For once I am fearful of too much time, the kind measured not in minutes, but by the rhythm of an IV. Drip, breathe, drip, breathe, drip, breathe. The kind of rhythm that reminds me I’m not well, not entirely, not yet.
Tomorrow I start two-hour IV iron treatments for the next six weeks. The needles don’t scare me anymore; the time still does. Time to meditate and ruminate and reflect and worry. The kind of time punctuated by piercing silence, the realization that aloneness has its own sound, one that podcasts and Netflix can’t ultimately drown out.
I’ve survived nearly two weeks of gluten-free eating, complete with a good ugly-cry over bread and confronting my newfound status as the hipster who sips wannabe rice beer while playing ping-pong at the BYOB establishment in the East Village. Per my typical impatience, I expected to feel instantly better, more energetic, embracing my celiac lifestyle with panache.
My continued tiredness, and the whole lifestyle change, really, is tinged with guilt. I feel guilty for the restaurant changes, for trekking to multiple stores to find the best brand of rice tortilla, for the price tag of my never-ending doctors’ appointments. (Important note: I don’t feel guilty for asking the cute guy at Hy-Vee where the gluten-free beer was located, even though I already knew.)
What I now lack in wheat, rye and barley I’ve made up for in mindfulness. Between preparing gluten-free lunches the night before and letting bread-loving Oprah live her damn life, I feel the mindfulness informing other elements of my life, too.
My first IV iron infusion is tomorrow, and I admit I’m nervous about it; I’ve never done well with that kind of stillness. There is one sound, perhaps, that could drown out the piercing silence, one that often fades into my existence I know it so well. One that I’ll maybe discover new mindfulness and appreciation for come Monday: the turning pages of a book.