If there’s one thing that I really don’t “do” too well, it’s listening to my body when I’m run down. That’s why I’ve been dealing with stomach flu for the last month, because I’ve been attempting to carry on as normal since the minor surgery that brought my defences down in the first place. Nobody tells me to stay in bed; nobody tells me what I should or shouldn’t be doing. Tribble has given up trying to guide me, as he knows that he will just have “I will do [insert suggestion here] when I am good and ready!” growled at him. Bless his heart, I know it’s only because he’s concerned – and given that I’m not in the best of health on a good day you can’t really blame him. All the same, I am a stubborn creature, given to complete capriciousness on occasion, and so he has had to learn to allow me to go my own way… even if he knows I’m wrong.
So, when I voluntarily take myself off to spend the best part of three days in bed, you know that I am really very unwell indeed. I haven’t even had my laptop upstairs (although I could) and have been lying in bed reading on my Kindle and barely able to keep even water down. I’ve been so cold that I’ve been sleeping in my thickest jumper and my comfy, baggy joggers.
As you can see I am now up and about, 7lbs lighter (and none too happy about it) and feeling much better. Yesterday I managed a cup of tea, some home-made spinach soup and a ham sandwich. I didn’t manage sleep (I never can if I’m very poorly) but did eventually drift off to have nightmares. I always have nightmares when I’ve got a bug.
My main issue during illness is that there simply isn’t enough to occupy my overactive brain. Although I love to read (and doubtless I don’t do enough of it) it almost becomes an arduous chore if I’ve got nothing else to do but lie in bed and stare out of our unusually wide bedroom window. When I’m not well my head hurts too much to concentrate on sewing, and the glare of my laptop screen will simply make me feel sicker, so reading is all there is to do.
It frustrates me that I can still hear birdsong in our quiet cul-de-sac whilst I lie in bed, as I can identify almost every bird but I can’t actually see them. I like to see our Robin instead of simply hearing him, and I don’t get to enjoy the plants in my garden either.
In short, I always feel as though I’m missing out when I’m restricted to bed. The world goes on without me, and I am unable to observe, feel and enjoy. All of my senses feel utterly deprived. I can hear the world outside, but I cannot see, touch, feel or smell it.
When you have the heightened senses of an autist this can be somewhat like walking a tightrope. Like almost every person with my degree of autism I am hypersensitive to just about everything, and certain sounds can be physically painful. Just holding eye contact can be physically painful, and there are various textiles that I refuse to touch because I can’t abide the feel of them. I can’t even walk on bare carpet and never allow my feet to go bare, even when I’m in bed. Just another odd quirk of mine.
However, if you remove all sensation other than hearing and confine me to bed, that is almost as physically painful as the most unbearable sound or textile. The duvet feels like a restrictive cell and all I want to do is to break out and go running through the wet grass of the nearby park – which would be rather a neat trick since I am physically unable to run!
Today I am grateful to be well enough, that I can be downstairs with my Tribble and watching my favourite recorded shows on TV. I’m grateful that I am well enough to eat again, and interact, and have things other than my Kindle and the roof of the house opposite to occupy my mind.
I am always so impatient to get back to normal. Perhaps I need to train myself to make sure that it happens sooner rather than later, on the rare occasions that I become physically ill!