I began the week with a very bad cold—the kind that keeps you in bed for at least one full day with cough medicine and cough drops taken regularly along with hot tea. I knew I was getting better this morning when I could drink a couple cups of mocha flavored coffee instead.
The early cold of the season caught me off guard because I’m not the type that usually picks up colds. I never get sick! Unless we’re talking about mental illness and then, it’s a yearly or seasonal shift into bipolar mood swings that grip me fiercely. I’ve been lucky this year with only one mixed episode of both mania and depression (suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, concentration problems, etc.) that was quickly squashed with a medication dosage change. This summer was unique as well in that my husband suffered from throat cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation to treat it. By comparison to mood disorders and cancer, a cold seems like a small slice of suffering.
It got me thinking about what wellness looks like. It should not include the constant anxiety over the return of an illness, whether it may be physical or mental in nature. And yet, with my recent cold all those fears cascaded down from brain to gut re-born in evil soup. There is something in a poet that wants each day to be a new and fresh creation. Anxiety is such a hamster wheel of hell. Around and around, falling in your own vomit until you are covered in it. Let’s make each day new.
Below is my poem, 37 Degree Sunshine in its first draft form. Comments and criticism are welcome as well as posts of your own on the subject. Keep the conversation going! And don’t forget to join my mailing list by scrolling down and clicking on the button at the bottom of the screen. You’ll be notified of future posts, which are 1-4 times monthly. That’s it. No spam included.
37 Degree Sunshine
Hair matted with glistening shine, I
sit in 37 degree sunshine drinking mocha.
What if the cancer comes back and kills
him dead? Will I have a bipolar episode?
I stick my nose down my shirt to smell
but two flu days reveal nothing.
Pre-frost dreams of life before illness
date back to infancy half-lives.
Deep inside the womb, my fears born
as tiny kernels for future days.