After several tests and a chest Xray, I was diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday. I had been coughing for two weeks and now had a fever.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, last night I was sent home with my own nebulizer machine, some super strong antibiotics, and fell into bed exhausted. I lay down still coughing, my chest burning, and then started one of the worst fever chills I have ever experienced. I had on winter PJs, thick wooly socks, my favorite Peruvian wool hat with the ear flaps, several blankets, with a fuzzy one tight around my neck and shoulders. I was wrapped up like a cocoon. You could probably only see my nose and I was still freezing.
After about an hour of really horrible shaking and shivering, I suddenly noticed I was breathing alarmingly fast, my whole body was stiff and tense. I ached all over and I could barely move.
Right in the middle of this half conscious nightmare I suddenly had a very clear thought; I needed to slow down. I wondered if being so tense was keeping my body from healing and passing through this unpleasant and painful episode. It was a very understandable and innocent reaction but it had put me into fight or flight.
It only took seconds to consciously slow down my breathing and bring myself into the moment. I relaxed my muscles as best I could feeling a deep sense of calm and then quiet. It was only in the quiet I realized how noisy the fever had been. I was still very cold and achy but felt so much safer. Almost immediately I went to sleep and awoke this morning with a normal temperature.
When we get tense, for whatever reason, could be bad news, a misunderstanding or physical pain, we innocently set off the fight or flight response. This flood of adrenaline and cortisol is very helpful if we are in imminent danger but if we are worrying, stressed or sick then it only makes our experience more frightening. Being afraid of emotions kept me feeling unsafe, anxious and resentful for years.
Knowing that we can stop at any moment and come back to the moment even in the middle of the lowest mood or the worst physical pain is freedom. This is resilience. Its kind of like a hairdryer that cuts out if it gets too hot, a circuit breaker that cuts off the power when there is a problem. It lets us know we are not using our power well. This is how we are all made. Its a reliable system. This is how it worked for me last night.
For decades I did not know this and would get myself into worse messes by innocently not understanding the signals or able to hear the quiet voice.
But we can all return to our wellbeing no matter what our circumstances at any moment. Having that awareness in the middle of a fever was kind of beautiful. It was a gift. Grounding and clarity are our birthright and I'm feeling so grateful right now that I know this.
Be well ~ Chana