Friday, November 02, 2007

On My Mind

It is no secret that I have been in bad shape for the past month. Or that I have had something of a relapse, which led to the suspicion about whooping cough. (One of my profs had it a few years ago, she told me, and it got much, much worse sometime around weeks four and five.) Or that I am completely depleted of energy, which, coupled with my memories of experiencing a similar sequence of events, starting on my 17th birthday lo those many years ago, led to the suspicion of mono. Or that I can't stop coughing, which led my husband to say: Pneumonia. (A word, I might add, of Greek origin and therefore not possibly applicable to me, even though I do now know - sometimes - the pardigm for the Greek noun pneuma.) As far as I can tell from my online reading, the doctor did ask me a lot of pneumonia-related questions yesterday, but my answers were almost all in the negative.

All that aside: I could not begin to count the number of people who have said to me, "You're doing too much," or "You're really burning the candle at both ends" or something to that effect.

Those statements are not helpful.

I am sick because some obstinate virus (probably NOT mono and NOT whooping cough and NOT pneumonia, but just your run-of-the-mill vicious virus) to which I am apparently not the least bit immune invaded my body and, finding no resistance whatever, settled in for the long haul. That's all.

Yes, I do believe firmly in mind/body connections, and that our bodies often reflect the stresses of our minds and hearts and souls. Yes, I have been under considerable stress for the past two months. It is hard to get started in a new environment and culture when your own have been pretty stable for years and years. It is hard to start at the bottom of the heap when you are used to being the one in charge. It is hard to have to work at developing new relationships when your outer extrovert is grounded in a pervasive inner introvert. It is hard to lose control of your time and your objectives to the claims of other people and institutions. And yes, it is very very very hard to learn an ancient language for which you have no aptitude.

But you know what? I am the person to whom other people say, "How do you fit that in?" when I say that I walk three or four miles a day and have for years. I probably spend another hour (not necessarily or even usually a consecutive sixty minutes) most days in some form of prayer. I spend time on the internet and I work on my photography and I have long lunches with friends and I generally enjoy myself tremendously. I work hard, but I also play with gusto. In other words, on most days I spend a considerable amount of time attending to things that counterbalance the degree of stress with which I choose to live right now.

So please. I did not do this to myself.

And if I had, believe me, I would have chosen the place where I got mono at 17 -- Cape Cod -- as the locale!

So. OK. My temper tantrum for the day.


mompriest said...

I hear you, rant on! first year of seminary I had a course of something, probably strep, that just went round and round for a year. So, yeah, sometimes, an illness just does this..

I remember something from massage therapy school... I learned that our immune systems actually NEED to do's like the immune system is ok for a long while and then it's depleated so we get sick a lot which actually serves to boost the immune system and then we go back to having a long time of being well until the immune system depleats again and the cycle starts over....does that make sense? Just our bodies doing what they need to do.

Kathryn said...

I totally get it. I've been on and off crutches now for a month. I hear the same comments about doing too much. I tell them that I can walk five miles one day and be fine the entire week - go to a meeting all day the next week and then not be able to walk. Many people have diagnosed me with lupus, fibromyalgia, gout, psuedo-gout, ovarian cancer (September was awareness month)...

Why am I ranting in response to your rant? To let you know that it's universal, not personal.

I really hope you feel better soon. I think ds2 has the same bug as you - he has missed a lot of school.

Gannet Girl said...

Thanks, both of you. And MP, that does make sense. Every once in awhile I get walloped like this and there is no rhyme or reason to it; one day I'm happy and productive and full of energy and the next I'm down for the count.

I haven't had a strep test but the dr last week assured me that both antibiotics I have been through were enough to wipe out virtually anything bacterial. I'm sorry you had such a rough first year -- there certainly is enough to contend with without having to feel miserable while contending!

Jan said...

(((GG))) You have energy to rant, so that's good!! It sounds like you have the discipline to take care of yourself, which I envy. Those praxis of exercise and prayer are the first I abandon when I get as busy as you, and they're the WRONG ones to give up. You have your priorities in the right place. Wishing you peace amidst all you do.

LawAndGospel said...

A good vent session is healthy. Sometimes stuff just happens, and it galls me too when other people want to "diagnose" me. This too shall pass. For a good laugh, stop over and see how our class dressed up the Luther statue this week.

more cows than people said...

oh gg, i'm told all the time that my infertility is because of my poor stress-management. i don't take as good care of myself as you do, but... i do my best to care for myself and this drives me bonkers!

i hope whatever you've got gets going soon.

hang in there.

Gannet Girl said...

Hmmmm.....I feel another post coming on. What has happened to us as a culture that we hold people responsible for things that their bodies do entirely of their own accord? I think my late stepmother must have gone through quite a bit of additional hell feeling like she had to keep a good attitude through stage 4 lung cancer because she was told so often that attitude was the key. I wish I could find the book The Woman at the Washington Park Zoo because she (the author was a journalist who died of cancer at a very young age) has an absoulutely scathing passage about the idiotic things people say. Things like stress makes you infertile. Imagine a whole string of expletives here as my response to that.

emmapeelDallas said...

Oh, callow youth...colleges and grad schools need older students...and I say that having finished up my undergraduate work and then going to grad school in my 40's. We oldsters offer a perspective that is invaluable...never forget that. Your parishioners will love your life wisdom in addition to your book learning.

emmapeelDallas said...

Well, shoot, I posted that in the wrong place!

Re this sounds to me as if you love your life, as busy as it is...and that's always a good thing. And still, we do get sick, all of us, from time to time, and I don't for a minute believe it's hang in there (and I know you will).

emmapeelDallas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.