by V. J. Knutson
“My husband wants to put wheels on the bedroom and drive me cross-country.”
Three years ago, the doctor warned us against travelling six hours by car, stating that my health was too fragile. Now, she pauses in her note taking and ruminates for a moment before declaring the idea: “creative”.
“Well, it’s certainly taking charge of your life, instead of giving into the disease,” my psychologist adds when I disclose the plan to her. “I admire your attitude.”
Originally, we planned to take two years: I’d focus on recovery; he’d concentrate on winding down the business, and we’d sell everything off in stages. A boom in real estate helped push our dream forward, and here we are, on the road in half the time.
Mornings are the worst. Sleep, when it does come, encases my body in lead, reluctantly giving up her grasp when consciousness calls. Since the mind stirs long before the limbs, I have learned to use this time to write. Writing is one of the luxuries illness has afforded me.
Inspiration is never far away when the view from my window is ever-changing. Today, I am greeted by a cloudless blue Texan sky, anchored by the beauty of palms waving gently in the breeze.
Later, we’ll drive to one of the World Birding Centers nearby, where I’ll search for the green jay, native to this area, hoping to snap a picture. Or, if strength fails me, I’ll prop myself up in bed and try to sketch the pintail duck I photographed on my last visit. He’s such an elegant creature, his head a black hood atop a snowy neck and breast, balanced serenely on one leg. I admire his ease and grace; maybe even envy him a little more--my gait is so lumbered and slow. Self-pity is a flitting sentiment these days though, now that I have time to admire the delights of nature.
Life is simple now. We gave up most of our worldly goods--passed what we could to the children, sold the rest. We are nomads, escapees from the stress of debt, cold weather, and the mundane.
Our home, complete with a washer/dryer, dishwasher, and walk-in closet, offers all that we need. He has his desk; I have my king-sized bed. Shoeboxes, we’ve discovered, can be efficient and comfortable. Our yard, however, is incomparable, priceless.
In a week or so, we’ll pack up and head further west.
Illness, we’ve discovered, does not take a vacation, but this alternative sure beats the years of isolation and immobility that preceded it.
Life is a grand as it can be.
V.J.Knutson is a former educator, avid blogger, and grandmother. She and her husband are currently travelling cross-country in a 40 foot motor home. Originally from Ontario, Canada, V.J. hopes this journey will provide healing for her ME/CFS, or at the very least, inspire further creativity. Find her online at https://onewomansquest.org/.