A day makes a difference

What a difference a day makes. Every hour I feel better than the last. I was up and about all day today for the first time since before Thanksgiving. I can talk normally again and am coughing a bit less. Still winded and a bit fatigued, but I feel happier and more alive. I think it’s safe to say I’m going to survive this. And also it’s safe to say that I don’t ever want to go through this again.

This morning, on an old oak tree right out our back window, sat a big bald eagle. It was eating a meal up in the tree! There were about five crows huddled around it, harassing it and trying to steal its meal. We have seen the bald eagle and the crows around here a few times before. Usually when we see them, the crows are chasing and cawing the eagle away with all their might–and the eagle leaves! Crows are fearless and relentless birds. They are tough. But this time, the eagle was tougher. Seeing those birds in the tree today was a metaphor for me–the crows are the pneumonia and the eagle is me, my life. I am winning this time, and I’m glad for that.

I hope everyone out there is happy and well.

xoxo

Getting better

Today I am up and about. Despite being short of breath and fatigued, it is good to be out of bed. Physically, I’ve turned the corner. Emotionally, I’m still pretty stuck in a painful and negative place. Today it’s anger that’s rearing its head. It has been waiting to come out, I guess–trapped in my lungs.

Anger is here because my ego is on full blast right now. My ego has been hurt. I know that sounds ridiculous, but that’s how it is. I feel like I shouldn’t have to clean the house when I have pneumonia. I feel like the three people I live with should be able to take care of everything when I am sick. I feel like Alan should have washed the bedding that I’ve been lying in 24/7 for 10 days. I feel like Alan should have changed to dirty furnace filter when I asked him to a week ago so that I could breathe clean air. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s because that would make me feel loved and cared for. Loved and cared for in the way that I love and care for my family when they are sick.

Anna has been very caring and loving, and being that she’s only ten years old, I don’t expect a huge amount from her in terms of caregiving and house cleaning. She’s probably been the most attentive one in the house. It’s meant a lot to me. I feel unconditionally loved by her. It is a gift, and I am grateful for it. There have been a a few times over the course of 20 years that I’ve been bedridden, and each of these times I’ve gone through this same thing. Feeling forgotten, feeling uncared for, feeling unloved, living in a dirty house. What am I supposed to learn from this?

I really do believe that these feelings and events are here to teach me something. What is it? Perhaps I need to learn that I am loved and lovable, with or without the kind of demonstration of love that I prefer. I want acts of service. That’s my love language. What better time to provide that than when I’m sick? At least, that’s my logic.

The logical part of me know I need to just let this go. Let go of the need for a clean house. Let go of the desire to be loved through acts of service. Let go of the judging part of me that thinks I’m not loved. Let go of the guilt I feel for admitting these feelings and writing them in my blog. Because feelings are okay. And because I am loved, probably more than I will ever know.

Still lost

I’ve been sick for seven days with what began as viral pneumonia and has transpired into something bacterial, so I’m just a mess of wheezing and coughing and pain. There is so much pain in my throat that it’s almost intolerable. I am running out of coping skills and mental resilience. I resisted taking antibiotics because I’m fearful and stubborn when it comes to modern medicine. But today I caved and took the first dose, and it seems it’s already helping a bit.

The sickness arrived because I’ve been lost. So lost. Grieving, hurting, drowning in life. I feel like I’m in a snowstorm in the dark, listening for sounds in the distance that are calling me in their direction. Marriage and work and life overall have been an absolute fucking mess and my feelings have been so hurt. My self-esteem totally shot. Depression through the roof. Of course, somewhere along the line I was exposed to someone’s germs, too. I guess needed a break from life, and I got one. Not exactly the kind of break I would have planned, but here I am nonetheless.

During this bout of illness, I’ve been soul searching, crying, letting stuff out. Tonight at the dinner table I could barely talk but started bawling at my family and trying to say things that I was sad about related to work. My words were unintelligible through my blubbering and hoarseness but still they came out of me and I think that was healing. Then Anna, my angel daughter from heaven, touched my hand and then proceeded to draw me a bath, complete with eucalyptus, soothing music, and candles.

My mom came over today and that was really nice. She is a nurse so she listened to my lungs and convinced me to take the antibiotics because my lungs are full of gunk. She brought a bunch of food and took care of us. Later, my mother-in-law brought a crock-pot full of turkey noodle soup. Mia, Anna and I then binged on Dr. Phil and Judge Judy on the couch. It was just what I needed–all of it. The bath, the crying, the antibiotics, the crappy tv, my mom, the soup. I felt so loved. I am loved. I need to remember that.

In an impulsive, feverish decision, I sent a resignation email to my company for my role as outpatient psychotherapist, which is practicing therapy in the clinic. My last day doing that will be Dec. 17th. It’s a relief. I love the clients and the practice of therapy. Absolutely love that. What I can’t take any more of is the clinic atmosphere and the fast, impersonal pace of it all. Working there for the last 3 months has drained and discouraged me deeply. I’ll go back to doing the community-based therapy, which is a slower, quieter pace. In the community-based work, I’m mostly alone, I get time between clients, I can manage my own time and pace.

That’s that. Hope to feel better tomorrow. Thank you for listening.

Celebrating a 5-year pneumonia anniversary with more pneumonia!

That’s right! It’s about a month late, but still. Congratulations to me! In October 2014, Alan and I had bacterial pneumonia and felt like I was on the brink of death. Here I am now in November/December 2019 and have had viral pneumonia for almost a week. I don’t feel like I am on the brink of death this time, though. Apparently, viral pneumonia is rarely fatal–so, that’s comforting. I’m probably going to come out of this alive.

What is there for me to learn this time? The emotional backdrop that preceded this bout with pneumonia is similar, though less intense, than the backdrop of five years ago. Five years ago, I was bursting at the seams with way too much on my plate. This time, there was a full plate and I was starting to pull at the seams a bit, but it was manageable. There was a great deal of emotional suffering and holding on to beliefs and feelings that were hurting me. But, I wasn’t about to lose my mind, necessarily. And so it seems the main trigger has been emotional stress, and perhaps also that a child coughed on me multiple times.

The details of the emotional stress will be spared in this blog. All that needs to be said is this: the relief of suffering comes in letting go. It is in letting go of judgment and of wanting things to be different, and choosing unconditional love and forgiveness instead. We can even be as radical as finding a place of gratitude for the whole situation that came with the pain. Suffering is a teacher of sorts.

So, I’m working on that. Letting go. Forgiving. Loving. Finding gratitude. Remembering I’m not better than others. Being “hurt” is a function of the ego; the ego loves to make a victim of itself. I’m working on reminding myself that the events that transpire are events that are here for me to learn and work out my karmic debts.