The stiffness in my back and over-all body ache isn't fun. I've been on this decrepit bed trip way too long this week. I'm developing this weird kind of ceiling-stare that's quite mesmerizing. I'm counting how many rotations the ceiling fan makes in thirty seconds. There's also a one-second delay of sound broadcast between the television downstairs and the one in my room upstairs.. Both TV's are on AntennaTV® (yeah, we got rid of cable) and are tuned into "The Patty Duke Show". Both TV's are out of audio/video sync with each other and they do this funky echo throughout the house as if Patty and Cousin Cathy are on an excursion inside the Luray Caverns....with ceiling fans.
Jeff says when I'm delirious with fever-speak, I converse with my mother and Annie. I also have an incoherent dialogue with a supposed hospital nurse. I carry a complete conversation with someone else for an hour but I have no clue who it is. I ask the nurse for a styrofoam cup with ice chips. "That's what my mother always asks for," I say out loud.
Jeff graciously sits next to the bed in a rocking chair. I don't know how, but he contains his rolling laughter like a champ. Finally my fever breaks a little and I'm back to normal, whatever that is. And thus begins the recap of the night.
This amusement park of up and down common flu vs. stomach flu symptoms, with Patty Duke and the ceiling fan, has been the norm for me since last Saturday. Let's just list them all, for giggles and guffaws. A dot signifies the ones visiting me this week. The ones without the dot, thank you Jesus, decide to take their visitation elsewhere.
1. Fever •
2. Muscle pain •
3. Fatigue •
4. Cough •
5. Breathing difficulty
7. Loss of Appetite •
8. Headache •
9. Nasal Congestion
10. Ear pain •
11. Cramps •
12. Stomach pain •
13. Nausea •
14. Vomiting •
15. Diarrhea •
"Did you get a flu shot, Sue?" I've been asked this about fifty times.
No, for some reason, I decided to take on the new and improved pneumonia shot this year instead.
"Well, no wonder," my friend says. "This strand is awful. Schools are shutting down. Influenza cases like this always happen when there's not enough of frigid cold to kill it all off." So I've heard.
My grandmother used to say that all the time. Cold winter kills the flu. Warm winters make everybody sick. So instead we're gifted with a few nice days of 70º and I daringly frolic through the park mid-flu-week and walk about fifty feet, then collapse on the bench. I call Jeff to come pick me up in the car. And just when I think I feel better and attempt to do some normal stuff, I inevitably end up plopping down on the bed, counting the rotations of the ceiling fan again. This time I count in Spanish. "Uno, dos, trés..."
One of the things I preach the most is: "God often uses life's stops... to keep us going." I know my schedule is crazy; I know I push my body sometimes to the limit. But I'm also amazed how God allows the stoppages to refuel me for future and profitable use down the road.
Psalm 119:133 says, "Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me." And then there's this from Proverbs 16:9 - "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps."
Two weeks off to enjoy being home; to reacquaint myself with cleaning, cooking, resting and preparing. But instead I become best friends with Patty Duke "Lane" and her cousin Cathy. One luxury of being still (besides indulging in retro television) is having time to pray. Praying urgently and intentionally for friends who are reaching out to me right now is an extraordinary gift. No distractions. No control over what I can or can't do - just sincere, focused prayer - for others, on my iPad and computer. This has been the best Rx I could ask for.
For those who know me and follow my words, you know. Praying for others will bring healing to your own soul and your own body. I've seen it time and time again.
So I laugh to myself when I think that maybe time off or "time-out" like this would be great to freshen up on my conversational Español. A great idea to help kill the time as I get over this flu. And as soon as I think that, I hear Patty Lane, say to cousin Cathy, "You speak Latin? The only latin I know is Paul Anka!"
Bless you, my twin-cousin-friend, if you too have had a tough go of it this winter. Remember: "Let no iniquity have dominion over you." And count your blessings while your ceiling fan rotates. You're one step closer to getting better.
Let's sing together:
"They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike -
You can lose your mind..."
But we won't! :)
(also featured on sueduffield.com)