bird flying in cloud

On Being

by Karen MacDonald

Day 5 of the Crud. {Crud, a technical term for the bodily symptoms of sickness and how they make one feel, as in, “Ugh, I feel like crud!”}

I noticed it starting while having lunch with a co-worker, a feathery irritation in my throat that began to cause light coughing.  I woke up the next morning dragging butt, and went in to make sure that a time sheet was turned in for the colleague whom I supervise and who was out herself with a nasty bug.  As coughing increased and energy decreased, I went home half-way through the day, telling my supervisor I hoped to sleep it off and see her the next day.  The next morning came, and now my head ached with congestion, so I called in sick and slept most of the day.  That should move it on out.  The next morning came, and my head still hurt and my throat was starting to hurt from coughing and my energy level was next to nil.  I called in sick again and laid around all day.  That should help, along with the Airborne I gulped throughout the day.  

Lo and behold, on Saturday, I awoke feeling pretty darn good—energy level up, coughing subsided, headache gone.  Putzed around on the computer, read some of a book, even did a bit of housecleaning.  My hopes of going to church the next day dissipated as my nose started running like an open faucet and the hacking returned with a vengeance.  

So today, I’m lounging on the patio (fresh air and sunshine and outdoors at least nourish my spirit) all day today, accompanied by tissues and throat lozenges and a bottomless water bottle.  When I sit absolutely still or go to sleep, the cruddy symptoms quiet down.  This will be a short blog, then.

This blog is getting written, though, with the realization that no matter how optimistic I go into a sickness, it will run its own course, whatever I try to shorten it.  And no matter how irritated I feel that I can’t even get any work done because it takes too much energy to concentrate on anything, the sickness runs its own course.  In other words, I can’t control it.  So I may as well go with the flow (even if that flow is my runny nose).  Today I get to lie outside on a clear, sunny day watching the birds.  And it’s enough—it’s life today.

I also got to watch pieces of the air show at the Air Force base that became visible in my view of the sky.  Jet fighters speeding in tight formations and loops and straight-ups (how’s that for a technical flight term?) and free-falls and screaming over my house.  Speed and noise and doing.  When they finished, a raven re-appeared, sleek black body glistening in the late afternoon sun, wings calmly outstretched, floating in circles on the air currents.  Slowness and peace and being.  Both sights were amazing.  Sometimes we, in the life we lead, need the doing.  The raven and the sickness remind us that simply being is our greatest gift to Life.  

A–choo!  Excuse me, I’ll blow my nose and go back to lying still.