I have the good fortune and good genes to not be sick very often. This week I got sick. Just a cold. But a bad one for a big baby who who hasn't been sick since before Ken was rediagnosed with cancer in 2009. I wonder if maybe I have been this sick, but it was all relative and because I had so many responsibilities, it didn't matter. I had a purpose bigger than myself. I was a part of something bigger and more important.
But this week I was just sick. No bigger purpose. No one else to distract me or to take care of. And, for the first time in ten years, no one to take care of me. I don't know how it works for most people, but when I get sick I get horribly depressed and my world view becomes very grim. Aside from hacking up phlegm globbers (GROSS! I know, I say it every time), I am compelled to ponder the grandest of questions until I shut down and have no choice but to lose myself in reality TV--well, that was before I reduced my cable package--now it's losing myself in "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret." Thank you, IFC and iTunes!
I couldn't help but think the last time I was this sick was a time when I had a fluffy Quantum to snuggle with and a very awesome and loving Ken who would arrive at home around 5:30, soothing me with his velvety voice, a quirky song and a gentle touch. He was the only person I have ever trusted to take care of me. And experiencing this "first" in a normal frame of mind would have been difficult enough, let alone in an altered- world-view-frame-of-mind was at times almost unbearable. I spent a lot of time this week in my bed--our bed--wishing beyond reality that he'd be arriving home that evening and that I could melt into his embrace. In so many ways I felt like I was starting from scratch in the mourning process.
Dragging my hacking ass to Jewel on a 50-degree Thursday to get supplies and meds for Friday's ensuing snow storm, some of my sickness was hurled at a moronic CVS worker who kept scanning a key card for my over-the-counter cold meds that repeatedly didn't work. Over and over and over. Not even looking at me and talking with a coworker about how her key card didn't work. Choking on mucus and bitterness I verbally crucified for "subpar" customer service and enlightening her on the clinical definition of insanity (repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result each time). Yeah, not my best work, but I still don't feel guilty about it. I'm sure she'll get me back on my next visit. "Price check on the hemorrhoid cream for the smart-mouthed, phlegmy older gentleman."
On Friday morning I could actually feel the optimism returning to my soul, replacing the gallons of sputum I'd chased away with Dayquil, Zicam, vitamins, and water. The harsh HD magnifying glass of my cold was shattering and giving way to a less grim world view. In many ways, it was another good bye; to physical--never emotional--aspects of my old life. Old life. It hardly seems right to say it like that. But in all the journaling I've done this week, I think the key in living my "now" life involves putting my "then" life (yeah, that feels better) into perspective and figuring out how to let it go--not forget it. Never forget it. I wouldn't--couldn't--do that. But I guess being focused on the "now" is what's important.
There is a place for my "then" life in my "now" life. Figuring it out isn't a destination, it's…(shocker)…part of my journey. I'm not 100% over my cold yet, but I'm getting there. This sucky experience of being sick was a "first" I could never have anticipated being so layered with challenges and feelings and angst. But, such is life. Now that I'm on the mend and getting back on track, I'm still planning to spank 2012 like a foul-mouthed brat.
The daunting question at hand: when is it safe to return to CVS?