Somewhere back in the unremembered annals of history, specifically three weeks ago, a fairy flew into my bedroom window. Lit with an inner glow and trailing golden sparkles, this diminutive magical creature gracefully flew in my direction. I didn’t know if I was awake or asleep, but either way I was too mesmerized to flinch as she halted in mid-air in front of my face, then reached out a little wand and ever so gently tapped me on my nose. Or, what would have been my nose, had I not been wearing my CPAP mask.
I don’t know if you have ever worn or seen the medieval torture device known as a CPAP mask, but suffice it to say it can get in the way of fairy blessings, not to mention profitable sleep, or a sex life. I am convinced that present day doctors who prescribe CPAP therapy are all direct descendants of The Albino from the Pit of Despair in The Princess Bride. If the CPAP doesn’t work, there is always The Rack.
I always imagined a visit from a fairy would be a delightful experience, a turning point of blessing in my life. I would wake the next day to find a nice boost in my voice-over bookings or a new BMW sitting in my driveway. But no. None of this happened because when the wand made its delicate downward swoop, the CPAP deflected whatever blessings I might have had coming, sending them bouncing them off my cat who bit me because she wasn’t very happy to be woke up, then rebounded off the mirror, hitting me full in the chest. I immediately started coughing.
I have been coughing ever since.
Never having had a visit from a fairy before, I decided not to tell my wife about it since I normally try not to give her excuses for having me committed. Not always an easy thing to do. She still doesn’t know, so keep it quiet, okay?
Now I am sure many of you are scoffing at my explanation of how I got sick. A fairy, really? Well, what ridiculous story do you believe? Bacteria? Germs? Viruses? Itty bitty tiny organisms so small you can’t see them that are all over everywhere which randomly invade your body and try to kill you for no apparent reason? Suuuuure. I’ll stick with fairies. Your idea is too scary.
From that fateful night where blessings went astray, my nose began to run. My head began to ache. The dripping and the coughing became more frequent. My cough gradually changed from a throat tickle to a heavy, wet hacking from deep in my chest. Speaking more than a word or two became impossible, as any little thing would set off a coughing fit which simultaneously threatened to invert my soft insides through my mouth while splitting my skull into bloody fragments for good measure.
Have you ever uncontrollably hacked out phlegm from your nose and mouth at the same time while also wearing a face mask? How about hacked sloppy gooey chunks into our mouth but you don’t know whether it is the lunch you just ate or pieces of your lung tissue, and there isn’t a tissue handy to catch it all so you gag as you run to the bathroom with your hand over your mouth, but the running sets off another coughing fit on the way and now all you can think about is cleaning up the spewage before your significant other sees it? Let me tell you, it isn’t as glamorous as it sounds. Right after that episode is when things started to get bad.
I will spare you the really gross stuff.
For the duration of this exercise in fairy folly I have been isolated in my own house because I desperately do not want my wife to get whatever I have (BTW: it isn’t COVID). She has been incredibly helpful by delivering my food and bringing me popsicles. She has never complained. This doesn’t make up for being able to be in the same room to have a conversation, eat a meal, watch a movie, etc., but I have been very grateful for her care. I have great sympathy for those who deal with being very sick but who have no one to bring them popsicles.
Unfortunately, she has also been learning to her great delight that sprawling out to cover our bed at night without my being in the way has sweet, sweet advantages. I’m not sure I will be completely welcome when I get well enough to sleep in my own bed again, but it will be a few more days before I need to worry about that.
After a couple of doctor visits and a couple of prescriptions, I have begun to get better, but WAAAAAY too slowly. At the current rate of recovery, I expect I may be able to speak a full sentence without coughing within a week or so.
As you might correctly surmise, I have not been able to record a single thing. My booth has been as lonely and isolated as I have been. Hopefully I can rectify that soon!
The moral of the story
I don’t write all of this to get your pity, or even sympathy. I write it because… because… I’m not sure why I am writing this. My brain isn’t working very well after having been sick for so long. Oh yes, I remember. The moral of the story.
There are lessons to be learned in everything we go through. These past few weeks for me have been less than fun to say the least. It is no exaggeration to say I don’t remember ever having been so sick. I am in the process of recovering now, but am weak, and know I have a ways to go. I have also lost a lot of audition opportunities, and potentially work. All of this came in the midst of other issues I was already dealing with.
Yet, I am grateful. I am grateful for our spare bedroom which allows me to protect my wife through isolation. I am thankful for having someone to care for me. I am grateful that I have voiceover colleagues who will support me through prayer. I am grateful that things didn’t get worse than they did. I am grateful for being in the recovery process.
I am also encouraged. I am looking forward to the new opportunities I will have and the jobs I have yet to book. I am encouraged by the good things I know are coming and the real blessings I will receive. I am excited to see what fruit this time of “rest” will bear.
Despite still feeling lousy, I am reminded of one of the key lessons I have learned throughout my life: I have control over how I view my world. I’m not talking about denying the truth of what I am going through. I am simply asserting that I am not held captive by the bad things which come my way. I can pay more attention to the good—and there is always good—and be grateful for it. I have the choice to look at the great place I believe I will eventually be instead of at the shit I stand in now. Both are real. Only one can have my attention. Only one deserves my attention.
Are you going through something right now? When a random fairy flies into your room at night and accidentally blows up your world, which view will you take? It is okay to feel bad, to be sick, to be discouraged, to even despair. My hope is that you won’t be held captive in that place. That you will look for the good and focus on it, finding gratitude and encouragement.
As a final note, if you need someone to pray for you, ask. I will.
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