12 March 2014
Last night I turned in early (just after dinner) because I felt so sleepy. I remembered feeling a bit itchy but thought it was just the usual dust around the house, what with the renovations and all. Woke up around eleven and went to the bathroom. Saw my father at the dining room and kissed him hello. I put my arms around him, and that’s when I noticed the big red rashes on my arms.
And I guess it’s a trick that the mind plays, but as soon as I saw the marks on my skin I immediately felt very itchy all over, and couldn’t stop myself from scratching. It felt like my body has betrayed me, and when I looked in the mirror, I was red almost everywhere–on my upper arms, on my hips, my thighs, my stomach, my neck, my back. We were debating if it’s a simple allergy or just a reaction to the dust. But I can’t remember eating anything different–we all had the same meal for dinner, and everyone else was fine. I can’t remember being allergic when I was a child (chicken? but my memory of that is vague), and I wasn’t going through anaphylactic shock. We decided to change the sheets and spray some disinfectant in the room, though in my mind I am thinking of last Sunday, when I laid on the floor out of exhaustion and stayed there for a good long while (don’t laugh–but I was arranging my bookshelf; it took me hours and I’m still not done). Everywhere was dirty then, and I turned out okay.
I slept for a bit, but woke up sometime around four and started scratching again. When everyone else is awake, and the lights are on, I looked at myself and saw that I had even bigger rashes. My father wanted to rush me to emergency but I vehemently refused. He thinks it’s measles. My sister is wondering the same thing, although she says that I should have fever and cough as symptoms.
Anyway, I am ordered to confine myself to bed. I have already taken a pill for this so I’m crossing my fingers that it will work. Earlier they threatened to make me wear gloves, or at least tie my hands so I’ll stop scratching. You’ll wound yourself, they tell me. I am almost tempted to say that I do that all the time, what, with a mind like this. But it doesn’t look like anyone’s in the mood for a lame joke, heh.
I am enjoying your stories from Iona. Don’t fret too much about cooking, M., or put too much pressure on yourself. I come from a large family, and every day since July of last year we have been feeding a lot of men who are working on the house (and whose appetites can rival creatures of the wild, I’m sure). Taste is important, yes, and making sure that it gets to the table on time. But more than that, what’s important is knowing that someone made an effort to prepare the food. Someone stood in the kitchen for hours creating a meal that would be gone in minutes. That takes patience and caring. That’s special.
Here’s something I hope you can carry with you through the days:
“…I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world.”
– M.F.K. Fisher
“I think preparing food and feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own createdness and fragility.”
– Shauna Niequist