the lost man chronicles
the daily chronicle
a strange comfort
There’s a strange comfort in being ill.
Yesterday, I endured a daylong stomach flu. The doctor not only said I could no longer jump on the bed, but that the best remedy was a little patience and some soup. She explained that IG (intestinal-gastronomic) viruses typically last 1-3 days, and there was not much more I could do beyond waiting.
Luckily, for me, my IGs have always only ailed me for about 24 hours. And sure enough, this morning I’m feeling like a new man.
The renewing process certainly was not fun though. Alas, one must endure these things on occasion, and so I did.
Although I was nauseous, had a headache and my body ached all over, after sweating it out overnight it almost seems as if it was all worth the suffering. For now, I feel “clean” as ever. And quite hungry too.
Having barely eaten anything yesterday—all but half a cup of cream of wheat and a small bowl of ginger carrot bisque (sans the shellfish)—I’m quite ravenous and ready for a light and flaky breakfast to inaugurate my resurrection.
While I was at the doctor’s office yesterday morning and she was prescribing her platitudes, I just wanted to lie down and wrap myself in a blanket, as the chills had just begun biting into me. At last, she led me down the hall after too many few minutes too long, and I got to rest in a wonderfully quiet room in the nurses’ station for just short of half an hour.
It felt so good that a tear pooled in the corner of my eye and I smiled with self-deprecating relief—knowing that this was an innocuous bout and that without a doubt I would pull through.
As I lie perfectly still in the infirmary, curled up into a tight ball with my three-piece still on, I took nostalgic and somatic comfort in embracing the white cotton bedspread. It was the kind of blanket that my 96-year old grandmother uses on her beds, and so thinking of home—of the warmth of California sunshine, of the windmill cookies and orange creamsicles she always had for me and my twelve first cousins, all of who lived within four blocks of grandma’s house—gave me an eerie comfort, especially considering the suffering that she has recently had to bear herself.
A few weeks ago Grandma had to have a leg amputated, and to everyone’s surprise, she pulled through like a trooper. The day after the surgery she was already vying to leave the hospital and go home to where she preferred to be outside in her garden. Last week she had a second operation on the remaining leg to open up some other circulatory blockage. She is reportedly in stable condition, and once more, already at home again.
Pondering her plight and her exemplary resilience armed me with the strength to shake off the discomfort and get back up so I could get back to work.
Moreover, apart from the usual macho bullshit that dissuades many men from complaining, I tried to console myself by being amused by the folly of mitigating pertinacious ideals and the way I really felt. For, quite ironically, I had just written two proselytizing pieces lauding how others endure, persevere and triumph despite their formidable physical challenges—and yet, aspiring to be as strong and graceful as others was the last thing on my mind when it came down to a test of my true mettle. Apparently, the joke was on me, and so I found this sort of sick humor oddly convalescing.
This therapeutic notion only fortified me for so long though. Because at about 2:22, when I usually start thinking about my afternoon cup of coffee, I was wrapped up in my winter coat with my gloves on, trying to type a memo.
Albeit it was room temperature in the office, I had the chills still and desperately needed to feel as warm as possible. It was a strange comfort to sit there and barely move, ignoring the phone and waiting until three, when I was to conduct a meeting, and then immediately attempt to leave, to rush out, run (crawl really) out the door.
As work will have it, I was finally able to break loose at 4:30.
With the inclement weather however, the commute was gruelingly slow—rain-delayed trains; stop-and-go, staggering, buses, and finally a slow shuffle of my feet up the street where I live.
At last, when I arrived, it felt so nice to step inside and just stand still in the vestibule for a few quiet minutes, fully dressed doing nothing but appreciating the blessed moment of being home once again.
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