Being sick means one thing to me:
I can’t work, I can’t sleep, I can’t run, I can’t surf, I can’t clean the house or walk the dogs.
Basically, I can’t function.
So what I typically do — and my close friends with attest to this — is nothing. I pretend I’m not sick or I tough out whatever symptoms I have. My tolerance for pain is pretty high, and even a migraine won’t always keep me locked up at home.
But there comes a time when your body knows better, when whatever you’re fighting (or ignoring, in my case) is louder, stronger and more ambitious than you originally thought — or than you are.
And then you go down. Hard.
That’s what happened to me last week.
Back in January I had self-diagnosed, then got treated, for what turned out to be an aggressive infection that was resistant to whatever antibiotics I had been given. I didn’t rest, I kept plugging away, getting sidelined every once and awhile from severe pain and bouts of nausea until it came to a head.
I was lying on the floor in the hallway, in fetal position, after vomiting for the third time, suffering from symptoms of a urinary tract infection — and if you had one, you know what kind of pain I’m talking about — and hoping death would be quick.
That’s when I decided to call my doctor. (OK, that’s when my mom convinced me to call my doctor.)
I was immediately admitted to Straub Clinic & Hospital in Honolulu with a kidney infection. I was severely dehydrated, nauseous and in pain. And, to be honest, I had suffered from infections for three months — and hadn’t done much about it. It was time to finally kick this.
It got me thinking about being sick.
It takes something catastrophic for me to actually succumb to a sickness. I have to be bleeding or missing a limb or writhing in pain for hours before I seek professional help.
But to be honest, sometimes it’s the best thing for me.
We all need to check in with ourselves, take account of our health, and sloooooow dooooown.
See, “slow down” isn’t in my vocabulary. And sometimes it takes a hospital stay for a few days to get me to take stock of what’s important.
In a hospital I can’t run around, I can’t work, I can’t walk the dogs. I’m stuck on a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV and unable to leave. And even though I brought my laptop — and there’s free WiFi in Straub rooms! — I was too tired, too nauseous or too much in pain to check my email or get any work done.
The only thing I could do, really, was lie down and watch “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” (Not complaining.)
It’s been humbling — and, to be honest, weird — to NOT be able to do anything, to sit back and have people hand me trays of food or ask how I’m doing. I could just sit here, read a book, watch movies and sleep — simple pleasures I rarely have.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like being sick. But sometimes being sick is the only time I actually take care of myself.
Maybe I shouldn’t wait so long next time.
Thanks to everyone who sent well wishes, delivered goodies, prayed for and messaged me. I was blown away by the love and support! And thanks to the awesome staff at Straub Clinic & Hospital including Dr. Soon, Dr. Ono, Dr. Pien, Maeann, David, Allen, Dominic, Lauren, Holly, Robert, Jordan, Cheryl, Jae Hee, Liza, Rochelle, Joe, Fred, Ashley, Michele, Ruthie, Esme and anyone else I’ve missed. (Sorry. Blame the meds.) And special thanks to Dr. Herbert Chinn for practically saving my life — again.