A Dose Of Friendship

I’ve been sick the last few months.  Not one continuous illness, but a series of no less than seven colds since the first week of January, with some chest pains (lungs?  heart?  Dr.s are still running tests to figure this out) in between.  This has worn me out and obviously my immune system has been compromised in some way in order for this to have happened.  I’ve been so sick so often that my boss has taken to greeting me with a fond “Hi Sicko!” in the mornings when she sees me on-line.

This last cold was the worst.  I won’t go into the details, but last Monday morning I felt so horrible that I thought about asking my husband to write down the hymns I’d like sung at my funeral (which would, by the way, include “Just As I Am”, in case any of my family members read this).  My husband had me wrapped up papoose fashion in an electric blanket because I couldn’t stop shivering.  I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to watch much TV, and I couldn’t keep my mind clear enough to follow the plot in anything – even on The Price Is Right.  And yes, for those of you asking, you only realize there is a plot to The Price Is Right game show when you realize that you aren’t able to follow it any more.  It doesn’t hit you until later just how scary that is :).  And if this doesn’t paint a pathetic picture already, let me add one more detail that is the real “tell”…  My husband put in my DVD of Pride and Prejudice (the 1995 BBC version with Colin Firth, of course) in the hopes that this would entertain me… and I had no interest in anything having to do with Mr. Darcy.  I obviously had good reason to contemplate the musical score for my funeral.

That was earlier this week.  Now I am on the mend and today I actually sat at my desk and worked.  Hooray!  And what got me from funeral planning to planning out performance management strategies at work?  Three things.  First came the Z-pak antibiotic series – 5 days of pills that my Dr. prescribed for me Monday morning.  After three days however, I hadn’t improved much.   Unbeknownst to me stronger medicine was on its way.

The second thing came Wednesday when a friend of mine from church sent me an email saying that she missed me and wanting to know how I was.  None of my friends are the type to call every day and chat – most don’t even live in this state and we are all waaaaay too busy for casual daily contact.  Most of my friends weren’t even aware that I’ve been ill.  This one however is from my church and she knew I’ve missed some services and haven’t been singing in choir lately.  I wasn’t in services this last Sunday nor was I at a small group meeting Sunday night.  Even though neither my husband or I had reached out to tell anyone I was sick, this dear friend reached out to me.  Seems small, but it was a therapeutic touch that hit the spot. 

Then came the closer.  A woman in our neighborhood whose son is on the same little league team as my older son, who knew I’d missed more than half of the games this season (I’d missed again that Monday evening – first game of the end-of-season tournament), sent over a plate of home made cookies around dinner time Wednesday night.  Wow.  This completely unexpected gesture of kindness was a sweet balm that warmed my heart.

I hadn’t asked for it in any way.  Yet people missed me.  They cared.  God had opened his medicine cabinet and sent me some home remedy.

My cold made the turn that night.  The next morning I felt better and continued to improve throughout the day.  Today I feel even stronger.  I know the antibiotic was part of it… but the powerfully strong dose of friendship paired with the shot of kind sympathy was the best medicine indeed.

Thank you!

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Autism or Austentism?

Our family lives with obsession.  We have a child with Autism–enough said, right?  He is obsessed with animals and tiny tiny things… like tiny beads, tiny pieces of confetti, or, well, tiny animals. 

We all have our obsessions, I have found.  Each of us, in our turn, has something that “turns us on” to the point where we can, if we let it, perseverate and obsess and just plain wallow in our chosen joy.

My husband, for instance, like most Southern men, is obsessed with Football.  My older son is obsessed with sports and SportsCenter on ESPN.  My younger son, as I mentioned, finds his joy in animals and tiny things.

And me?  Sigh…  I am not above obsession.  I have to admit that I too am obsessed.

I am obsessed with Jane Autsen. 

Persuasion, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Northanger Abby… Jane is my escape.  Through her writings she allows me to relive the decisions made in my early twenties.  She allows me to explore feelings and rationalizations and moral questions… the senses and sensibilities, I guess.  I recently took joy in reading and re-reading Pride and Prejudice to the point where I have been pondering my own parallels to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth and even, I must add, to Mrs. Bennet.  I even added a “Which Jane Austen Character Are You” quiz on my facebook page.  This is scary. 

I believe the official diagnosis is that I am a “Janeite”.  But that seems such a plain-sounding diagnosis.  I am starting to think of it as “Austentism”.

Just how far does this go?  Well, let’s see.  I have been faithfully following the recent US Masterpiece Theater Jane Austen Revival on PBS.  I have watched the interviews with the producer and actors on PBS.org.  I took the “which one is your man?” quiz, also on PBS.org (not telling which one I prefer :)).  I have watched just about all of the movies ever made based upon her works (my favorite?  The 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, of course, but the Bridget Jones’ Diary series is also a favorite as a “loose translation”).  I just rented “Becoming Jane” and loved the theory it presented about how Miss Jane Austen may have gained the life experience reflected in her works (such a fresh yet plausible story).  I have her books and books by authors who wrote sequels and books that tell the stories from an others’ (usually the man’s) point of view.  I have the soundtrack to the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice on my iPod.  I’ve read through (and reference) www.Pemberly.com  quite often (see link in the sidebar).  I’ve looked up patterns for the dresses and accessories that were worn and referenced in her books.  I even have a book titled “Jane Austen’s Book on Manners” and have thought about getting a cookbook that is now out with recipes for things that are mentioned in her books.   Like a drug addiction, I crave them and want more. 

Forget scary – now that I am writing this all down I realize that my addiction is… REALLY scary!

If my powers of concentration were better, I’d be able to ignore the dishes (ok, I am already pretty good at ignoring the dishes), and the kids’ homework, and the latest report demand from my boss, and just submerge myself in my passion.  Perhaps that only comes in the most advanced stages of obsession… or in Autism…

Did this come on after prolonged use of Teflon coated pans heated above 450 degrees?  Vaccinations?  Mercury poisoning?  A genetic predisposition?

Can I be cured through diet?  Chelation?  ABA?  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?  Vitamins? 

I hope not.  I’m having too much fun!  🙂