Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Exploring the Levels of Illness

I have the flu. I'm miserable. But my mind (when not in a fevered state) still functions quite well, and when you're body decides to park itself on the couch with a bazillion blankets, there's not much more one can do than think about things.

I began thinking about what it takes to keep a person like me down. In fact, what would keep any mother and wife down- and out. There had to be some point when things were just too much- even for us moms.

I came up with 'The Levels of Illness' stages.

Level 1- otherwise known as the 'Not Feeling Right' stage. You're not officially sick, but something just isn't right. You can't even pinpoint just what it is that feels odd. This is usually the precursor to actually getting sick.

Level 2 - the 'Ugh', or 'Functionally Ill' stage. You're sick, but mildly so. You can still function on a fairly normal scope; only you do things a little slower than usual.

Level 3 - the 'Sick But Still Moving' stage. This basically means that you can minimally care for others as well as yourself. That means the kids get toast for breakfast, and you get some hot tea with lemon. Dinner is ordered out if there are no leftovers to eat, and the only chores that are done are the immediate ones, like laundry and dishes.

Level 4 - the 'Too Sick To Move' stage. You probably can move, but only to the bathroom and back. Blinking hurts, and even using the remote causes major fatigue. This is usually when the family notices that you're not feeling good, but they still ask you to help them with things anyway. You do help with some of their needs- as long as you don't have to get off of the couch. But whether you helped them get the right answer for their homework or helped them spell something properly is yet to be seen. And frankly, at this point you just don't care.

Level 5 - "Near Death' stage. You can't get out of bed, and even the pets begin to wonder where you've been all day. The phones are shut off and buried under the mattress so you can't hear them, but they are within reach if you need to call the morgue. Motor skills are practically non- existent, and it takes all your strength to turn off nightstand light. You're torn between needing the family around to help feed you and get you to the bathroom, and having an empty house where no one can bother you. You consider writing a will, but no longer have the energy to hold a pencil. The only thing getting you through this stage is that you know no one will do any laundry, dishes or cooking, so if you do die, your family will be naked and starving. And you can't with yourself if that happened.

The other day I went to bed at Level 4. Yesterday, I was Level 3. Now I'm Level 2, and managed to do some laundry this morning. My mother (now retired!) brought over some orange juice yesterday, so I'll be sipping on that, as well as planning some kind of soup or stew involving chicken for dinner. My brain wants my body to hurry up, and my body is telling my brain to blow it out it's cerebellum. That's why I'm typing this post- just to trick my brain into thinking I'm doing something useful. Maybe I am, in my own literary way.

I still have to get the kids to school, and consider eating something healthy, but I can't even think of food at the moment. Yesterday I was up before the crack of dawn, crashed just after dawn, and didn't eat until almost noon; and it looks like that might be the issue today as well. But watch this- I bet I gain weight. I never seem to lose weight when I'm sick!

God Bless, and may you and yours stay happy and healthy!


Unknown said...

Hope you feel amazing soon enough! For now...enjoy the call to rest! It's just as critical as the call to arms!

Unknown said...

Been there, done that. Currently between 3 and 4 with severe sinus headache. I can function, but the brain is slow to keep up. Taking lots of sinus meds and vitamin C to keep from descending lower.

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