Uninspiring lessons from a sick bed- The New Indian Express

I have been violently sick all week and it has been a most sobering experience. For one, it has disabused me of the notion that I am not unlike Bruce Willis in Unbreakable nor can I expect to become the ‘Queen of Cockroaches’ when most of humankind is exterminated by the apocalypse. Apparently, I am as susceptible as everyone else to fever, cold, body pain etc. and worse than most at handling inconvenient ailments with grace and patience.

Lying huddled up in bed, too weak to read or browse through Netflix to find something to binge on, I slept intermittently, wallowed in self-pity and felt excessively pleased with myself every time I crawled out of bed to make herbal tea or rasam saadham . Family members and friends called to cheer me up and offered home remedies and tips to blast the germs out of my malfunctioning system. Some even had food, fruits and kashayam sent over. I blessed them between sniffles.

Every few moments, I would be unable to control the urge to check on the unholy trinity of Twitter, Instagram and Meta, though my eyeballs felt like Vesuvius, moments before it blew and my skull felt like it was about to cave in following serial assaults by sledgehammer wielding ghouls and goblins. This led to the confirmation of my secret fear that everybody in the world was having a better time. All were either holidaying in exotic places or winning awards, while I spent another day in bed.

Of course, the Sri Lankans were having a rougher time than I was, but even a world crisis pales into insignificance when you are worrying endlessly about the distinct possibility that you might never recover from your illness or endlessly playing out worst-case scenarios where you have aged ahead of time and emerged on the other side of what could possibly be a life-threatening condition with brittle white hair, clutching your lower back and sporting a noticeable limp. The macabre fantasies pursued me into the realm of sleep where bad things happened on the loop but mercifully, I woke up covered in a cold sweat, feeling far from rested, before I destroyed the world or vice versa.

I told the husband that he might feel free to remarry after a decent period had elapsed in case I didn’t make it. His only response was that we might need to talk to the doctor about my medication and discuss hospitalisation. My pups were more sympathetic. It has been agonizingly slow, but I no longer feel like death warmed over and recovery seems like a real thing. I might even be unbreakable again and all set to reign over the roaches should the need arise. All hail the wuss!

Anuja Chandramouli

Author and new age classicist

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