We go through life, we humans, as if we really are, to paraphrase the words of William Ernest Henley, the “masters of our fate and captains of our souls”. But every once in a while something happens that completely disabuses us of any such presumption of power.
One such time for me occurred this past week as I was hit unexpectedly with a bout of illness. I developed an infection. The effects of this temporary condition were quite far reaching. There were the usual culprits, of course: fever and chills. In fact I had chills so bad I couldn’t text coherently. Needless to say my daughter was quite concerned and came running thinking her elderly mother had mentally crumbled.
Nope. I was just shivering so bad my teeth were mimicking castanets and my fingers could not hit the right darn keys.
I’ve been sick before, and I’ve been on antibiotics before. But this time has been different. I am kicking at the gate of 60, so I understand that this whole aging thing comes into play in some areas. One of those areas is how your body reacts to illness.
I know how to be sick. I’ve done it occasionally for years. Usually, it means that although I feel like “crap”, I’m able to soldier on, doing what needs to be done in the day-to-day. I might have to rest a lot more often than I’m used to, but stuff gets done. Stuff has to get done. That’s just the way it goes. Where do you think that saying comes from, that “moms don’t get sick”?
Not this time. This was the first time that I found not only did I have no energy to do anything—I had no ability to focus for more than a few minutes at a time on anything. Period.
So for the last almost week, I have been resting. I’ve written no words until I sat down yesterday afternoon to begin to write this essay. When I wasn’t in bed actually sleeping, I was in my recliner, with my legs up, my blanket on, and my eyes closed. Not sleeping, just lying there. Doing nothing.
I regret to inform you that I’m kind of a failure at doing nothing.
In the week leading up to this one of near complete and total incapacitation, when I thought I just had a cold so much like the one that so many people I know had over the last few weeks, I wasn’t faring that well, either. I had to rest a lot through the day and I was getting frustrated with myself because... because I am getting older.
I’m getting older! Most of the time I try very hard to ignore that fact, but there are times when “mind over matter” just doesn’t work. Damn it.
I’m not whining, and I’m not complaining—well, not much, anyway. I guess mostly I’m sitting here, scratching my head, trying to figure it all out. There has to be a way over, around or through this thing.
I just haven’t found it yet. But I’m not giving up. I’ll keep looking.
I’m sure, under the circumstances, that y’all won’t mind if I cut things short this week. Some of you may even cheer, and that’s fine. I’m just going to hunker down right here, close my eyes and rest.
And I’m going to hope that you’re all doing fine.