To Live Counter-Culture

A couple of weeks ago I got bit by an unidentified insect. Three times on the inner crease of my left arm. I have no idea who the culprit was or when it happened. I do know that it got infected, with a large red bullseye around two of the bites. Almost a week after I noticed the bites, it was itchy, red, and hot.

When a friend of mine saw it, she said, “That looks like a tick bite! You really should see a doctor.”

Well, no one wants a tick bite. Especially if that tick bite might lead to Lyme disease. So off to the doctor I went. After the usual waiting to get in, getting my vitals checked, etc. etc. the doctor had no idea what it was. Probably a spider bite (seems most likely, really), but what if it was a tick? People have been known to get bitten without even realizing it. Although I’ve heard from several reliable sources that a tick bite stings, and you know you’ve been bitten.

At any rate, she decided to “play it safe” and treat it like a tick bite. The NP drew two vials of blood for testing (that I’m still waiting to hear the results of) and prescribed an antibiotic. Not your ordinary every day, run of the mill antibiotic. No. The heavy duty, kill all the bacteria, prevent malaria, twice a day for 21 days kind of antibiotic.

Everyone who knows me knows I don’t believe in taking too many medications. In fact, I take none – only a few daily vitamins. The last time I took an antibiotic was well over ten years ago, but who wants Lyme disease?

Not me.

So I’ve been taking them. I’m continually reminded why I don’t like medication. It makes me loopy. And tired. Very tired. Even little everyday activities like taking a shower is exhausting. (But I hear Lyme disease makes you tired, so, again, best prevent that I suppose.)

Tiredness is debilitating.

It’s also insidious, sneaking into every aspect of your life and slowly taking over. When something takes too much energy, you don’t want to do it, so you don’t. Now it will be more work to do that thing later along with all the other things that need to be done. Just the thought is so overwhelmingly exhausting. Or you do force yourself to do it, then you’re so wiped out you have to recuperate.

Suddenly, everyday activities that I used to do automatically are now monumental. I find myself carefully weighing the anticipated energy outlay. What’s easier: cereal or toast, TV or reading, shower or no shower? It feels like procrastination, but it isn’t. It’s depletion.

Peaks BeesI think tiredness is the disease of our times. Even before the antibiotics I wasn’t a high energy person. I wonder who really can be in our fast-paced, overscheduled Western society where more is more is more? It’s frenetic.

It’s unsustainable.

It’s why we “need” coffee and sleeping pills. It’s why what we really need is to slow down. It’s why we need Sabbath. To rest is counter-culture, a radical departure from the constant pressures to produce, to always be and do more.

I’m tired. I have no more words. Only this: Oh the blessing of sweet sweet Sabbath.