Back to Kansas

I’m sick.

When I’m sick it’s like the whole world just goes away. It’s just me, and my misery. No, my misery doesn’t love company, though the whole world would have me think so. My misery just wants to be left alone, or in the absence of that, comforted and taken care of, like my mom did when I was little. A cold, wet washcloth on my forehead, some herbal tea, a woven blanket, and at times a novel, at other times not. Maybe some smooth jazz or acoustic record to soothe my jangled nerves.

Yes, my jangled nerves. There’s just something about not having full control of my faculties, about the fevered haze of sickness, that makes me feel less complete, that makes me less sure of myself in pretty much every way possible. It’s harder for me to find the words I want to use, tougher for me to analyze situations when I find myself in them, and more difficult to access the knowledge I know I have. It drives me absolutely insane. I’ve never been a good sick person.

Right now I’m listening to OneRepublic. I was lying down on the chair in the living room, you know, the one that has the ottoman nearby for access’ sake, but I couldn’t get comfortable. So I’m here in my study, this West Canada blanket across my lap, like a spinster getting ready to knit a new rug. But I’m typing instead, these lines on this screen, with Ryan Tedder singing over a thumping beat in the deep background, trying to focus on pretty much anything I can hang onto that doesn’t slip away from me with the pressure I’m exerting to keep it near.

Focus is usually so easy for me. I’m generally well organized, with a place for everything and everything in its place, even if it might not look that way to the naked eye. I know where everything is. I swear I do. When I’m sick, though, it’s hard to remember where I put things, or why I put them there. And I have things to do, things that require focus, things that need me alert instead of fuzzy. But I can’t help being fuzzy. This sickness has become me, in this moment, for the foreseeable future.

I took medicine. That’s how you know it’s bad. I avoid medicine like the plague, which is, I guess, a little funny, seeing as this sickness is like a descendant plague. Yet I’ve taken medicine, meaning I know this is “the big one,” as Fred Sanford used to always say, that this sickness won’t be gotten rid of with rest and fluids. It needs rest, fluids, medicine, and a rudimentary type of prayer that I’ve forgotten over time. Hopefully this sickness is not lower-cased god resistant.

So I’ll let the waves of OneRepublic wash over me, I’ll settle in under my blanket, and I’ll try to remember that there was a time, not long ago, when I wasn’t sick. Perhaps I can wish myself back there, like some sort of Kansas in Dorothy’s fantasy. Even though Kansas was never that great to begin with.

Sam

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