Tag Archives: illness

The Pain and the Peacefulness

I woke up with the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life. I felt like I was choking on a pine cone. Swallowing sent brutal pain through my throat, and yet I couldn’t seem to make my mouth stop swallowing. I lay in a cold sweat, my muscles aching. Too sick to get up, too sick to fall asleep, and desperately in need of some NyQuil.

There was no NyQuil in my bathroom due to the fact that I “moved out” a couple weeks ago. My friend Ashlie and I are living just up the road from my parents’ place, which is why I put “moved out” in quotation marks, since I still spend quite a bit of time with my family. Like, for instance, when I need NyQuil.

Finally gathering enough energy to get out of bed, I tossed a few things into my backpack and climbed into my car for the 1/2 mile drive to the land of NyQuil and a comforting mother.

I parked in the driveway, opened my car door, and then just sat there.

NPR was announcing the morning news. “We will be updating you regularly on the Egyptian Air flight that disappeared over the Mediterranean this morning.”

It was 5:00 am, and the sky was that eerie darkish blue of not-quite-morning.

Rain fell, suddenly, pattering on the roof of my car, the new-rain smell blowing in through my open door.

And somehow, in the middle of the weird eeriness, the intense pain in my throat, and the sadness of another plane disappearing, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I didn’t feel the crushing stress of the last couple weeks of term. I guess this is what they call a peace that passeth all understanding.

I’m on antibiotics now, and I woke up this morning with my throat barely hurting at all, thank God.

It’s very much coming down to crunch time, school wise, and I stress because I don’t know how to not stress. But for the past few days I’ve been clinging to the memory of that peace because I love to know that it exists.


I’ll Live when I’m Old

I caught some sort of illness after I came back from Thailand that took everything. out. of. me. I thought it was jet lag at first, but it didn’t go away for weeks. I dropped half my classes and slogged through life.

I carry ill health around with me like a coiled spring in a box. You know, the kind with a red boxing glove on the end. I don’t know when it’s going to punch me in the face, but I always have to be prepared for it.

Do you ever read old books and wonder, “how did they ever survive that sort of life back then?” I do. And then I always decide that I would have been the one that died young. The Beth March of the group.

However, I am beginning to question that assumption.

Over the last few months I’ve been trying to turn my Grandpa’s handwritten memoirs into a typed book. Grandpa is turning 100 this year, and everyone who meets him is amazed at how spry and quick he still is. When he lived with us last summer he spent his time reading books and magazines, writing his memoirs, and outside thinning the apples in our orchard. In other words, the very picture of old-man health.

That’s why I was very surprised when I read his memoirs and discovered how sickly of a person he was when he was my age. In fact, he was pretty sure his health issues would be enough to keep him from getting drafted, though that proved unfounded. Still, he spoke about doing lighter work around the farm while his brothers did the more intense work, and leaving his plow for a while to lie in the fields and rest.

“Hmm,” I thought, “maybe I’ll be healthy when I’m an old lady.”

Just last week I transcribed the chapter Grandpa wrote about his mom, who is famous in family lore for living until she was only a few weeks shy of her 104’th birthday. I discovered that, lo and behold, she had so many health issues growing up that her doctor didn’t think she’d live very long.

Maybe this is a trend in my family. Maybe that means I’m not even a quarter of the way through my life, and it’ll just get better from here.

I always make jokes that I only live half the life that other people do. But when I’m an old lady, I’m going to live twice the life that other people do.

So there.