Covid – not a nice happenstance

Wednesday morning it was raining, the proverbial cat and dogs type, but with a dog that needs walking I had to get dressed for a short walk so he could do ‘his business’ (since when did going to the toilet become ‘doing business?’).  I pulled on my jeans, wellies and a thick coat over my pj top and a new blue woolly hat. We headed out, there was flooding by the kerbs, I was very conscious that the dog’s legs are shorter than mine and looked for suitable crossing places so he wouldn’t get wet legs – does this make me a good dog walker (the dog is not mine but my brothers where I’m staying) or make the dog a pampered pooch?   He quickly did his business and then turned to home, pulling me at such strength I was almost running.  I love walking and had been prepared for a much longer walk but having done in excess of 20000 steps on each of the last couple of days and feeling slightly tired I realized it might be good for me to have an easier day. 

I came back and soon got dragged into helping to bathe the dog expecting splashes and protestations I came ready with phone to film the ‘fun’ but he was surprisingly calm and well behaved. He clearly really likes a bath- I’m going to have to lock the bathroom door from now on or I could have company. I then cleaned the bath, had a bath myself and then it began. Out of nowhere I was shivering, shaking and despite adding layer after layer I could not warm up. I got into bed with two hot water bottles and only warmed up four hours later shortly after I’d put my woolly hat back on. With a very slight cough and being told I looked painfully grey, I did a Covid test – it was negative, but I still decided to stay in my room away from everyone else, as whatever this was it wasn’t nice.   A day later the PCR result politely informed me, I was positive. I wasn’t expecting this result, I’d convinced myself it was some other bug, but I was not feeling well at all.

I’d been relatively ‘lucky’ so far in Covid terms, my sister had been very poorly, and my daughter had struggled but thankfully neither had needed to be hospitalized.  Suddenly, all my plans for the next ten days were thrown up in the air, the appointments I’d made the social dates, my overdue weekend with my daughter cancelled.   I acknowledge these are such a non-issue in the scale of Covid’s impact and as I was feeling so ropey that cancelling these (apart from not seeing my daughter) did not really matter. Illness is one of those incredibly grounding experiences, suddenly life is washed of its thrills and its back to pure survival mode – rest, drink, eat and recover.  

So far, I’ve spent 5 days in the confines of my room, feeling like an inmate as a knock heralds the arrival of food. Having no energy or focus – I got a paper delivered but it’s too much energy to read it, I lie with the lights on or off, blankets on or off drifting between sleep and wakefulness, slightly delirious at times. At night my mind is trying to solve a rubix like puzzle and it keeps on working, twisting, turning, I want it to stop I want peace – this is painful, I tell my dream it’s not important to me – but it continued. I seem to drift in and out of the same stressful dream most of the night, then I’m out of the street trying to find a hotel which is just round the corner, but I can’t quire remember where, I get anxious and panicky why can’t I remember isn’t this an early sign of Alzheimer’s.

I force myself to switch the light on hoping this will break the cycle, with a half open eye I survey my room – it’s such a mess – tablets, packets, empty cups, creams lotions, unread newspaper, different pieces of clothing strewn across the floor. I guess the room smells – you know that’ sick person smell’ but I am too immersed in it to realise. I wonder if the tablets are creating the weird dreams, I don’t take many analgesics, so I think I’m hypersensitive. I must be coming to as I recognise a proper thought for me – do tidy people’s room get messy where they are ill? (I’m going to check this with a few uber tidy friends).

The fine art of doing nothing

Recently I’ve been quite unwell. At the age of 56 I realise I’m truly ‘vincible’.

Covid that unanimously unwanted guest came to visit totally unannounced and with no clear leaving date. Covid made me stop all normal activities and sit with them, sleep, lie and stop. Recovering from Covid feels like being in a Maze. I know eventually I will surface but I have no idea when that will be and I am experiencing many false starts, dead ends and backwards steps on the road to recovery.

But alongside the frustration has come an acceptance and one unexpected benefit has been a slight joy in doing less, or I should be honest here, on many days doing nothing. Doing nothing, planning nothing and I have permission to be like this. After years of living in constant overdrive, feeling I was constantly up against the clock and that every waking hour/ week / day/ month and sometimes whole years were accounted for at last there seems to be some space. Don’t get me wrong I hate having it and I need my energy levels to return, but whilst I have to accept this as my current reality I have discovered the unexpected joy of doing nothing, sweet FA, nada, blank – however you choose to describe it.

My days seem to focus on how little I can do, ensuring if I have to go out I do everything in that one journey and looking forward immensely to returning to base and once more doing nothing. I’m not sure if in purest terms my ‘nothing’ qualifies for meditational or wellbeing nothingness but it is without focus and I do not care if the hand of the clock seems to jump forward without any outcome or output .. I’ve always railed at efficiency and productivity programmes but yet I’ve always achieved this is different, different in a still and empty way.

I wonder if I will allow myself protected nothingness when my body once more enables me to do the physical pursuits I so love. I hope so… you may be thinking ‘you have control – you can make this happen’ and yes I know I absolutely can, but I also know that change can be difficult to embed and the active side of me is more hard wired than the no-nothing version, but I will endeavor to remain an occasional nothingness practitioner from now on.