Today’s word, and the last fortnight’s word, is microbe.

I love using the word “fortnight”. I’d like to bring it back into common usage.

But the word is microbe. Because in the last fortnight, I was nearly killed by microbes.

I really am arrogant about my health, the worst kind of take it for granted criminal, a kind of Robin Hood of my own resources. I cruise about in my get away  van, cruising into multiple worksites, imparting my wisdom AND youthful energy, robbing from my body to give to the poor of spirit.

All the while, the microbes took advantage of my caviler attitude, and massed against my body without my consent.

Suddenly, on an ordinary Wednesday,  I couldn’t manage to stumble into work, much less cruise.  I had felt unwell the day before, and attributed the problem to intensifying cramps. On that day,  I told my boss how sick I was of these monthly events, their usefulness long over. I had important business to attend to. My uterus was in the way. She reminded me of the temporary nature of our physical existence. Prophetic.

Twenty four hours later, I was alternating shaking with chills or burning up.  Thirty six hours later, in the middle of the night, I was informed that without immediate surgery, the infection in my body could kill me. Forty eight hours later, I was in intensive care with dangerously low blood pressure.

It isn’t the plane falling out of the sky. It’s the microbes, with their cunning multigenerational evolution and will to multiply, and your body, hiding disaster, fighting valiantly despite the ego’s untempered self pride, which gives in only at the last minute. Hello, the body screams. Now you are dying. Pay attention.

That’s what can kill you.

Still, I sit here two weeks later, part of me infuriated that such nonsense can occur, and part of me humbled to the point of tears that I so consistently ignored the physical me. The body that holds the brain. I need to do simple things, like drink more water, get enough rest, allow others to do their own work, ask for help, lower my expectations. Middle age is confusing..I was told in ICU how strong and young I am,  but I feel old, taking these old man medications, sitting on the couch watching reruns of television shows I remember so clearly, and with not much else to do but cope with pain, reflect on the fact that many of the actors are dead.

I ask my younger daughter to come home in June. I need her help. I need help, and probably have for some time.

I haven’t learned all I need to learn from this, I am still struggling against this reality, dreading falling into the constant physical monitoring and interminable discussions of organ failure I fear is old age. No, I object! There is still more.

But from now on, some consciousness for the body.

Watching out for the microbes.





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