The last two mornings, I have woken up and not felt like complete shit. I’ve been able to make it to the bathroom without feeling as if I’ve run a marathon, and I’ve made it to and back from taiji without wanting to cry. In addition, I’ve gone grocery shopping without becoming exhausted, and I’ve actually had some decent sleep* for a change. I know this doesn’t sound like much, but after the last two weeks I’ve had, I count it as a victory. I hate getting sick because it reminds me how fragile my body actually is, and no matter how much I work on making it better, it can still falter at any given moment.
I am the biggest baby when I’m sick. I tend to be stoic in nature most of the time for several reasons. I’m Taiwanese; I’m Minnesotan; I was raised that way. When I’m sick, though, all that flies out the window. All I can do is whine about how shitty I’m feeling, and to make matters worse, my cat doesn’t even care! As long as I feed him on time and give him the love he wants, he could care less that I’m languishing on my last legs. I kid, and I’m not entirely fair to him. He helps by sitting on my legs to warm them. Granted, he kneads biscuits for several minutes before actually sitting down, but I’ll take what I can get, cough, cough. He’s not very helpful when I need a cup of tea, either. His lack of opposable thumbs makes it difficult to slice the lemon and ginger and pour the honey, but he could at least pretend he’s willing to do it instead of looking at me disdainfully before licking his asshole.
That’s the one time I wish I had someone living in the house with me–not the licking the asshole part, although….anyway. I mentioned it before that I like living alone, but it’s hard when I’m sick. I don’t want to get off the couch, let alone leave the house. I think part of the reason I get so whiny is that I try to think of others most of the time, but being sick strips all that away. It’s Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs in action. If you don’t have your health, you really can’t think of much else. It’s not a good look, but that’s the upside to living alone–I’m the only witness to my childishness.** If someone had been privy to my inner thoughts during the last two weeks, they would have heard something like this (in a very whiny voice): “I haaaaate being sick. Why do I have to be sick? Ugh. I have no energy. I should just sleep. I can’t sleep. Shadow, don’t sit on my chest. I can’t breathe. Shadow! Get down! Fine. Stay there. I should probably get off the couch. Fuck it.”
Two days ago, when I woke up and didn’t feel like death warmed over, I almost didn’t believe it. I had felt so miserable for so long, I had forgotten what it was like to not want to keel over the minute I woke up. I didn’t have the chills. I didn’t have a fever. My nose and throat were less clogged. It seemed as if the worst of flu was over. However, I’ve had two relapses so far, so it doesn’t pay to get too hopeful that I’m on my way to recovery. One of the problems is that when I start feeling a little better, I overdo it, and then I’m hit with a relapse. My immune system is not robust, to say the least, and I tend to treat it rather cavalierly. I’ve been doing my taiji routine every day when I get up while I’ve been sick, but I had to cut back on what I could do. My impulse was to do the whole thing because I’m OCD, a perfectionist, and rather punitive when I don’t follow my own rules. It’s frustrating not to be able to do what I could do just a week ago. I suppose there’s a Zen lesson in there somewhere, but I’m not woman enough to learn it.
While I’ve been sick, I’ve been mainlining The Great British Bake Off. I’ve finished it all except half of Season 6 (don’t ask why I watched it out of order. No, really. Don’t. Or I’ll have to kill you), and I’m still enthralled with it, even though some of the cracks are showing. One, I think it’s a mistake to only have the same two judges every week because it feels as if it becomes more about catering to their tastes than it does showcasing your own personality. There was one baker whose direction they kept calling too simple. The actual taste of his bakes were not bad, but they couldn’t get over his designs. I knew it was a matter of time before they booted him, and I was not wrong. I’m not saying it’s shady, but that personal biases are hard to overcome or even to see sometimes. Rotating the judges a la Chopped would make that less of an issue. I do like the judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, so it’s not a criticism of them.
