It took about two weeks to recover from the debacle with the house I tried to rent in Tucson. In retrospect, I should not have stayed and slept on the porch. I should have picked myself up and left the next morning. If I had, I would have recovered in a day or two.
The first few days back in Desert Hot Springs were difficult. We arrived on Thanksgiving Day, noted the cool and brisk wind as we set up our tent, and then went into the office to pay our monthly rental. Surprise! There’s an ‘unwritten rule’ at Sam’s that tents are not eligible for the monthly discount. That doubles the monthly cost, making it tantamount to renting a 3 bedroom house! To add to my distress, they complained about the tent I had borrowed from Lisa and to which I was testing my reactivity. “One tent only.” Even though the rules say “one sleeping unit only,” and I was using the 2nd tent as my office. So down came the new tent and back into my ripped, leaking old tent I went.
After several days of grumbling, (and talking to various levels of managers), I had a wonderful emotional detox, with flowing tears and wracking sobs, letting out all the pain of loss….of my house, of my Ohio friendships, of the routine of doing yoga and writing, of being warm after dark and having my clothes neatly organized on hangers and in dressers. Life outdoors is hard. And the winter weather doesn’t make it any easier.
The wind blew fiercely on Thanksgiving evening. But it was fiercer still the following Thursday when the Santa Ana winds raged through the valley from Los Angeles eastward, creating widespread damage to dwellings and trees. We bought some heavy steel stakes and nailed our tent to the ground, and tied the shade canopy to a palm tree. The winds here hit gusts of 40 – 50 mph. We stayed warm in the pools and ate our meals out.
During this entire week, I continued to experience swollen glands and a bit of a sore throat – common CFS symptoms which had come on in Tucson. But since David had the same symptoms at the same time, and I visited Urgent Care to rule out Valley Fever (a fungal infection in the respiratory tract), we concluded it was a viral infection. My energy was poor; and I felt cold often.
It wasn’t until early this week that I felt truly back to baseline. And so today, to celebrate I took a hike in the desert, resting twice, but finding myself invigorated at the end.
I haven’t given up on housing. I saw a beautiful contemporary house with concrete floors and minimal furniture available for a house share. I fell in love with it, but the owner read my blog (I forgot to delete the link from my e-mail signature) and (probably) freaked out. I can understand this: I myself would have judged someone like me as ‘crazy’ and ‘irrational.’ I’m sure it’s for the best, as another setback would be most unwelcome at this point in my healing journey. But my urge to nest is greater than my fear of another bad experience. And so I am perusing the classified ads in the paper and on Craigslist until I find a place that feels good to me.
In the meantime, I had blood drawn for lab tests and am waiting with great anticipation for the results. Will my MSH be higher? What about my ADH? and thyroid? I’ve had several nights in which I’ve slept through without waking, which make me hope that some of these biomarkers are coming up. Dr. Hope also started me on an anti-fungal nasal spray that really seems to stir up whatever has been colonizing my head. That’s another reason I didn’t feel great for the first week. But my body seems to be adjusting, and the sinus pain is lessened. And the mineral water in the pools is still feeling purifying and calming to me. And so I go on, one day at a time, one cold evening at a time, climbing under layers of down at night and warming my clothes under the covers every morning.