Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Friday, January 08, 2010

Healthy Thoughts on Sickness: Autobiography of My Cold

My first test to take life easier came very early this year (see new year's eve post for more details). On Saturday, January 2nd, I felt a wee tickle in my sinuses and throat and could see that I was perhaps on the verge of catching one of the many colds that fly about this time of year, seeking out warm, moist caverens in which to set up their lodges. Sure enough, by the time I awoke on the Sunday, the prickle of the germs, of which Lucretius wrote of in his poem "De Rerum Natura", were staking out my sinuses allowing damns of congestion to pool and solidify, surrendering briefly in large globules against the stream of my neti pot, but replenishing with an even greater rapidity. With the congestion came fatigue as my vocal chords became damped as if a piano string with said pedal stuck on it's chord. Looming that night was Monday morning and a return to work where I am entrusted with the learning of 18 special needs students, who mean the world to me.

So, like a trooper, I ventured to work on Monday morning and was glad for having done so. The holidays are often a difficult time for the students in the demographics that mine dwell - poverty, abuse, alcoholism, drug use, gangs, violence. Our classroom is more like a family in many ways as I teach them pretty much the entire day and will have most of them for the whole three years of their junior high education. Thus, my spirits were lightened a bit by seeing them and it was wonderful to gain that sense of breaking from the Holiday's grip and return to a life as it is most of the time.

I knew by the days end that I would not be able to come to work Tuesday as I was feeling terrible, and told my students this. Enter my New Years promise to take it easier. Under the same circumstances in the past, I would have waited until the very last minute to decide to take the sick day or not, like an inmate hoping for a stay of execution, praying that a good night's sleep would cure all ills and set me free. This time, I decided that day and leisurely put together my sub plans for Tuesday, with hopes of returning to work on Wednesday. But things did not worked out as I had hoped. I was hardly any better on Wednesday, and Thursday was also nasty. I ended up taking those days off sick as well. By Thursday evening I was resolved, come hell or high water, that I would make it in for Friday (today). After all, the congestion has eased itself considerably, though my chest was feeling like the cold bugs had taking up ice climbing along my bronchials with their sharp crampons and ice axes, resulting from round after round of coughing spasms. From 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. I was hacking off my head and then resolved that I would take Friday as well. This was the true test of my resolution as, based on my past, I would have forced myself to go to work regardless as I would have been infiltrated and guilted by a sense of obligation, as if I were letting my students and school colleagues down, and for my general sanity.

The acceptance of my situation is largely what contributed to my decision process throughout this nasty cold. I spent much of my waking time in bed, focusing on meditation. Just as my spiritual views are a jumble of Buddhism, Taoism, Wicca and Hinduism, so too are my my methods of meditation. Part one focused on simply relaxing my body - trying to achieve a deep even breath and to let go of the stress that I was feeling both mentaly and physically.

Next, I repeated over and over in my head statements that the Buddha had made about life; how we are of the nature to be born, grow old, be sick and die. The focus was on the nature of getting sick, accepting that it is okay and part of life and taking heart that it will pass. The rest of the man's nature served as a reminder that there is nothing to fear in life and to make the most of each moment. Ergo, making the most of being sick and realising that the school would not fall apart, no matter how poorly things worked out with my substitute.

The third part, perhaps more Wicca in it's foundations, was through breathing and really trying to feel the sense of the universe around me - allowing and visualising healing energies coming into my body while releasing the cold virus that had made it's dwelling within. I admit that I had some interesting visions come into my head during this. While being largely skeptic, and understanding that the mind is a fickle thing, particularly when under the influence of an illness and cold medication, there was quite a profundity in it.

The last part involved a bit of humming and chanting "Om" (which I couldn't do due to the impact on my vocal chords). While this might sound cheesy, Science is holding some creedence in such practices, liking them to a cat purring and general attributes of vibration in healing.

In the end, I do not believe that any of this assisted me in getting better quicker, other than it helped me maintain a positive psychological state and gave myself the OK to stay home in bed for four days. For me, this psychological breakthrough is definitely something as I am usually at the bottom of my despair when under the weather, especially for such a prolonged duration. Further to all of this, I did do some very light restorative Yoga and also had a few sessions on my Shakti Mat (it's like a bed of nails - wonderful for releasing stress and endorphins - I got mine from a company in Sweden: ). In any case, I am getting better and am trying to take the positives grasped by what really is a minor ailment in the great scheme of things. All things are relative in the end.

Be well.



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