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. 😉