I didn't have any grand plans for my actual birthday since it fell on a weekday and had I been at work, I would have been working overtime anyway. But I definitely did not intend on being sick.
If you had not heard, I came down with the flu on Saturday and have been home ever since. It started out as a tickle in my throat and quickly escalated into alternating fever and chills, fatigue, an aching body, a splitting headache, sinus congestion, coughing, and nausea every time I dared to remove myself from the couch. Sunday and Monday were by far the worst days. By Tuesday I was feeling a little more human, but knew I should probably take Wednesday also. Since I would have missed three consecutive days of work, I called the doctor's office first thing Wednesday morning to get an appointment to obtain the requisite note required to come back to work. My trip to the doctor Wednesday afternoon was the first time I had left my house since Saturday.
I've been anticipating this birthday for some time; I'm excited to be thirty! Over a month ago, I designed a t-shirt for this day so I could advertise the fact it was my birthday: I'd wear it to work, and out to dinner later making sure everyone who walked by me knew. And why not? Even though I was only going to the doctor, I saw no reason not to wear it. So I put it on over a long-sleeved white t-shirt, put on my favorite pair of jeans, and headed out the door.
the birthday t-shirt, designed with the help of cafepress.com
I sat in the patient room for a few minutes before Erica (my doctor) came in. I was on the brink of tears; my good mood diminished when the nurse took my temperature just minutes earlier: at 101 degrees, I was still running a fever. I have no thermometer at home, but I knew this had gone down considerably from what it was on Sunday and Monday, and I wondered what kind of fever I had been running those two days.
waiting in the patient room
so happy about that 101 fever, really. can you tell?
She came in and examined me and noticed a fever rash all over my back, neck, and stomach that had completely escaped my notice. She said that she'd give me a note for the whole week and that I shouldn't go back to work until Monday. Perhaps many would be fine with a full week off, but I was already unhappy about the prospect of seeing all my hard-earned personal/vacation time dwindling because I work in a cubicle farm/petri dish where people think they're heroes for coming to work when they don't feel well. I have a lot of time saved up and glad I have it for situations such as these, but to see 40 hours gone so I could sit at home alone on the couch under a blanket exhausting my DVD collection and feeling sick? Ugh.
I went straight home and called my manager on the way to let him know. Since I have the best kind of manager you could ask for, I was not concerned in the least about letting him know that the doctor required me to stay home and rest for the remainder of the week. He said to take care of myself, that I was missed, and that half of our leadership team was out sick with the flu also.
When I arrived home, I fixed a small lunch of fried tempeh and green vegetables. When my sister called to ask if our dinner & movie plans for the night with Mom were still on, I lost it. I felt like my birthday was shot because I had gotten kicked hard in the rear with this infernal flu bug. While I was thankful I could stay home and rest, spending another day alone and on the couch, drinking fluids and spacing out in front of the TV was not how I wanted to spend my birthday. I couldn't even go enjoy a dinner and a movie, for crying out loud! I was so angry. I knew there wasn't a thing that could be done about it (the flu offers no special treatment for those with birthdays, apparently), but I was suddenly feeling miserable about the whole thing. I went back to my sickbay [aka: the couch], meanly flattened my food with the fork, and ate it begrudgingly between sobs. I don't say this kind of thing often, but for how the day had gone so far, I could not gloss it over: this totally sucked.
my lunch before i attacked it
Kaari came home about an hour later and told me to close my eyes. I heard her walk over to me and felt her place something on my head. I went and looked in the mirror to find a pink feathered tiara had been put on my head, a perfect complement to the "birthday girl." t-shirt I still wore. She had picked up a movie, and my Mom would be coming shortly with some soup.
And then my phone rang; it was Christin, my roommate from college calling to wish me a happy birthday. It was so great to hear her voice and tell her about my sad day, but how it was getting better already. My Mom came through the door while I was on the phone and brought red tulips (my favorite) with her and a cute get well card: Even germs find you irresistible, it says. I had to laugh.
Kaari proceeded to act as photographer, taking pictures of me as I was only too happy to pose (I've always been a bit of a ham for the camera). We ate our split pea soup, watched a movie, and laughed together. A few more friends called and wished me a happy birthday. After Mom went home, I shook vodka-crans for me, my sister, and our roommate Michelle.
I certainly would not have planned to spend my birthday this way, but am happy with the way it turned out. I'm glad I have this week to rest and sleep in and feel and think and give my body a break after seven months of going a hundred miles an hour. When I celebrate with friends for a birthday dinner in Seattle this coming weekend, I will be able to be fully present and engaged, soaking in every moment of that night. When I go to Florida, I will already be rested and able to fully enjoy the time that I'll have there, the time that already feels too short.
There have been so many surprises and blessings in this week, some of which I'll expand upon in future posts, and some of which I'll ponder in my own heart for a time. God has been speaking, and I've been still and listening. I'm so excited to see what He has for me this year. I feel as though I'm standing at the edge of a precipice, His hand covering my eyes, with the landscape of His plan in front of me. I can't wait until He lifts the hand, or at least allows me a peek through His fingers.