Well, it hasn’t been the best of years. I’ve spent most of it heavily medicated, curled up in beds or baths at home or in hospital. However, there have been some highlights, and the extended period of time at home made me remember some stuff I’d forgotten, like how important philosophy is to me, and how much I enjoy spending time alone.
This morning I went downstairs and the postman handed me a package from my mother. She’d sent a bunch of stuff I’d created as a child, which I opened with some apprehension because my childhood doesn’t exactly lend itself to nostalgia.
But it was fucking hilarious, and also interesting to see just how much of my personality hasn’t really changed…
This week has been better than the two weeks that preceded it. I’ve done more work, which was fun, and read fewer books but done a lot of sleeping. I’ve also watched every episode of Would I Lie To You? David Mitchell is fantastic. So angry! So sarcastic! SO DAMN RELATABLE.
The ways in which people interpret the world have always amazed and intrigued me. How two people can look at the same situation, be armed with the same knowledge about it, and yet still come out with different conclusions (aka ‘politics’). How two people can have a very similar experience and yet react in wildly different ways. How something that can floor one person won’t bother another.
But even more subtly: how the individual ways in which we think about the world – our personal hermeneutics – help us to see things through a unique lens.
I was finally feeling more alive again this week, having essentially spent three weeks asleep. I caught up on a bit of work, and read some stuff, and watched some stuff, and generally had a fairly relaxed time.
Well, apart from nearly making a chemical weapon in my bathtub when a giant spider appeared in it. That wasn’t so relaxing. (There are no pictures of spiders in that post. Or this one.)
As we all know, I’ve been stumbling through life a bit pathetically over the past few months, after my internal organs started trying to kill me. They probably won’t succeed, because they haven’t succeeded any other time they’ve tried and because I’m getting treatment, but in the meantime I’m pretty much housebound, except for occasional trips to the supermarket at the end of the road on days when I have enough energy to walk there.
Yesterday was one of those days (yay!) and I went to buy some washing up sponges and some pears. Now that I can sometimes eat successfully, I am experimenting with different foods. So far most non-citrus fruits seem to be OK most of the time (double yay).
On my way there I bumped into a friend whom I haven’t seen since just before I got ill. We had a brief conversation, then he went on his way, I did my shopping and came home. On the way back I realised that his reaction has been a textbook example of the best way to act when someone you know is seriously ill. I know it’s a subject that’s understandably difficult for a lot of people – what should I say? when should I say it? is it OK to ask stuff? – so I thought I’d use him as an example and write a post about it.
…because this is how these things go. One day I’m swimming for three quarters of an hour, pounding laps up and down the pool, walking home in the light mist of rain under the orange glow of the street lamps, climbing the stairs to my flat, winding down with a book for the evening, getting into bed feeling almost well.
And then the next day I wake up and my ribs are aching and I taste blood in the back of my throat, and it feels like there is acid coursing through my veins. On the way up the stairs from my bedroom I stumble into the wall and have to rest there for a moment, because seven steps is just too many to be able to climb in one go. I try to work, of course, because I am me and that is what I do, but ultimately I have to admit defeat and pull a blanket around my shivering skin and curl up on the sofa.