I have been watching from the other side of the illness thing for the past few weeks. First the cat and his diabetes. When he isn't feeling well, he sleeps off in the corners and finds little places to curl up. He doesn't want to interact with anyone and has even ignored his (catnip filled) toys. As he has slowly started to feel better, he sleeps with us while we watch TV or comes up on the bed. He also plays with his toys and leaves them all over the living room floor (but never puts them away - apparently that's my job). He is also interested again in his surroundings. He would just sit staring at nothing.
Last week, my husband had a cold. He came home early from work one day and basically went to bed early, slept for two days, didn't want to do anything, didn't want to eat much, no appetite, no interest in much of anything at all, and a touch of crabbiness. Yesterday, after three days of being sick, he actually mowed the lawn. I think he only did it because it was turning into a jungle. If it wasn't so long, he probably would have put it off some more and continued to hibernate. But sometimes that is what you need to do to get better. The people that ignore their illness and continue to do everything usually end up sicker than if they had stopped and dealt with it.
I was thinking about this and observing how when people don't feel well, they don't want to interact with others. Its the nesting instinct that kicks in and makes you want to stay close to home. In the past two years, I haven't really gone out much. I do get together with my friends but only locally, and usually with my cancer friends. I don't go to parties much or off on adventures. Partly because I don't feel up to it, or I am not sure I am going to make it through it. Or sometimes I just am too upset about something to want to go. Friday afternoon, I had hoped after my doctor appointment to get together with an old friend from out of town for coffee and by the time I finally got out of the hospital and home, it was too late. And I really wasn't in the mood to see anyone.
I think there is a lesson learned in here somewhere but I am not sure what it is. Is it that it is okay to hibernate when you don't feel well? But what if that becomes all the time that you don't feel well? Is it that just because you don't feel well (and aren't contagious - back pain and cancer are NOT contagious), that isn't enough of a reason to go out and do things?
I don't know. I do know that in the past two years my world has gotten smaller and smaller. We have planned lots of little trips recently - RI, Maine, my college reunion. But we haven't planned any big trips because we don't know if I'll be able to handle the trip (riding in a car makes my back hurt) or why go some place expensive and be able to do nothing? Maybe this is one of life's changes that just happens. I will continue to ponder this.