Sick Days

State of Recovery

I was pretty disappointed to find myself sick after last week. I had just resolved (again) to be more productive this week. But my list of tasks was no longer an immediate priority as I struggled to breath and stay upright. I was sick. I often get sick between the seasons. My body cannot seem to cope with the change of temperatures as gracefully as I would hope. So as summer came to a close, I was met with a literal cold.

I was definitely frustrated. But as I reflect on it now, I was very lucky to be in a position where taking care of my health could be my priority for the week. I did what I could with daily chores and every day tasks. After that, I rested as best and as often as I could. I knew that if I wanted to get over this cold, I had to do everything I could to get better. I took warm showers every day. I only got up to eat and take medicine. I slept with sweaters and heavy blankets. I took cough drops and lathered VapoRub, anything, in order to reopen my airways.

On top of the cold weather and plummeting rainfall, the area was on high alert with a case of pneumonia-like illness going around. My family was afraid I may have gotten the sickness. Luckily, I just had a case of the common cold. So as each day passed throughout the week, I gradually grew stronger. It took a lot of fortitude to stay in doors, moreover in bed, as my anxiety grew. I must be getting better.

A Stubborn Patient

By Saturday, I claimed to be cure and finally able to go out. With a couple of errands, and determined to see them through, I prepared myself as best I could. A nice hot shower, clothed in a warm, comfy sweater and scarf, I set out to my first appointment: volunteering with the kids at Umoja.

It was such a pleasure to see my fellow program leaders and kids at Umoja. I was definitely thrown into a different pace, playing games, dancing and making crafts. But it felt good to talk, laugh and be around people. When you are sick, it is often very quiet, you rarely speak and you are by yourself. When the Saturday program ended for the day, I was off to my next appointment: a meeting with a prospective client.

The project was to help a local cafe owner update some business assets. The meeting went well. The client and I understood each other and the planning for the project was very straight forward. I was excited, motivated and optimistic with this new enterprise.

As the meeting came to a close and I was on my way home, I received a message from my manager at my new part-time retail job. We needed to discuss my schedule for the upcoming week. The mall was on my way home, so I stopped by to see my manager in person. I would have a full week of training ahead of me.

Looking at the day after a slow week of recovery, I thought I would be satisfied with my productivity. But my nerves have gotten the best of me. It is 3:00am (Sunday) in the morning as I write this section of my blog. After several attempts to sleep, my mind cannot seem to rest as I try to squeeze in as much tasks as I can in the remainder of this weekend. With a busy week scheduled with work, salsa dance classes, personal and professional commitments, it is foolish to risk this stint of good health for what? An insane need to complete enough tasks in the week?

This patient is diagnosed to be stubborn.

Calm Before the Storm

I know that I will need to find some compromise with myself today (being Sunday). A good balance of scheduled work and rest that can somehow result in a good night’s sleep. I am looking forward to the business and new challenges. But I know that in order to face these tasks to the best of my abilities, I need to be in my best health.

This past week has taught me that the time we get to recover and rest is as rare as the calm before a storm. Some storms in our life seem to crash one right after another. So we need to take the chances for recovery and rejuvenation whenever we can. We may never get it again.

Even with my deranged need to work throughout the night to compensate for daily distractions, I recognize that this is not healthy. There are a lot of changes that need to be made in order for me to work and relax without losing precious sleep over my failings. This experience is a reminder that time management is vital as a solopreneur.

It is true that at the beginning, we can be working at odd hours. But we must not risk our health over it. Because without our good health, how are we to move forward? There will always be a new storm to face in life: sick days, slow summers, a new job or project. Let us not forget to take care of our bodies and minds which are our vessels to move, create, work and to succeed. Hope you all have a great week and remember to take care of yourself! ■

Patricia Atienza