So my “middle of nowhere” site in the desert IS in the middle of nowhere, as far I’m concerned. It’s not a real campground and there’s not a building within sight, although there are lights on the horizon at night. But I stayed really close to the road, and cars or trucks drive by at least once per hour during the daylight hours. Plus there are at least half a dozen other RVs or campers within sight, although several hundred feet away. Close enough that I know my nearest neighbors were running their generator at 2AM, which is probably close enough that if I desperately needed help, I could stumble my way to their camper and cough on them. I assume they’d call for help then, because campers are usually pretty nice people.
Although that said, I did spend a while in the dark of the night last night, when my fever was back, wondering whether we were apocalyptic enough that someone finding me delirious in the camper would kick me out to die in the desert before stealing the van. Survival of the fittest, after all, and I’ve never believed that I’d be one of the survivors in any apocalyptic scenario. I lack the killer instinct. I’m not even willing to stock up on toilet paper, lest the next person need it more than I do.
In the bright light of day, however, my fever is gone (again!), and I think I’m getting better (again!). Whatever I have, it’s a weird illness, because it slowly grew worse and now seems to come and go in waves. Some of it is exhaustion: I use up my energy and then I’m just completely depleted, to the level of lie on the bed, cry and feel sorry for myself. Sick enough that I can’t even read because I can’t focus. And then a few hours later, I think I’m on the mend again.
Yesterday, in one of the “lie on the bed, cry and feel sorry for myself” moments, it occurred to me that maybe my son has ignored my attempts to connect with him because he’s really sick himself. Maybe he’s dead, in fact. How would I know? I spiraled into total anxiety, fear, panic — just what a sick person needs — until I learned that he was fine. Not from him, but from a friend who’d talked to him recently.
“Fine,” but in the middle of a pandemic, ignoring my tearful phone call and plaintive email, because I have committed the crimes of being rude and really smart. (Admittedly, my plaintive email also asked him to please stop being a jerk, so, you know… maybe not so plaintive?) Only a Czech could appreciate my then state of mind, which they would define as litost. I learned about litost in a book called How Emotions Are Made, which I highly recommend for an interesting, if seriously dense read. Litost is “said to be untranslatable, but roughly, ‘torment over one’s own misery combined with the desire for revenge.’” I found that such a beautifully apt description of my feelings yesterday that I had to laugh and now I’m working on letting go of those feelings.
It’s not easy. But according to the author of How Emotions Are Made, scientifically, our emotions are just social constructs. We define sensations, label them, and treat them as real, but if we want to change the label, we can. Fear is just excitement without the breath. Sorrow, in this case, is saying good-bye to a future that I thought would be like the past, but that will instead be something new. I don’t know what the new is going to look like yet and it feels pretty scary, but at this exact moment in time, I’m admiring a beautiful sky, there’s a lovely cool breeze, my avocado was perfectly ripe, I can feel the sun, and I can listen to music. My life is good and I’m grateful. Also ready to feel healthy again, but optimistic that it will happen any day now.
I’m sorry you’re sick, but it sounds like you’re being smart by self-isolating but staying within easy reach of help, if you need it. I’m glad your fears about your son were groundless. These days it’s easy to lose perspective, as every little thing seems amplified.
Case in point, I woke up with a sore throat this morning and immediately assumed the worst for moment. But no fever and normal oxygen levels, thank God. Went for a walk to destress. The cherry blossoms are coming out in full force, which gives me joy.
Hope you feel better soon!
Cherry blossoms sound lovely! I’m glad you enjoyed your walk and I hope your sore throat disappears and does not return anytime soon.
I think your emotions are on the edge because your body is fighting whatever illness you’ve developed. We’re always at our worst when we’re less than 100% physically. I’m glad you’re at least within shouting distance to help. Sunshine will make you feel a bit better, and the Vitamin D is good for you as well. Patience and continued care of yourself is what’s required right now. This will pass, and you will survive it!! Healing thoughts to you — and give Z a hug for me… Hopefully, your son will come around and set aside any ill will/feelings towards you. Blessings to you…
The How Emotions Are Made author actually says exactly that! We translate negative physical feelings into negative emotions, because we’re socially trained to do so, but if you want to feel “happy,” an easy strategy is to work on your health. It’s a good book, very interesting reading. I’ve had a tough time getting through it, though, probably because I’ve been sick, and I’m not going to finish it before it goes back to the library. I’ll have to try again later!
Hang in there and get better soon!
Deborah N Holmes said:
Thinking of you and hoping that you are on the mend. Is heading back to FL an option? I know it’s not the first choice, but the whole last month hasn’t been anyone’s first choice. Be kind to yourself and remember that there are people who care about you, and that’s a blessing no matter the circumstances.
I definitely wish I was in Florida right this moment. But I’m hoping I can get the propane fixed and get to Arcata. One day at a time — first thing is to stop being contagious! And thank you so much — last night was definitely a dark night and it is really good to be reminded of my blessings!
Been thinking about you this past week. I had hoped you were in a better place than this post seems to indicate.
Sunshine and music! A perfect avocado and a lovely breeze! But yeah, I’m a mess, both emotionally and physically. And also literally physically – I haven’t had a real shower since I left Florida, because I haven’t wanted to risk spreading my germs in a public place. Shower wipes are nice, but my next shower is going to feel like heaven. Soon!
Barbara Anderson said:
Sorry to hear you are sick, and I do hope it is of a brief duration. I am grateful I traveled by air and came home healthy! We are all isolated here in Montana, but optimistic for a speedy resolution of this crisis. I hope your son issues resolve quickly too!
Montana is probably a great place to be in a pandemic! I hope you all stay healthy there.
Sorry you are sick. Your history proves that you are good at taking care of yourself so I am confident that you will come out on the other side soon.
This to will pass with R.
Wish I could offer help with your propane but I know nothing…
I think I’m going to come out the other side, too, but I doubt me taking care of myself has anything much to do with it. I’ve got multiple auto-immune disorders and am older than 50, so I’m high-risk. Eating right & exercising isn’t going to help with that. I am getting better, though! Take care of yourself and I hope you stay healthy!
Cynthia Johnson said:
Well bless your heart. You are one very strong lady and I do hope that each day brings a return to health. Be safe and look for the sun and brighter days. Do stay where you can be seen if you need help. Blessings, Cynthia
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