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I have been out of sorts for over a week now, and my period of convalescence has been extending itself as my body continues to fight this terrible cold and flu. I’ve been managing to go to work despite my condition, and while there are hours in the day when I do feel better, I come home exhausted from my commute and feeling more tired than ever. I hate being sick, and I hate it most when it hampers even the most ordinary of activities. I can’t work well. I can’t read properly. I can’t write anything. I can’t think. I can’t even get some decent sleep. My body is obviously telling me to rest by taking a day off, which I already did, but I cannot afford to miss out another at work. It shows you how much of a fool I am pushing my body to its limits when it has been doing nothing but sounding off alarms – a seemingly never ending flow of sniffs; excessive and painful coughing; an aching back; and a heavy head that’s nauseous from equal parts working while sick, and taking really strong antibiotics alongside a cocktail of vitamins, energy drinks, and instant noodles. Over the last few days, my appetite has been hit or miss too. As always, I’ve lost a good amount of weight which friends and colleagues have noticed – my wristwatch, my clothes have all turned loose.

Times like this, the presence of a nurturing and caring mother is invaluable. While I’ve been putting up a brave fight for my health, my mother has been packing healthy, appetizing lunch I can bring to work, and has even volunteered to pay for taxi fare so I could avoid tiring myself when I commute. Coming home to her heart-warming soups for dinner, and having her visit my room for breakfast in bed, is embarrassingly but also welcomingly kind. Of course, my mother’s love has only led to more useless anxieties for me. I’ve started imagining a life without her, especially considering that likely scenario I won’t be settling down with anyone. I’ve started thinking about how difficult it will be taking care of myself, especially when I am sick, and I’m quite literally on my own. If my siblings marry in the near future, I can’t expect their full commitment in taking care of me, as they will have to take care of their respective families. I will certainly have to do things on my own, no matter how challenging. Imagine having a fever and yet having to cook for your own sake! Waking up is already hard when you’re sick, what more actually trying to finish house chores.

I wish I am better. I miss writing, properly. I miss reading my books without having to stop every ten minutes to cough, or go to the bathroom to relieve myself (I’ve been on some serious water therapy the last few days). I miss feeling strong and capable of working. I miss being able to depend on myself. It’s frustrating when your body starts betraying you. You feel trapped in it. You can’t just change to a healthier body when you’re sick. You have to let your body recuperate. Judging by how impatient and stubborn I am, it may take the coming Holy Week in April before my body gets the rest it deserves. I can only hope it manages to put up with my foolishness for a few more weeks. I can only hope it can survive me at least until the weekend.

Every sickness has an alien quality, a feeling of invasion and loss of control that is evident in the language we use about it.

― Siri Hustvedt, The Shaking Woman, or A History of My Nerves

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