A Gastrointestinal Parable

Feb 20, 2012

I love chicken tortilla soup!

Last night when my husband, C.B. and I sat down to eat dinner I made this statement: “I don’t think I should eat this.” It was my homemade chicken tortilla soup and it tasted fine. But there was a monster in my stomach who was slowly moving in and taking control. I ate half a bowl then shortly after went to bed.

Around one a.m. the monster wanted to party. I bounded out of bed and ran to the toilet, embracing it like we were long lost friends. Now I’m a nurse so I don’t mind detail, but I will spare the reader and allow your imagination to sufficiently complete the picture. The beast and I partied until around four, then he slowly slipped away as I slept finally, after calling out to work.

If you know me, you know I pride myself on my good health record. “Other than cancer,” I joke, “I never get sick.” Pride goeth before the commode. Humbly I admit that the same monster, who has taken down thousands in this area the last two months, has crippled me too.

Nurses really do make the worst patients. My doctor would say, Amen! Even when I get my cholesterol checked I kindly warn her that I’m going to drink my coffee with cream beforehand, so adjust accordingly. None of this sissy fasting stuff for me. And even when I was undergoing chemo I would make my poor husband take me out in the cold to the nearest mall, a place known to be swarming with germs,so he could walk beside me, really slow, while I shuffled the whole loop.

This morning he came home and found me sitting catatonic on the sofa.

“Why don’t you just go to bed?” he said, knowing me well enough to know his words are dismissed before they even cross the room. But every time I got up the room spun, I lost my breath and stumbled to the couch again, just before I passed out.

I will always contend that good health is attained and maintained by a hopeful and persevering spirit. Our bodies are magnificent creations designed to fight and recover. Conversely, I have watched way too many people throughout my nursing career quit and die. Sometimes it is common sense. There is a season for everything under the sun, including death, Solomon wisely states in the book of Ecclesiastes. But often it’s just a lack of gumption. They pull the shades, roll over, and quit. So I come in and pull up the shades.

Getting intimate with my toilet last night showed me a few things. I’m speaking metaphorically now so don’t say, “Ewww.” I’m made of the same combination of ingredients that we are all made of and therefore prone to an occasional invasion. The monster came and made a mess but he didn’t destroy the house. I also learned that sometimes it is good to let others care for you. Maybe from the chemo days, C.B. knows what to do with a nauseous, floppy wife and he graciously made me drinks and loved me, even weak and not so attractive. And hope, perseverance and courage are really good things but pride isn’t. I‘ve told God I’m sorry for thinking all those limp and lifeless bodies recovering from the same beast were being a little soft or dramatic. I’m with you now and I feel your pain. But I did ask my husband to take me to the mall. Just a little walk…