THE GOOD THING ABOUT GETTING THE FLU
Have you ever been so sick that your whole body hurt? Like even your hair; down to the follicles and all hurt. Ow. Hell, even your pubes hurt!? Double ow! Yeah that was me about a week after Thanksgiving. I went to yoga one morning feeling fine only to run completely out of gas half way through class and then BANG! A few hours later my body was wracked with the chills. The next 48 hours were a haze of fevers, aches, fatigue, and endless doses of Tylenol and Motrin. It was miserable. But I was determined to “take advantage” of being practically bedridden. I was determined to rest. That meant only 1 thing. Desperate times call for desperate measures 😉
Yup, you guessed it. Netflix. Now if you live with me, which you don’t, (some of you might be whispering Thank God! How does Ty do it!?) you know that I don’t watch TV. When I do rarely make the choice to watch it I prefer to watch documentaries. I live for non-fiction. I love real people and their real stories. Don’t get me wrong I used to enjoy TV. I used to enjoy all sorts of movies. I used to enjoy the made-up stuff. But now – not so much. Awhile back I actually had to Google what #GOT meant. Pretty lame, huh!?
But here I was, stuck in bed recovering from some evil virus that had taken over. Damn it I was going to watch some TV. I knew exactly what I wanted to watch too. I was going to start from the beginning and binge watch Grey’s Anatomy. I had faithfully tuned in for years, every Thursday night, but at some point, probably when my life turned upside down after my brother’s tragic accident, I fell off the Seattle Grace/Meredith Grey/McDreamy wagon.
It’s funny though. Just after watching the first few episodes I felt like an old familiar friend had come to pay me a visit. Although I had seen the first few seasons before, I was watching them through a different lens. When I first started watching in 2005 I was a young 25 year old woman with little life experience under her belt. I had no real understanding what grief, loss, heartache, and motherhood were. I just really enjoyed the hospital “drama” which is what I could relate to. But as I went back and started to watch it all over again, I started to see parts of myself in Meredith Grey’s character. I started to see other parts of myself in the other characters too. They were all “made-up” people, but damn, they portrayed real life stories and feelings.
What really hit me was the episode where Meredith’s mom, who has Alzheimer’s, is admitted to the hospital. There is a point where her mom gets worked up for possible liver cancer and Meredith speaks her truth that there is part of her that hopes her mother has cancer. What daughter wishes her mother has cancer!? I’ll tell you what – I know of at least 1 real daughter and of at least 1 fake daughter. I’m ashamed to admit this. But it is also my truth. And I share this because if Meredith Grey and I have spoken this truth, I know other daughters out there have spoken similar truth.
So this is why getting the flu was good. It wasn’t about vegging out in bed watching TV (although after the fever resided and the aches disappeared it was nice to do that!). It was a reminder to myself that underneath all the “made up stuff” and all the “made up people” that there are real people and real stories and that connecting with others and sharing our stories is uber important. It’s how we heal. It’s how we help. It’s how we keep moving forward.
Aside from this simple, yet powerful reminder to myself, the other good thing was taking the time to learn more about the creator of Grey’s Anatomy. I knew Shonda Rhimes was the woman responsible for the creation of the series but I knew nothing about her. Turns out she is a pretty kick ass woman, who is much like the rest of us. She was miserable. She suffered from anxiety. She judged herself. She was unhappy with her body. She was fearful of using her voice. And then she made a decision that changed her life. I’m in the middle of her memoir now and I can’t put it down.
So thanks Shonda 🙂 Thanks for making getting the flu a good thing. 🙂