Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Joy of Sickness

Although one might expect to find an entry that would reflect something from the famous book “The Joy of Cooking” this week (number five) has been more of the “Joy of Sickness.” I am always finding life full, or at the very least half full, so even in this most trying week I can say I am appreciative. I was sick the entire week and can’t remember the last time I was THIS sick. It wasn’t because of the Bears loss in the Superbowl, or an overdose of food, but simply the stomach flu. Not a weight loss plan I recommend. Although I was so delirious with fever that I didn’t even know what day it was, I felt disappointed to have to miss class. Apparently I wasn’t the only one afflicted. Many of the other “front row geeks” were also struck down. At first thought, this might seem like a conspiracy theory, since Tuesday was the big Irish Breakfast Cook-off. This IS a land of competition; the phrase “Fighting Irish” ring a bell? But alas, the Norwalk Flu is not the first choice for a friendly feud. So instead of sharing all of the recipes I made this week, I can either comment on what everyone else cooked or share how being sick gave me a GREATER grateful heart. Seeing as this isn’t an interactive site, I’ll have to choose: I am going with the later.
I am grateful for loved ones back home who kept me in prayer…it works! Although it would have been poetic to depart this world from the motherland, I’m glad I survived. I don’t know what I would have done without my cottage mates. Clodagh was grand; making tea and bringing me books to read (even though my eyes were too crossed to read a word). Margaret was a champ for running over to the cottage during breaks in her day to keep the fire stoked so I would keep warm. Mary was sweet, yet firm, making sure I took medicine and drank boiled 7up (it’s an Irish thing). And when I was feeling well enough to eat, Yoko made me Japanese rice porridge. I had a posse of Florence Nightingales. Honestly, this brought all of us in the Playroom Cottage closer. Two staff members from school also helped to look after me. Sharon, who literally runs the office, brought me Lucosaid (sort of like Gatorade) and Pip (one of my teachers featured in the Irish Soda Bread posting) stopped by to cheer me up. It ended up being a delayed reaction cheer up. I was on my bed curled up in a ball when she burst in the room and said with her darling accent, “How are ya?” Immediately her attention was pulled to a framed piece of artwork above my bed. She launched into a five minute art and interior design critique, a total blur to me at the time, and summed it up saying that it looked like a pair or underpants in a frame. I was so out of it that it really didn’t hit me until a couple of days later. I was feeling well enough by then to read my book on Lectio Divina and as I was lying (or is it laying?…anyway) in bed I looked up to my left and saw the artwork with new eyes. I started laughing out loud. It was like instantaneous combustion. I couldn’t stop laughing. I finally saw what Pip was talking about! My cottage mates must have thought I had gone mad, because I was laughing out loud for quite a while. This was not easy considering my stomach muscles were sore from being sick. It was then that I knew that the underwear art had to be the picture for this week’s posting. It really summed up the whole experience. As bad as things got, I ended up laughing in the end.
Another joy in sickness is the notion that simple things are not taken for granted. For instance, I really appreciated my first meal after being sick, especially because it stayed down (and up). I really appreciated my first shower after being sick. And, there is nothing like clean, fresh linens, particularly after being sick. Luckily for me, linens come at the end of every school week. Lastly, I appreciate everyone who takes time out of their day to check the blog. Somehow I feel connected knowing this experience is being shared.
This weekend I’ll continue to recuperate and start studying for next week’s midterm.