Sunday, December 29, 2013

Now, we're really sick.

Health is one of many things easy to take for granted.

Voice is another.

Today is my 3rd day, Monique's 1st, of a terrible sore throat. Like, terrible, terrible.

Pneumonia was worse. Mono was worse. That's about it.

But unlike anything I've ever had before, my uluvula (?) is so swollen and irritated that I cannot speak at all.

Some of my colleagues had something similar this past month. For more than a week after they recovered, they couldn't speak more than a whisper.

Parenting is not so easy without one's voice. Teaching? Hmm.

OK, so I want your pity. Please send it my way.

I negotiated going to the doctor without speaking. The doctor made me say "Ooone, Tawoo, Thee" and then told me I had a viral infection. I'm trying hard to believe him. People react weirdly when you write all your communication. One nurse whispered to me. My kids love the miming - it's just that they do it back to me, so we are trying to overcome two communication handicaps.

I just want to drink a glass of water without extreme pain.

The kids have watched maybe 104 hours of TV today. They sort of managed to feed themselves, after I pulled out leftover Vietnamese and pointed at it vigorously before they could have cookies.

There are so many today in the world suffering - those who have nothing healthy to drink, those without useless doctors to go to, those who are bedridden, those who are voiceless, those who struggle to communicate with family through illness, those who can't work... why on earth does my own suffering narrow down my vision so I can see and think of nothing else? Courage exists in fearful situations, love exists in response to hatred, do you think I can be grateful for the many good things I've received even when I have also received one thing I do not want?

So many people close to me have undergone extreme trials of health and other struggles - somehow, I have faith that this suffering of mine unites me to their suffering... but I can't figure out how right now, cuz my head is pounding. We are all in this together, I suppose, and pretending we aren't to keep ourselves from suffering locks us out of our own experience.

Maybe I can experience this suffering wholeheartedly - maybe every moment I'm given now and after my recovery will be more vivid, more colourful, more whole, more intensely alive because my attention was so effectively called.

John Paul II's On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering is beside me in bed, but I'm not reading it. Only so much suffering I can take. Can anyone send me Coles notes on it? Put it in the comments?

Instead, Francis's Gospel of Joy, which speaks of suffering which does not extinguish the joy we hold in our hearts - when Catherine starts pointing and grunting at her peanut butter toast, I find some of that there joy.