Let me begin by saying that the title of this post has very little to do with the content of this post, but the name came to me last night before sleep and I thought ‘What an awesome title!’ What I will really use the name for, one day, is a benefit I will have in honor of sick people and underfunded, under-researched diseases that hopefully I will be capable of donating millions of dollars to. Then we’ll take those fancy photos that show up in the “Out and About” part of the newspaper with sparkly dresses and older men with younger women and really, really, white teeth. Maybe next year.
I am sitting in the office at my moms. Correction, laying. Sitting up is difficult at this point because I am in the middle of a full blown crash. Not sure if I overdid it in New York or what happened exactly but my body is angry at me. It’s like, giving me the silent treatment by not giving me strength to walk or shower and making all my muscles hurt; under my fingertips too. It’s a particular but non-specific pain when my body gets like this. Just a general “bone-aching” but I always know when it’s happening because underneath my fingertips hurt. Very weird. Anyway, I am lucky, because I am home and under the care of Doctor Mom and not having to worry about calling into work, fashioning an excuse that will translate to a boss who never took a sick day.
This morning I sludged from my room to the office, my wrists quivering at the weight of my computer and my eyes not quite in focus yet. I took my first set of pills and waited for the pain to ease and my brain to start functioning. Take pills and wait. If there were an instructional guide on How to be Mary Gelpi, those two steps would be peppered throughout. My mom is sharing with me the symbolism of boats and chocolate and pies because I told her about my dream last night, which involved the family and me getting in a boat accident, where no one died and the whole thing was surprisingly peaceful- and the night before where I dreamed that Nick, my mom and I were at a lake house and my mom and I were gathering golden apples to make pie and Nick was fishing, as usual. It was a nice departure from my typical high-anxiety dreams where either I’m dying or watching someone else, like Monty, die. These last few were calm, so she is helping me process them. One of the perks of living at home: Coffee ready when I wake up, and a personalized dream-interpreter on staff. Score.
I’ve had a to-do list for days now that I can’t wait to get started on, yet I’m just unable to begin. Yesterday I spent the entire day in bed. Every few hours I’d wake up drenched in sweat, in pain, re-dose the meds, and go back to sleep. It’s a funny way to spend your day like that. Because by the time I “woke up” it was dark outside and Monty came in from a day spent frolicking in our yard and playing soccer by himself. Poor thing. I owe him a few games when I perk up. But I barely saw the sun, which is depressing. But that’s how crash days go, and I remind myself that it won’t last. In a few days, after successfully doing nothing, I’ll start to feel better. The nice part is, the sun will be waiting for me when I’m ready. Monty and the sun– they hold nothing against me. For that I am lucky!
I think the biggest teacher of this illness has been learning how to exist in the “chaos.” I’m often eager to jump into things…even boring things, like laundry. But I’ve had to learn how to let my toenail polish stayed chipped until I have energy to fix it. Let my laundry pile up until I have energy to do it. Let my phone ring without me answering it until I have energy to talk. There is something uncomfortable about letting things “go” that you want to tackle head on. For instance right now, I’d love to unpack my suitcase and do laundry. I’d also love to call my sister and catch up, write a few thank you notes and send them, clean my car, and oh yeah, SHOWER, but all of that will have to wait. And truthfully, many of the things we think can’t wait, can. No-one ever died from going one more day without showering. Well not that I know of. It’s a lesson I continually learn and relearn, but it’s valuable to see that, while I’d love to dive into these things, I cannot. They will simply have to wait. And I need to learn how to maintain in the grey of things–life between the trapeze swings. Just as the sun will be waiting for me, so will everything on the to-do list. Anyway, the computer needs to re-charge and so do I. I’m tired and weak and am going back to the underworld. I’ll see you when I re-emerge.
Health, Happiness, and Undone To-Do Lists