When Penelope Gets Sick: there must be a lesson here

March 31, 2010

Since last Thursday, I’ve had the worst flu I can remember having. Saying I’m sick just doesn’t seem enough. It’s been a level of discomfort/pain/exhaustion I just didn’t know I could endure.

A rumination on how it feels to not feel good, and how a Type A personality can deal with it.

Just to write this, I’ve had to gather my energy for 2 hours. Before that, I went to get the mail. I went outside my front door, opened the box, brought the mail in and LEFT IT ON THE TABLE while I went to lay down. I can’t overstate how un-me that is. I always, always put my mail away immediately. Today, I just couldn’t.

I’m so frustrated by this. I can’t work, I can’t read, I can’t knit, I can’t clean my house, I can’t DO anything. I’ve been totally unproductive for 6 days. My poor husband is having to do so much more than his normal full load and I feel so guilty about it. (He’s been so great.)

I’m beyond frustrated, I’m bordering on despondent.

I have to think there’s a lesson I can learn from this. Something about being zen and calm and allowing myself to heal. All I can do is be cranky.

You all understand, I’m sure. So help me out.

How do you deal with things when you get sick? Do you struggle mentally as well as physically? Can you just relax and heal? How do you deal with just letting things go?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly March 31, 2010 at 10:15 am

Oh Meredith, I hope you feel better soon! About a year ago I was in the same predicament — sick for almost 10 days and I could eat, sleep, or even watch TV comfortably. It was awful, so I feel for you. Ugh. I think the lesson for me at that time, as someone who didn’t really get sick EVER, was to really appreciate my health. I mean, we all say that, right? How grateful we are for our health, but I mean to really appreciate having the energy to get up everyday and have a chance to live our best life — that was powerful for me. And it took a week of being out of commission to realize that I feel damn lucky to even have the opportunity to decide whether or not I want to go to the gym/cook dinner after a long day at work/have a long day at work — I mean, whatever it is that I am dreading crossing off my list — at least I have that choice! Who knew the flu could make one so introspective? :) Sending you well wishes!

jenn March 31, 2010 at 11:34 am


There is nothing worst. To me being sick is such a waste of time! A few weeks ago I had food poisoning/the flu and my Mother-in-Law came over to watch my 11 months old. From my bed, I listened to them play all day. A joy for them, a horrible day for me.

Get better soon.

Sharon March 31, 2010 at 11:34 am

When my husband Jaya was recovering from surgery, healing became his ‘work’. That included much more rest and sleep than normal. Now that he’s back to the office, we’ve mandated a much earlier bedtime, because he’s really still healing, and there’s nothing better than rest and sleep for that. I often run around on 6 hours or less of sleep, and it really takes its toll. When I’m knocked out by a flu, I take the opportunity to sleep as much as possible. I figure it’s my body knocking me over the head and making me slow down.

Bethany March 31, 2010 at 11:39 am

I am the worst. I had flu-like symptoms back in January due to a crazy medication level. It only lasted half a day after they gave a boat-load of drugs, not knowing what it was. I was to the point where I wanted scream, “KNOCK ME OUT. NOW.”

You are definitely in my thoughts. Hope it passes soon. Anyone who can take that crap for that long and still be able to get the mail is a Wonder Woman! I could barely change shirts to go to the hospital!

Lisa March 31, 2010 at 11:43 am

Whenever my body doesn’t let me do what I want/need it to, I tell myself it’s God’s (or fate’s) way of telling me to slow down and take care of myself. It’s also God’s way of showing you who loves you (e.g. your sweet husband!), which is a nice little gift.

While I’m not always successful, I TRY to remind myself that there’s simply always going to be times where no matter what, I can’t change my predicament, and that’s perfectly normal. It’s the hardest thing in the world to let go, but if I tell myself out loud (so I can hear it) that not being in control right now is actually a good thing and this “mind vacation” will make myself sharper/better/faster/stronger LATER, I actually absorb the words a little more. Still hard to do since you basically have to forgive yourself for not being YOU right now…

Emily Horak March 31, 2010 at 1:29 pm

I can so relate. I am all kind, loving, zen about it for the first, maybe, two days. Then it’s like some other voice of mine says , “Ok, sicky. That’s enough. You’re passing your allotment for loving yourself through sickness. Now either get better or get cranky because you’ve used your love up.”

That being said, does it help to be reminded that you have permission to rest, heal, and recover? You have an incredible support system who LOVE you and are perfectly able and willing to help. You WILL get better, and once you are better this 6 day time period may very well seem like a blip in your life’s timeline. Time keeps on moving. Your body keeps on healing, and you are one moment closer to getting back to putting your mail away and organizing the heck out your great life.

Thinking of you!

