Last night I got the flu for the first time since my trip to Europe last summer. As I cradled the toilet with a sleepy blood-shot-eyed Zachary standing by, I considered how glad I was that I was in my own bathroom in my own home, rather than rushing down the hallway to the communal bathroom at the hostel in Hamburg.
For all the nausea, the night passed surprisingly pleasantly.
After throwing up at 1:45am, I shouted my triumph to my poor half-asleep husband that I had correctly predicted what my body would do once the nausea came on.
I listened to a cat letting out an unearthly yowling and screaming in the backyard.
I recited the psalms I know by heart.
I felt the nausea washing over me in waves and winding its way through my body. Pain is kind of interesting to experience if you can take a step back from it.
At four in the morning I listened to the birds waking up and chorusing in the trees behind our house. Their symphony is never so sweet and well-attended as it is before daybreak.
I wrote this blog in my head, arranging and rearranging the wording.
I drifted in and out of a thirsty sleep, each time waking to the taste of acid and the song of birds.
Today I dozed half the day. I answered some email. I read The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton from beginning to end, and then my flu-addled brain felt like it would explode. (I do not recommend reading this book in one sitting even when you don’t have the flu.) I ate an English muffin, two rice krispy treats, and some homemade rice and veggies soup. I read about how to set a table and skin a squirrel in The Joy of Cooking. I read half a chapter of Thoreau’s Walden. I cleaned our spare room to prepare for guests. I laid in bed and held my arm up and watched the sunlight pierce the window shades and make the hairs on my arm glow like molten silver.
I don’t like the flu. But sometimes it’s nice to be forced to slow down a little.