I suppose it was bound to happen. After nearly three years of Covid restrictions, I slipped up and “got bit.” Being a firm believer in the stringent application of science to be able to live a comfortable life, I have been vaccinated and boosted – my parents had clear memories of the horrors of “infantile paralysis” (polio) and I saw my mother struggle with the return of chicken pox in the form of a nasty, painful case of shingles, so I wasn’t mucking around with that sort of nonsense – and my symptoms are mild. The timing is a little “throw up my hands, really right now?” but I’m quite snug in my “plague hole,” and that’s worth a self care post, which honestly, is likely to close out this year, for a variety of reasons that I’ll get into further in the posting.
I had spent the last week helping with my father’s 90th birthday celebration, which was simply marvelous! My dad is an amazing man and this has been a hard, hard year as we said good-bye to Mom in April. My parents married in 1960, so navigating this new world where my mother is not a part of holiday celebrations and everyday life is beyond strange for all of us, but most of all for Dad. It was nothing short of a privilege to be there to help out this past week. When I felt a little run-down, I attributed it to it also being exam week at my day job, which is always stressful as students have finals, and I deal with grades, last-minute advising, end-of-year reports, student complaints, and all sorts of other Grinchy sorts of things. But nope – upon hearing that someone I had been in close contact with on Dad’s birthday had tested positive, I dug out a home test kit and — yep. That dreaded double pink line. My last few appointments and errands before the holidays were canceled and the doctor was called.
Divas, there are lessons in this. Not so much in how to avoid illness – you know what to do there, and you also know that there is only so much you can do. Bugs – from simple colds and stomach viruses – influenza, Covid, and various strains of strep are all over the place. No, this post is about self-care once you have become sick. It will happen – and I hope it’s mild – but it will happen at some point.
Throughout my marriage to the kind Tall One who invariably makes me feel beautiful, witty, safe, and “quite a catch,” we have never slept apart in anger. And it feels very strange indeed to say “goodnight” and close doors on opposite sides of the hall. But he’s Covid-free and we’re going to try hard to keep it that way. Since we don’t have the guest room set up yet, I’m restricted to my studio, which I spent a lot of time setting up to suit myself à la Virginia Woolf’s advice regarding “a room of one’s own.” The Tall One rigged up a table and television linked to our streaming services to keep me entertained, I added blankets and pillows to the chaise longue, and I brought in some additional comforts, like a pitcher of iced water with lemon, perfume, and the fresh-from-the-mailbox Cunard catalogs to daydream about a transatlantic crossing in one of the amazing suites on the Queen Mary 2. (The actual trip may be totally out of reach, but the catalogs are free!)
Equipped with cold medicine and tissue to fight my (still mild) symptoms, I have a stack of Christmas cards to open, the promise of holiday cookies being dropped off on the front porch, and some new books and magazines to browse. I put together a “puny Diva” shopping list for the Tall One to make a quick grocery run and then I “took to my bed,” with a stack of masks for when I venture into the rest of the house. Won ton soup from my favorite Chinese restaurant is in the fridge for later and there’s plenty of my favorite flavored seltzer to make sure I keep getting water into my system. My tiny white-marabou-with-pink-lights Christmas tree lights up the velvet night and cozy slippers keep me from slipping on the bathroom tile when I venture out for a shower. Clean, comfortable pajamas and robe make me feel snug as the proverbial insect in a carpet.
My point is this – you practice self-care so it’s second nature when you really need some “sick care.” Rest and recover in comfort and the best way to do that is to have your comforts already lined up, as you have done to enjoy the occasional home spa day and 12-hour vacation.
And now, please excuse me. I need to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Spread joy, Divas! Not sickness – stay home.
Oh yes – this may well be my last post of 2022. One of the many, many reasons I’m taking quarantine seriously is that, just after Christmas, I am scheduled to chaperone a university trip to Belize – a country I’ve never seen before. I hope to come back with tales of toucans, snorkeling, and exploring the Mayan ruins of Tikal, just over the border in Guatemala.