Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Little Victories, Big Changes

Last Wednesday, I had the makings of a nasty cold. One week later, I have the lingering remnants of said nasty cold, most notably decreased peak flows and lots more wheezing than normal.

And I couldn’t be happier.

A year ago, getting a cold guaranteed I’d eventually end up in the hospital. A few months ago, getting a cold meant I’d spend a few weeks languishing with bronchitis, and I’d start a long course of antibiotics—and often, I’d still end up in the hospital. But for right now, getting a cold means feeling miserable, forgoing all but the most necessary of commitments to get extra rest, and keeping my trusty nebulizer right by my side. I did it—I had a cold, and it didn’t throw my entire routine out of whack.

Knowing my immune system, this will probably still drag on for a few weeks, but I don’t care. It still didn’t get as bad as I’d been conditioned to expect it would. I am not na├»ve, I know I still need to hunker down for a long, cold winter laden with viral infections, but at least I am starting out my “bad season” on stronger footing.

Maybe I was just lucky this time, maybe the infection wasn’t a particularly strong one or I felt it coming earlier and responded as such…or maybe the changes I’ve been making in my life and in my schedule are beginning to pay off after all. It’s been a difficult mental battle to scale back my teaching schedule a bit, to say no to new writing projects I’d like to tackle to focus on the ones I already have, to actually build in space for resting when my preferred state of being is overly-committed and super busy.

Half the time I hate it, I feel antsy and irritated, like there are so many things I could be doing, so many things I should be doing. Why teach two classes when I could teach three or four and get more money? Why say no to another freelance job when theoretically I could squeeze it in late at night? Why not make plans for a Sunday meeting since my fellowship meets only on Saturdays, thus leaving an open window beyond the confines of the workweek? This is how my mind works, and this is the inner system of checks and balances I need to control.

But today, in this moment, I am beginning to feel the changes are worth it. I wasn’t as run down as I usually am by this point in the semester, and maybe that’s why things didn’t completely explode when I got sick. Like everything, it’s a trade-off, but right now, slowing down a bit seems a lot more tolerable than having my life completely disrupted by spending days in the hospital and falling even more behind.

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