Last Monday I woke up with a fever. I knew it but I had to work around it, if it meant avoiding my parents so they won’t notice how hot I was, then I stayed as far away from them as possible. I worked so hard on my presentation for that afternoon and in my head, I was thinking, ‘nothing can stop me’.
That night my fever was gone.
I woke up with chills at midnight. I can’t be sick, it was just the long weekend. I got my hoodie on, some pajamas, and wrapped myself in blankets enough to keep me warm. I tried to sleep through it.
It was a struggle to get out of bed the next morning. I knew I had to get to work, I had to drive to Makati, and the longer I stay in bed the longer it will take me to prepare. I finally mustered the strength to go to the bathroom, I greeted my dad, he hugged me and he said I was burning up. He called my mom and they made me go back to bed. They weren’t mad, but I was upset. I had to go to work, there’s so much stuff to do.
I slept the whole day.
My parents and I agreed to go to the ER that night. It was just allergies, mom. They gave me allergy cocktails and stuck an IV in me. They managed to rip one of my veins. They took some samples.
I felt better.
The next morning I woke up with confidence: Today, I’m better. I had my shots and it was fine. I got hurt last night so it’s time for me to go back to work.
I thought I was fine. My results showed otherwise.
My fever relapsed the following morning. My parents had to cover me under several Fleece Blankets just to keep me warm. My mom wiped me with a wet towel to keep my temperature down. I was a mess. I couldn’t eat, drink, or sleep, and I was tired.
My dad brought me back to the hospital that afternoon where I was admitted until this morning. The tests show that I had a Viral Infection which caused my WBC (White Blood Cell) count, among others, to go down. This means that I have a weakened immune system.
I was weak… And I had to accept it.
The last time I was admitted to the hospital was when I was in Fifth Grade when I had a High Fever. I tried so hard for that to not happen ever again. I always thought of myself as a strong and an independent woman. But this week, I realized, that I was still a strong and an independent woman, in constant need of hugs now.
I was too focused on work, on getting things done, that I have overlooked myself, and my health. My priority was to finish, to do more, to achieve more. At some point, I got frustrated that I can’t do anything cause I was sick. I was ashamed to be in the hospital. I was upset with myself for being sick. I hated to be taken care of but being in the hospital, I had no choice. I was resisting the entire thing in my head, in my body, in my veins.
My mom reminded me to just accept the love, the support and the care from my friends and especially from my family. That it was okay, and it was their choice to look after me and my needs in the hospital.
I let go. I cried, and cried, as I was tired. It was a week of prodding, of feeling numb and helpless. I surrendered to God, to the higher power who was reminding me that I should stop once in a while before I overwork myself again.
This week all my learnings in the past two months had gone full circle. I completely understand what vulnerability means. I am the sum of all of my parts, and some parts of me are not just in me, but in other people as well, and they complete me. It was still a struggle but I was able to fully understand the great deal it has not just on me, but also to other people.
It is now time for me to go home, time for me to heal and to bring back the life that was lost in the process of being me.