In this Young@Heart article and video I shared what I learned while being sick. The lesson will remain for a long time.
I’m Sick and I Know Why!
I don’t like to talk, write or hear about sickness. In fact, when commercials start in early fall about the upcoming cold and flu season, like it’s a pending storm of horror, I want to puke (metaphorically) and I’m quick to snuff the bull, because I think those drug commercials are post-hypnotic suggestions that lead to illness so we’ll buy the drugs. I’m also quick to snip chatter from my peers (senior citizens) recounting their latest joint replacements, so why am I going to write about how sick I am? I’ve learned something big today and I have to share it with you in just a minute!
I have a real bad cold and last night I was in abject misery. I wailed to Terry, “Please rub my head while I moan.” (I loved that funny scene in When Harry Met Sally when Harry (Billy Crystal) was sick and he just had to moan. Moaning is so pathetic, but in some sick, therapeutic way, it sure helps. As Terry rubbed my throbbing head and I moaned for a few pitiful moments, I thought, ‘I want out of this misery. I hate right now! I’m stuck in this body!’ I thought about Don Quixote, ‘No way could I march into hell for a heavenly cause, just kill me now!’
As sick as I am right now I’m just enough better to think I can pull this essay out of my head. I’m a little leery of word choices I’ll be making because my brain is crammed with, well, snot. As I looked for my yellow pad, I couldn’t think of the word for pen and asked Terry, “Did you take my good . . . writing stick? I saw you with it yesterday.” I heard myself think, ‘I’m going to try to write this week’s Young@Heart from my sick bed. Geese, somebody really sick must have come up with that term (sick bed) because he couldn’t differentiate between the bed and his body. When he sat in a chair, was it sick? When he ate at the table was it sick.’
I think I figured out why I got sick. For 18 months I’ve enjoyed perfect health. Not a sniffle, cramp, sneeze or cough. I’ve probably written, “I am thankful for my health,” at least 50 times in my Thankfulness Journal, but without the contrast of this fever, congestion and headache, my thankful proclamations have turned synthetic at best. I also realized on a deeper level than ever before, I am not my body. My body is mechanical and its work is to repair the damage this evil bug and his family did to it, but it doesn’t feel or care how I feel. I’m the one who feels and cares and if I’m what feels sick I must be separate from this body I’m in that’s sick. Wow, Wayne Dyer move over!
I love sailing merrily along in the good times and I’ll never let fear of bad times corrupt my sailing in good times. I just want to be more real in my gratitude. I needed this misery to appreciate how healthy I am. I want live to be more like Don Quixote. Come to think of it, when I look back over my long life, I have dreamed the impossible dream. I have fought the unbeatable foe, I’ve cried with unbearable sorrow, run where the brave wouldn’t go. I’ve righted un-rightable wrongs, loved pure and chaste from afar, tried when my arms were too weary, I’ll reach the unreachable star. I do have a quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far, I’ve fought for what’s right, without question or pause, and I have marched into Hell, for a Heavenly cause, because I’m a mom. That’s what we do.
My apologies to those who are really suffering with life threatening illnesses as I moan about this lousy cold. My heart goes out to all who suffer.