Friday, November 04, 2011

Coming Out Of The Haze

I take some pride in the fact that I rarely call in sick to my employer. Many years I have perfect attendance. However, almost every time I say, “I can’t remember the last time I called in sick”, I get sick. A little over a week ago I had that moment of awareness when I knew it was coming. You know what I am talking about. It's that moment when you know you are getting sick. I went to work last Friday because it was a going to be a short day for me. It was a short day for me because I had to spent two hours in my dentist’s chair having a tooth drilled and a cavity filled. I spent all day on Saturday with my family on a planned trip to visit my youngest son at the seminary where he attends school. My granddaughter came home with me and spent the night. On Sunday she kept me very busy while her Dad painted my outdoor shed. In other words I got no rest at all last weekend. By Monday morning I was shot and had to take a sick day. The next day I was no better so I stayed home again. When I did return to work on Wednesday I was little improved and did not function at full capacity. Full capacity for me means functioning at 100% of my normal 85% ability. While I was home I slept most of the time and now I probably need to enter a rehab facility for a Nyquil addiction. I’m not sure that Nyquil does anything for a cold but it works wonders on insomnia. After I returned to work I did take advantage of my employer's generosity and I got a free flu shot to avoid other potential illnesses. Winter is coming in my part of the world. Take care of yourselves.

As a married man I spend much of my time waiting for my wife. I have spent many happy hours waiting in my car or sitting on a bench at the Mall while she worked on her never ending list of things to do. While I am waiting for her I usually spend my time watching other people. Last evening I was sitting in my car outside of Kroger. I saw an elderly man and a middle aged woman, who I assumed was the man’s daughter, pushing a grocery cart together. It was obvious the man needed assistance and the woman had the look of a caring daughter. Whenever I see an elderly person I have a number of thoughts. One thought is that in another 10-20 years I will be that elderly man. Since I don’t have a daughter, maybe my granddaughter will be helping me to push my grocery car. Another thought I have is wondering what kind of life the elderly person has had. Although they may look helpless and needy they may have been a powerful person in their younger years. Maybe they were the CEO of a company or a leader in their church or community. Maybe they weren't a powerful person and their whole life has been a struggle. Maybe they are just one of the countless millions of ordinary people to trying to survive in a hostile world. Although they may look compliant now, maybe they were a rebellious social activist, reformer, or someone who always fought against injustice. If we are lucky we will all grow old. When people see us they may wonder about what kind of lives we had when we were young. When I am 90 will people remember that I was once one heck of a rock and roller? Will people find this blog and wonder about the author long after I have stopped writing? Will all the people who have known me remember me in positive ways? When they think of me, assuming they do, how will they describe me? Have I made a difference or am I just one more ordinary person who struggles to survive in a hostile world?

I can’t say that I am unhappy that it’s the end of the work week. Last weekend I began getting sick and then I missed two days of work. The days I worked were very busy. Now my wife is sick and she blames me. Although she essentially has the same illness as me her experience will be totally different from mine. I took Nyquil and slept a lot. With her we had to go to the Walgreen’s clinic for an exam and prescription. This weekend our home will take on the feel of an ICU. The good news is that it will be a very low key weekend. My granddaughter will not be visiting or staying the night. There’s nothing that must be done and nowhere to go. It’s the kind of weekend we both need. There is a good side to routine illnesses. They kind of bring life to a halt if only for a few days. Most of us spend much of our life running from one task to another. There’s never enough time to do everything we think we should be doing. Sooner or later our bodies will take control by breaking down a little and forcing us to rest.

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