February 05, 2005

prescription: rest

I guess it's inevitable, but I still don't really understand it.

I've been sick since Monday. A strange kind of sick, the kind where you lie in bed and think, "Oh, this isn't so bad, I can get up and make dinner," and then you get up and realize, no, it really is that bad and lie down again. So I only got up when I had to. Dinner was microwave-thawed chicken soup Monday, roast chicken Tuesday (recipe: throw chicken and veggies in roasting pan, close oven, go back to bed), and leftover chicken the rest of the week. On Monday or maybe Tuesday (time blurs when you're feeling icky) I went to pick Damian up, got into a tiff with the speech therapist (important lesson: don't talk to people when you're sick, you might tell them things in a less than diplomatic manner). Came home and went back to bed. Pretty much the story of my week.

That's not the inevitable part, though I suppose it is. Sick happens. Shivers and sweats and snotty noses. Our bodies are vulnerable. Our bodies tell us sometimes: lie down, turn off your brain, tune out your life. And we obey. Or we don't and we pump ourselves full of over the counter take-the-yuck-away medications and muddle through as best we can. I chose the former this week, knowing full well what a luxury it was. But by Thursday – and this is the inevitable part – when I stood outside the kindergarten yard waiting for Damian and trying not to stand too close to anyone and certainly not to sneeze on them, a fellow mom told me I should go to the doctor. The next day she told Dan, "She should really go see a doctor." She herself had been sick the week before and only gotten better after she'd gotten medicine. I should do the same. Clearly.

I don't understand this thinking. Or, rather, I do. We expect answers to all our questions these days, quick solutions for all our problems. Pills for all our woes. We're an immediate gratification, an "if it's broken or if you even suspect that it might be broken, throw it away and buy a new one" culture. Get a cold? Take an antibiotic. So what if it's not bacterial, clearly nothing deadly, so what if a week really isn't that long to let a virus run its course? It's too long, you should be up and running, getting ahead in the treadmill of life (and yes, that’s an intentionally broken metaphor). You can't wait for your body's natural defenses to kick in. Let the doctor mend you. Let the body mechanic do his magic. Because everybody knows you can't trust nature to take care of itself.

I didn't go to the doctor. Guess what? I feel better today. Not run-the-Boston-Marathon better, not even get-back-on-the-Nordic-Track better, but better enough to sit at my desk and pay bills, better enough to collect laundry for a wash, better enough to participate in dishwashing. Better. No medicine. Just the body doing its job to fight a mundane virus.

Posted by Tamar at February 5, 2005 03:29 PM

Right on! Glad you're feeling better, and glad you're not contributing to the strong possibility that we are making antibiotics useless by overuse. You'll have a better chance of not getting sick the next time something comes through.

Posted by: Kelly at February 6, 2005 07:37 AM

Yeah, Rache got that flu too -- tho in her case she couldn't breathe, though, so we wanted to make sure it hadn't developed into pneumonia....

Posted by: Chris at February 6, 2005 09:41 AM

Kelly, I'm a big believer in avoiding antibiotics except for known infections! The overuse drives me nuts.

Chris, always wise to check if someone can't breathe! I was far from that sick. I hope she's feeling better now.

Posted by: Tamar at February 11, 2005 12:03 AM