By Dave Nelson
I don’t think that bodily ailments are generally a fit subject for exposition. They come on, last a few days or a week or two and with some treatment and/or patience they go away. But, of course, this time it was different.
It began October 5 with severe left ankle pain and swelling – I could just barely walk. Then it moved to the right side as well. The injections prescribed by my doctor reduced the swelling and a treatment by my massage therapist helped but the pain of walking would not go away and I did not have the good sense to just stay off my feet.
Then there was a urinary tract infection (I did get a prescription for that). Somewhere in there my left hip and back began hurting – to the heat pad for that. And for a time I was running a slight fever. Then my friend Gus came to visit for a week, thank goodness. I was running out of food and had a couple of things that needed doing so I put him to good use.
I had no energy, no interest in anything, food and wine had no taste although I would get up and go out to dinner with Gus each evening. I found myself on the couch much of the time just dozing. I missed a couple of Spanish classes while Gus was here but otherwise went but had a tough time understanding even the simplest of things. A trip to the Cajas to have trout for lunch was nothing special, just ok. Perhaps complete and utter malaise best describes it. I was beginning to come out of it when Gus left, relieving the unavoidable stress of having a guest in my small apartment.
Then on Friday, November 6 I woke up feeling great, my brain in gear and no pain anywhere. Life had regained its luster and the quiet joy with which I generally live my life has returned.
In the past I have used the word “nuisance” to describe some of these medical difficulties, even some of the longer lasting problems from a gout attack. But for some reason this was different. It felt like there was one ailment after another coming at me – when one thing began feeling better, something else would start hurting. I found myself wondering “what’s next?” In my four-plus years in Cuenca I have never had a time like this. I won’t try to put a label on it because I think there were several things going on at the same time.
There is a lesson for me in all this. My way of doing things is to finish what I have started, to do my duty, to keep that dinner date. But this leads to a condition of simply “being there” when it would be better to stay home and take care of myself, to not push so hard. To not have to hear my teacher asking me why I didn’t call and cancel my class. Next time I will stop and pay attention to my body before carrying on.