Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Reflections on Illness

I keep wishing I could post an inspiring article here, but truth be told, I've been sick.  For two months, and not much improvement yet.  With, after my doctor's tests and a visit to the ER, what they think is a mystery flu, and possibly a neck injury.  Maybe.  I can't eat.  I constantly have fever and chills.  Body aches, and a piercing headache that wakes me up without fail at 3 am every night (which I've gotten used to.  At least it's quiet, and as I wait for the aspirin and coffee to kick in, I continue to catch up on Mercedes Lacky's adventures in Valdemar.  What an imagination she has!  And I've come to feel quite fond of those Heralds and their Companions.)

Now we follow the labryinth like course of trying see what else it might be.............Listeria food poisoning infection? (it seems that those salad bars aren't always as healthy as you might think.  )  It can be confusing indeed trying to get tests for things.  Did you know that to get a blood test for Listeria you first have to be admitted to a hospital?  Catch 22.  You have to be very seriously ill before they'll test you.   I've started seeing a Chinese medicine practitioner, and am hopeful that the acupuncture treatments she gave me, and the Chinese herbs, will help.  And I'll keep pounding the pavements to see if I can get tested for things other than the endless flu, which all assure me, there is nothing they can do about.

I've been blessed in my life with a strong, Leonine constitution - this weakness and chronic pain is an experience I have not had much of, and I am amazed at two things.  I never realized before how fortunate I've been, and how much I've taken for granted. I think I've always driven my body like a truck - give it gas, give it some oil, and plow on regardless of all the ruts on the road.

The other realization is that, when you are sick and in pain, pretty much everything else goes right out the door in importance.  Your consciousness becomes focussed on finding, here and now, ways to NOT be in pain, and the body one inhabits rightfully makes its demands for loving attention.  This 70 year old body is now demanding its due on many levels, including spiritual and psychic.

Back in the end of December I had a revelation when I, literally, stumbled into a Benedictine Monestery  in an out of the way corner of the world, and found myself longing, deeply, for a contemplative life.  Shortly after that I ended my Facebook account, and reduced many of my contacts, even though this will undoubtedly impact my income.  I find I do not miss it...........I really have about 5 friends, not 500.  

I applied to a number of rural artist residencies for the summer (I recognize that most of them want 40 year olds, not 70 year olds, but what the heck.  Worth trying.)  If no one wants me, I'll still get into my car, Goddess willing, and drive East, probably ending up at my beloved Brushwood and Lilydale.  I'll do it slowly, with the attitude of a pilgrimage.  There are some wonderful parks, full of vibrant life, between here and New York.   Who knows, if my health returns, that trip may go so far as Avebury, or Glastonbury, or the Camino. 

Life is short.

Hindus believed that there were three stages of life:  Student, Householder, and Pilgrim.  You learn, you earn and pursue a career or family and contribute, and at a certain age, you leave, giving up a worldly life, and move into the life of contemplation and pilgrimage.  I understand that, now.  This is what has been calling me.

I don't know where that trail is going to take me, but unless this illness is fatal (which I assume it most certainly is not).......... after I finish my obligations that carry into May,  I AM RETIRED.  I will probably forgo AIRBNB for a few permanent tenants in my little "Enclave".  And I will have a great deal more time to write, think, and most importantly, talk to my cats and plants.  

 I am done with promoting things, with ambition,  with schedules.  I wish to find places of peace and contemplation that remove me from the the endless cacophony.............and I will do so, some of it, right here in my own back yard.  

Life is short, and a privilege.


In all likelihood, what I had was Covid, before it became widely known.  I am glad I survived.


sukipoet said...

may you be well soon my friend.

Lauren Raine said...

Thank you so much Suki. It is a frustrating business trying to find out what is going on. I will be glad when I get there.