The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I got sick. I had not been sick for a long time and this hit me like a ton of bricks. A variety of symptoms plus incredible fatigue. Overwhelming, body-slamming, just-want-to-stay-in-bed fatigue. No energy.
Pre-COVID I would have taken a couple over-the-counter medications and soldiered on with my Thanksgiving cooking and baking. I would have ignored the fatigue. I would have invited people over (if that was the plan) and taken more medications and pushed through. I would have thought, “this is a bad cold,” and not changed anything. I would have potentially exposed everyone to my “bad cold.”
But this year is different.
I got tested for COVID. It was negative. But I still felt awful. I slept. I rested. I accepted and admitted I was sick. I stayed away from people. Most of my symptoms resolved, except the fatigue. Sooo tired. I rested more.
And I thought while I rested. I thought about what it means to be sick with a cold and what it means to be responsible. To not expose everyone to my “bad cold.” To actually listen to my body and rest. To not keep pushing and going no matter what.
I continue to think about this. Confession: in my life I have generally been really bad about acknowledging and accepting I am sick. I have been bad about stopping and resting. I have been bad about staying home and getting well. And the funny thing is I’ve never won a medal for this. I have never been given an award for pushing though it. Mostly what I have “won” is a longer illness and feeling really crummy.
If I were my own best friend I would take this opportunity to rethink how I treat illness. What does my body actually need? What do I need to do to be healthy? Is it responsible to be sick and still go to work just because I have controlled my symptoms with medications? Is it responsible to invite people to my house while I’m sick?
I continue to think. And I continue to rest. I am trying something new, this resting thing. And what I am thinking is this new world we are living in may be an opportunity for me to do things a bit differently. What do you think?