I have been sick for more than a month, really sick with an upper respiratory infection that just won't quit.
In one sense, I've been trying to treat it seriously, to break my old pattern of refusing to take care of myself when I need it. When it turned into a raging ear infection the rainy Friday night before Samhein, I took myself to the emergency room, a nice old white matron in a raincoat and Hermes scarf, sitting among the stabbed gang victims and poor people who, even here, especially here, in affluent surburbia, have nowhere else to go except for the emergency room to treat their ills. Emergency room waiting rooms, let me just say, are NOT healing places. They've got that horrible florscent light and, Goddess guard us, a tv going, and hard chairs and linoleum floors, and no hot herbal tea, or soft light with candles, or people walking around giving those who wait a neck massage, or any of the things that could be done to begin the healing process long before the one overworked doctor can see you.
I took all the drugs that the lovely doctor prescribed for me, picked up at the all-night drug store, which, may I say, is hardly a place of healing. It could be so easy to make a place for people to wait for medicine that started the healing process -- get rid of the godawful lights and displays of commercial crap to buy and give people a spot of lovely colors and sweet herb scents and gentle drumming.
I did more. I followed up the next Monday with my own doctor, as ordered by the nice doctor in the emergency room, who regarded me as the odd worried almost-well person. She had a heart attack in the next room and a stabbing in the room down the hall. My aching ear wasn't going to kill me. My own doctor gave me a nasal spray and told me that if I didn't feel better soon, I should see the earn-nose-and throat doctor whose name she wrote down for me on a piece of paper.
And, then, Samhein at my house happened and then work happened, and then a major filing with what has been, at least in the main, a court of appeals very sympathetic to my case happened. The oak leaves that rain down on my yard happened. A lot of things happened and I coughed and coughed and coughed and tried to listen with one good ear through all of them.
And, when I looked up again, I was still really sick, my ear and sinuses really infected, and, my oldest nemesis -- the cough -- back again in full force. I was getting little sleep due to the cough and had, gee, surprise!, almost no energy at all.
So yesterday, again telling myself that i've broken out of my old pattern of not caring for my physical health, I went to see the ENT, grounding beforehand and praying, "Lady Hygeia, Goddess of Good Health, send me to a true healer. I need help." It's difficult for me. I'm just NOT one of "those" Pagans who are always going off for "healing," searching over and over for someone to "fix" them. A part of me recoils from it, from the notion that "that's" what "this" is all about, that the amazing power at the center of the Earth, what Hopkins called "the dearest freshness deep down things," is about fixing arthritis or migranes or, well, or a sinus infection. Yes, it's about that, but only in the most tangential ways, just as it's tangentially "about" getting a parking space when it's needed or suddenly becoming "invisible" (these are not the droids you're looking for) when needed. But me, now, I needed healing.
And, as soon as the doctor came into the room and said, "Tell me what I can do for you," I knew that the Goddess had, indeed, sent me to, not just a doctor, but to a healer. I said, "You can make me stop coughing and let me get over this infection and get some energy back. I've had cancer before. I can't allow my immune system to be so compromised." He was not young; he was confident in the way that only competent people can be confident; and he was, I have to say, rather sexually-attractive, the way that competent men always are, for me. He not only saw what was wrong (you're really sick! you should have been here weeks ago!) and gave me the medicines that I need to get better, but diagnosed another problem that I hadn't even mentioned to him.
I am a witch who does not, in far too many ways, act like a witch. I went home and re-read one of my favorite books, Walking To Mercury
and started one of my others, The Fifth Sacred Thing
. And realized, I take pride in eschewing lots of the "silly symbols" of witchcraft. But I need more of a daily practice, more of the small, daily gestures that remind me, remind me, remind me, to live in the lap of the Goddess.
She changes everything she touches/And everything she touches changes.