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#2 - An Undiagnosed Illness

Several weeks ago I was extraordinarily ill: sore throat, fever, diarrhoea. At the hospital I was examined by doctors and nurses in the moon-man suits. I was swabbed, but I didn’t meet the criteria for testing, so I was sent home. It was shocking. I have recovered, slowly, and I’ve been self isolating as a precaution. I walk my dogs as often as I can. But I feel robbed, and sad, and lonely, and excited. It is a confusing time.

For the last 6 years, I have been extremely unwell. It wasn’t until November last year that I regained my energy. I started walking and leaving the house again; going to the grocery store and cooking again; even socialising a little. I’d even been planning a trip back to the US to see my family. My sister has breast cancer. That trip has been cancelled, and it hurts. My mom once said that if we didn’t love each other, it wouldn’t hurt. And when I am feeling bad I have to remember that it is okay to be feeling a bit shit.

What also feels shit is that it feels like I am re-incarcerated. It is really hard being inside alone having had the last almost 6 months of being free again. But I'm conscious that I am more prepared than most for this self isolation. I've become pretty expert at it. My health must be a priority: I know I have to keep knowing that i am well. I have to moving. Keep moving. Keep exercising.

I can’t help but feel angry some days. When I was really, really sick, and I only had the energy to do one thing a week, I didn't get to go to the zoo or a restaurant. I got to go to sit in a doctors office. And now, finally we have realised that telehealth is okay, that a doctor can consult via the internet--fuck you. But also, I now know that if I were to have a relapse, I could teach once again. My capacity to go back to the joy of my life is there; so much potential has broken open.

I don’t want to be too Mary Poppins about it, but there has also been a few other silver linings. I am writing again. For so many years, I have turned down so many gigs. Now, I have said yes once again. My life is restarted. I am having more communication with friends than I have had in years. I am getting contact from people saying they didn’t know how it felt to lose their autonomy and their security and not know what was around the corner.

What's really important to know is that it's all an illusion anyway. None of if it is true forever: your job, your house, certain friendships. Nothing is forever, and so we have to enjoy what we have whilst we have it. And that is the beauty of life: that it is fleeting. The moments are the important parts. We can either be sorrowful or appreciative. Which is certainly not the perspective I had before I got ill.

What do I look forward to the most when this coronavirus-enforced isolation is over? Sex.


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