The definition of sick is actually “feeling nauseous and wanting to vomit”
This week I was sick with a stomach flu. In these days of COVID we forget that we can still come down with a common flu. This brings up so much for me, literally! First you feel a quiver, a sensation that lets you know you are no longer in charge. And then, well, you know what happens next! My first “go to” was a bit of panic as I am not accustomed to living alone and I started to have a small asthma attack in the middle of everything! In the heat of my over dramatized reaction to the situation, I unlocked the front door in case I needed to call 911 (wouldn’t want them to crush the front door as I was gasping for my last breath!). Seriously, I did that. Then I laid awake all night, between episodes, thinking I had to be on watch as no one else was there to do it. Now, I understand that a lot of people live on their own and this is just the way it is. But it’s not something that I am familiar with and certainly brings attention to the loss of my loved one, my true caretaker. He would have been right there watching and offering help; making soup the next day. Yes, I was a lucky woman. I still have a lot of good fortune in my life however a beautiful nugget of fortune is truly gone. The illness has now upheaved and moved on, and I realize that I have crossed yet another hurdle and it seems I am still alive.
I was considering keeping a commitment that I had made (as I had received a negative COVID test) when a friend reminded me that I needed to take care of myself. That my immune system was depleted, and I needed to stay home for a few days to recover. In my last career, I had 7 years of perfect attendance, so self-care and recovery were not usually considered. Now I’m realizing it is not just “what I can do” as much as “what I should do”. These decisions should be supportive of my wellbeing as well as others.
So, it did turn out that friends and family brought me soup and medicine, checked on me regularly and gave me advice. And even though these efforts were not exactly the same as my partner would have offered, they were golden nuggets of their own. I was not alone. If I had asked any of them to come in the middle of the night, they would have.
If you don’t currently have a support circle of friends, then maybe it’s time to get one started. This outer circle of support will need a good foundation of your own self-care. If we can just see ourselves through our loved one’s caring eyes and connect with that inner love of our own, I think we’ll be ok.
Val Spies, Lotus Pond Yoga Studio owner and Yoga Teacher training director.