10 Lessons on How to Cure Cabin Fever from Yoda the Cat
#1: Stake your claim to the couch immediately. This may involve sprawling out on the centermost cushion so that no one else can possibly sit on it.
#2: Find the softest, fluffiest blanket and burrow into it, even if it means kneading at the fabric until it reaches the desired level of softness. So what if the trendy Ikat design now looks like a mohair version of Jackson Pollack’s paint splatter technique? YOU are comfy.
#3: Become fascinated by anything that moves. Ascertain that you are better than it. Then move on.
#4: Glare at all houseplants. Do not be fooled by their stoic silence. They are trying to upstage you with their prettiness. You are prettier. Do not forget this.
#5: Be that creepy neighbor who stares at passerby’s from between the blinds.
#6: Yowl if you are not fed fast enough. This transgression is unforgivable.
#7: Entertain yourself by knocking down small objects. If anyone complains, blink innocently and call it modern art.
#8: Greet any fellow cohabitants at the door and demand immediate attention. You are, after all, the epitome of cuteness, and as such, are deserving of EVERYTHING.
#9: Sleep. Stretch. Eat. Repeat.
And if all else fails…
Just poop on the floor.
An Open Letter to My Insurance Company,
Dear Sir or Madam,
I hereby humbly suggest that you reconsider your denial of my petition for a PICC line so that I may receive IV therapy for an illness that has plagued me for over three years straight. While I appreciate your statement that there is not enough medical proof that having this treatment will help me, considering I had a PICC line for four weeks three years ago (and naturally the thought that I may have been bitten by another tick and infected with other co-infections that I did not have before has obviously not occurred to you) let me educate you on one simple fact. I have tried EVERYTHING. This is my last and best option for getting well. And while your suggestion that I pay out of pocket is adorable, I must ask you how many subscribers you have who can’t work due to a debilitating illness have the cash to spare for a treatment which would cost more than it would take to buy a used car for just one month of treatment? At the risk of sounding crass, I believe you know where you can put that suggestion.
In summation, may I remind you that my doctor, one of the few world-class physicians actually literate in this complex and devastating disease, believes that this is a treatment I need to get well, as he has exhausted every antibiotic option with me as well as several herbal, homeopathic, and dietary, over the past year. Therefore, I ask you to kindly reconsider your denial of my claim. Because, to put it bluntly, I’ve already had to give up standard human privileges like, say, walking, driving, working, general happiness, and consuming copious amounts of gluten, dairy, and sugar.
Shall I break it down further? My body is falling apart. I have not been able to leave my residence without assistance for over thirteen months. I subsist on a handful of meals designed to provide as little inflammation as possible. I plan my days around taking medication, supplements, and tinctures every couple hours. My nervous system is as mangled as a switch board after an electrical fire. And you have it within your power to grant me access to the last modicum of hope I have left.
Use this power well. Because if you don’t, well…
Karma’s a bitch.
This poem is for the brave souls fighting through chronic illness or trauma, and for their caretakers who sacrifice so much through it all.
For Mandalf, who is off on a TOMS giving trip in the Dominican Republic right now: I love you.
“Pieces of Me”
The date was going very well
Ambient lighting overlooking fine fare
With one french press
And two cups to share
The smell of salt was in the air as we sat in that Starbucks on Thanksgiving day
Word association played back and forth like proverbial ping pong volleyed from two pairs of perky lips
Tell me quick, he smiled bright
First word that comes to mind
Pillow, he said
Talk, I said
Rain, he said
Singing in the, I said
Pieces, he said
Reese’s, I said
His eyebrows raised like wigwams
I think I’m going to like you, he decided
We still play this game
So many years hence
But my answers now reveal my fate
I never could have known back then
His fingers intertwine with mine
Wrapping strongly in the toughest weave only trauma can forge
And though this illness has claimed pieces of me
Our hands hold on
Clocking countless catharsis
Knowing even though so much has changed
The laugher less frequent
The light in our eyes dulled like a dimmer switch with each passing year
These pieces we’ve lost will someday reappear
For after all
They are only pieces
And the rest still remains
Waiting to welcome them warmly back home
“Jump Back, Socrates”
Today’s Words of Wisdom:
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
Shhhhh. Okay, come in quietly. No sudden movements. Why? I just realized that I’m on a very precarious teeter-totter, and I must remain perfectly balanced. Or. Else. I. Will. Go. Boom. Just take a seat, nice and quietly, that’s it, roll heel to toe… wow, you do that so well. Were you in marching band? Oh, right, the teeter-totter. Well since you’re here and being so obliging and all, I guess I’d better explain.
