Perhaps I had been pushing myself a bit harder than I was aware of. Perhaps there was no other way of getting my attention and causing me to slow down. Whatever the cause, the result is that I’ve come down with a rather nasty case of both bronchitis and laryngitis. It started last week. Manuscript in the mail? Check. Attend critique group? Check. Notice the tingling in your throat. Check. Wake up Thursday morning feeling as if you’d been mowed down by a Sherman tank? Check. I have coughed so hard and so violently that I have pulled a muscle between my shoulder blades. It’s not only terribly painful to cough, it’s terribly painful to do just about anything.
I have no voice to speak of – nor to speak with – which has meant missing a few days of work. Can’t teach if you can’t hold a conversation, right? I thought about putting everything I needed to say into Power Point slides, but decided that most of my students would rather have a lobotomy than to have to read that much of my lecture. Can’t say I blame them. I used to hate instructors who handed out copies of their lecture notes. I decided the sub would just have to figure out what to do with my notes.
The real trouble with bronchitis and laryngitis both is that they are viral; therefore, taking antibiotics is pretty much an exercise in futility. They just have to run their course. I’m doing everything I can to try and make them run it a little fast, though. I’m taking vitamins, zinc, Echinacea, drinking fluids in volumes of gallons, and trying to lay low and rest. Of course that last step is a bit more of a challenge with three kids, a spouse, several pets, and a lot of laundry growling at me from the laundry room floor.
I’m doing the best I can, but I’m not a real good “sit still” kinda gal. I need to be doing something. I need to knit, or crochet, or type, or something. Even though I get dizzy standing up, even though I have to take cough syrup with codeine in order to sleep, I feel like I need to be doing something productive, moving forward, making progress at all times.
Yes – I do know how silly that sounds. No – I don’t consider myself to be a Super Mom or a Wonder Woman. I like being busy. I like feeling productive. I strongly dislike feeling as if those options have been taken from me. Perhaps that makes me something of a control freak, but remember, I’m also a champion procrastinator and avoider of things I consider time wasters (what others call “house work”). I like having options. Being sick doesn’t offer one many options.
So as usual, I’m looking for the lesson in this situation. What is it that the universe is trying to teach me this time? Maybe it’s that it’s time for me to let myself recover and not feel compelled to keep running the engine in the red all the time. Maybe the lesson is more metaphysical – that by losing my voice, I need to rely on others to help me communicate, and to find more effective ways than spoken words get my message through. Maybe the lesson is quite simple – I need to rest and take care of my physical self for a while. Or maybe they are all right to some extent.
Whatever the answer, the result is the same: I am restricted to quarters and not allowed to speak for a few days. It’s a really good thing that I can still type.