Hello to all my Tarot Friends around the World,
Thought I would ask the Tarot to stage this mini production below about how I ended up so unwell in recent weeks. I hope you can follow my ill health drama through the imagery and symbolism used by the lovely Tarot School Actors and Players I have chosen to tell my story. It may involve using your creative imagination at times but that is always a plus when learning to read Tarot.
Here is me, Thinking, Doing and being Productive on a daily basis. No time for slacking. Too much to do. Must keep at it every day. My mind is never still. It is full of ideas and plans, concepts, theories and opinions. My mouth is never silent either. I talk a lot! Too many things interest me and I get enthusiastic about all my projects. I have a tendency to underestimate how much time and effort is required to achieve my goals. That doesn’t stop me though. Then I must not let an hour, a day, a moment go by without being productive. I have to see results. Weekends are just extra days when you can get work done. Must put in the hours. I am methodical and thorough so push myself to give 150% all the time. I have high very high standards which can make life quite challenging and demanding. I am not great at delegating so will attempt to do everything myself. I can be stubborn, belligerent and pedantic.
Now, here is my partner, The King of Cups. He takes life much easier than I do. He likes to relax and chill out. He believes there is a time for work, a time for play and a time for rest. When he gets tired he takes a break, or even just acknowledges that he is overdoing something. He is into self-care and will take it easy when he feels he needs to. He has been trying to counsel and advise the triple Queen personality (Swords, Wands, Pentacles) he lives with. He gently warns that I am working too hard at the moment. He finds it difficult to get me away from my desk at meal times. He sometimes has to get firm with me and remind me that he has boiled the kettle three times and still I have failed to turn up in the kitchen. I get irritated by his attempts to get me to leave what I am working on. I persist and explain to him that I have to finish what I am doing before I eat. The food and kettle can wait. He tells me that everyone needs a break, even if it is just for lunch. He says I am pushing myself too much and need to start scheduling some days off. I am busy and there is too much to be done. He goes ahead and eats without me. I am a stubborn woman after all.
Here I am again. Some many things on my mind, so much activity in the day that I find it hard to shut down and relax. Sleep is hard to find and I toss and turn each night with my mind running around in circles. This leaves me physically tired each day. However, I have a very long To-Do List and will just have to drag myself through the day. I am exhausted but still manage to get my work done. I am a little in awe of what I can achieve each day with little or no sleep. I must have great inner reserves of strength. My partner doesn’t know how I do it as he says he wouldn’t be able to last more than one night without proper sleep. I am a veteran of this style of living. I soldier on but I can feel it is taking more and more effort each day to carry out the tasks that are required of me. I am tired. My chronic back and neck issues have returned just to make me feel extra miserable. It is here in the Reversed Nine and Reversed Ten of Wands that the tide begins to turn against me. My immune system is under significant pressure. It is fighting hard to keep me going but is on its last legs. This has not yet registered with me as I have gotten away with all of this in the past and there is no reason to think I won’t this time too. I have certain health conditions that I live with but as far as colds, flues, bugs, viruses etc. are concerned, they don’t come much hardier than me. I never pick up anything. That is about to change and I have set the stage for this myself.
I attend a post-surgery hospital appointment. I go every few months for check-ups. I walk through the corridors of the hospital and sit with about 30 other people in the Clinic waiting to see one of my Surgeon’s team. I spend the time chatting to others and comparing surgery stories. I have been an in-patient in this hospital several times, even during times of outbreaks of the hospital vomiting bug, but never picked anything up. I expect to pick up nothing at this Clinic visit either. As I sit there, I cannot see all the germs and bacterial microbes sailing through the air as people cough and sneeze. Actually everyone is coughing and sneezing, some badly so. The Irish hospitals are struggling to cope with the large numbers of flu patients who need to be admitted as pneumonia develops. I think nothing of it and actually don’t feel too bad, even though I have had yet another sleepless night. I use the bathrooms at the clinic and carefully disinfect my hands after each visit.
