Monday, June 12, 2006

And now I would like to talk about Sickness. I recently went to bed three hours past my usual time, to finish my work, as I have this habit of finishing whatever I am working on regardless of the hour. The next day I put on a brave face and began work at the usual time, but by the afternoon my brain was functioning at half-capacity, and by early evening I experienced severe nausea after looking at the computer screen for a minute. So I would nap for an hour, which would give me enough brainpower to work for a half-hour, then the nausea would begin again. I eventually decided to stop and go to bed three hours earlier than my usual time, and the following morning I was almost completely restored as if by miracle.

While the headache persists you are haunted by such thoughts as, How long will this migraine last? Or will it never go away? Or will it return periodically? And while your head is in pain, there is nothing you can do about it; nothing you can do about anything in fact--even listening to music brings on the nausea.

I learned some lessons that day. Firstly the disaster I bring upon myself by choosing to go without sleep, even for some noble cause. But more importantly I had a glimpse into what my life will be like when I am old and ill. Or even not so old, yet ill with some unfortunate sickness that befalls me in middle age. It is a sobering experience: to be prevented from doing what you most enjoy--to be prevented from doing anything really. Nothing but the waiting, and the hoping. I wish sickness upon no-one, and yet despite my wishing I know it will befall almost everyone. There is yet one kind of work that can be accomplished in sickness (though in truth it lessens the misery very little), and that is the work of becoming a saint, which I shall discuss more in a separate post on Sentimentality.


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