2012: The Year of Ill


Let’s face, 2012 was an interesting year. For some reason the only way I could think of the year was in terms of illnesses I had dealt with. This is TMI, so if you hate this kind of stuff, I’d turn away now.

1)   Bronchitis. At the end of 2011, I was battling what I thought was a pretty severe cold that had a lingering cough. I went for at least 3 weeks with this hacking cough before getting it checked out. I was only prompted by the fact that I was going on a 3-week trip to the Philippines and didn’t want to be SOL w/out any medicine if I did in fact have something more serious. When I arrived at the doctor’s office, I ended up breathing into a tube to clear my congested lungs.  My doctor scolded me for not coming in sooner. How was I to know that it was bronchitis? But the fact that I was hacking out my life with each cough, should’ve tipped me off.  I went to the Philippines  (the place with probably the worst air quality in the world) strapped with an inhaler.

2)   Severe Diarrhea. When I went to the Philippines back in 2007, I drank the local tap water and fearlessly ate food from street vendors and was completely fine. When I went there in January 2012, despite my better efforts of avoiding al tap water and ice, I suffered the most terrible bout of diarrhea. I wanted to kill myself. It was such a hindrance to our crazy travel itineraries. And because it’s a 3rd world country, there would be times when bathrooms were nonexistent.

3)   UTI – Just when I thought I was on my back to the comforts of the US, I experienced the worst flight of my life. I left Manila with what I thought were cramps but quickly realized it was UTI. I went to the bathroom every 5 minutes in excruciating pain. All I had to fight it was a bottle full of pain relievers. The warning label read that I shouldn’t take no more than 8 in a given period or I could risk kidney failure. I weighed out the mind-numbing pain I was experiencing against the possibility of kidney failure and my pain won out. I spent 16 hours on that flight, sweating and praying for relief. I asked the gentleman next to me if he wouldn’t mind giving up his aisle seat because I was stepping over him so often. He declined, saying that he always had to pee too.  MEN.

4)   Food poisoning – This was my own damn fault. I did a very Filipino thing and left out some fish to defrost so I could cook it when I got home. I got home late that night and didn’t have a chance to cook it until later in the evening. The fish tasted funny but braved it, since I was hungry. Bad decision. The next day I was feeling awful.  I was shaking and sweating and thought maybe I had come down with a fever. The room was spinning and I couldn’t keep anything down. Finally, I yacked my life away and felt immediately better.

5)   Vertigo – The food and poisoning and vertigo somewhat overlapped and so I was confused about what I was suffering from.  I was fitfully dizzy and all I wanted to do was lay in bed so the room would stop moving. I wanted to eat but would immediately feel nauseous after I did.  I went into Skyfall and couldn’t stomach the first chase scene so I had to leave after the first 10 minutes. I wanted to refund my ticket but was so nauseous that all I wanted to do was go home and lay down. Damn you Skyfall!

6)   Neck and back problems – Ordinarily I wouldn’t consider this an ailment but I’ve been dealing with it for the past couple weeks and it’s really affected my day to day activities. At first it was just a slight soreness I was experiencing, but one morning I woke up was unable to move my neck. I literally slid off my bed horizontally and onto the floor and put both hands behind my neck to lift myself upright. It was absolutely awful. I’m currently seeing a chiropractor.

7)   Heartbreak – This was one I didn’t see coming. But in hindsight, it was inevitable. What can anyone say about the pain of heartache? It’s a pain that slowly rises like thunder in the distance. You know it’s coming, but you somehow think the storm clouds won’t ever come near you. There are moments that overwhelm me, like I’m drowning in so much sadness and loneliness don’t know how I’ll ever make it out. There are others that prick like a thorn, a memory, a scent, a song – that send me spiraling down onto my knees.  There are moments of longing for comfort that tear me in two. Others where I am seething with rage and hatred. There is nothing I can do, there is nothing I can take to get past this pain.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from all this is that my latter ailments followed my breakup. Coincidence? Who knows, but one thing is clear: I have to take better care of myself. And while there are doctors to see and medicines to take for most of these ailments- how am I to deal with the heartbreak? I recall a quote that once said, “The best way out of difficulty is through it.” I’m bigger and stronger than the sum of my illnesses and past hurts. I’ve gotten past them, and I’m getting past them. I’m still here.