Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Worth the Struggle

Cough No.2
Cough No.2

Tuesday - Entry 22:

Today is day Day 21 of my bout with the flu and bronchitis. For a while we thought I had pnuemonia, but my doctors seem to be conflicted on that diagnosis. Certainly my lungs don't show the precense of pnuemonia now, so perhaps we caught it in time. The weekend after New Year's was a scary one indeed, full of gasping and bloody sputum. I've had bronchitis repeatedly through my life. That was not bronchitis.

Being sick is all I've managed to do well these past three weeks. Today I showered for the first time in a few days, then had to sit down. I watched an episode of Downton Abbey, then got up to eat afterwards. I'm afraid I only managed to set out some fish to thaw before I had to sit down again.

I have had better days with more energy, but it seems one of the distinguishing characteristics of this blasted flu is intermittant wellness. Still, I honestly feel that I am getting worse, not better.

Twenty one days of this is a bit much to deal with. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't discouraged or feeling down. But I press on. I'm bound to get better despite the setbacks, and one day I'll look back on this as if it were a misty dream. For the time being, however, I am finding it challenging to fight off Depression. My spirits aren't at their highest.

In general some days will always be harder to manage Depression than others. Life throws various things at us and not all of them are good. Sometimes some days are just harder for no reason at all. I'm glad I have good friends to call on those days. I've certainly made use of them every few days these past few weeks to keep my spirits up. It is also nice to have family that loves me. Out of the blue tonight my 18 year old sent me a sweet text that made my night.

I am likely paying today for my efforts to get out and about on Monday. I know, driving to the ER is such a frivolous thing. What was I thinking? My efforts granted me an inhaler and a prescription for a new cough syrup. Unfortunatley, the cough syrup was unavailable anywhere. This flu has hit everybody hard. It took a bit of time to get an alternative to the pharmacist from the ER. However, it is powerful stuff. Knocked me out for nine hours. I woke up at 3:30pm today rested but discouraged. Already the daylight felt like it was fading.

Instead of getting down, I called one of my daughters to see how she was doing. I had just learned she had been in a small car accident, so I wanted to touch base with her immediately. She was fine, but so wasn't I after the phone call. Caring for others before yourself has the surprising effect of lifting your spirits I have found. Like the Grinch's expanding heart, our capacity for happiness can grow when we reach outside of ourselves.

Unfortunately, talking to my daughter on the phone triggered my first coughing attack of the day, so I needed to do something else to keep my spirits up. I decided to fight off Depression by exercising my creativity. I took a picture of myself coughing, then I put it through a barrage of iPhone camera app filters before I was happy with it. Thank ADHD for the whim. My “Cough No.2” may be silly, but it did the trick. I was in better spirits.

Depression can settle over us like a heavy blanket which can be difficult to cast off after a while. That is why I fight to be on top. It is hard work, but I've lived life under that blanket before. I find the battle worth the struggle every time.