I’m getting sick. Well, maybe. Like a good zinc cold product consumer, I started sucking on a lozenge at the first sign of illness – last night when the dull headache that crept in during the day never morphed into a migraine like I feared, but instead gave way to a crushing fatigue, and just a bunch of “off” sensations.
“Off” bodily sensations have become the norm for me post-flox, sometimes caused by ingesting a disagreeable food or substance, or breathing some chemical or whatever. Sometimes I wrack my brain trying to figure out what caused it, and sometimes I do…but sometimes it remains one of life’s mysteries.
Last night I realized this current “off” feeling meant I’m getting a cold. When I considered that my son has had a cold for the last 2 days and has likely left all manner of germs all over the place for me to touch and transfer to my own body, I put two and two together because I’m smart like that, and popped myself a nice zinc lozenge.
Now I’m at work continuing my zinc lozenge regime, hoping for the best, and hiding the fact that I’ve brought this possible illness into the workplace. I mean, am I contagious if I’m zinc lozenging the fuck out of the germs? I don’t know. But I’ve got to eat and pay bills, so I intend to grace my workplace with my germy presence and soldier through my workday for the duration of the illness, unless I become too physically weak to get out of bed.
I mean, I’ve had enough practice working through illness during those 2-3 years of near-daily, intense flox symptoms. Somehow (who knows how) I managed. I worked through neuropathy that left me with burning, tingling, and numbness in my limbs and face. I worked through pain that left my body feeling twisted up like a pretzel, and stabbed repeatedly in various muscles and joints. I worked through migraines that rendered my brain practically a vegetable, making my eyes feel crossed, my mental processes slowed to the point where I should have been huddled in the corner of the room drooling on myself. But I didn’t do that. I performed all of my work duties with miraculously few mistakes, all while smiling at people, trying to pretend I didn’t want to die every second of every day. After all, what would have been the use in complaining? Very few people believed I was suffering, anyway.
My point is, if I can handle that, I can handle working through this possible cold.
I feel it, too. Or rather, my body’s response to those little germy fuckers trying to invade my body. Guess what, germs? You can kiss my ass. Unlike days past when illness sensations would trigger PTSD from my floxing, I refuse to become stressed out over your possible presence. Who gives a shit if I’m sick? If I’m prescribed antibiotics that might fuck me up again? If I can’t take normal cold medicines for relief, or nap for hours and hours during the daytime to hasten recovery like normal, non-floxed, non-MCS people, because my nervous system is shot and medications trigger neuropathy flares? Who gives a fuck? This is nothing to get upset about.
I’m saying these things to remind my dumbass PTSD brain that acquiring the common cold is not the same as descending into the unrelenting hell of possibly permanent flox and MCS symptoms. Colds go away. Just think about ocean waves or some shit, and stop worrying.
Secondly, I’m reminding myself that I am strong. If you had told my younger self I would survive that flox/MCS hell, I never would have believed you. See, I thought for many years that I was weak. Frail. Physically and emotionally. Well, guess what? I am many things in life, but weak and frail I am not.
Also, I am well aware that most people in the world would consider this blog the ramblings of a neurotic person. Seriously – just considering my posts objectively, they do seem insane, like something out of a sci-fi movie.
“She thinks an antibiotic fucked up her DNA, and now she’s supposedly allergic to everything? What a nutjob.”
I know that’s what some people think of me, which used to bother me quite a bit. But you know what? It really doesn’t anymore. I don’t need anyone else to validate my adverse drug reaction, or my unacknowledged, invisible illnesses, or any single goddamn other thing that has happened to me the last 6 years..or ever. I know my own truth, which is all the validation I will ever need…EVER. Times infinity plus one, as little kids might say.
See, I’ve figured out that I’m strong enough to withstand people’s doubt. Yes, it hurts to have my experiences dismissed. It’s even downright traumatizing when doctors, the people in charge of my healthcare, do it. But there’s an aspect of their dismissal that can no longer touch me, because my wellbeing is no longer dependent on the approval of other people.
I don’t know why it ever was. I mean, I’ve spent my entire life feeling shunned, not fitting in with the vast majority of people. If an alien ship appears to retrieve my spirit when my body kicks the bucket someday, I will not be the slightest bit surprised.
My point? If I can survive a lifetime on the outskirts of life, the subject of people’s frequent ridicule, I can survive their disbelief in my experiences, and their erroneous judgments about my mental state. I don’t actually care anymore, because I’m strong enough to stand on my own. I guess that’s another unexpected gift my health issues brought me.
My goodness. Who knew that a simple cold virus could lead to giving myself a pep talk about inner strength? I guess I’m my own life coach now. My own foul-mouthed, sometimes snarky asshole life coach, but that’s okay – this style works for me. If you don’t like it, don’t ask me to be your life coach. I wouldn’t be good at it anyway, since I don’t like telling other people what to do. There would be a lot of, “I don’t know – you should just do what you want”, which seems a little wishy-washy for a life coach. But what do I know – I just started this gig today.
Anyway, I have to go because it’s time to dig out another zinc lozenge and get back to work. I hope the zinc helps. Just because I can handle having a cold without succumbing to the troubling, PTSD ghost of illness past, doesn’t mean I WANT to.