Befuddled by the flu
So, the weekend of 2/28/2020, here in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, was absolutely gorgeous.
Stunning actually, EXCEPT for the fact that my other half was out of town on business and I was home with our adorable Chihuahua, Kirby and - ahem, the worst flu ever!
On that particular weekend, Friday, was a high of 41 degrees but on Saturday, February 29, 2020 we hit 67 degrees and the sun was out most of the day. Sunday, March 1, 2020, it was a little cloudy at times and the high was a delightful 64 degrees.
It was beautiful all weekend. Truly. Even though I had this horrible, horrible, chest-inflamed, merciless flu.
I talked well with myself from the moment I woke up, and even though I had the flu, I really tried to pay attention to what was happening around me, rather than what was going on inside me. Even though I had the flu, I told myself to take this time to slow down, stop, pay attention and try to see things from a different perspective for a change. Even though I had the flu, I did my very best to still seek out my daily dose of joy.
Or, as I like to call it - joyspotting!
Often, when someone is sick, really sick, things get dark. We all have experienced this. We feel awful, demanding, withdrawn and even angry or b-word-itchy. This particular weekend, I was certainly b-word-itchy and yet seemed that something inside me wanted to elevate from that former pathetic needy-patient that I used to be when I was really sick and instead learn how to positively push through it, much better than I have in the past, especially with Jeff, my other half, in Baltimore on business.
Well, who knew that this particular "flu" would teach me some stuff...
Just as I do every morning at 7:00am, I got in my silver Subaru (JollySu) and I drove to my office in Springdale, AR. The drive was a juxtaposition of feeling completely incapable of moving through this day against the beauty and vibrancy of what was passing outside my windshield.
I decided to focus on the show and not the flu.
It was a good idea.
Lesson #1 - The Show Must Go On!
Despite the aches and intense pains in my chest and upper back, I knew I had to go into the office. Work needed to get done and the "theatre guy" in me always knows that the show must go on. I had things that needed my attention and my assistant was also planning to be out of office on this particular day, so I would need to be on alert. Also, it was Friday, and it's also end-of-month. Ughhhh, lots to tend to. . .
Midway to work, passing through Clifty, AR, as the sun came up in such splendor, I had to stop to snap a pic of two, incredible bald eagles. One mature. One juvenile. These magnificent birds are absolutely stunning up close.
This eagle show caught my full attention, so much so, that I stopped my car, got out and spent some time really taking this in. It was utterly spectacular.
Lesson #2 - Nature heals.
I coughed and hacked through my attempts at snapping four or five pictures of them on the side of the road in this tree, but I forced myself to focus on the eagles, not the coughing and hacking or the intense pain in my chest and upper back from all the coughing and hacking.
I must say, it made the pain a bit easier to see this moment happening in this tree. The rest of my seemingly never-ending ride to the office forced me to keep my mind solely on those eagles. What is their day going to be like? What are they scouting for from that tree? Where is their huge eagle nest?
Before I knew it, after a haze of trees, clouds and cows, I was parked at my office parking lot in Springdale and walking into my office. Amazing! The fact that I was not focused on the pain, or discomfort and instead focused on the joy of that eagle moment taught me the power of mind over matter in such a different way.
Thinking about that very moment in Clifty with the eagles helped me to heal myself away from ill-thinking about what was going on inside of me.
A simple change in focus truly does wonders.
Lesson #3 - You're not super human.
It wasn't long after being in the office, and after I was able to accomplish those "must-dos" when I realized that there was no way I was going to make it through the day. I had to go back home and rest. At one point, I actually thought to myself, is this the flu? I've never felt quite like this before.
Yet, I talked myself into staying: "I'll make it, but it will be a bit of a roller coaster. I know I can do it."
Shortly after, my incredible boss, Sarah, sensed something wasn't right with me and said - "JM, you need to go home. Go take care of you. The work will all be here when you come into the office again."
She was absolutely right. I'm not super human. I can't get this all done, especially while I am really, really sick.
I headed home.
On the road just 15 minutes, I was suddenly excited to see the eagles again on my return journey back through Clifty, but they had already left that particular tree and we're liekly soaring high above me as I jolted quickly home. I still focused on them somewhere above me to get me through the ride and, once again, actually helped tremendously.
Lesson #4 - Appreciate and be grateful for those around you.
With Jeff being out of town during this particular week on a business trip, and my boss sending me home to focus on myself and to get well, I am truly grateful to be surrounded by these kinds of humans.
Normally, Jeff is doting on me, tending to my needs and caring to making sure I am comfortable. This time around, I had to go it alone and it brought forward some new perspectives.
Jeff is a truly caring guy. He's an RN by trade. He is always taking care of me in some way, but when I am sick, he's doing this tenfold. It's just his nature.
Without his energy around me during this particular flu, it made me reflect on those times that he was there when I was sick: he cooks, makes soup from scratch, he cleans the bed sheets and towels, he checks my forehead for a fever, he adds an extra blanket if I need it. The list goes on . . .
