For the first time in a long time, maybe ever, I've taken a few days sick leave from work. That chest cold I mentioned in the last post was taking a lot out of me. I felt waves of guilt taking off more than a day from work (three in a row, to be precise) but part of me knew this is what my body needed. After trying to soldier through a lung infection (sounds worse than it is, really, but the French word is pneumopathie) last week, the fatigue and windedness caught up with me this week.
Sitting at home while my daughter was at school and husband at work was the only way I could get the rest I needed. And it has taught me a few things, some frivoulous, some fundamental.
1. My wall clock ticks rather loudly. This is something I don't often realize with a buzzing five-year old in the room. Or the TV in the evening. I don't mind the metronomic ticking really. I find it soothing and it sometimes helps me fall alseep. My dad used to take it down and put it in the kitchen cabinet when he slept here during his visits though.
2. My cat does diddly sqat all day long. I kind of suspected this already. Now I have confirmation. He naps in one place, eats, then naps in another. He's been a good napping partner, I can say that!
3. Our fish is pretty much the same. Juliette "won" a gold fish last week at the fair. By win I mean Remi paid seven euros for her to fish out 20 plastic ducks from a little artificial canal which gave her the right to pick a goldfish. Fishy came in one of those tiny plastic boxes they dare to call aquariums. We got him a proper tank and filter and he swims around happily now.
4. I like reading but have so little time to do it. The last time I read this much was probably when I was breastfeeding and had the time to spare while Juju nursed, oh, six or seven times a day. Now on sick leave I've been forcing myself to rest and have been enjoying the chance to immerse myself in a book (The House of Sleep by Jonathan Coe). It's a rare pleasure for a working mom.
5. There's so much I want to do and so little time to do it. I have given myself strict orders not to overdo it these past few days. Reading, napping, very light housework when necessary. But I can think of so many unfinished art or home projects and organizing of closets, etc. that I wish I could get done. It's a bit overwhelming when I think of all the things I want to do. Day-to-day life gets in the way.
6. I need to take care of myself more. This is probably the most important lesson this sick leave has taught me but the hardest one to put into practice. If I stayed sick as long as I did it was in part because of a busy work and home schedule. I've got to make a concerted effort to take it easy while still keeping the essential stuff running smoothly. It's a balancing act we all face.
7. I need to watch the clouds more. My south-facing balcony is perched just high enough to give me a fairly unobstructed view of the passing clouds. I get a lot of comfort from this view and I need to keep looking up and out.
So, there is still an occasional tenderness when I breathe in deeply, but I'm much better today than I was this time last week. That'll teach me to slow down a little and prioritize more. One breath at a time.