May 26, 2018

Here’s what I learned after 5 days of doing absolutely nothing


Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess

Alright. It’s not like I stared at my ceiling the entire day—I finished The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, finished the second season of 13 Reasons Why (didn’t like it but loved the music), and cried my eyes out and bawled multiple times as I watched Wonder. Basically, those were the only things I could do because I was too sick to do anything else.

Last week, I was diagnosed with Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, or URTI, which is an aggravated form of the dreaded flu. I had a high fever and was on a ton of medication and antibiotics. I saw the doctor frequently to get multiple blood tests, which brought back a lot of bad hospital memories from when I had dengue when I was nine. My current blood tests showed that my platelet count and white blood cell count fell below average, so I needed to test for dengue, too. I’m really thankful the results were negative because it would be my second time, if ever, and that isn’t good news because of the increased chance of fatality.

This all happened in five days. I felt the anxiety creeping up when the mention of “blood tests” and “dengue” came up. The doctor told me to absolutely stop working because it would add stress to my body (my mistake to watch 13 Reasons Why, I guess). And besides, my body felt like it was deteriorating, so I had no choice but to lie in bed with my necessities beside me. I’d take really long naps and have so much difficulty sleeping at night because of my high fever and chills. But I got a lot of downtime to write on my journal and there were so many humbling realizations that came to mind.

There’s nothing like a mother’s (and a dog’s) love

I got home from the doctor’s one day with the thought of dengue paralyzing me that I just buried my head in my pillow and cried like crazy. I felt really alone in the middle of the empty apartment. I am always in constant touch with my mother so we did a FaceTime, and she asked how I was and how much she wished she and Rocket (my dog) were with me so they could help take care of me. I also spoke with Rocket for a few minutes, and when we said good-bye, I felt so near yet so far from them.

Of course, I ended up in another pool of tears.

It’s my first time to have an illness this bad in Singapore, and having to deal with it alone without my mom was extra hard, but I guess, it was a difficult step and lesson I had to learn now that I live on my own.

Take care of your body…like really good care 

I am typing this after I’ve snacked on a (super tiny) pack of gummy bears and downed a bottle of Diet Coke. I’m sad I can’t do any workouts for the next couple of weeks especially since I’ve gotten the hang of waking up early to run for the endorphin rush (it’s so addicting, I tell you!), but I remember a healer telling me before that I need to eat better for my blood health, and I brushed it aside. But after this whole ordeal, I know better now than to snack on gummy bears and down bottles of Diet Coke. I’ve also stopped taking supplements (because I used to get them from my mom, lol), but I really have to take them again and step up my health game now. This was such an eye-opener to me.

If you’re sad, turn to social media

It’s funny I should write this because I’m usually more averse to social media, however, the (online) socialite in me came out when the physical me was cocooned in a blanket. I started interacting with friends whom I haven’t spoken to in ages through comments and messages. It could get pretty lonely when you’ve turned your blanket into your home and going out just makes your fever worse. I was really happy to reconnect with a friend from university (Hi, Winna!) who told me she went through the same thing when she was super sick in Canada and missed home. I felt less alone.

Also, instead of being worried about getting dengue, I just made Instagram videos using my favorite big mouth filter, which makes everything better IMHO.

Sometimes “positive thinking” and “meditation” isn’t always the answer

There were times when the fear would get the better of me, and I would feel petrified. All the “what-ifs” came to play. I was also mega anxious because I was missing out big time on work, and June is happening next week! I also felt like I was on a constant hangover because of the meds and the infection, so I tried to open my meditation app but felt really frustrated. So I just blew some steam by letting out a really loud raspy scream (SO THANKFUL I WAS ALONE IN THE APARTMENT, REALLY. IT FELT NICE TO SCREAM BY THE WAY!), eventually coming to terms with my situation and accepting that the best thing for me to do at that moment was to get some rest.

Be more grateful and appreciate the little things

It’s so easy to fall into the culture of “I Want More,” but really, it’s the little things that we often gloss by so often. I know this point is really cliché, but I guess there’s a reason we keep reminding ourselves to appreciate the little things. I remember last Sunday I was in a really sulky mood because I’ve been looking forward to visiting this art fair for weeks now, but I couldn’t go because I was sick. But lying in bed, I began to appreciate and be thankful for health in general, or the simple fact that I could breathe properly. It’s so easy to get worked up with the little things that get in the way of our plans (especially for someone like me who is quite crazy when it comes to to-do lists and striking off goals), but at least we’re alive, right? Even if at the back of my head is the nagging voice that’s telling me that now I need to restructure some projects and re-plan some work stuff, I’m just shutting it off and deal with all that later.

Life has many ways of teaching us lessons—even in the most unconventional of situations. As mentioned, I was able to watch Wonder, and it really moved me so much (we need more movies like this!). And I can’t help but remember a line from the movie, which I feel applies to any point when we are experiencing any difficulty or discomfort in our current lives. To paraphrase it, we can’t change the way things look in our lives, but we can always change how we see.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.


Photo courtesy of Unsplash

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Filed Under:

adulting, Bless This Mess, culture, Getting Sick, health, Mikka Wee, Realizations, self-care

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