On Being Sick…and Getting Well Again (A Love Letter)
I have a fraught history with getting sick. Well, duh, who doesn’t, right? But I like to think I have a particularly difficult time with it because in my family it just wasn’t acceptable. When any of my sisters or I complained of feeling ill and wanting to stay home from school, my Mom, would say, “You’ll be fine. Get up and get going.”
And so we did. I realize now, after having raised children of my own, that my mother’s attitude stemmed more from desperation at having a kid underfoot during her precious days alone, than an inability to abide sickness. But that kind of attitude was not conducive to lingering in one’s sick bed for any length of time. Or at all.
So it is inculcated in me to avoid illness at all costs. Imagine, then, my surprise and embarrassment when earlier this week I sat up from the Pilates machine at my physical therapist’s and the room spun. It spun in a way I’d never experienced before, even when I drank too much MD 20-20 as a teenager. An alert PT aid asked me if I was okay and when I said I thought I was going to vomit, brought me a wastebasket.
Into which I promptly retched. In the middle of a gym full of people. Somehow I made it home, running into the house and throwing up more upon arrival. And that was how the rest of the day went: massive vertigo with any kind of movement followed by vomiting.
I was not a happy camper.
But, after a couple days of rest, I am pretty much back to my normal self. (And desperately sympathetic to anybody anywhere who struggles with vertigo.) And let me tell you, the world looks like a bright, shiny new place. It is as if someone has pushed my reset button. Getting in the car and driving to the grocery store, a chore I hate so much I often order online, is a pleasure, because: I’m out of the house! Taking the car through the car wash is a fascinating experience.
And it makes me wonder how much I miss when I’m meandering along through my life, thinking same old same old. How many stories and ideas are passing me by because I’m pondering what a drag it is to have to go grocery shopping?
This is when I vow to turn my journaling habit—which tends to be navel gazing and figuring my life out entries—into more of a writer’s notebook, in which I will write brilliant observations, copy down witty dialogue, and note gorgeous descriptions.
Yeah, right. But I will say that’s the one good thing about getting sick—you come out the other side feeling like a fresh, new human being.
What’s going on with you these days? Leave a comment and let me know.