Illness has an uncanny way to shift paradigm and appreciate the little things we take for granted. Such little things. Like, being able to sit up without feeling nauseous.
These past couple of days with stomach flu, or food poisoning, whatever, leave me grateful...
... constantly reminded that everything occurs in perfect timing. Like, the Lemon-Ginger-Echinacea Juice that’s been unopened for months now finally came to its truest, fullest purpose; the leftover matzo from last year finally came into its own for food plain and easy on the stomach, and was thankfully consumed.
This is how the stomach flu progressed by levels of gratitude, my inner mantras.
During the night, I was held at bay. I succumbed to laying on my back, hands over my abdomen, just remembering to breathe. I surrendered to the pain, the aching in my body, tracking it with my mind. Oh, it’s here now. I feel it in my thighs, my legs, my low back. My joints.
What does it look like? Like a hastily-drawn orange-red haze, scribbled with a fat pastel over my legs, my arms, my stomach. Yet my feet, neck and shoulders were cold, so cold. The cold hurt, but I couldn’t move, because moving hurt.
If I slept, I didn’t know it. I was in the in-between state of staying aware to my body, the aching, the cold, the heat, and the ugly pulsing in my abdomen that wouldn’t cease. I was on the brink of nausea and all I could do was breathe and feel it. Feel the waves of intensity, see it in colors, note the sensations as they took over my body. Surrender. Just feel it and let it move through.
According to the clock, hours went by. My husband called me from hundreds of miles away, his voice cracking in pain. In that instant I knew everything, and it confirmed my own condition. When we hung up, I said to myself, I have to get up to get water. I need water. Several minutes passed. Angels, I need strength to go get water. I still couldn’t move.
Hours went by. Somehow I'd slept. Without thinking I stood up. Wow, I can get up. I am so thankful that I can get up and move.
I am so thankful to be able to drink water. I could drink water, and it was the best thing ever!
More hours went by. The nausea was much subsided in my stomach, now cramping moved down my intestines. But this meant I could try eating.
I went to the kitchen. I need whole food, something easy to digest, I need sugars. The clementines that have been sitting uneaten didn’t have enough time to glimmer in almighty light – I ate a clementine, and it was the best thing ever.
I slept, more hours went by, and my husband staggered in the door. I ate another clementine. I felt less pain in my joints, less aching. Every time I woke up, I felt slightly better. I am grateful to feel less pain here. Little by little, hour by hour, I followed the sensations, literally in my gut.
After more time, I ate honey. Then Matzo. Every half hour, I could nibble a bit more, and it was the best thing ever. I have never looked so forward to eating a banana.
White rice! Saltines! Huzzah!! Thank you, thank you, for this food, for this ability to eat this food, to feel this food nourish and heal my body.
Oh, illness, thank you for making me grateful for the little things.