Caught a Bug. Let People Down.
Dear Nicholas, Doc thinks I have the flu. So I’ve cancelled commitments for the next few days, which is to say I’ve let people down, six of them to be precise.
That’s what has bothered me about this, messing with their plans, breaking my commitments, even though I have been massively assured by each one I’ve talked with that it’s not a problem. With their assistance, I’ve put aside my worry and obsessing and am simply lying home sick.
But I’ve Let People Down
The fact that letting people down has bothered me to a mildly unhealthy degree means the larger problem is OCD and not FLU.
I’ve thought before that I treat my life as a ritual that must be performed correctly. It’s not very relaxing. I’m rethinking this once again.
My physician, Jim Parsons, told me to consider myself contagious for 48 hours after the fever is gone.
So it’s good I didn’t drive to Wilmington today as planned to look after my 95 year-old mom. Having a “note from my doctor” makes bailing on this more tolerable to me. She’s not in shape to deal with the flu, which she freely pointed out to me.
But my usual mantra is, of course: Just Keep Going. And that’s useful in many situations. Not in this one.
Lying here, I find myself rolling my eyes toward the ceiling in a manner that reminds me of classic paintings of martyrs. I don’t actually feel all that bad.
I’m keeping myself entertained reading an excellent novel, The Condition, by Jennifer Haigh. I’m a little afraid to touch my own novel-in-progress in my current state, or maybe that’s an excuse.
I’ve always had really good physical health. Last week, I got my lab results from my annual physical and every single number on the report was excellent. In my adult life, I’ve had one mild case of pneumonia and a couple of tiny skin cancers, the only ailments that have merited an actual name, and a few “bugs,” sports injuries, and colds. That’s all.
So what’s looking like several days being laid up is pretty exotic. I think I’ve now dispensed with enough of the guilt involved that I can enjoy it. It’s going to take a lot of personal growth before I cope well with any serious ailment.
My still-feisty and quick-witted mother said long ago that if she ever got a terrible diagnosis, she’d do no unpleasant treatment. Instead, after more than 50 years of not-smoking, she’d get herself “a cigarette and a Wendy’s Frosty and go be-bopping down the street.”
As it happens, the only food I’m allergic to is Wendy’s Frostys (and some powdered cocoa) and would prefer that Mom do whatever necessary to stay alive, but I do like that jazzy attitude. It feels free and celebratory rather than hampered by worries of letting people down.
Tags: after the fever is gone, bebop, breaking my commitments, commitment, contagious, flu, guilt, Jennifer Haigh, Jim Parsons, Just keep going, laid up, note from my doctor, ocd, Personal Growth, ritual must be performed correctly, The Condition, Wendy's Frosty, worry and obsessing