I’m been pretty sick for a week or so. It started off with slight cold symptoms following a particularly tiring 36 hours with little sleep, but then it became worse. The uncontrollable coughing led to a very sore throat and, hopefully, some definition in my abdominal muscles. I certainly haven’t gotten much other exercise over the past week-and-a-half.
I’m an optimist. I noticed that the cough was a little better one day than it was the day before, so I thought the illness would be over soon. I slept reasonably well the first couple of nights that I took NyQuil, so I expected to be healthy again in a couple days. When the sore throat kept me from sleeping well even with NyQuil, I still thought that I would be fine soon if I just took it easy for a few days.
I’m a 50-something-year old man. As a group, we are not ones who like to go to the doctor for every little thing. In this case, being an optimist can be bad for your health. I should have gone in days ago, but I kept expecting the illness would resolve itself without professional help. I finally called today – I have an appointment in the morning.
Do you know how a toothache can often feel better the moment you step into the dentist’s office? Well, I wondered if that would happen with me for my internist appointment tomorrow. I decided not to take NyQuil tonight because it just made me groggy and hard to get up when my sore throat flared up last night. My plan was to get up and gargle with salt water whenever I awoke with sore throat pain tonight.
To quote Robert Burns, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men….”
It’s 1:15 am and I am not asleep in bed, or gargling with salt water to sooth my sore throat. Instead, I am in the emergency room with my 89-year old father-in-law who fell and hurt his hip in the bathroom at the assisted living facility he calls home these days. They called me a couple hours ago to say that he had fallen and needed to go to the hospital. I grabbed my iPad & phone, picked him up and took him to the ER.
So, was this fate? My plans were changed by this sickness that has hounded me for over a week. Originally, I thought I would be working on a rental house and not in town tonight. Not only was I in town, but this was the first night in five that I hadn’t taken NyQuil, so I was safe to drive to the hospital. If I hadn’t gotten sick and if I hadn’t decided to forgo NyQuil tonight, I would not have been able to help out.
There have been other examples of these “coincidences” in my life. Things which put me in the right place and time to help someone after my plans had been changed by situations beyond my control. I’m still quite ill and very tired, so I can’t think of specific examples at the moment, but trust me, there have been quite a few.
But here’s my point. If there are these situations in my life – and presumably in other peoples’ lives as well – what is the higher power directing these events? Is it God, or just coincidence or the catch-all “fate?” Could we humans be using a portion of our brains to detect subtle signals that may be floating through the air, and we don’t even know it’s happening? Could time be not quite as linear as most of us think it is, and the near future can call to us?
If that last one is true, I wish it hadn’t called me with such a nasty virus.
I don’t know the answer, and I would blame this line of reasoning on the NyQuil if I had taken it. One thing’s probably a certainty. With the lack of sleep I’m getting tonight in the emergency room, I expect to be plenty symptomatic when I meet with my internist tomorrow. We 50-something men want to get our money’s worth when we finally go to the doctor’s, you know.