Like many people I have been laid up for a few days with a nasty viral cold. It started just over 2 weeks ago with a funny feeling in the back of my throat which although I don’t get ill often, I recognised as the beginning of something unpleasant to come.
Now I'm not a patient patient. Something probably to do with being an Aries for a start. At first the idea of a duvet day is quite nice. Not particularly unpleasant at first - not well enough for work. But that’s when the idea stops being nice. Being ill means I don’t feel well enough to get the paints and canvasses out to enjoy this sudden gift of free time. The new book I’m looking forward to is left untouched as my head pounds and I don’t want to open my eyes much. This 'extra time' I am given is not going to be utilised to do anything fun or enjoyable.
So after 24 hours I’m not feeling very happy at all. Its been a whole day! I should be better now. Why isn’t the paracetamol/throat lozenges working? Why cant I stop coughing. I DON'T LIKE IT!!
Then I’m worried about how much time off work I might be having. I should be dragging myself in..coughing blood discreetly into my linen hankie. Pale and wan, heroically pulling myself up onto my desk and quietly martyred, ease myself into the working day. As my circumstances at present mean I'm working part time to be available for ailing parents that makes me feel doubly like I'm letting the team down. I can't even be there for the few days I'm meant to be. But that is another of my demons I am working on at the moment.
This week wasn’t great to be ill at home. I had the builders in creating a new bathroom. No use of a loo for most of the day - I had to pull out the camping toilet and enthrone it in the bunnies shed for a bit of privacy. (Note that camping toilet is really a large bucket with a toilet shaped lid). Nice picture in my head now!!
Even though my nose felt like someone had taken the entire roll of toilet tissue and carefully stuffed it up there, somehow I could still smell the very strong smell of paint, tiling mastic and glue which also rested itself on the back of my throat. I couldn’t go back to bed so I languished in the living room with the computer and the iPlayer for company. (its a times like these I wonder if it would be good to have a TV again after all!!) With odd trips out to the shed with the rabbits warily watching me and wondering what my business was doing my business in their domain.
Mind you at the end of the week, my new bathroom and the addition of a shower was very nice, gleaming in red and white so I suppose it had been worth it.
After the 3rd or 4th day of being ill I settled down to letting it wash over me and move through it. With large doses of vitamin C and drinking hot lemon juice with manuka honey to ease the throat I got down to mulling over the uses of being laid up for a short while. At first all I can think is that it is an annoying situation. I don’t get colds or virus' very much. Maybe once a year and sometimes not that often.
Of course my cold is nothing compared to many people with debilitating illnesses and problems, but I do believe that things we experience all come with something to learn whether it be patience, forbearance, acceptance, surrender or maybe to fight, to find strength, to say no - this is not acceptable. I have been fortunate not to have life threatening problems to deal with although I have experienced ill health that has been long and drawn out before. In my 30s I suffered with post viral syndrome which was diagnosed as ME for a while, although I eventually got better after a couple years. You would think with that alone I might have become more patient. And I do think that I did gain some perspective during that time.
My 3 pregnancies were not particularly comfortable either. Each one getting progressively worse until my 3rd one I was ill throughout all of it from suffering with sickness morning, noon and night, the softening of my pelvis to the extent that I walked with a stick or not at all, and the most painful piles that prevented me sitting comfortably. (add that to the fact that I couldn’t sleep lying down and had to sit up, you can imagine my sleepless, painful 9 months turned me into a bit of a deranged zombie begging to be induced early. I was also in pain in my stomach a great deal. A couple of weeks after the birth it turned out I had gall stones too which had been causing the pain (Hah! - to the doctors who told me it was all in the mind!!).
But this isn’t meant to be a list of 'Illnesses I have Suffered' rather than to just mention that I have had some discomfort in my life and can speak from experience of how I have come to view these experiences.
And what I have found is that each time - whether it is a short snuffle or something that extends over a period of time, I am not someone who can surrender willingly at first. I resist and push against it. Until the time comes sooner or later that I must accept it is there. I have it. I must go through it.
The benefits to me are that I do eventually get to rest. Maybe I have been doing too much and needed this time. I have been known to ignore the messages and the universe may have to slap me in the face to get my attention! Maybe I am not looking at other things in my life that need addressing and this enforced rest allows me to think and consider more as my mind is occupied by thoughts rather than what I must do next.
Maybe it also means that I realise that sometimes my body is not completely under my control and that I need to honour it more. Listen to the signals and messages. Love it and look after it with foods and treatments that show I appreciate my body and its wonders. (though during the snuffles I'm afraid I do try to bribe it with chocolate!)
I've also come to appreciate that the odd cold or sniffle is boosting my immune system. Building up a body that may find it has more fighting power against any more serious bouts of flu or virus infections that are ahead.
So eventually I gave in.
I took a few days off work. Slept on the sofa for a day or two until the building work was done. Threw open the windows to let the paint smell out (and the fresh air in) and left the unread books on the coffee table until my head stopped pounding, and I had enough interest and no eye strain to write this blog post..... Sniff.