So I have this problem….(you know, I really wish I could go back through and easily determine how many blog posts I’ve written in the last year which begin with that phrase).
Inevitably, every year, no matter what else is going on in my life, no matter how well I’m handling things, no matter how tranquil I seem on the outside, I get sick during finals time. If it’s a particularly stressful midterms time, I get sick then too.
I think the worst part is there is actually nothing I can do about this. I am a healthy individual. I work out regularly, my diet is bountiful with vegetables and lean proteins, I limit my carb and sugar intake, and I keep a good balance of work and fun in my life (it helps that I consider “going to the library” a “fun” activity). I’m convinced that I could be the Buddha and still have this problem. Even reaching a state of complete and utter spiritual nirvana would not save me from the finals crud.
Oh and even better than that; it’s not just normal sick. Oh no. That is FAR too maudlin for
this diva body apparently. Every year I churn out a new and improved illness that is a perplexing case study for the medical profession at large. I don’t just get a cold, I get the untreatable cold from hell that doesn’t respond to any medication (even symptom-relieving stuff that SHOULD WORK DAMMIT!). I don’t just get a flu, I get the undiagnosable flu that Persephone got upon her first visit to the underworld and that’s why she had to eat the pomegranate because there was nothing else she could eat at the time and this flu has never since been heard from in myth or reality but oh man will it make some Medical Resident’s year that they have discovered another case of it!
Previous finals-time illnesses have included (but are not limited to): shingles (yes, people do get shingles… apparently the chicken pox virus attaches itself to your brain stem and outbreaks of shingles can be triggered by any number of things including stress), mono (yes, you can give yourself mono… all the bed-ridden splendor and none the fun-yet-apparently-not-required extracurricular activities that are supposed to precede it), and an undiagnosable eye problem which resulted in my vision fluctuating so wildly that I thought I was losing it and twelve (count them, TWELVE) trips to the eye doctor before they were able to figure out what the heck was going on.
So it just figures that, since I’m in the home stretch of finals, since my birthday is on Sunday and I have a full weekend of celebrating planned (including a requisite booze-a-thon which I will hopefully be able to participate in as my meds will have worn off by then), since I was handling things so well before some cosmic force decided to inexplicably add another thing on top of my teetering pile of stuff I’m juggling, I’m on day seven of the apparently untreatable illness from hell.
I’ve been two rounds of meds already for this (one the preliminary over-the-counter, the second prescription) and had my second doctor’s visit this morning (from which I emerged clutching a veritable atomic bomb of medication in hopes that this will clear things up). I have missed a week at the gym, four pre-planned social activities, one day of classes, and countless hours of productive time at my computer spent otherwise curled up in a miserable ball on my couch.
There are few things more infuriating (and more devastating) than betrayal. And the worst kind of betrayal is betrayal from the inside. It’s not even like I can keelhaul my mutinous body for breaking down over something that my clearly superior mind had well in hand.
I’m working through the misery as best I can. Really my body needs to recognize that slowing me down is doing it no favors as that simply makes me MORE rather than LESS stressed out.
I promise, body, there is a rest in your future…. Just not until after the holidays. Stay with me for at least two more weeks, then at least you can collapse in a pile of mush for a few days before we sweep off to fulfill family obligations and spend the break making conference papers readable and getting a jump on the comps list and searching for publication venues and fellowship hunting…
….at least we can do most of that in our pajamas. Pajamas, like muppets, make everything a little more tolerable.