The handsome and very young doctor at urgent care stood before me and in a serious tone proclaimed that with a dual diagnosis of flu and pneumonia, combined with my age, it was imperative that I stay down, drink plenty of fluids and basically rest for at least a week. After that my regular doctor would see me and check up on how I was doing. I know I heard every word he said, but somehow the phrase “combined with my age” rang louder that the rest of his comments.
Combined with my age? Combined with my age? Flu? Barely heard it. Pneumonia? Big deal. But that age word was smarting. Before I went home I filled the prescriptions, stocked up on food and even stopped at the bookstore to purchase the next volume of the four book series I was reading, all the while obsessing on that word.
By the time I got home I had calmed down enough to admit he was right. I have reached that point where I have to be more aware of age when it comes to health. I eat right, I keep active, but I am not always as careful as I need to be. Just the week before, I nonchalantly stood on a chair to reach something high, forgetting I have a bad knee and my balance is not so great, and not so nonchalantly fell off, bruising both my knee and my ego.
I have been blessed with good health and it is easy to forget there are some things I just should not be doing “at my age.” With this new found outlook I took my meds, put away my groceries and climbed into bed. I plumped the pillows just right, placed a tall glass of water by the bedside and began the book. I was determined to stay down. My window was open looking out at Balboa Park just across the street. It was one of those picture perfect San Diego days, the kind we all brag about to anyone who doesn’t live here. The temperature was 73, the sun was shining and a soft breeze was gently swaying the palm trees just outside my window.
One of the pills prescribed was for pain and when it kicked in I was so happy to be pain free at last and so mellow that I let the book slip down and turned my attention to the window. Lying there I became almost hypnotized. I know that a pain pill does things to you but I think it was more than that. It wasn’t just the effects of the pill, it was taking the moment to do nothing, to just rest.
Doing nothing is not my way. Even after retiring I was driven to find things to do and I know that will not change, that’s just not me. But in that moment I found myself reveling in the joy of just relaxing and feeling blessed that I live in this beautiful place, in this beautiful city, where the breeze was blowing and people were riding their bikes and walking their dogs in the park just across from my bed.
My body told me I was sick, but I also knew it was temporary. I kept thinking isn’t it interesting that sometimes when you are confronted with something negative, it gives you the opportunity to find something positive. The ying of illness was being offset by the yang of being allowed to do nothing and in that self allowance I found a beauty that I often overlooked. It was the beauty of staying down.
Category: Local News