Tag Archives: illness

The outcomes of my life (today) – feverish thoughts

Southern Garden by Paul Klee

I’m sick at home and have been in two stages over 3 weeks. Unable to do anything cerebral,  I sit and take in the room and the view outside my windows.

There are things I appreciate:

The tea tree sways in the wind and sunlight re-enacts this movement in the shadows on a blanket at the end of the couch near the window.

Intermittent bird song and the sound of wind.

The feel of the breeze on my arms.

The sunlight illuminating the pink blossoms of an indoor plant.

The sensation of lemon and ginger tea soothing my throat.

The ‘silence’, as much as it can be.

These are outcomes for me based on external conditions: light, architecture, placement of objects, my position, my awareness, my appreciation.

I did not perceive these same things yesterday because:

I felt sicker.

The weather was different.

I wasn’t receptive to many things.

I wasn’t able to feel pleasure.

What I will not do is put these conditions in a spreadsheet and try to control future experiences. I will not create numerical data to ensure moments of pleasure for the next time I’m sick. I will not expect it to be the same next time. I will not assume these conditions will be experienced in the same way by others. I will not expect that everyone is privileged enough to be sick in similar conditions.

I will not write a policy for How to Feel Better During a Prolonged Virus.

Being ill. (The Flu). How it plays with your mind and senses, your perspective.

I wrote this a little over a year ago and just found it. Thought I might give  it a home here.

During the very sick period, there is no joy to be experienced. Even in the first days of Spring. The blossoms are just there and pink. Sunshine is registered and associated with memories of past enjoyment. The disconnect between what should be felt and what isn’t being felt is part of the torture. And most of the time you are either sleeping, whining or taking a shocking number of pills – just in case they help. Where did they all come from?

Little things annoy you intensely. The stupid design on the tissue box – unbearable. Most of the people on TV are extremely ugly. You can’t stand looking at them. That speck of dust under the couch, the one you can’t bend down to reach… is plotting to kill you!

When you start feeling a very tiny bit better, it’s worse, in its own way. You feel an almost unnoticeable amount of energy has returned, that is to say, you can get up with a struggle and you don’t fall down straight away. You feel obliged to do something so you think to yourself, I’ll take advantage of the lovely sunshine and water a few neglected plants in the garden. You’re dragging your feet, but you push on, when suddenly you see all sorts of problems around the yard, rotting wood, dying plants, unswept verandah – things you didn’t see while you were well enough to go to work, and definitely not while you were feeling too, too sick to care about anything. And because of the lethargy, the withering muscles, the stiff joints from lying around for days, everything seems appalling, unmanageable. You wonder how you ever managed to get up every day and neglect the fact that these things were falling on your head.

And now the mind games. You try to do some of the things you have always done as part of your job. They have become obscenely worthless! There is no joy to be had from these meaningless tasks! You have been wasting your time, frittering away valuable hours from your receding life span, routinely repeating the same tasks – and for what!?

The memory of your past life (last week) alerts you to the probability that this dismal state of affairs is temporary and due to illness, and promises a return to a cheery purposefulness in life. You are suspicious of this and consider the possibility that illness has uncovered a vile truth which is truly unsettling but nevertheless a truth. You have been deceived into thinking your life has a purpose and value. You wonder if Nietzsche would have determined God as dead had he been of good health.