Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sickness

I made dinner tonight even though I was bored and disengaged by every part of the process: the thinking about it beforehand, the preparation of individual ingredients, the putting together of the parts, the not-too-successful attempts to taste, the serving. Never in my life have I cared less about cooking than I did tonight.

It's the first time in weeks that I have cooked, and though my husband has been doing a great job keeping himself and me—when I could eat—fed, logically he deserved a home-cooked meal made for him no matter how little I wanted to make it.

In the last few weeks, I've gone through every stage of an illness.

First, it started with a sore throat and congestion, just like nearly every schoolyear cold. Easy peasy. I could handle that. When that started up, E and I went out to eat with friends of ours. One asked me why I was out when I was clearly ill. "I don't cancel plans," I said. And, I really don't. And I did want to be there, out with them.

The beginning of the week rolled around, the sore throat worsened, and when Thursday came, the day I was supposed to get my wisdom tooth removed, I called the dentist's office. I told the receptionist, "I don't cancel appointments, but I need to know what to do. I have a wicked sore throat." The doctor's office canceled the appointment for me, telling me I was too sick for surgery.

Then, the worst began. Instead of getting better, I got stupider. I'd find myself in a room, head aching beyond belief, and not remember why I was there. I would get stuck, standing somewhere, unsure where I was going. The sweating came in wretched, reeking waves, followed nearly immediately by body-wracking shivers. I slept for hours and hours, and when I would wake, the bed would stink with my sweat and I would feel as if my brain had been working so hard on something. One day, every time my eyes opened for a moment, I knew, I just knew I had figured out every aspect of our healthcare problem in the United States while I slept. I couldn't remember any of it, but that's okay, because I hadn't really figured out anything, as I was sick with stupidity.

Sunday night, my fever spiked and I dragged myself away from the computer, where I was trying to put together some kind of coherent substitute plans, and to the toilet, where my stomach did its best to purge itself of illness. After puking, I laid down on the cold tile. I would never move again.

I don't leave people hanging though, especially my students, so I did move and I did finish the plans. And then my bed, my sweet, stinky bed embraced me again, and I slept for almost 20 hours.

The sleep soothed my fever, and what remained was the kind of headache that blinds and deafens. I was no longer hot, I wasn't puking, but I could hardly see from the pain. Grades were due Tuesday though, so I doped up the following day and went to school. I didn't turn my head all day, but instead turned my whole body to see things beyond my peripheral vision. Everything I ate or drank tasted like metal, so I didn't consume much, other than orange juice. I drank gallons of that.

What's left? A cough. The cough is annoying and disruptive, but it is possible to live with. Something worse remains though, something that would terrify me if I could care enough about it. Apathy. While I cared all the way through the worst of my illness about what strings were left untied while I was checked out of the world, now that I've checked back in, I couldn't care any less.

I don't want to do anything. Friends and family have called, and I haven't called them back. I don't care if I leave them hanging. I have performed a few basic requirements of the gardening season as I could, but only because they are hardwired, no pleasure or frustration, just nothing. I canceled an appointment Friday. Today, I skipped out on events that I cared about in a previous life.

You know what I do care about? My bed, and that's it. So, the current me, an appointment-canceller, an apathetic teacher, and not-real friend. When is this stage going to end?

I'd feel bad, but I'm too busy not caring.

14 comments:

say what? said...

Gods but you got it bad! Our household went down with it the second week of the new year. My wife actually stayed home from work a couple days and she NEVER does that unless she's near death.

For us, the nastiness has all but passed. We're back to our routines, mostly. Give yourself another week to get enthusiastic about living again. And cook something aromatic. That helped me a lot!

Zora said...

The only encouraging thing here is how fresh and reborn you'll feel the first day you _are_ back in fine health. It almost makes all the sickness worth it... Rest up!

altadenahiker said...

It's the body's betrayal that bothers me most of all. When you belong to something other than your mind. Get better, my friend.

Suzanne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ginko said...

Oh Dear, you got hit hard, I hope the warm sun, damp earth, budding trees call you back to life soon. Some of my favorites for recuperation--hot sweet milky tea from a pretty pot into a favorite mug or thin porcelein cup with cinnamon toast cut into points, hot bubbly bath, a stroll through the yard crushing my favorites in my hand and taking deep breaths of mint, rosemary, nutmeg geranium. I hope you feel much better soon.
L

Christina said...

Say What: Plenty of ginger and garlic and chile, stat! Thanks for the recommendation. I'm glad to hear your family is healed and rolling back along.

Zora: Oooh, to be in fine health. I can't wait.

AH: YES! In fact, it makes me angry to feel so little in control. Thanks for the well-wishes.

Ginko: Ah, that stroll sounds delightful. I hope to be able to smell soon to be able to do something similar. Thanks for the good wishes.

daybookexchange.com said...

You poor thing!

Take care!

PS. Really dig your blog.

Christina said...

Thanks, daybookexchange!

Anonymous said...

That sounds ghastly!! you poor thing.

ann said...

Ohmygod. My friend! You poor thing. I wish I could come over, and make you a cup of tea with honey and lemon, put a hand on your arm and tell you it's going to be alright. I've been there. One morning, you'll be standing in the shower, and your toes will start to itch. Suddenly, out of nowhere, you'll get a little inkling at the back of your mind that it might feel nice to stretch your calves, to pet a soft nose, to maybe take a little stroll. It'll come back, and along with it will come everything else. Sending you the healthiest, brightest, bestest of thoughts. Feel better. Gardens are elastic, whatever you do'll do. Promises.

Lynne Rees said...

Hello - I found your blog when I started my own food/writing project last year and have it listed on my site. I’ve given it a Stylish Blogger Award - check out my post for the details:
http://www.lynnerees.com/2011/02/i-won-stylish-blogger-award.html

I hope you don't mind me linking. Have fun with it if you choose to.
Best wishes
Lynne

Christina said...

Thanks, Ann. I'm getting there. I should put up a post soon so people don't think I died or something. Argh.

Lynne: Thank you for the award!

the good soup said...

wow, for a really sick person, man you can write! very impressive. I got here from your most recent post so now I'm going back there to continue reading. Lovely to have found you. I think there might be some kindred spirits drifting between us...
Cheers, Angela

Christina said...

Angela: Welcome to ATS, it is nice to meet you. Thank you kindly for your nice compliment.