When does it cease to become rest and recuperation and become mere laziness, I wonder?
Since I picked up this bug in November, I have been unwell quite a lot of the time and still don’t feel great. After struggling along for a week trying to pretend everything was normal1, back in those misty autumn days, I decided I had to change tactics and rest.
So I stopped walking the dogs2, I stopped cooking, I stopped getting dressed for the day, and I stopped reading my Italian translation of Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mystery of the Blue Train’. There were, of course, other things I stopped doing, but stopping my reading in Italian was a milestone. I simply did not have the mental wherewithall to struggle with it, because yes, it had become a struggle. I also had to stop talking on Skype because .. well, I didn’t a voice worth listening to, and when I talked much, I’d go into paroxysms of coughing and couldn’t stop. For much the same reason, I stopped exercising, too.
Of course, once I’d stopped struggling to read in Italian, I stopped all other Italian studies as well. It’s quite true; when you’re so unwell you keep falling asleep on the couch wrapped in a blanket, it’s pointless to try to concentrate on anything because you simply can’t do it. So, no reading, no writing, no talking, and no games in Italian. I skipped over the posts on Facebook in Italian, and I put away the Italian books and got out an English one (it was a Harlequin romance which just goes to show how unwell I was3).
Once or twice, when I felt a bit better, I opened up Skype and conversed with a couple of people. Then I went downhill again and could barely cope with English again.
And now here we are in January. I’ve just had a chest x-ray because I am still coughing. Nowhere near as badly, but yep, still coughing. No results yet – I won’t get those till next week, so I have plenty of time to convince myself I have lung cancer or TB, or a tomato vine growing down there or something4.
From time to time I have managed to read a short text in Italian, and I no longer have to be in bed by 9.30pm because I’m dead
on my feet on the couch, but I still struggle a bit.
But here’s the thing: I no longer know if I’m struggling because I haven’t been exercising properly or stretching my mind, or if I’m struggling because I’m still not over this wretched thing. I might open up Skype tonight and see if I can hold up my end of a conversation. I did manage a short chat with two lovely Italian girls in the Milano Bar yesterday while shopping in the lovely market town of Stamford, and I haven’t forgotten absolutely everything I know, which is nice, but I’m a bit nervous of going for a protracted conversation in the same way that I’d be nervous of trying to walk into town (a matter of five or six miles), or climb the Tower of Pisa. Just the thought of that makes me want to go and lie down.
The other day, I promised to dust off the treadmill, and I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t do it. Instead, we found ourselves vacuuming and moving furniture in preparation for a visit from the Grandtwins and it was quite enough exercise, thankyouverymuch. OH thought so, too, and went so far as to forbid me to have anything to do with the treadmill whatsoever. So it’s still stacked with boxes, though one is now nearly empty. I have at least been trying.
The day before yesterday I decided I was about ready to pick up my Italian reading again, and I couldn’t find that damned book! ‘Il Mistero Del Treno Azurro’ was nowhere to be seen. I looked high and low. I looked everywhere … Finally it was run to earth yesterday in a shopping bag – I must have taken it somewhere thinking I might need something to read, and it never got put back on the shelf because of my lack of mojo (see title, above).
I guess now I have no excuse … but I might have to start again at the beginning again. How am I supposed to remember who did what to whom after all this time?
Oh well. I suppose I’ll need something to do while I’m in hospital getting the tomato taken out of my lung.
1 Whatever the hell ‘normal’ is.
2 It’s very hard to walk a greyhound who likes you to run with him when you have hardly enough breath to walk across the kitchen, so I let OH do it. ‘Let OH do it’ being a euphemism for ‘refused to go outside at all’. When he went down with it, too, I had to help with the dogs, but I’m pretty sure that’s what made me ill again.
3 I knew I was feeling a little bit better when I graduated to Georgette Heyer. Later I moved on to Katie Fforde, but I’m not sure it’s actually intellectually superior to Heyer. However, now I’m reading Terry Pratchett, I know I’m making progress. I’m getting the jokes and everything!
4 I’m really, really good at this. I’ve had so much practice, you see.