The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future

I’ve hit a low point this week – but the good news is that it’s all good old-fashioned ill health-related, rather than a mood problem. I’ve actually been quite jaunty about the whole thing! Except for the fact of how much it has truly wiped me out. I now know exactly what that phrase about feeling like a day-old kitten means.

I’ve been sick for a month. Just regular old colds and viruses – but they’ve been non-stop. And that is the problem. Through croup, strep and pink eye, my body developed a nasty deep cough, and the doctor says that I’ve coughed so much due to these multiple back-to-back illnesses that now my body is actually harming itself. My cough is tearing away the lining in my bronchial tubes, and my body has diverted its healing resources from addressing whatever latest viral assault to trying to repair constantly re-occurring damage. Oh, and breathing. Who knew breathing through narrowed and torn passages would be quite so hard? And thus, limp kitten.

I’ve had three days at home now, resting. Today, looking out my bedroom window, the view reminded me of when I was on bedrest during the last trimester of my pregnancy. I was shocked to realize that I’ve not had this much time to myself, in the house alone, since then. Oh, I’ve been sick since then (and how) – but even when I could take the time off, my son was sick at the same time. This time, no. Bonhomme’s had all of the viruses, of course (who else do I catch them from?) – but he’s gotten over them. Not so me.

So. It is in all this slowing down that I’ve come to realize – no, scratch that, I already knew. Not realize, but face the fact that I don’t know how to slow down. That is, I know how, I know what to do, I know what I should be doing – but I can’t. I pick up a book only to start listing all the e-mails I need to write. I go to the bathroom only to be appalled by the state of it and start wiping down the counter. I walk to my room to lie down only to sigh and pick up the laundry basket to do one more load. Seriously. In the midst of dizziness and exhaustion so bad it’s more accurately weakness, to the point that I am gasping for air – I still CAN’T slow down. Just stop. Sit still. Nap. Watch a movie. Get up for tea and the bathroom and come right back to the couch. I start wondering if there’s a class I can take that will teach me the skill to just. Stop. Surely there must be a book I could read? Quick, I should Google it before I forget!

And so. Sick. For a month. Ever-worsening. Tonight, I had to stop for a breath after every sentence while reading to Bonhomme. It was Harvey the Baker (and the Gardener, and the Painter) – they weren’t long sentences. I had to tell him to quit stalling and climb into bed because Mommy was getting dizzy. “What’s dizzy, Momma?” I had to tell him that my tickle hands were sleeping tonight. “Are your tickle hands sick too, Momma? Do they need some medicine?”

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Last year, we got hit with foot and mouth disease on Boxing Day. It was a memorable Christmas vacation. Oh, and Dearest was not yet walking then either, due to his many-fractured leg. Very memorable. This year is better, by far. Even with a compromised airway. OK, to be honest, I was still hoping for a slightly greater contrast to last year – but I’ll take it. Nothing beats the magic of a three-and-a-half-year-old trying to make sense of Christmas. “But Momma, why won’t Santa bring me a chainsaw? Why?”  And that, I think, is how I’m going to learn this whole slowing down thing. It starts with saying no to a chainsaw. No, this miraculous time is not compromised at all.

Merry Christmas. May its wonder be yours.


1 comment so far

  1. moosilaneous on

    What the hell?
    I have had nearly every emotion today – sadness, gladness, and the odd frustration, but damn, I don’t know how I feel that I didn’t realize how badly ill you were till now – Hours and hours after coming home from a delightful Christmas morning where you accommodated my family with alacrity, graciousness and fabulously well thought out gifts for large and small. What were you doing, hosting when you should have been resting???

    OK, I know the answer. What were your options?
    But try to take it easy. You have nothing to prove to anyone.
    Take an extra moment to do what you would insist Bonhomme should do in similar circumstances – drink more, sleep.
    Repeat as necessary. You know the drill. But remember you are the only one looking after you. You have to take a firm hand with some individuals – ahem – and nowhere better to start than with yourself.
    Laughed out loud at the frantic thought – got to google how to calm down…
    Yeah, that’ll work.

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