What do you do when you’re sick? How do you stay positive when your dull brain gradually acknowledges the nasty messages coming in from various parts of your body? Yes, the throat is ablaze, not just raw from talking too much last night. The ears are ringing, see? The kettle is unplugged. Okay, that felt like a melodramatic hot flash, but it’s not going away. Maybe you have a fever? And those things you thought were spider bites, on your rib cage, well now they’re all over your entire torso. What the heck? Is it some childhood disease? Measles? Chicken pox? Scarlet fever?
And, of course, it’s the Christmas season, when one could be doing all sorts of fun and worthwhile things, like hiking and buying those after Christmas bargains and, finally, getting organized, putting your shorts away for winter. But, no. Here I am, huddled in my blankets beside the fire, ginger ale in one hand, iPad in the other, getting more and more depressed with each FB message of merriment and productivity.
I hate being sick. Who doesn’t? Well, although B doesn’t like it either, he is ridiculously good at it. He has what my mom would have called “the patience of Job”. When he’s sick, which isn’t often, he’s a quieter version of his actual self, which is, well, quiet. I get angry, frustrated. B says that is a waste of energy. Oh, and B also eats and drinks all of the right things while he’s sick, like soup and tea, whereas I might sneak some chips, chocolate, and also maybe coffee, because I’m bored and these things make me happy. I’m trying to learn from B’s example.
When I was a five-year-old with the measles, it wasn’t really so bad. Without the full awareness of my entire body and also, not being in a position to have to run the household, it was a time of jammies and coloring in bed and wondrous trays brought by my mother. My own tea in a wee pot! And perfect soft boiled eggs, with a dab of butter and salt and pepper. Ice cream. Perhaps a lift to the living room couch to watch Romper Room on TV.
After you’ve spent decades in control of your own destiny, it’s hard to go back to that vulnerable, childlike state, isn’t it? But the brain that generally serves up such great sparks of creativity and organization is on hiatus, so what is one to do?
A little bit of crappy, negative journal writing to start the day. How about reading, I mean reading, the paper? “Hey, B, did you know that four years after a mudslide containing asbestos residue tore through the town of East Broughton, Quebec, the province is still refusing to pay the $2.7 million in cleanup costs?” There’s something to be upset about! But then I checked out Netflix on my iPad. Breaking Bad. My kids have been going on about it for years and I’ve never had the chance to watch it. Here’s my chance.
Did you know that on Netflix, if you’re watching a series, the next episode starts like, seven seconds after the previous one ends? Oh man. It’s addictive. And you know how those series go, huh? They get you right into the thick of things, the bad guy is holding the gun to the good guy’s head? And in this case, the good guy lies to his wife and yells at his business partner and you’re not even sure if you think of him as a good guy yet. But he’s dying of lung cancer, which is way worse than this weird rashmaster-sore-throat-fever-thing I have, so it makes me feel not so bad. And I do take breaks from being enraptured by the power of blue crystal meth to watch some inspirational Ted Talks and positive docs, like Happy and Particle Fever.
The week is coming to an end, my health is still not 100% and my grand year-end plans will go out with Monday’s garbage. But B and I had brunch on New Year’s Day with my brother Ray and his new girlfriend. We talked about how spring is a good time for rebirth. “March forth!” she declared. I’m sure that by March 4th, I’ll be ready to embrace the notion of a sparkling new year, full of risk-taking endeavours with soul-fulfilling prospects.
In the meantime? I’m cooking crystal meth with Walt in an old RV in a desert in New Mexico.