Get Over It

As a kid, I missed a lot of school because I got strep throat every year. I am allergic to penicillin, AND I had also had rheumatic fever (resulting from scarlet fever resulting from strep) when I was little that damaged my heart. There was a danger that my heart would be further damaged. There were beginning to be alternative antibiotics (sulfa drugs and early ‘myocin’ drugs), but the main thing was to stay in bed until the bacteria had had all of me it wanted. It was a drag and also not. Untreated strep is draining, and I really DID want to sleep. The first symptoms were me being cranky, barking at everyone for nothing and crying easily. That all indicates the person I was normally.

Sooner or later I got well and did that thing the grownups called, “bouncing back.”

I had no idea at the time how important that is in life and what good practice I was getting. We’re hit by all kinds of flying flak, knocked down, flattened, laid up, side-lined. Then, like a storm or strep-throat, whatever it is passes, is over, finishes and we’re left bewildered but then we start cleaning up the aftermath. The most stark of these experiences in my life was probably the Cedar Fire in California in 2003, until two years ago, the largest fire California had ever known.

I lived in the mountains east of the city. My whole WORLD was fuel. The first came within 1/4 mile of my house several times, but, luckily and through the hard work of firefighters, my house was saved. For me it was ten days of fear, uncertainty, evacuation and then? Home again. Throwing rotten food out of a fridge that had been turned off for ten days (power outages still scare me). Sweeping ash from the patio. We all had some degree of PTSD and we naturally — as humans always have, I guess — expelled that by telling each other stories.

I think — from my life — some things are easier to bounce back from than others. I don’t think I ever fully bounced back from my first hip going south, the years between the onset of that and the surgery that fixed it. I don’t think I ever fully bounced back from the disappointments of romantic love. I don’t think I ever fully bounced back from the loss of my brother and what I learned from that. Some stories, some of the things that happen to us, are life-changing and we won’t “bounce back” to being the same person. If we’re lucky — and strong — we move forward to the next gut punch. 😉

37 thoughts on “Get Over It

  1. Epigenetics? Maybe one doesn’t ever get over childhood trauma? Then each subsequent one is written into the DNA. Also, the body carries the trauma of those that came before you. Apparently.

    I’m currently reading Rick Morten’s book, 100 Years of Dirt. That is the premise of his memoir.

    My husband is allergic to penicillin too. No fun.

  2. Please tell me that you are the woman in the photo at the top! I agree that we bounce some times back and others forward or to the side. The important thing is to bounce! There was a study that looked at very old people and it found that those who were able to let go of hurts and keep their focus forward were much happier than those who constantly looked back.

    • That’s me sometime around 1994 with Molly O’Dog. My hero old people are those who kept doing creative work LONG after a lot of people thought they would have run out of ideas. They never did. 🙂

      • We have much in common! I had red hair too and when I was a sophomore got a perm that resulted in that exact hair style!! Also is Molly O’Dog an Aussie?? Both of our dogs were Australian Shepherds.

  3. Well there ya go, Martha, another commonality between you & me! I also was frequently afflicted with strep throat as a child and even scarlet fever once. I sure don’t miss those days. I deal with daily unspecified indoor/outdoor allergies now, but they’re tolerable, and I usually get the flu every year even though I get the shot and occasionally get a wicked sinus infection, though it’s been a few years since one of those got me down. Good health to you!

  4. My daughter constantly (and my son) tonsilitis and when they took them out, she got scarlet fever and steven Johnston’s syndrome which damn near killed her. I know about strep as my grands seem prone to it. Not fun on any level. I’d never had it in my life, then after the first episode, which according to the doctors was the most serious they’d ever seen, I became prone to it. I can sympathize 100%

  5. I almost bounced back from breast cancer, but before I made it there was heart surgery. I had already bounced back from abdominal surgery times three and spine surgery and losing one of my ovaries. At this point, I doubt I’d make it through anything surgical. I think I’ve had as much as I can handle. All that rubber is gone.

  6. Bouncing back from trauma over and over takes its toll. Mentally and physically – which are so intertwined and, as an excellent book is titled: The Body Keeps the Score. Aging doesn’t help when old triggers reappear. It is wearing. All that strep throat. Wow. I remember getting that a few times. Fortunately I am not allergic to penicillin, but as a kid was on antibiotics a lot for one thing or another. Now it is one autoimmune disease after another. All that bouncing can be exhausting.
    Excellent post. I think it is also helpful not to expect so much “getting over it” from ourselves. Some things you just never get over. And that should be okay.
    Very sweet pic of you behind the sign.

    • Thank you. I can’t get over my brother. It’s completely beyond my understanding. I realize I will never understand it, shouldn’t and it is OK. When my second hip went south three years ago I really didn’t want to go through all that again and was about to decide not to, but I had this big white dog — then still a pup — ❤ and got the message from her that without me, she'd be lost. I think for some of these things there is redemption and forward movement (ha ha). For others? you're right. We just have to be okay.

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