I am asked to move up the line of chairs when a few patients are called in by their doctors. I take the seat of a man who had been coughing hard. It crosses my mind that he has been coughing and spluttering all over the seat so I get up again and use the hand sanitiser before sitting back down again. I am eventually called and the doctor asks me to momentarily wait as he exchanges a few words with a patient who is just exiting his office. The patient coughs and sneezes, and then returns his hand to the door handle. A few seconds later I put my hand on the same door handle and walk in to see my doctor. The cross transmission of germs has been significant since I entered the hospital. Between air-borne microbes and the direct physical contact of germs on chairs, door handles, patient files etc one would need a very strong immune system to escape any nasty consequences. With the Reversed Seven of Wands you can see how vulnerable and exposed I was. My immune system was weakened before I even went into the hospital. As I walked through the hospital and then sat in the Clinic, it tried to do for me what it has always done. My immune system saw the incoming air-borne germs and the contaminated surfaces, and put up a brave fight. However, my hero in the Seven of Wands just couldn’t do his job that day. For once, he was overcome with the magnitude of the task and collapsed. He went down fighting. I was oblivious to the battle that had raged inside and totally unaware that I had lost. It was too early to realise what had happened.
A week later, I begin to feel a bit lethargic in myself. I just didn’t seem to have any energy. My appetite isn’t great and my wine begins to taste like vinegar. I feel off, but not really sure in which way. Everything feels like an effort. I am tired and even a little emotional. The slightest thing makes me cry. A cough develops. It is nothing really. Just a few little dry coughs. The next morning I feel a sharp pain in my right lung. Aha, what is this? This is strange. Best to just ignore it and it will go away. I keep with the plan and get stuck into my work schedule for the day. I tell my partner I feel a bit odd and he tells me to take it easy. He also is against me going for my daily power-walk. He tells me to give it a miss for one day. I pooh-pooh this idea. I hate letting anything break my routine. I want to do my walk as usual and that is it. I am a stubborn woman. I work at my computer until early evening. I have to get to the forest before it gets dark. I leave quite late which means I will have to walk very fast if I am to get my walk in before it gets pitch dark. No problem. As I pound around the forest, I can feel the pain in my right lung and I am doing a good bit of coughing. The cold air hurts my lungs but I get the walk done and return home triumphantly. Sick or not, I got both my work and exercise done. I will do the same tomorrow and the next day after that. Whatever is going on in the lung will lift after a couple of days if I pretend it is not there.
I am some woman!
I was wrong. It is not going away. It is getting worse. I don’t think I can get up and struggle through the day. My cough is worse, I have a temperature and my lung is really bad. A new thing has developed overnight. My whole rib cage feels tight, heavy and sore. My ribs are on fire every-time I cough. Now what the hell is this? I reluctantly get into bed as standing is too painful. I have to clutch my chest each time I cough as it feels like I have broken ribs. This must be a virus I think. It will burn out in a few days. I plan to struggle with some work but will allow myself some bed time too. I am not prepared to give in yet.
Okay, I can’t sleep with the pain and my temperature is spiking. I am either trembling with the cold or burning up with heat. Every time I cough I feel like swords are being plunged into my ribs. I am scared as I don’t know what is wrong. I feel absolutely rotten.
After a very long and painful night I surface the next morning. There is another new development. My left lung is now very painful and feels heavy. When I cough, I get pains in my heart and think I am having a heart attack. Oh god, I am going to die. I better go to the doctors as this has got out of hand. I can’t cope with it on my own. I probably need antibiotics.
My doctor listens to my chest and writes a prescription for antibiotics, painkillers and steroids. She believes it is Pleurisy but needs to know what is causing it. It may be an infection or something worse like pneumonia. She wants me to go up to the local hospital for a chest X-ray. She tells me that I am very sick, that I need to make sure I take my medication when I should, and to finish the course regardless of how I feel. I am to take it very easy and get as much rest as possible. If there is no improvement in a couple of days I am to go back to her. She gives me a letter for A&E just in case my conditions deteriorates rapidly.
