For me, most mornings begin at 3. My morning ritual includes downing at least 16 ounces of water immediately upon getting out of bed, then I brew a cup of coffee to keep me company on the way to the gym, where I would do an hour of cardio before returning to do weights that afternoon. Upon returning home, I create a green-juice blend of whatever I pull out of the refrigerator, making enough for my husband, sometimes a guest. This was my morning ritual—that is, until I woke up with flu symptoms on Thursday past.
My husband had gotten a cold, which was not unusual, except this time, his coughing seemed a lot worse. By Thursday I was happy to complete almost a week of workout, because I could feel in my throat that something was changing. I made it to the store just in time to buy more Mucinex™ cough suppressant, echinacea tea, tea for throat comfort, and water with electrolytes. By Friday morning, I could not get out of bed.
I was angry. I was mad at my husband because he had given me this thing. I literally stayed in bed all day. Samson, my Golden Retriever, never left my side. Samson is a dog who is food motivated, but that day he did not eat until I arose late that evening. Despite having slept all day, my body was still tired and suffering from chills and a nagging cough that was now present.
As I observed my body—which I knew so well—going through these changes, I felt a sense of disbelief that I was down. I was determined that if I was going to be down, it was going to be the shortest downtime! Boy, was I so wrong.
Sunday came, and I was still in bed, unable to go to church. However, that week I had great moments—great hours—but I would later pay brutally for them. For something sat silently—quietly—lodged in the muscle fibers of my body—waiting to strike. As if hit by an uppercut out of nowhere, I was floored on some days, could not move as pain gripped my back. Sometimes the pressure originated in my head, then from another place in my body. Something also had control over my body.
At first, I thought I’d be smart and make the most out of my downtime by enjoying some inspirational and Harry Potter movies. The inspirational movies worked for a while but then began to fatigue me. And Harry Potter grew too dark, as I began to see my husband as the dark one responsible for this evil in my life that I, too, had to vanquish.
To make the air easier to breathe I added to my diffuser some of my wintry mix of essential oils—eucalyptus, clove and rosemary. This helped to purify the air and provide me some comfort.
Some mornings I was able to muster the energy to continue my ritual: staying hydrated and creating my green-juice blend, which became my greatest energizer. This particular juice blend contained bell peppers and kiwis which are high in vitamin C. I added pineapples and lemons too.
Though juicing helped, I was still left feeling beaten up. These attacks would occur particularly at nights, when I would be beaten and thrown overboard. In the early hours of the morning, I would find myself washed up on shore. What happened? How could this be happening to me? I finally admitted that I was in denial: I was sick, and something had control of my body. I was humbled, but I had to be strong.
One morning at 6:34, exhausted, I texted my sister. I just wanted to be held. I had had a hard night with little sleep. My husband stayed up all night having coughing fits, while I sat up in bed casting the devil out of each episode. I was exasperated, too, because I had taken my mama to the doctor for her follow-up appointment. She had had cataracts removed. Although the appointment was simple enough, it left me drained. I got lost trying to find the office, despite knowing where it was. Neither my mother nor I had any idea how ill I was until my sister, who is just one year older and a registered nurse, showed up the next morning with a bottle of multivitamins, a box of Emergen-C™, and Zicam™. I needed antivirals, but it was too late to receive them: they had to be taken within 48 hours of the first flu symptoms. I still felt incredibly supported by my sister, who made breakfast for everyone in the house and then sat down and folded my clothes. I managed a smile as she chuckled about never having dreamt she’d be folding my underwear.
Poor Mum. I felt bad for her, because she was surrounded by sick people. Though the antivirals were too late for me, we knew they would be needed for her.
Presently, we are all pretty much over this flu bug. Some people may think this flu is like dealing with a severe cold. It’s more than that. To be honest, it’s a little scary what the flu can do to a healthy human body. Yes, I do feel I became a target because of the amount of exercise I was doing. Exercising can be stressful on the body, and without vitamins, catastrophic. That’s why it is not surprising that fitness enthusiasts easily become victims during the flu season. But it was my morning ritual that saved me. Thank God for my morning transformations.