I went into the New Year weekend on steroids prescribed for a viral upper respiratory infection. A test ruled out the flu, but I don’t see any difference. As I took the last pill on Tuesday, my symptoms came back threefold, with the addition of fever. I never made it to work this week and brief trips out of bed to the bathroom or the kitchen left me weak and breathing rapidly. I’ve been free of fever since Thursday but still—up until this morning I have had no energy and I have felt rotten.
Three amazing women cared for me: daughter, sister, and mother. Ruth shoulder the bulk of it as she was physically here in the house on her last days of winter break. Sissy stepped up with text message check-ins and a delicious, ready to cook meal. Mom is driving up today.
Several friends called or messaged to wish me a speedy recovery. For both family and friends, I feel the support, I feel humble, and above all, I am grateful.
Here are some things being sick has taught me or perhaps reminded me:
- In general, friends hope you get well soon. Close friends check in with you regularly. Family knows what you need and does it, whether it’s attention (or to be left alone), food, or some task (like cleaning out the litter box or picking up more kleenex). Both friends and family are a blessing.
- When I’m sick for any length of time, I start questioning my self worth. Unable to work, I begin thinking they’ll realize they can get along quite well without me and I’m going to lose my job. Socially, folks are meeting up for coffees, drinks, dinners, Sisters are bar crawling and going about their ministry, and even the birds that I’ve fed without fail are finding other feeders full of seed. Who needs me?
- Pets, especially Fred the cat, are a great comfort. He has stayed by my side. My cough might briefly send him off the bed to the floor, but it doesn’t take long for him to come back, sometimes napping on my arm, sometimes sleeping at my feet as he’s is now.
- It’s hard to be single and be sick. This is the first time I’ve experienced it and the topic deserves its own blog post.
- I start to wonder if this is forever and if it is, what will that mean? I realize that for many people, sickness is their reality. It stirs compassion within me, and causes me to resolve to be more like family than friend (see above) if I have the choice.
I feel better this morning. I’ll enjoy Mom’s company today and stay home. I’ll shower, dress, and tackle putting Christmas away (but slowly). Monday, I’ll go back to work and step back into that reality.
However, those bullet points raise subjects worth exploring: How do I define my worth? At age fifty-three, I’m single for the first time in my adult life. How am I dealing with that? What kind of friend am I?
Spending time answering these questions may be my New Year resolutions.