The map is not the world. The plans I make are not the life I live. The calendar in front of me is more a… suggestion. I don’t tend to view it that way very often; my calendar seems so ‘real’ when I make plans. For example, today my calendar tells me that I’ve a date planned with my traveling partner, and that I am hanging out with friends tomorrow morning-ish, and grabbing lunch together. I am spending the weekend camping – my calendar says so, and I’ve the reservation number for my space and the address of the park right there in the event details. So… how is it that I’ve started today with this head cold that does not appear anywhere on my calendar, and is not accounted for in any of my planning? Seriously? It seems ages since I was last sick… why now?

I noticed my stuffy head when I woke up at 1 am, for no obvious reason. The room felt hot, and my mouth was very dry. At 3 am, I still hadn’t fallen back to sleep; my stuffy head was making me snore, and my own snoring was waking me every time I started to drift off. I got up and wandered around in the dark long enough to take preferred symptom-treating cold remedies, have a big class of water, and blow my nose. I slept some, woke again, slept a bit more, getting up for coffee at more or less my usual time…which I may not finish. I will probably go back to bed, whether I finish it or not. I make a point of putting boxes of tissues here and there, where they will be most convenient. I get all the cans of chicken soup from the pantry shelves, and stack them on the kitchen counter. I find the exertion tiring on a level that re-confirms that I am ill. Like a child or a puppy might, I sink to the floor where I am, there in the kitchen, ‘just for a minute’ because I feel woozy and weak for a moment; I doze off, head back against the cabinet door, feet stretched out, a bit like a rag doll left behind, forgotten. What a fragile vessel this is.

Camping will have to wait; being ill is best managed in comfort.

Camping will have to wait; being ill is best managed in comfort.

My snoring startled me awake, and I feel appreciative this time; had I slept in that position for any time, I’d likely h ave awakened with a crick in my neck that would have added additional pain to the experience of a common cold. lol I get off the floor. I take my coffee with me into the studio to cancel the camping reservation – someone else will want that great spot. It’s a good weekend for camping…or seemed so yesterday. Today I stare unenthusiastically out the window near my desk. I ache all over. I’m tired. I push through all that and message my partner; he’s not going to want to get sick, I’m pretty certain of that. I message my friends – I doubt they want to get sick either. My tinnitus is more engaging than birdsong this morning. My coffee seems flavorless, pointless, and uninteresting; I’ll make myself swallow it before I return to bed, to avoid the headache later if I don’t.

Why bother writing about being sick, though? We’ve all been there… It’s a thing we go through. Well… A.) Why not? B.) I started writing, so… I’m writing, and this is the experience I happen to be having.  And C.) It’s also a different experience of having a cold than used to be typical for me, which is unexpected. I don’t feel vaguely threatened, frightened of sleeping, vulnerable to attack, uneasy, anxious, or awash in wild uncontrolled emotions; these are experiences that once characterized being sick [for me]. I’m just sick with a head cold. Incremental change over time. Learning to take better care of the woman in the mirror, and this fragile vessel, making myself a high priority day-to-day, and treating myself generally well finds me defaulting to a very difference experience of being ill. No tantrums (so far). No inexplicable anxiety (so far). No giving in to poor self-care (so far). No lashing out unexpectedly at other people as if to blame them for the experience and inconvenience of being ill (so far). My health is better these days and improved overall self-care has resulted in many fewer experiences of being sick. I feel like crap today, and I’m irked to be faced with my weekend plans unraveling, but for now, I feel mostly pretty grown up about it. Nice change in experience.

I ache all over. Sitting up, writing, my head is less stuffy (oh, right – cold medication!)…but I ache, and sitting upright actually feels like… work. My coffee is cold enough to just drink, so I do. My head aches, and my ears are ringing (more than usual, some medications do that). I’ve no enthusiasm for birdsong this morning. Today is a good day to take better than usual care of this fragile vessel. I check the battery on my Kindle (although I know I am not actually going to read), and grab a box of tissues. Today I go back to bed; everything that isn’t taking care of me can wait, including camping, romantic evenings, and hanging out with friends.