A few weeks ago, I had one of those wicked stomach bugs that have been goin’ around. Who knows where I got it. Maybe the A&P? Oh, my God! I can’t remember the last time I was so sick! The entire day, I literally could not raise my head off the pillow. I mean, I had to barf into a bowl by the bed, that’s how sick I was. Upchuckin’ on and off from 4:30 in the mornin’ to 11:00 at night! And you know, how when you’re sick and you throw up, you usually feel a little better for a while after? Not with this puppy. No way. Charlie was getting’ concerned, and little Scamp never left my side the whole day.
“It’s nothin’, Charlie,” I mumbled. “Just a 24-hour bug.”
“Right,” he says. “Well, I’m sleepin in the Barcalounger.”
I was so convince it was one of them 24-hour things, I got up the next morning, stripped the bed and washed the sheets (even though I had to keep laying down every few minutes because I thought I was goin’ to be sick). I forced myself to eat something, oatmeal, in this case. Couldn’t finish it. I didn’t feel good enough to go to work, but I sat at the computer for a couple of hours starin’ at the screen, pretendin’ I was doing stuff.
See, that’s the thing. After all these years, I still think that through shear stubbornness and strength of will, I can make myself better. There are times, of course, when being stubborn is a good thing (though Charlie might not agree). Stubbornness has gotten me through many a hard time, helped me tough it out ‘til I was over the hump, stopped me from givin’ up, kept me moving forward.
But in this case, my stubborn belief that I could make myself better by pretendin’ I was better did nothin’ more than land me back in bed with a fever by the end of day two.
“I’ll be in the Barcalouger if you need me.”
After eleven hours sleep, I woke up feelin’ drained, but determined to do what I needed to do to get better. I looked up “how to recover from a stomach bug” on the internet, and stubbornly set about following the instructions.
“Be gentle with yourself,” said one article. Wait a minute! Wasn’t that my Livin’ the Good Life habit for January? One of the things I was goin’ to work on? Apparently, I’m a remedial learner. But thank goodness, life has a way of presentin’ me opportunities to practice, practice, practice! “Don’t force yourself to eat,” another site said. “Your body has been through a traumatic experience. It needs time to rest and recover. When you reintroduce food, start with a bland diet: saltines, plain toast, bananas, broth, rice, potatoes. No caffeine, dairy or fat. Soda with bubbles is also good, and you should replace your electrolytes with Gatorade or something similar.” So, basically, I was doin’ everything wrong the day before.
Well, I followed their instructions to the letter, except for abstainin’ from caffeine, of course. Who are they kiddin’? A caffeine withdrawal headache on top of nausea was too much to bear. So, I ate this way for a day, didn’t force myself to do anything except rest, and guess what? I felt remarkably better. So I stubbornly did it another day, just to make sure.
Along the way, I rediscovered a treat we used to have as kids, when our mom cooked rice for supper (not brown rice, you understand: good ol’ Minute Rice). For dessert, we’d have cold rice with maple syrup poured on top. I’ll be darned! I hadn’t had that in years, but it tasted wicked good!
It’s been a few weeks, now, and I’m still baskin’ in the glow of feelin’ better. Charlie’s moved back into the bedroom and I’m really appreciating how good I usually feel, how much energy I have and how delicious food tastes. I’ve given up the Minute Rice, but not the maple syrup (never the maple syrup). And I’m stubbornly determined to not only use my stubbornness for good, but to be kind to myself when I mess up. Oh, and I’ve tucked away the left over bottles of Gatorade for when I have my colonoscopy this fall. Ain’t life grand?
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
Comin’ up this spring:
April 11: Reading-Auburn Public Library, 6:00pm
April 12: Reading-Cancer Community Center, 6:00pm South Portland, ME
April 16: Reading-Bangor Public Library, 2:00pm
April 16: Reading-Dirigo Pines, 7:15pm, Orono, ME
May 4: The Moose in Me, The Moose in You! to benefit the Friends of the South Berwick Library, 7:30pm, South Berwick, ME
May 9: Author Visit, Forest Hills Elementary, Jackman, ME
May 16: Reading, Walker Memorial Library, 7:00pm, Westbrook, ME
For more information on upcoming appearances, visit my website: idaswebsite.com
If you’d like me to do a reading at your library, organization or what not, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line:
And if your book group wants to read Finding Your Inner Moose, I’d love to be part of the discussion. Especially if food’s involved!