I was in a bus heading south from Chiang Mai when I felt something I didn’t recognize. At first it didn’t feel like much but in a couple hours everything hurt. All my muscles ached and I had a cough. In just a few hours my body went from feeling fine to feverish. A couple weeks before I had been sick for almost three weeks because I didn’t let myself recover fully before continuing to tire myself out. This time I knew I had to stop it as fast as I could.
When the bus got to Sukothai, my destination, I got out and walked strait to a hotel. I already had to ignore how little energy I had. I booked two nights, got enough water for at least a full day and a meal before shutting myself in my room to rest. I didn’t want to have a lingering sickness again. Being sick while traveling sucks, physically its not really that hard but emotionally it is a bother. The idea of wasting time and the fear of what the illness could be can be a lot to handle.
I was glad that I booked two nights when I woke up the next morning and didn’t even manage to get out of bed before noon. I had a headache all the day before and that night was torture, I couldn’t sleep most of the night because of the headache. I took a shower, I watched a movie, I tried to wet a towel to put on my head but everything was warm. The water doesn’t come out cold when its from a big plastic tub on the roof where it was 90 degrees during the day. Being sick is really hard while traveling. Its hard to get what I want when I’m well but I have the strength to deal with things not going well. When I’m sick it only increases my needs and makes me way less capable of getting those needs met.
I felt a bit better after two nights of rest so I thought I would be up for a bus ride to another town. The weather had turned cold and my body didn’t seem to be working to keep me warm anymore. I was freezing the whole bus ride. I don’t get it but the buses always seem to use the AC, even when its cold outside they will make the inside of the bus just as cold. When I finally arrived in Udon Thani I had to stay another two nights just to rest. This time it was even worse, it was cold, I hadn’t eaten more than a meal in the last three days and the isolation was starting to get to me. My back was hurting from trying to rest so much and everything else was aching from the sickness or from lack of use.
I left that hotel room twice in two days. Everything was really hard, walking across the street to buy water was about all I could motivate myself for. I knew I needed to eat something so I managed to eat a few snacks in those couple days.
One of those mornings I woke up and felt different, I wasn’t cold. I had been cold no matter what I did for days. I was wearing all my clothes and I had all the blankets around me but nothing was making me warm. It felt like I wasn’t making any heat so my clothes couldn’t keep in the heat that wasn’t there.
This morning though I wasn’t cold, I started to feel kind of lucky. Before that I was starting to despair, depression was sinking in. I could only hold up so long without having my needs met. I couldn’t sit alone in my hotel room feeling awful physically without eventually not being able to stay happy.
When I started to feel warm though, that’s when I started to realize what the best part of sickness was. I’ve been sick a lot in my life and most of that has been headaches. Because of that I have known how to appreciate sickness for a long time. Sickness makes health seem amazing. If I’m healthy for too long it just seems normal and I don’t appreciate my health. There is nothing like a bad migraine to make me happy to do anything. Migraines make it impossible to do almost anything, I can’t eat, I usually can’t drink water, I can’t look at tv or computer screens, I can’t talk to people, and sometimes I can’t even sleep until its over. I have had migraines for as long as I can remember and because of that its a lot harder for me to always take my basic human abilities for granted than it must be for totally healthy people. When I wake up from having a crippling headache the day before I feel amazing, like I’m a new body. I think that’s a lucky thing to get to experience.
I used to think that was a half-assed thing I had to be thankful for because there wasn’t anything else that could possibly be good about having headaches but now I’ve seen more of the way that life has of numbing people to the simple pleasures in life over time. Its actually really hard to continue to appreciate things that don’t change. Normal good things just become normal things. Unless you get them taken away for a bit. I will probably always get migraines, so even if I don’t get other kinds of illness I’ll still have my basic human abilities taken away from time to time-Yay Me.
Right now being able to keep myself warm feels like a pretty cool ability. A few days of feverish cold is a horrible feeling. I still can’t wait to feel well enough to eat a full meal.