Sick as a dog, or, Master Bedroom, by Andrew Wyeth
Whenever I am bedbound like this -- and let me say that whenever I have been bedbound like this it's been for the same reason!! -- I think of Amanda in Enid Blyton's Last Term at Malory Towers. Amanda was a big, strong girl who had come to Malory Towers because her old school had been destroyed in a fire. Trenigan Towers had been famous for sports, and Amanda was so good at them that she realistically expected to go in for the Olympic Games.
Well, in her pride and self-confidence, she decides to go for a swim in the sea one day, which the girls are actually forbidden to because of the strong currents. Eventually, her strength is no match for the pounding waves, and she is flung onto the rocks, which badly injure her. She is rescued of course -- we can't have anything too tragic in an Enid Blyton school story! -- but it is the end of her Olympic dreams.
"[Matron] left Amanda for an afternoon sleep. But Amanda didn't sleep. She lay thinking. What long long thoughts come to those in bed, ill and in pain! Amanda sorted a lot of things out during the time she was ill".
Well, I've been having lots of "long long thoughts" these few weeks. How true it is that time flies when you're having fun, and how true it is in reverse! The minutes and hours and days pass so slowly, I am literally counting them. Nausea clearly numbers among the worst of physical sensations -- draining, debilitating and depressing; irrationally, I find myself resenting that "command post" for nausea and vomiting which is apparently located in the brain stem.
Morning sickness is described in my pregnancy bible as "pure misery", and I keep looking at those words -- the same way I did twice before! -- and thinking, Amen!!! You can say that again! And again. And again. And again. What is the point of feeling like this, I wonder, when pregnancy should be as natural as breathing? Who even came up with that stupid name "morning sickness"?? It should be called all day sickness, or just plain sickness.
The weather has been an oppressive 30, 31 degrees daily. It is a drag seeing the kids go out during their school holidays with everyone except me. It is a drag not being able to participate in setting up the Christmas tree or do any Christmas shopping at all. Instead, I spend my time looking out the window, or at my toes, mentally dissecting the word nausea and noticing how closely it's tied to the word disgust. I start thinking I find both words equally revolting, as well as other words like vomit, acid, and oily.
I don't understand why women have to go through this -- being nauseated to the point where you don't feel like eating anything, or puking to the point where you keep nothing down, when surely now is one of those times when proper nutrients are even more vital than usual.
Here is a list of things I have been able to keep down in small (read tiny) quantities:
- Jammy toast (every. single. day).
- Strawberry milk
- Instant noodles
- Fruit cocktail (does this count as fruit?)
- Tums (I'm pretty certain this does not count as food)
- Skittles (nor this)
Here is a list of things which sounded so good in theory, but which refused to stay down:
- Fish porridge
- Orange juice
Looking over these lists, I don't know how I can agree with the scientists who propound the "evolutionary" theory of pregnancy sickness, which explains the nausea and vomiting as being necessary for the mother to avoid such foods as meat and strong-tasting vegetables, which historically may contain harmful toxins and microorganisms.
And then, to top it all off, my cousin comes to see me a couple of times, and takes the opportunity on each occasion to make such useful remarks as, "Ask God why women have to go through this". As if I needed that added to my feelings! Clearly, God isn't going to give me the answer to such a question, the sort that has plagued philosophers and scholars since the beginning of time.
I don't know why ok?! I can only press on in faith, trusting to God's inherent goodness, and the fact that His plans are for my welfare and not my harm, however I may feel at this particular space in time. Ultimately, I know of course that this too shall pass. I think anyone who's going through anything can rest assured of that.
Well, If there's one thing that I've developed since actively striving to walk closer with God, it's a watch over my mouth. Unlike the miserable, complaining mess I was when I was puking for seven weeks straight with Rebecca, I now refuse to let anything negative come out of my mouth.
With Becky, I remember ranting and raving at my mother on the phone after having had an especially disgusting time at the toilet bowl; gratitude for all my blessings -- including a husband and daughters who help in every way they can -- has since made a slightly wiser woman of me. However crappy I feel now, I refuse to say, or even think, anything pessimistic or self-pitying. I've learnt over the years that it simply does no good, and now is one of those times where I pray hard throughout the day to keep that in mind. "Tomorrow will be better" I say to Becky at the end of each day (which is now at a very praiseworthy 9pm!).
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof". And, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you". I don't know why God lets women -- and apparently no other mammals! -- go through this, but speaking for myself, I believe God is using it to teach me patience, humility, fortitude, an even temper, and yes -- a sense of humour.
* I wrote this intermittently in bed between weeks 7 to 11 (with a pencil and paper no less!); I'm now happily back to eating my beloved apples and broccoli, praise the Lord. I am at present under the verge of puking -- as opposed to being on the verge (or just plain puking) -- which I consider a wonderful improvement. Tomorrow will be better, and the day after even more so...