in sickness and in health

Harboring virus

Harboring virus

This shameless “selfie” doesn’t look like I’m harboring infectious agents, but I am.

Although I had been called to Oakland for the weekend to take care of a vomiting family member, I had managed to pick up another amazing $10 Besty Johnson dress at the Alta Bates Hospital thrift shop. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. It was Sunday, and I planned to go to Studio 1924 in the evening.

I snapped the photo after delivering sizzling rice soup to my relative. I had been released to spend the afternoon at a Breema and “Non-Duality”  conference at a client’s gorgeous redwood decked view home in the Berkeley Hills. This meant lying around on ornate Persian rugs with strangers who gently and passively lifted my arms and applied rhythmic pressure to my abdomen. Then we engaged in an earnest and heated discussion about the non-dual nature of reality and the illusion of separate selves – the sort of conversation I haven’t had since I was a stoned undergraduate.

I left feeling a buzzed. I didn’t realize it was the electricity of fever.

Something was wrong at 1924. I couldn’t balance despite my sturdy Souple’s and my sweat had a strange rank smell. I made it home, downed a ton of vitamins, and went to bed.

An hour later the Nausea set in. I told myself that it was the vitamins, but I knew that even though I had washed my hands at least a 100 times while care-taking, I had succumbed. Despite the non-reality of a separate “I”, my “I” was stuck in a body that was sick as hell.

There is nothing quite as humbling as leaning your hot forhead on the cold toilet seat as you crouch shivering at 3:00 am after vomiting for maybe the 7th time. Still, a part of me was in yoga head, monitoring sensation and thinking, “Wow, amazing that my body knows how to do this.”

The vomiting stopped at 5:30 am. And at 8:00 am I had to call Berkeley Rep. It was the first day of my new Alexander Technique class. I was not going to make it.

And so I crawled into bed and shivered with fever and aches for the next 5 days. And somehow, I remained not unhappy. My yoga head was still in operation, and I relaxed into watching, with a kind of blurred amazement, as my body burned with fever, my throat furred over, my lungs filled, and the coughing began. The machinations of an immune system in action.

I was back working on Monday, back in yoga on Tuesday with wobbly balances and weak chaturangas.  I felt suffused with joy. A walk down my hallway with a body not wracked by pain felt insanely pleasing. Taking yoga filled me with so much gratitude, I was in tears. Being outdoors, seeing flowers blooming…it all made me ecstatic.

That was the good part.

The bad part was that I binge watched 4 seasons of The Good Wife.  The wet mean sounding cough and exhaustion lingered for three weeks. My life settled into a schedule of work, yoga and Amazon Prime. That’s over 88 hours of television. I’m not proud.

A month has gone by and it’s over.

I feel like a strange wet puppy trying to resurface into my life. Tango? Tango? I’m trying to imagine myself in a pretty dress and heels. I’ve grown used to shuffling around the house in mismatching socks and old T-shirts.

I am still waiting for glamor to return.