The relative chemical “abstinence” of pregnancy and these thusfar nearly 10 months of breastfeeding have in a way put me in better touch with my body. Forced a better sensitivity and awareness when it comes to its defense mechanisms, its response to foreign bodies, would-be intruders.
For the most part I’m left to take a passive roll, let things take their course without my intervention. Wait things out.
Sure, some cold medicines are safe during breastfeeding, but I’ve found that 1) German cold medicines are far less potent than their American cousins—if not downright impotent/homeopathic; and 2) my local Apotheke is near useless in giving me anything, as even homeopathic cures are, according to them, incompatible with breastfeeding.
As such, I’ve had to face down the last few colds and flu with little more than self-administered naturopathy—lots of tea, ginger, honey, lemon—and let my symptoms wash over me in successive waves of recovery and relapse. I took ibuprofen to try to bring down my fever, and ingested oh so many cough drops. Technically the mentholated ones weren’t allowed, or even the sage ones in quantity, but on the worst of nights they were necessary. Lots of water. Healthy foods if I had appetite or energy to cook. Sleep if I could, or if I couldn’t at least keeping activity to a minimum. Recharge like a lizard sitting on a warm rock. Sure but painfully incremental progress back into health.
The flu was barely two weeks ago, and now I find my airways sludgy and irritated again, my energy levels and spirits dampened. Something B picked up at daycare and gifted to me—“O thank you bubs.”
But since it’s not this time so acute, I find myself with (slightly) better patience. Didn’t bother consulting the Apotheke, didn’t bother with their placebic-Hustensaft.
I’m like a scientist in the field, noting day to day the ebb and flow of accumulated schleim. My body’s immune response. Inflammation here. Thickening of mucus there. And it’s interesting in a way I hadn’t expected, the subtle minutiae of malaise like a fog settling and lingering on the terrain.
Behold the natural wonder of it. Untouched, unobscured by civilization, by the synthetic landscaping and rain shelters offered by boxed cold remedies. Instead, sit here uncomfortably, letting the fog settle in your hair and in the fibers of your clothing. The sun with eventually return, and in combination with your body’s natural heat, the uncomfortable moisture will eventually burn away.
Thoughts while walking the dog in the weird snow/rain mixture of a would-be Easter weekend. Hair plastered to your forehead. Damp tissues the pockets of the jacket that seems like it should be a raincoat but isn’t really.
Maybe the dampness will only deepen, and you’ll find yourself slowly embraced by molds and lichens, the landscape reaching up to cradle you and your smudged note-taking, enfolding you in swampy decay. You and the landscape, no longer separate or even sentient, just another process.