This experience truly intensified my daily gratitude meditation and it reinforced the power of gratitude.
Lesson #5 - Our Chihuahua Kirby is made of 100% pure love.
Dogs know! I don't know how they know, they just do.
Kirby knew I wasn't myself at all. He cuddled close. Licked my face more than usual and paid close attention. Kirby is the kind of dog that loves receiving an intense (almost obscene) amount of affection, but this experience also showed me how much he loves giving affection, too. Somehow he knows exactly when Jeff needs it or when I need it.
After this experience, Kirby and I grew much, much closer and I am convinced that he is made of 100% pure love.
Lesson #6 - Meditate; You can actually think yourself well again.
After I woke up that particular Saturday morning, I just rested there quietly in bed and started to meditate for a bit like I usually do. Clearing my mind and thinking myself into an amazing day. This particular morning, though, I took it a step further and I decided I was going to harness that power already inside me to visualize myself well again.
For one hour, I meditated/visualized myself being well, feeling well, and acting well in a variety of situations. As a result, I felt much better all morning and I actually started moving about with vigor again, getting the house ready for Jeff to arrive back home from his Baltimore business trip.
Lesson #7 - Be grateful for your better half and those around you.
Of course, after days of texting him during his conference in Baltimore about how sick I was, he knew what was up.
When Jeff got home on Saturday around 1:00pm from his business trip. He dropped his bags and immediately heated up some soup and brought it to me on the sofa. He went into the bedroom, stripped the bed and put the bed sheets and towels into the washing machine. He then checked my forehead to see if I was running a fever. Then, before he went for a ride on his motorcycle (because the weather was utterly amazing) he added an extra blanket on top of me while I took a nap. (with Kirby, of course.)
Another lesson to remind us all to be forever grateful.
Lesson #8 - Just when you think you're well, still take it slow.
Saturday evening, we left the house and went to New Delhi Cafe, Missy's White Rabbit Lounge and Chelsea's Corner Bar - all located here in Eureka Springs, AR.
I absolutely wasn't myself so I was focused on being careful and mindful.
The thing I always have to remind myself often times is, "just because I feel better, doesn't mean I am better." I'm glad I took it slow. I even left Jeff at Chelsea's and I walked home by myself early without him to hit those downy-fresh sheets that he washed for me earlier.
What's wrong with me? Is this really the flu?
Lesson #9 - Listen to your body.
At this point in my life, and with as much regimented eating, weightlifting and cardio that I do on a regular basis, I KNOW my body. I feel like my body and I are having a constant conversation.
This time around, I am so pleased that I listened to it when it was talking to me last night. I needed to leave early from Chelsea's and it really paid off. After 8+ hours of sleep I got up on this particular Sunday morning feeling a little bit more spry and much more ready to go.
The lesson, listen to your body. It tells you things all the time.
Lesson #10 - Blogging makes me feel connected to my life.
I started my Sunday off with Jeff bringing me breakfast in bed. (Seriously, I'm THAT lucky!)
Then after I ate, I groomed up and sat down to blog. Before I knew it, it was lunch and Jeff brought me something prepared by him from the kitchen. #grateful
As usual, breakfast and lunch were delicious. Jeff is a wonderful cook.
At dinner, he then prepared a Keto pizza (my absolute favorite.) This was about the time I noticed, since he's been home, he's waited on me hand and foot.
I NEED TO THANK HIM IN SOME WAY.
So I did. In the kitchen, I thanked him, kissed him, hugged him and I did all of the dishes. It was simple and truly heartfelt. He's an amazing guy and I am a lucky person that he chose me.
After dinner and blogging, I took a little "spa time" in our newly remodeled bathroom. I paid close attention to shave and prune all of my "old-man hairs" and such and this was when it hit me - I realized that I actually feel ten times better than I did on Thursday afternoon when all of this started coming on.
Hot damn, I think this "flu" is actually behind me.
So in conclusion, a change in perspective can teach us a lot. Having the flu made me take a moment and refocus.
I could've spent my time on social media blasting the world about how bad I was feeling or listing all of the symptoms I had, or describing the pain. I could've posted a pathetic selfie of me with bedhead, sniffling and cuddling Kirby.
Instead, I decided to continue joyspotting and look for all of life's lessons along the way.
Even though I had the flu, I discovered these ten lessons.
Just days later, on March, 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that 4,291 people have lost their lives to something called coronavirus (Covid-19.)
The WHO then made the assessment that COVID-19 was to be characterized as a worldwide pandemic! Ummmm, what?
It still befuddles me to think back on this and wonder, how would this entire experience have changed for me if I knew then that I actually had Covid-19? How would my mindset and thoughts have impacted my actions and wellness?
Yes! The following week - Jeff was very, very sick and I was his nurse. I made sure I was there for him just as he was for me. That's love. That's marriage. We made it through and have since been vaccinated but many have passed away. Another lesson in all of this is that life is short, be grateful for what you have and for those all around you. Seize the moment, slow down and savor your life. ❤️