Morning: I just enjoyed my third bath since yesterday and am pleased to report the water no longer smells like desert dust & donkey dung! I think I might have let myself go in the last few days, just a little. Pippa’s up next; I’m afraid she doesn’t smell much better.
I notice my throat is sore. Someone sneezed at me yesterday and I felt that sucker get through all my defence systems. Do other people experience that? I mean, people sneeze in my general direction all the time, but I am typically a fortress of immunity! Unafraid and untouched!
But when my defences are low, I know right away when I’ve picked up a viral hitch-hiker and the one that got through yesterday is now getting comfortable. I’m trying to entice him out of my vehicle, but he’s got his feet up on the dash and has started fiddling with the radio station. Damn. This ones not wasting any time.
Gravity insists I lie back down. Two hours later I wake with a fever and decide I best stay put another night. Also, all of my teeth are aching.
I put a “do not disturb” sign on the door and fall back to sleep until noon.
Pippa hasn’t moved all morning either; she has become one with the six pillows on the bed and seems to be enjoying my paralysis. Plus, she is trying not to draw attention to herself because baths don’t make her blissful like they make me. She thinks I’ve forgotten but I haven’t. I just can’t move yet.
Afternoon: I decide to make my way through a list of tasks I have been procrastinating, because just lying here is no fun at all. So, for my own amusement mostly, I call Revenue Canada to make sure there isn’t actually a warrant out for my arrest. I received a scam call a month ago, telling me I owed back taxes and if I did not remit the amount owing I would go to prison. Although I know this isn’t true, and is totally not believable, I seem to need confirmation to put my mind at ease. Plus I’m a bit bored.
Confirmation of anything with the government takes at least an hour or more, and this call is no exception, but I do it from a reclined position and eventually discover I actually have a $284 credit, so I can now lie here knowing I will remain a free woman.
After this excitement, I decide to cancel the TV service in my apartment back home (it was for my son but he doesn’t watch it) which results in another 45 minutes of beurocratic ridiculousness. I now want to dig my eyes out with a spoon, and remind myself it might be a good thing to learn to be bored.
I remember the days when if you called someone, anyone, they just answered the darn phone. And interacting with another person did not require a user name and password. (Note to Self: You sure sound like a grumpy old person when you’re sick)
By 3:00 pm, I could have easily fallen back to sleep again – but Pip needs some form of exercise. Since that is not going to be a walk, I google dog parks and find one not far away. I gargle with salt water again, and take two more Tylenol. Don’t tell anyone, but I went to the park in my pyjamas. With my coat over them, but still.
There were a handful of quiet people there, and I sat alone, not wanting to make anyone ill and not feeling comfortable drooling in front of strangers (I don’t think I’ve swallowed since 1:00) . Pippa came to life on a fresh patch of green grass, and I slept sitting up in the sunshine while she taunted 5 little dogs until they agreed to chase her.
Evening: Well, the good news is I don’t have to put my pyjamas back on, because I never took them off. Plus, Pippa now smells like mangos and lemon grass and no longer has a cloud of dust following her. She will be happy I stop calling her “Pigpen” (lovingly of course!)
I had zero energy to eat, but made a peanut butter and banana bagel with sugar on it because I was too lazy to go the van to get my honey. To swallow it, I need to leave each bite in my mouth until it essentially dissolves. I drank two litres of warm water and gargled with salt water for a third time.
I’m so melodramatic.
On a serious note. This all brings up something relevant to living for an extended period in a vehicle. It is super important (it seems to me) to have a little bit of cash stashed for times like this. Or at least a really good “safety plan” for times you are under the weather, or something more serious.
This is just a run-of-the-mill throat infection, akin to a bad cold I imagine. But it’s made me think a lot about health-on-the-road. I am trying to imagine how I would feel, sleeping in a cold van tonight; a newly sober, drooling Drama Queen with a case of the fever-chills.
I think I would feel alone, vulnerable and super cranky. Then I would start imagine dying – a sweaty, stinky, crazy old van lady who forgot to pluck her chin hairs this week …and I’m pretty sure I’d be certifiable by morning.
Doesn’t everyone need just a little bit of tenderness when they don’t feel well? If you set off on a solo journey like this, do be ready to give this extra tenderness to yourself. And while you are nursing a cold and feeling icky, go an extra step further and to devise a good safety plan in the event you actually needed medical attention. Who would you call? Who knows where you are? Where is the closest friend or family who could help? How will you pay for additional needs, like a motel or medication? How would you get to a “home base” if you have one? It’s not all solvable with money, although that is clearly part of the equation and pre-planning can help. Not unlike how you would think about these things in a house, really. Except out on the road, you might be a lot further from your regular support systems.
True, I’m not feeling great, but the reality is, I’m not suffering. There’s a difference.
Pain is physical, suffering is a state of mind. Instead of suffering, I’ve stayed here in my nice warm room and watched a Netflicks documentary called “Expedition: Happiness” about a young couple who travel through Canada and the US in a converted school bus.
I’ve talked with friends on Facebook, who totally loved me up. Pippa has significantly more space in which to entertain herself while I don’t feel like getting off this bed. Plus, If I can find my tweezers, I can take care of those chin hairs while I wait for this to pass 😉
I’m warm. I have a phone with a direct line to help in the event I got really sick, plus I’m somewhere I can be found easily if I needed help. Not so if I were in the desert. When you are not feeling well, it seems to me it’s not a great time to be stealth. That might sound super paranoid but having a fever triggers a lot of vulnerable feelings for me and I am best to just acknowledge and take care of them rather than judge myself.
Most importantly, having taken these steps, I don’t feel alone or vulnerable at all.
I just feel like I’ve swallowed a studded golf ball, is all. But I’m confident it’s nothing a day or two of wallowing won’t take good care of 😉