worst thing of these is that I have to wait so unseasonably long between doses. I want to feel better now. I don’t want to have to wait four more hours to have those few minutes of relief.
Sure, I’m still sick. Sure, I’ll be sick for a day or two.
But please, please let me recovered by the end of that.
Hopefully, with some properly-used pain-killers and decongestants, that’ll happen.