Sunday, December 28, 2014

Comfort, Illness, and transparency

In my earliest memories of being sick as a child- my mom was always present, and ever providing comfort.   She held my hair while I hugged a trash can, brought a cool towel for my face and forehead, and poured a tiny glass full of ice and cola for me to take tiny sips from.  Her care was equally diligent for a bad cold, or a an injured limb- she was present and she was helpful.

This week I suffered from a terrible bout of food poisoning.  It was most likely the norovirus, which has a quick and violent beginning, and leaves the the body weak and drained.   Re-hydration is tricky because you don't want to do ANYTHING to trigger the retching again.  Mom's advice about tiny sips echoed through my head multiple times.  It was good advice then, and it is good advice now.

Aside from the unfortunate realtor who came by to show the house I am living in (while I was on all fours in the bathroom over a rug thinking I would cough up my liver)- I battled this illness alone.   No husband hiding on the other side of the bathroom kids asking me if I wanted tea.
No Mom to hold my hair, or reassure me I would survive, or laugh at me when I said out loud "At least the Ebola patients get to die after a few days!"
But, she was there in spirit.
For several hours I was praying I could join her in heaven, but it all passed (no pun intended!), and I came out of the ordeal several pounds lighter and had a new appreciation for suffering alone.  In one way it was a relief no one was around.  I was a disaster.  In another way it was be in pain, unafraid, but helpless and kind of seeing myself in a pure form- because no one else was there- I didn't have to be concerned with their reaction to my misery.  
I suppose we have all tried to put up a good front for people we don't want to worry with our pain (unless you are a man- and then nevermind.  I have never met a man who wasn't a complete and total baby when he was sick!)
Anyway, back to mom.   I think she was probably the last person with whom I was totally transparent.   The only person I have ever trusted enough with all of me not to run away shuddering at what was inside.  

I want that again.   Obviously I can't have my mom back, but I do wonder if there is another soul on the planet I can fully trust with my heart, and my guts, and my thoughts.  I hope so.
However, even then...I don't want them too close if I get food poisoning again.  
Some things are simply better left unseen, unheard, and unknown.


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