The flu set in right as my plane touched down in Florida. Here’s how I preserved my inner peace while I recovered.
Posted in , Mar 13, 2017
On the plane to Florida for a February family vacation, I thought I was getting yet another cold. But by the time we took an afternoon walk to the beach that first day, aches and chills had set in. When a day of rest didn’t turn it around—and a nasty cough joined the party—a visit to urgent care revealed I had the flu.
I’m far from alone—this flu season, 35 states have reportedly had moderate to high levels of flu infection, and this year’s flu vaccine—which I received in September—only staves off 50% of cases.
Being sick on vacation is lousy, from the disappointment of missing out on fun activities to the discomfort of not being in one’s own bed. But as I settled into a routine of self-care at my in-laws’ house, I realized that if I could muster a positive outlook, I could experience some inner peace and healing rest on the trip.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
The first thing I did was notice the rhythm of my days. At the right time in my ibuprofen/acetaminophen cycles, I could count on about a half hour of feeling well enough to get out of bed. The weather was beautiful, and just outside the back door was the opportunity to feel the warm sun, listen to rustling palm trees, and gaze—from under hat and sunglasses—at a sparkling canal that runs just behind the house. The quiet peace of that view is not something I would have experienced in the same way had the house been filled with boisterous kids and chatting adults.
With the family out during the day, my rest time was also fully peaceful and renewing. Everyone dreams of an afternoon nap on vacation—and no one dreams of doing so because of illness. But I can only describe the daytime rest I got as complete, free of the tug of responsibility of caring for others, and entirely available for the purpose of healing my body so it could fight off the flu.
Looking back, I realize I had no choice but to let go of my hopes for a fun, active, sun-drenched family vacation. But in shifting my expectations, I was able to connect with an inner peace that ultimately fueled my healing.
Have you ever been sick on vacation? How did you cope?