I’ve never been a person who gets sick a lot. The only times I’ve been admitted to hospital were when I was born and when my two babies were born. I’ve never broken a bone. I’ve never even had my tonsils out. The only things I’ve ever had fixed are my teeth: I inherited my Mom’s big teeth and my Dad’s small mouth and this meant hours of orthodontistry (is this a word?!) as a child. But for the last three years I’ve become someone who does get a sick – a lot.
I can narrow it down to when I had my first child and when I lost my Mom. 2010 was a big year, the best and the worst year for me and it was also a year that really affected my health. I completely underestimated the effect that severe grief can have on your physical self. Sure, you know you’ve been affected emotionally but you expect your body to be more reliable then your mind, that it will help you get through it all. But this is not the case. Illnesses that you normally throw off with ease settle into your lungs and tummy and throat and dwell there, hibernating. I started getting hayfever, something I’ve never had before. If there was a tummy bug going round, or a cold, I’d get it.
I know these are not big things, they are small complaints, but they can add up and squeeze all the energy out of you, until you are empty and wrung out, like a faded, overwashed towel. I’m feeling a bit like that now. Since Ben was born I’ve been sick five times (in 11 weeks). Mastitis, tummy bugs, colds and then last week I stepped of a ledge and damaged a ligament in my ankle. Trying to take care of a baby while on crutches really is impossible.
So what do you do? I take vitamins, I drink freshly squeezed juice every day, I exercise and I try and rest. But I fear that my old self, the one that bounced around healthy and indestructible, is gone. Maybe it’s also part of getting older. Your body can now take less stress but the irony is that your life as a working mother of young children has never been this stressful. I don’t know what the answer is. If I did, I wouldn’t be sitting here, nursing a sore ankle and recovering from a week’s stomach bug.
I guess we just soldier on, knowing that we are very blessed and that we are lucky that our children are healthy and thriving. And that in the greater scheme of things, compared to so many other people, we’re lucky to have the health that we DO have. I’ll hold on to that.