Speaking of Paul Hollywood, I wouldn’t mind if he buttered my crumpet, if you know what I mean. I tweeted that as I was watching the show, and someone tweeted me back in disbelief. I said I wouldn’t want him to spend the night and I wouldn’t date him, but yeah, he could get it. I added that my brain is smarter than my loins, which is true of most of us. I don’t know what it is about him, but I find him attractive. Yes, it’s the accent (I do so love the way he says soggy bottom) and the piercing blue eyes, but it’s more than that. Maybe it’s how much he knows about baking–I do like my lovers to cook for me–or the way he just stares at a baker before breaking into his trademark smirk. No matter what it is, I’m dreaming of his sticky buns as I’m watching the show. It’s amusing to me and a way to take my mind off being sick.
The weirdest thing about being sick for me is actually feeling my body change. Near the end of the first week, there was a moment when I felt as if I was getting better. The weariness of my body started lifting, and I thought, “Oh, good! I’m getting better.” Not ten minutes later, I felt my nose start to get snotty and my throat clog up. I could actually feel the crud settling in, and I thought, “Shit. I went from having the flu to catching a cold.” It might have been the second phase of the flu settling in, but it felt more cold-like than flu-like. By the way, I Googled the difference between the flu and a cold because I’ve never been sure which I have. I used to think a cold was more coughing and sneezing, and the flu was more just being miserable overall. Web MD informed me that I was incorrect. The flu hits you quickly and is often accompanied by a fever. There are respiratory issues, and usually lasts a week or so. A cold takes a few days to settle in, and it’s not as severe as the flu. There is coughing and sneezing, but no fever. It can lasts a few weeks.
I am still not sure which I had. It hit me quickly like the flu, but I didn’t have a fever because I never do. My base temp is 97.5, and it’s been in the 96s while I’ve been sick. It actually dipped into the 95s, which was concerning. I looked up how low your temperature can go before you’re considered dead, and it’s 95. My temp has been as low as 94.3, but I’m sure that was a misreading. At least, I assume it was because I’m still alive. While I was the sickest, I felt as if I had a fever, but I did not. My temperature never broke 97 for the entire duration of my illness. I did not have a cough or a stuffed nose while I was sick, which is why I didn’t think it was a cold. I also was exhausted, even while at rest, so most of the symptoms pointed to flu. During the second phase, I did have a stuffy nose and coughed semi-regularly. I was still bone-tired, though, so perhaps it was the back end of the flu.
Right now, I’d say I’m at 75%. I was 50% yesterday, so I consider that progress. I’m still nervous, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Twice, I’ve gotten better only to feel like shit the next day. This is the second day of being on the mend, but I’m still waiting for round three to hit me in the face. This is something that I’ve dealt with whenever I get sick. I don’t have one nice, clean round of the flu/cold/bronchitis, I have several. I used to get bronchitis on a regular basis, and it would last several weeks to months. One time, it lasted over six months, and I finally went to see my doctor. I begged her for antibiotics, even though I knew they wouldn’t help. She reluctantly prescribed them to me, while telling me that what I had was a virus and not curable by antibiotics. I took them because I was desperate, and I became almost violently ill. I was nauseous and weak, and I couldn’t keep anything down. I looked up the side effects of the antibiotic, and, yep, they were all listed. Normally, I would have Googled the medication before I took it, but not that time because I was ready to rip my esophagus out with my bare hands. I can see why people spend thousands of dollars on snake oil remedies after suffering for a long time because you really will do anything to stop the pain.
I’m trying not to be too pessimistic because I really do feel as if I’m on the tail end of this thing. I have energy enough to get off the couch and not feel faint, which is more than I can say for three or four days ago. I can drive without getting dizzy, which is imperative if I want to leave the house. I don’t have to be so aware of my body, which is both a good thing and a bad one. I’m still drinking my ginger honey lemon tea and taking it easy. Hopefully, by this time next week, I’ll be 100% me again.
**Shadow doesn’t count because he can’t tattle on me. By the way, I’ve discovered that if I meow at him in response to his sad meows, he responds much better than if I talk to him instead. Yes, I’ve crossed the threshold from having a cat to crazy cat lady. I am perfectly fine with this.