I’m feeling sick and trying hard to get over it.
Normally I wouldn’t use this venue to talk about an illness, but it has bothered me enough to compel my address of it. It has even hampered my ability to compose entries here in recent weeks. But I’m compelled to write about a disease that has become omnipresent, a low-grade ache that I cannot seem to shake and which even keeps me awake at night. Aspirin doesn’t help. In the midst of my best years, I am finding myself hampered from enjoying my days to their fullest. Worst of all, there seems to be no forthcoming cure. I find myself wondering whether I’m simply relegated to suffering through the symptoms, which are like some unrelenting fever.
I can trace the earliest signs of my discomfort to a visit in Nicaragua. I tried to ignore the feeling because I didn’t really have any idea what to do about it there. (Lots of people become sick when they’re traveling and it just seems easier to try to forget about the knot in your stomach than to seek treatment from someone who doesn’t even speak your language.) I remember being in a conversation with a group of Nicaraguan producers who spoke of their children leaving the country, in search of work and opportunity, and the anguish that it was causing the parents and community. I can’t recall too much about the specifics of what they were saying because of my growing ache; that was my first awareness that something wasn’t right.
I felt a bit better after I returned home. At first I thought maybe it I just needed to get back to the comforts of my own home, diet and routines. Every once in a while the distress returned, sometimes for a short time and on other occasions for days on end. The symptoms always subsided, however, and I was able to resume my daily activities without being slowed down. I just kept hoping that it would go away. Sometimes denial of a complaint seems like the best treatment for it. But the condition has worsened and ignoring it becomes more difficult for me every day.
I wish I had known about this disorder earlier and that I had acquired some awareness of its potential severity. Like most of us, I found it easier to pay no attention to what was happening until one day I came down with it. For a long time, I don’t think people in the U.S. talked too much about the extent of the malady. Lately, though, I hear more conversation from those who have been affected. A friend of mine even forwarded a blog that someone had written about the problem.
It seems strange, but “misery does love company” and I gain some sense of hope from the increase in the numbers of those who are experiencing the same festering that I am. Long-term remedies often come about only when a significant number of people are afflicted and calls for relief can no longer be denied. I know that our Federal government is aware of the problem, though I’m not aware of any significant work that is being done toward developing a cure as yet.
I never envisioned myself becoming much of an activist in the eradication of an epidemic. I guess I never thought I’d become a victim. But I’m hoping that by speaking out on something that can be rightfully considered the early stages of a pandemic, I might encourage others to help find a way toward a more successful treatment.
Of course, to treat the symptoms, we’ll have to get to the viral cause of the ailment. And that will necessitate a full-out humanitarian effort to embrace the nearly 60,000 illegal migrants- mostly young boys and girls- being warehoused after apprehension on the southern border of the U.S. For their circumstance is the source of my discomfort. From Nicaragua and many other points south, refugees are risking their lives to cross our borders, not for nefarious reasons but for their outright survival. And their plight is making me sick.
There is a recognition in the wellness community which holds that we can never attain our own maximum well-being as long as those around us are not well. I can think of no more dramatic example of such truth than the border tragedy, which in time will infect each of us. It’s time that we stopped denying the symptoms and dealt openly with the disease….