I’m going to write more about being sick, for which I’ll apologize right now — I don’t like dwelling on this, really, except that it’s hard to dwell on anything else. It’s not a plea for sympathy, at any rate; it’s just me thinking about how being sick affects me, and specifically how it affects my reading. Most of my life I’ve been extraordinarily healthy, so being sick for longer than a couple days is new to me.
At first I was excited about the possibility of having lots of time to read — disappointed that I couldn’t ride, of course, but glad to have reading to fill up the extra time. But now I’m seeing that I don’t really want all that extra time for reading, that the time I had for reading before was a pretty good amount, and that now that I have more time I’m not really interested in using it. I find myself wasting time — I’m not even sure how. I stare at the wall, spend more time surfing the web, that sort of thing. I’ve speculated before that there might be a limit to the amount of time I can happily read, and this illness has confirmed it. I really do need something like riding to give me a break from reading — the physical exertion makes me happy to come home and be still for a while, and being still for a while makes me ready to go out and work hard. I need a balance.
This is a reminder of how much a calm and happy mind depends on having a comfortable, healthy body. Sometimes when I try to read I find myself getting restless, and I wonder if it’s because of my hyperthyroidism, one of the side effects of which is nervousness and restlessness. Last night at times I felt my stomach knotting up, and I couldn’t sit still in one position for more than a few minutes. I’ve sometimes felt this way before getting sick (and have felt other symptoms of hyperthyroidism too), and I wonder if I’ve had a mild form of this condition for a while and didn’t know it. If I didn’t understand what was wrong, I might think my inability to sit still for long periods was simply a personality trait of mine. It’s interesting — and relieving, in a way — to know that it’s because of an illness.
I’m curious to see if the medication I will soon be on will make me feel just the same as I used to feel, in the time immediately before this illness, or if there will be changes. If I’ve been suffering a mild form of this disorder for a while, perhaps the new, medicated me will be different.
This past week I’ve experienced something I haven’t experienced before: I sat so long in my reading chair that my butt started to hurt. Surely that’s a sign I need to be up and about more! I go to visit the endocrinologist this Tuesday, and will be on the way to feeling better. And then I’ll stop writing about my health, I promise.
I finished Sigrid Nunez’s The Last of Her Kind recently and want to write about it, and I also want to write at some point about the experience of reading David Markson’s novel Wittgenstein’s Mistress, something very different from the last few things I’ve read, to say the least.