Being sick, alone

Andrew Wyeth “Master Bedroom”

Is not for sissies

If you are getting tired of reading The Dengue Diaries, imagine how I feel living it. This painting captures, for me, the peace and yes, somewhat desultory nature of being sick alone.  Perhaps the dog is enjoying a cozy nap, but there is a moment of utter solitude in this picture which speaks to me right now.

Being sick alone requires great soul reserves and mental courage.  Besides being painful, dengue is a soul sucking illness.   I live lost to time, having no commitments, meetings, dinners, coffees, parties, concerts, errands.  The doorbell doesn’t ring.  The phone doesn’t ring.  The bills keep coming, though.

It occurs to me that I live like Lola and Panza, my dachsie and rescue cat.  My time is kept only by the sun and the moon.  I wake up whenever I do.  I read in bed.  A hot shower eases away the aches.  I saunter into the kitchen and make a pot of tea.  I sit on the couch and meditate.  I watch crochet tutorials on youtube.   I read.  I listen to an audio book.  I nap like a Hobbit eats:  first morning nap, second morning nap, elevensies.  After lunch nap, nap after tea, nap before dinner.

I live attuned to ambient noise — a plaintive train whistle, brakes screeching, horns honking, the hum of the flour mill nearby, the songs of the morning birds as opposed to the evening birds, the sudden patter of rain as it sweeps in unnanounced.  The cat looks up from her chair on the verandah just as I do too.    I adore ambient noise; it is the juice of life being lived around me.

There is a window in each day when I have the energy to accomplish something.  Yesterday, I made the New York Times recipe for pie crust and froze four discs in the freezer to lighten my load for Thanksgiving, when yes, I do plan to cook.  I’m an optimist.

Being sick alone requires a fierceness of the heart.  It requires a strength that some of us have, and some of us don’t.  You who have partners are blessed; someone will bring you a cup of tea, prepare a nice dinner, drive you to the doctor.

On the other hand, my friend LG told me that, “living alone is like being a rich person” in that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want.  That’s true. There are no compromises.   You can get up and breakfast at 3:30 a.m. if you like.  You can read a book all day.  Your grocery cart reflects your passions and tastes.

I was married long enough to learn not to glamorize other people’s lives. Everyone has their own, unimaginable, horrible problems.  I am sharing with you my reality — that it’s a challenging but rich life I’m living, with thoughts, meditation, writing,  television, reading, knitting, audio books, movies, radio.

The world has to come to me right now.  But soon, I will be back out there.

Carry on my brave readers!  Share your stories and lives with me!

xo Liza

P.S.  I’m feeling better by inches!  My brain has gotten sharper.  The despair is lifting!

P.P.S.  For those of you who don’t know — Dengue can take anywhere from 3-18 months to dissipate. So, be grateful if you don’t have it, and stop asking “Are you still sick?” to your friends who do.

Hello my lovelies!  I’ve watched October turn into November…and sliding in Thanksgiving soon.  How the hell are you?  Have you ever been sick alone?   Tell us your stories, share your thoughts, in the comments box below.  

5 thoughts on “Being sick, alone

  1. I,too, love the ambient noise of wherever I am. I would sorely miss my hearing if it were to fail me. The birds (and, yes, the morning birds sing differently from the ones at dusk), the ocean, the children and their mothers who pass my door on their way to school, even the sounds of construction in my neighborhood are an enriching part of my life, another thing to be thankful for.
    And, by the way, Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

  2. I wish I could pop by with some soup and company. It must feel like you’ve been forced to hit the “pause” button for a while, but your words sound a little stronger today. Sending love from NJ.

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