I do not recover easily. It is two months and I still am overcome each day with joint pain and exhaustion. They say it is harder on the elderly. No one has much heard of it in Oregon and there is not much to do but tough it out.
I organize my day to cope. The medical community does not offer much but I pick up ideas and try things. In the living room is a water, foot soaking machine. I put my feet in when it gets too bad. My foster son suggests pressure socks which are a miracle for pain relief. I design one pair for my hands. I shower, put on ice packs and take a wide range of anti- inflamatory medicines and herbs. I take naps but then must putter around to relieve the pain and keep my sanity. I complete small tasks. I have good days and hard days.
I study viruses for about an hour a day. I draw diagrams and make illustrations. I live in a summer sweet place with flowers and soft breezes. In this place, I retreat and try to give my body space and time to get over the assault to its system. I try accupuncture and lymphatic massage. I try positive thinking. I try despair.
I dream I am on the beach, waiting for a boat to LaGonave and something explodes and is on fire and then I realize it is me. I am trying to get in the water and put the fire out. The people hold me back and say it is a ship but I struggle because i have to get in the water and put out the fire.
It is hard for me to think about Haiti. I panic. But soon Kenel is coming to start his internship and I have begun my study of Kreyol in my quiet afternoons.
I have gotten a small, black baby lamb. When I thought I was dying I thought I'd like a field of clover with a baby lamb to watch graze. I know from being a midwife that a big part of overcoming pain is filling your pallet with beauty and so I retreat and let the flowers and good things surround me. I welcome visitors who sit beside me as I slip off. Chikun- what?
On the pain chart I am still at focusing on the pain almost always but once in awhile I get it all right for a little while and I am somewhere else. I had decided to learn global maternal health in the real world. I prayed for understanding and wisdom. Will this ever go away? Will I be wiser or just weaker and beaten by the pain?
I try to focus on how fortunate I am to have the tools I have; to have food that is easy to prepare, water and a soft place to rest. But when it climbs inside me and I cannot get it to calm down, I struggle with gratitude. I sink. I do not what anyone to watch this struggle. I an animal who seeks that quiet place. Sometimes I welcome distraction but it does not work well sometimes. I try to laugh and keep a smile. I pull weeds and try to keep my garden alive.
I try to think of others but pain is selfish. People say I should not have gone there, anyway. They hope I have learned a lesson. Is there a lesson to a random mosquito, carrying a virus, landing on you? I say the virus was around since 1950 making lots of people sick and unable to go to work. I cannot explain how unfair it is that it is only getting recognition because its coming to the Americas.
There are other problems- a far worst virus breaking out in Africa, wars and children at our borders. I clean much neglected cupboards. Too tired to recycle, I build outdoor fires and drink tea while the little black lamb grazes at sunset and the white garden glows in the summer dusk.