I am still feeling like crap. Having gotten a call at 11PM last night that kept me working until after midnight has not contributed positively to me getting over whatever I have. I drag my tired rear out of bed and start my day. All day, I keep thinking I’m going to have to take a break and lay down, but I have back-to-back calls and things to get done. The day goes by until at about 6:45PM, I decide I can no longer think clearly and I really do need to stop.
I haven’t showered since Sunday morning. I am puzzled as to why this is–for some reason, I grew up believing you’re not supposed to shower when you’re sick. Maybe because having wet hair makes you feel cold? But not showering only makes me feel sicker. I decide I am going to the gym in the morning unless I’m dying when I wake up. As such, I absolutely must shower tonight.
Pat asks what I want to do about dinner. I look out the windows and realize it’s Wednesday night and I haven’t left the apartment since we returned from our weekend in the smokies on Sunday afternoon. I briefly consider going out to dinner. But, realizing that we have too many things yet to get done tonight and I want to go to bed early, I decide it makes more sense for Pat to pick up carry out while I convert myself back into a human being.
That’s exactly how I feel in the shower. As difficult as it was for me to coax myself out of the 6 layers of clothes I’m wearing in an attempt to stay warm, I don’t want to leave the shower once I’m in it. The hot water strikes my feet, making me realize how cold they really are. They feel like giant ice cubes melting in a vat of scalding hot water. My stiff neck and shoulders likewise feel like they’re melting under the heat of the water. I stick my dirty hair under the water and I feel like the water just runs off. My hair has grown waterproof after 3 days of wearing a ski cap and not bothering to so much as run a comb through my hair.
I use way too much shampoo, wanting a nice, thick lather to break through the grime. Having converted my helmet back into hair, I feel like my transformation into a human life form is complete. But I decide I should rinse some more anyway–I really cannot bring myself to step out from under the hot water.
Did I mention that we haven’t turned the heat on yet? I don’t know why; it’s just a thing. We want to make it to December before we turn the heat on. Up until yesterday, there was only one other day we were tempted to turn the heat on. But yesterday, the temperature inside dropped to 61. And then, to 58 overnight. Today, things warmed up considerably. The apartment is back up to 65 thanks to the passive solar effect of the windows facing South. But still, it’s enough of a chill that I really don’t want to get out from under that hot water.
Eventually, I talk myself into turning off the water and wrapping up in a towel before stepping out of the tub. The bathroom is, thankfully, full of steam, helping to preserve the warmth from the shower. Pat returns as I am pulling on about my 5th layer of clean clothes. I am grateful for the numerous layers of warm clothes I have accumulated for winter activities–after all, I am about to brave the temperature of the apartment outside the bathroom.
Pat’s hunting and gathering expedition has turned up Taco Mamacitos. Unfortunately, it’s gotten cold between the walk from the restaurant and waiting for me to get dressed. Plus, my taste buds are not fully functional yet. I eat it all anyway, realizing that I haven’t had anything to eat yet today besides a cup of soup and some crackers.
We flop on the couch with our cold food and turn on the TV. I eat and worry about whether I’ll sleep tonight. My cold is turning into a cough and I didn’t ask Pat to get me anything for a cough when he went to the store for me earlier today.
I find myself wondering about the human immune system. Why is it, for example, that I get sick more than Pat? He rarely catches anything. He’s even more resistant to stuff like parasites. I was violently ill at seemingly random intervals over 3 years until I finally figured out I was getting parasites from eating sushi. Pat was eating at least 3x the amount of the same sushi I was eating, yet he never got sick.
Given that Pat and I live in the same place, eat mostly the same foods (I generally eat healthier than Pat, if anything), and are exposed to the same germs, it has to be genetic, right? Or could it be that he drinks more beer? Is beer the secret ingredient to a healthy immune system? Perhaps I should try matching his diet exactly to see if it makes any difference.
Whatever the cause, I am annoyed that I am sick. I feel like it’s personal weakness somehow that I have succumbed to a virus. I ask myself what I have done wrong that has led to this illness. I go down the list of possible errors on my part: what have I been eating; how have I been sleeping; how careful have I been about washing my hands? I find that I’m at fault on eating and sleeping, but hand washing has become almost an obsession. Then, I wonder if I’m washing my hands too much. Is that possible? Am I denying my immune system its required exercise?
I take a deep breath and stop my root-cause analysis. I am sick and I need care, not blame. Why is it easier to sit around chastising yourself than to just figure out what you need and provide it? I think about the Nonviolent Communication book I am reading and realize that’s the basic premise. I’m too tired to think about it any more than that, though. I try to take another deep breath, but I start coughing. I decide I need to just watch TV mindlessly and I settle myself more comfortably into the couch.