I’ve just come upon a frighteningly deep discovery. Super existential. Insanely philosophical. And I wasn’t even wearing my what-does-it-all-mean fedora. (Very different from my fooled-you-into-thinking-I’m-a-hipster fedora.) GAH! Almost fell. Well, that’s what I get for segueing from my profound revelation to festive headwear. But I digress.
Okay, here it is. My discovery. My Luke-I-am-your-father of all plot twists. And I’ll tell you right now, I’m not entirely certain it’ll make any sense to anyone who isn’t in my head right now. But here goes.
I have gone my entire life thinking that if I can’t logically, verbally, succinctly describe and define who I am, than I must not know who I am. Now compound this by the fact that I’ve spent the past three plus years trying to discover and redefine who I am now since my life was turned upside down by Chronic Lyme Disease. So this is an equation I’ve been working on for over three years… balancing on this damn teeter-totter, trying to figure out where I need to land, how I need to look, to think, to act to make my life matter… and here’s the kicker: I’ve only just now realized that I’ve only been considering HALF of the equation! I’ve been super serious and all tense and focused on the brainy analytical side of it all, focusing on all these unanswered questions… without once considering that I have, perhaps, fundamentally, despite sickness or health, never changed at all.
I know. Jump back, Socrates.
Which means all these pressing questions? Are only there to satisfy the logic center in my brain. Not my spirit, soul, or any facet of my emotional being. Which means I’ve put all my eggs into the brainy puzzle-solving basket, and none into that place of knowing that has nothing to do with what’s in your noggin. I’m talking about intuition. The feminine energy we rarely acknowledge as valuable in today’s society. (The big brain gets all the attention these days. Spotlight Hog.)
Yes, what I do has changed. How I spend my time and days. My goals and outlook on life has adapted, sure. But I’ve been so preoccupied trying to discover who I should be in the midst of this debilitating illness (re: strong, inspirational, warrior woman) that I never stopped to think that just because my brain is telling me that since my circumstances have changed, (meaning I must, naturally, agonize over what this means for my life purpose) doesn’t mean that I don’t know myself. Step away from the spatula, baby! This hunk of clay is here to stay.
So, I guess you can move around now. Because I think I’m finally ready to get down off this tiny point I’ve been balancing on, trying to work out who I should be in light of all that’s happened in my life. Because what you do isn’t who you are. That’s backward. Who you are drives what you do, and how you do it. And what you are may not be definable. And what if the only one demanding you define it is YOURSELF?!!
Meaning me. I mean me. I’m the only one demanding I figure out the mathematical solvency for chronically thriving. Which means… I made my brain the boss. And ignored my gut. And now that I know I’ve been working for that incessant workaholic, I don’t have to devote every minute to appeasing it. And golly gosh darn, doesn’t that just sound like the most relaxing breath of fresh air I’ve ever heard.
After all… what if it just doesn’t have to be that hard?
Stories are how we connect
How we remember
The talisman of the human condition
They are what make us cry and feel and aspire
To be the fearless warrior
Or the artist untarnished by ill-begotten gains
Stories make us feel alive
Our hearts beating in tandem
With your story is like mine
And I am not alone
With don’t tell me I can’t
And never tell me the odds
She clutches her story with the strength of a thousand eagles’ talons
Whist she’d gladly wish it gone
Her story isn’t happy
But through this illness
These years of fighting blind
She knows the reason why
It is because
It isn’t yet over.