I return from the hospital exhausted and in pain. The X-ray is done but won’t get results until the following week. I have no choice but to climb into bed and feel sorry for myself. However, I cannot relax. I have a couple of very important meetings later in the week and I really need to go to them. There is also work that has to be completed. Stuff people are waiting on. I lie in bed with a battle raging inside me. I haven’t the time to give in to this illness. Maybe if I dose myself up with lots of painkillers and steroids I could get someone to drive me to the meetings and just get them over and done with. Instead of resting, I am trying to solve the problems of the world. This is ridiculous, I can’t stay in bed like this, I have to put up a fight. I climb out of bed and turn on my computer. I really need to get some work done. I will do a few hours work and then won’t feel as bad about going to bed. I can’t give in to this illness. I don’t get sick, remember!
I get worse and now I am really scared. I struggle back to the doctor who now thinks I have pneumonia. No X-ray results yet but she knows the signs and symptoms. Stronger antibiotics, stronger painkillers, more steroids and a suggestion I go in to hospital. NO! I will go home to bed and do what I am told. I don’t want to go to hospital.
A calmness descends as I climb back into bed. The Fact that I have put my pajamas on is significant. I have eventually accepted the reality of my situation. I am ill, very ill actually, and for the moment can’t do anything about it. I have fought against it and struggled to continue with my work and routine, but all I have succeeded in doing is running myself further into the ground. I have officially collapsed and have to accept that I am not going anywhere for the next while. I am trapped but there is nothing I can do about it. I decide to let the Hanged Man take over. He tells me to get on with being sick and stop trying to force life so much. He says that everything will have to go on hold. The world will have to wait for me and be content with that. He prompts me to make the necessary phone calls which will cancel the appointments for my meetings. Just make the calls and have it done. He tells me I wont be going anywhere for a while so I might as well make myself comfortable in bed. I feel a weight lift off me. I am resigned to being ill and no longer frustrated with it. I am free to feel awful now without trying to force myself to feel better by a certain date.
I am told that recovery is slow and that I have to take it very easy for the next while or I will have a relapse or complications. I can’t push the healing for it must happen at its own pace. I haven’t gone power-walking in two weeks. With the Hanged Man helping me reflect on my driven personality and the recent couple of weeks of illness I have begun to see things in a new light. The world didn’t end just because I had to cancel a few things and reschedule work commitments. I have been thinking about my role in all this and now realise that my life has been out of balance. I have not being not taking care of myself and The Empress is here to remind me of the need for self-care. I had been overdoing it and trying to juggle too many balls at the same time. There has also been a lot of external pressure in recent months with people expecting me to be here there and everywhere all at the one time. Extra work was heaped on top of me because I have a reputation for getting the job done at all costs. I had begun to put far more importance on other’s needs while I continued to blatantly disregard my own. I now need to restructure my working life so that it is more in keeping with harmony and balance. I accept now that I am not a machine and must rid others of that same notion. I feel more relaxed about my work and the goals I have to achieve now. All in good time, all in good time.
I see my Ten of Swords, my illness as a wake-up call. If I hadn’t been knocked off my feet and laid so low, I would not have had the opportunity to reflect on how crazy my life had become and how much I had lost control of it to others. I feel a sense of peace now and an inner knowing of what I want to do and how it will happen. I will do things my way and not be forced by others. I will turn over a new chapter and start as I mean to continue. I feel my attitude changing and am quite excited about this transformation. A leopard doesn’t change its spots so it would have been too much to expect me to lie in bed thinking about nothing. I have had some interesting moments of enlightenment and feel I have a much clearer vision of where I am going now with my plans and goals. When you keep putting yourself last on the list all the time, you eventually lose your sense of self-respect. I had begun to undervalue myself and my abilities, but I can see clearly now. I have a much stronger sense of myself and my worth. This is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time.
I am still unwell, still waiting for my X-ray results. It may take some time to get my strength back and I have learned a painful lesson. I cannot take my body and health for granted and expect it to keep coming good for me no matter how badly I treat, or ignore it. I pushed it beyond its limits and paid the price. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way.