Getting sick in the summer is a real drag. And when it comes on the heels of a wonderful week-long vacation, it’s even worse.
The day after I posted my vacation pics with the heading “that peaceful easy feelin…” on Facebook, I developed a sore throat. Hmm, allergies, I thought. The next day, the pain was worse and a cough thrown in. A day later, the cough was awful and my throat so sore I could barely swallow. That night, I coughed and tossed and turned sleeplessly. And the next day, I called in to work, sick.
Friday and the weekend, I figured I would rest and shake it off. I did all the right stuff – rested, drank liquids, gargled with salt water, took OTC medicine and cough syrup. On the Monday, I felt slightly better but not well enough to go to the office. I decided to seek medical care.
The doctor didn’t have a name for it – cold, flu – but indicated that my illness was a complex brew of severe allergies (humid and polluted city air after a week of clean country air, right?) plus a sinus infection.
Since then, I have been puffing Symbacort and guzzling codeine syrup so I can sleep at night. I do feel a lot better, but my voice is barely 50% audible, and the occasional bout of wracking coughing stops me in my tracks.
By now, it feels like it has been a month since my cottage sojourn, but I can picture it, and remember how I felt and relive the rich joys of friendship and delighting in the beauty of God’s creation.
Friend and fellow blogger Beth Byrnes maintains that it must be a Canadian thing, cottaging, but she compares it to having a weekend cabin or a summer home. While I can’t speak for the other provinces, in Eastern Canada, it’s quite a desirable thing to have a cottage. Somewhere to go on weekends and in the summer; some are winterized and folks go all year round.
The cottage lifestyle appeals to harried, uptight urbanites – it is a place where we can relax, live simply, enjoy family and friends and food without the guilt. It is a state of mind as much as a place.
Cottage Country in Ontario starts about 80 miles outside of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and spreads for another 150 miles or so from there. Regions have names like Haliburton, the Kawarthas and Muskoka (where Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have a place on the part of Lake Muskoka known as Millionaire’s Row) but are very similar. Each offers an extensive system of lakes, big and small, surrounded by gently rolling hills full of pine and trees, some farms and fields, and connected by winding country roads that snake off of two-lane rural highways.
Driving up Highway 11, my friends and I could feel our heart-rates slow, our breathing deepen, our minds relax. We had a full 7 days of peace and relaxation in a lovely cottage on a small-ish lake – and time to spend any way we chose!
The cottage we stayed in was NOT a rustic cabin. It was spacious, nicely appointed and air-conditioned – with 2 fireplaces and a sauna (for wintering). Each of the three of us had her own room. I was in the master bedroom, which has an ensuite – partly due to my weak bladder and partly to avoid disturbing the dogs. We planned the meals ahead of time and took turns preparing them, with all of us doing clean-up. We walked the dogs twice a day, read the bible and a book on emotional healing down on the dock, napped, did exercise videos, watched movies on DVD and talked a lot. It was great!
There were no computers and no cell phone service – so no compulsive email and text checking. No TV stations to flip through. No urban distractions at all.
In hindsight, I believe that media fast was the single biggest factor in making our week at the cottage as peaceful and restful as it was.
If you can arrange it, try to get away somewhere – for at least 3 days but a week if possible. Disconnect from media. Wear comfy clothes and eat simple meals. Hang out with family or close friends. Enjoy each other and life.
It will boost your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.
But when you get back to the city – or wherever your ‘reality’ is – boost up your immune system and try not to get sick like I did!
BEWARE OF BEARS: The signs at the landfill where you dump your garbage are NO joke. We saw 3; the 2 youngsters scampered away but mama kept scavenging while we dumped!