Melinda March 31, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I must say I’m really, really bummed that I can’t leave my life and enter yours to cook you lots of yummy things and put away your mail (and laundry and cereal boxes and magazines) for you. I wish I was closer and could be there in a moment. I know I can’t make it better but know that I wish I could.

Keepin’ it all about me and my wishes ;>

Your Sis

Melissa @ Monday Morning Knits March 31, 2010 at 4:11 pm

No knitting…now that is just torturous! I’m being completely serious, btw.

I think the lesson is that sometimes we push ourselves so hard, that nature and God work together to force us to completely drop everything and allow others a chance, for once, to take care of us. I have to remember that when I’m sick, it’s my little one’s chance to “play doctor” and help Mommy get better. He feels so proud when he can help me and it builds up his self-worth, his sense of being part of our team and his desire to help others.

Carrie March 31, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Hi Meredith – I really hope you start to feel better soon. I wanted to thank you for your kind words in response to our wedding issue earlier today – it moved me to tears. It’s been a rough couple of weeks and what you said is definitely what I needed to hear. With the support we’re getting from our families I know we’re making the right decision having a smaller wedding. So just know that you made my day – THANK YOU!

Melanie March 31, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Oh, I am sorry that you are sick. Good better soon.

Jesse March 31, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I hope you feel better soon. Then you can catch up.

Donna April 1, 2010 at 12:21 pm

So sorry you have the flu. Nothing will knock the stuffing out of you like the flu. Sometimes resting and letting yourself heal trumps all the chores and things we often feel we must do! And I think it perfectly normal to be a bit cranky when your ill. I often struggle mentally when I feel rotten physically. I have been living with fibromyalgia since 1991. I live with pain, chronic fatigue and often times depression. I have maintained my optimistic attitude because to give up is not an option. Regular walks, yoga, and journal writing help me feel better and I never would have explored my artisitic side if I had been able to continue practicing dental hygiene. A career path that really was not meant for me. So chin up, lay down and let your body heal itself.
Peace, Donna

Amanda @ Serenity Now April 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm

You poor thing. :( I usually get all worked up and worried about who will take care of my kids. My mom or MIL usually end up coming over and taking the girls, but not without making me feel like a real dork for not being able to handle it all. :s

gamma April 2, 2010 at 8:04 am

I hope you are getting better. Sickness is miserable.

A friend told me last week that sometimes she puts her anger in a metaphorical box and puts it away until she can deal with it. Perhaps if you put those tasks you want to do in a metaphorical box and stow it, you can let it go for a while. I know you would come up with a wonderful box to put it in…

carlee April 2, 2010 at 8:19 am

I’m the same way as you, I like to go go go and hate when I’m stuck in bed. I hope you feel better soon and have a wonderful weekend!

lou April 2, 2010 at 8:58 am

hey, i hope you feel better by now. you don’t have to feel bad about it. really. it’s not the end of the world not getting anything done for 6 days. it sucks big time but you have to slow down until it’s over. i was sick for 4 weeks end of last year and it started right before christmas. NOW it’s easter and i’m sick again. guess my body wants to remind me not to work through the holidays and slow down a bit. hope it’s just a warning!!
sending you virtual chicken soup just in case you still need it.

Meredith Meredith April 2, 2010 at 9:10 am

Thank you so much for so many well wishes!

I found out that what I had may have started as the flu, but it morphed into a terrible bacterial infection, which is why I wasn’t getting better. Luckily, I listened to my instincts and got in to see my doc, who did some testing and then got me onto an antibiotic. He says I should feel much better by tomorrow (Saturday).

This has taught me a lot about what really matters. (Turns out, it’s not my house being perfectly clean. Who knew?)

It’s also taught me that my family and friends really do want to care for me, if only I’ll let them. And, finally, I think I’ve learned a new level of compassion for people when they get sick. This has been truly, truly humbling.

Alicia April 3, 2010 at 2:45 am

Throughout my entire life, I’ve always been the one to get whatever germ or sickness was going around at the time so I can feel your pain. Those little germ y buggers always found a way under my skin (literally)…With this said…you just have to find things to do that require as little physical effort as possible. Those movies or TV episodes you’ve been putting off watching because you don’t have the time…nows the time…That book thats been sitting on the table collecting dust…time to read it…put on some music (I love Mozart) and meditate. Sometimes, its the little things we don’t usually have time to pursue that are the most beneficial to our souls. And have a cup of tea…(Lipton Blueberry & Pomegranate is my favorite lately)…I always say, “With a sip of tea, all is right with the world”. :0)

Jessica at Lavender and Lilies April 3, 2010 at 5:05 am

I am really bad at just laying there when I am sick. I will usually still get up walk around and try to do things. Luckily I haven’t been that sick in a while. I hope you feel better!

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