I was lying flat in bed. I had pulled out my back while suffering through the worst bout of stomach virus known in the lower forty-eight. I couldn’t stand up. I glanced over at my husband who was recovering from having a stent placed in his heart. Could it get worse?
My friend explained the premise of the 1913 book about a girl with a glass half-full philosophy who single-handedly transformed the dour attitude of a little New England town.
Half of the country is sick now with a flu that puzzles even IBM’s Watson.
And the people that aren’t sick are wearing masks in their houses and taking a shot of sanitizer every four hours. Hugs are a thing of 2016 and the dreaded air kisses are in vogue. Ugh.
Being sick is a giant bummer.
My husband came out of surgery looking like the inside of a navel orange skin. Pale and stripey. Walking like the slow walker, Tim Conway, from the “Carol Burnett Show”. Brain squishy. Devoid of cogent thought.
Then I got sick. Bad timing. Not helpful when you’re the Florence Nightengale in charge.
Plus, sick is wildly unattractive.
You look really old. No one escapes it. Chins multiply. Ears get longer. Hair sprockets. Eyes are vacant.
A robe is all you can manage to put on. Mine is old and fleece and makes me look like I have a sort of barrel chest. Doubled over with the belt around it.
You eat Campbell’s chicken rice soup and bananas and cut up apples. The BRAT diet. Trying to remember if the “T” is for toast… or tea.
And sick people are messy. Kleenex balls and spotty water glasses and NyQuil packets and sunken stained pillows. All strewn about.
And you can’t let this sad state go on too long. People are initially sympathetic. Then you become totally invisible.
Eventually you have to stop indulging yourself and cut off the sick thing.
So…when my back allows me to stand up again and my flu has waned, I am projecting a new image.
I’m going to walk with energy and gusto. Zip. Purpose. As opposed to sick people who shuffle. Walking from side to side. Leaning one way and then the other. Slowly. Laterally. Instead of forward.
I’m going to make myself wear clean clothes. When getting over sickness it usually takes a while to transition from robe to big yoga pants to clean starched things. I put on a new shirt from the cleaners today. Blue. It helped.
And I’ll clean up a little bit around the house. Old soup bowls and empty Advil bottles in front of the tv. Blobs of Bengay in the bathroom.
I forgot to get my flu shot this year. Not smart. Probably what got me into this whole mess.
I’ll pull out that old copy of “Pollyanna” too.
We could all use an injection of healthy, unbridled optimism.
Originally published at https://marymottwrites.com on January 28, 2018.