Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Best Medicine

To start off my last semester in college, I came down with the flu.

It was the first day of classes, in fact. I sat through my first class feeling worse and worse as the 90 minutes wore on and then, as soon as I could, did something I never do...

I made a beeline for the Student Health center just across the walk from the Social Science building in which I'd been. Flu, they said. Go home, they said. You're going to feel a whole lot worse before you feel better, they said.

And they were right.

That was the sickest I can ever remember being. I lived alone then and remember very clearly through the haze of fever thinking I was scared that I was dying and that I ought to check myself into the hospital...but I didn't know how. The concept of "Hospital" was clear. The process of how to get there...calling Suzy, calling my mom, calling 911? I couldn't connect those dots. I don't think I understood "Telephone" at that point. That's just how sick I was.

I didn't go to the hospital. I didn't die. It took two full weeks before I was able to step foot out of my house again and another two weeks before I would feel recovered enough to resume life. It was bad. I suspect it may have turned into pneumonia but I didn't know it.

I have not been that sick this time. For one, the fever broke in the middle of the night last night and I was only 4 days in. But, I must confess, on Sunday night, I got Hospital scared.

The difference this time is that I'm not alone. I went into Lex's room and perched on the end of his bed and cried and told him I was really scared...Hospital scared. And then I went to lie down on the couch again.

It scared him. I don't do doctors and I sure as hell don't do hospitals. Neither of us do.

Normally, when we're sick, we just kind of stay out of each other's way, picking up the slack so whoever is sick can just concentrate on resting and recovering. When I told him I was scared, all of a sudden, he was put on watch.

Just the act of telling him, knowing I didn't have to make the decision or figure out how to get there if I needed to, helped me to relax enough so that the panic attack I was having dissipated and I was able to breathe a bit better which then alleviated the need to go to the hospital.

Yesterday, I felt a smidge better. Today, I'm definitely better. Weak, shaky, and swollen still. I have no voice and still have a wicked cough. But the fever is gone and I can breathe deeply. I'm OK enough that Lex felt comfortable to go up north to work today leaving me to my own devices.

I might just go back to bed.

I think...I think I might have been Albuquerque sick.

And I'm really glad I wasn't alone. Because sometimes? Having someone close by - who just will sit with you, hold your hand, and watch you sleep - someone who cares is the best medicine in the world.

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