Friday, 28 September 2012

Struck down and alone with my body

I have been exactly like Prime Minister Julia Gillard this week.  I flew into another city (Brisbane) for important work the following day and spent the night vomiting.  As Jonathan Franzen described it in "Freedom", I was alone with my body.

There is nothing lonelier than being ill in a hotel room.  The bed isn't right.  The pillows aren't right.  The temperature control is off.  The noises are unfamiliar.  There are no ice cream containers to put by the bed in case of emergency.

Then there's the whole emergency planning scenario for the following day which plays on the mind.  "I have to be okay for tomorrow."  "What happens if I'm not okay tomorrow?" "I just have to be okay tomorrow."  This played out for the whole night.

I woke up at 6am with a blinding headache and a parched mouth, but could roll over without feeling queasy.  Slowly I eased myself into a sitting position.  I made a cup of weak black tea and spent the next 40 minutes sipping it.  (There is a post coming about the comedy of filling the kettle in hotel rooms).

I hauled myself into the shower and slowly, tentatively prepared myself mentally and physically for the day.  I was facilitating a leadership session and the prospect of being anywhere other than in bed was not pleasing.

I made it through the day on a completely empty stomach.  When the discussion about staff engagement came up we talked about absenteeism and how you pick what's genuine and what isn't.  I reflected on my own experience.  If I wasn't engaged in my work, I'd probably still be lying in the hotel room feeling sorry for myself, even though the worst of whatever it was was over.  I recalled one job I'd had that I wasn't very engaged in and while I was working there I found myself feeling ill more often.  When I'm doing stuff I enjoy and am engaged in, I get sick less often.  Is this true for you?

Before I was gripped with illness I had some time to enjoy the view from the 29th floor of my hotel.  The balcony was tiny and it took all my effort to step out there.

(c) divacultura 2012

(c) divacultura 2012

(c) divacultura 2012

(c) divacultura 2012


  1. Hope you feel better soon! I hate vomiting - one of the big reasons why I don't drink - and its especially bad when you're sick! :P

    Must add that I've never seen a city scape quite so flat! we have plain (as in fielded) areas that are quite flat but most of South Africa is extremely hilly, mountainous in fact.

    If you're lucky to be on one of the mountains, which we are, our views go on forever and we can see many of the smaller hills and valleys in between.

    1. It's interesting how flat Brisbane looks in this photo - it's not flat at all! Vomiting is revolting - so violent. Just glad I managed to get it together for the client! Glad it's over.