It’s Monday, and I’m still recovering. I’ll be recovering for a while longer.

I got sick a week ago, waking up last Monday with no strength, barely able to get out of bed. My breathing was labored, so my thoughts right away went to asthma, an old, cranky friend of mine.

I sat on the corner chair of the bedroom, content to look out. I had no strength to feed or walk dogs, meditate, even read. Instead, between naps, I looked out at the wild jungle our yard has become in this summer heat. It’s hard to describe how happy I am, even breathing shallowly, not doing anything. No choice about it, no decision about what gets done and what doesn’t, just look out the window, just stop doing.

As I took more asthma medicine, my hands became so jittery I couldn’t hit the computer keys. Sending a brief text took 10 minutes. I couldn’t even brush my teeth.

On Wednesday I went into the Emergency Room of our local hospital. They continued heavy doses of cortisone against asthma, but as more tests results came in, they were no longer certain of the diagnosis and wished to admit me. I refused, but when my housemate Lori came to pick me up and heard what they said, she talked it over with me in the parking lot and persuaded me to go back. I was officially admitted into the hospital Wednesday night.

In the two days I spent in the hospital, my first in a number of years, I was treated for everything under the sun, including asthma, anaplasmosis (tick-borne disease that is not Lyme), and finally pneumonia. Numbers would go up and then come crashing down, only to go up again. Breathing still shallow, coughing, and an exhaustion that was exacerbated because I couldn’t sleep at nights. I felt I was fading fast.

On Friday afternoon I faced the same quandary I’d faced earlier. The hospital didn’t want me to go, not all test results had come in yet, and they were releasing me sicker than I was when I came in. They pleaded and harangued for me to stay over the weekend, guaranteed me that if I leave the hospital, I would be back in Emergency early the next morning.

I was adamant, the only exception being when I started vomiting and a picture of Bernie dying of sepsis floated in front of my mind, when he had vomited and was unable to hold back the liquids in his body.

“Could I have sepsis?” I asked the nurse.

“You have major infection, your body is dealing with tremendous stress. Serious things can happen to you this weekend.”

She was frightened by my decision, and for a moment I felt worse for her than for me. But 10 minutes later my dear friend, Sensei Dr. John Kealy, took me from the wheelchair to his car and off we went to Walgreen’s to pick up enough medication to line up a drug store.

I came home late Friday afternoon, tottered upstairs, and fully clothed, collapsed on the bed and slept for 16 hours. The door was closed even to the dogs.

I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud (though the bed is very firm), floating in heaven, carried by air,.

By the time I got up the next day, I knew I wasn’t headed over to Emergency anytime soon. That afternoon a message came from the hospital doctor to let me know that the test for tick-borne illness had come back positive and to cancel much of the medications I’d picked up. My hands were still too jittery to do any writing. The weekend came and went, I didn’t go back to the hospital.

Instead, I had the wonderful opportunity to witness once again how well the world goes on without me, how the hummingbirds have lots of nectar from the profusion of honeysuckle (see above) even if I can’t fill the feeders, how Green River Zen Center goes on splendidly well without me, as does the Zen Peacemaker Order, as do even the dogs, who’re somewhat unsure of what’s happening. They even managed to endure a thunderstorm without me.

People like me require endless reminders of how they’re as relevant and expendable to life as the twigs and branches that the storm threw down to the ground. We think we’re so big; we are and we’re not, mostly we’re not.

Today I am finally able to hit the computer keys. There’s so much inside, love and appreciation for everything I received, the care, the lonely nights, the unpredictable genius of the path. Lots to write about: marvelous nurses and wacky roommates, how often I laughed and laughed at the wise beings we think we are, clowns all.

Now is not the time.

Slow steps ahead.

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