I’ve been sick for the last few days. I’m really bad at being sick. When I have a fever, I have stress dreams and can’t tell the difference between dream and reality. Then when I’m awake, I mostly just lay around and moan, reveling in misery, and bringing down anyone within earshot.
It’s Friday afternoon, and I’m sitting in the shower. The hot water is pouring down over me, and it feels good, but also terrible – my fever means that the water is both uncomfortably hot, but I’m shivering because I’m cold. The fever and accompanied achiness is bad, but what’s worse is my throat – swollen and inflamed, I haven’t really been able to swallow for a day. So I’m dehydrated and hungry too. And all I can think is “Normal is going to feel unimaginably good.”
I almost always have this same thought when I’m sick enough to be really inconvenienced, not just mildly uncomfortable.
Today, Sunday morning, I woke up feeling much better. The fever is gone. My throat is still sore, but it’s annoying, not debilitating. And today, every bite – the waffles with peanut butter at breakfast (yes, you heard me. Try it), the leftover pizza at lunch – every bite was glorious. Euphoric.
The difference in quality of life between yesterday and today is palpable. It’s almost impossible to forget, to miss. But tomorrow or the next day, I’ll be completely back to normal, and the euphoria, the victory over the illness, the acknowledgement of the difference between how poor things were before, and how good they are now will be past its natural expiration date. I’ll have adapted again, to normal.
Because that’s what normal is: just whatever has been happening for long enough to kind of forget about what was happening before. And we’re great at adapting.