Fevers and Hallucinations

Critters in the attic. We’ve dealt with critters in our attic time and time again. We’ve never actively sought out or caught the critters, as they typically leave on their own accord. Plus, on more than on occasion, my husband has found snake skin left behind by growing snakes. Perhaps the snakes were growing due to their consumption of the critters in the attic? Who knows.

This weekend, I’ve been listening to the latest critter in the attic. With temperatures staying below freezing, I completely understood this fella’s need for shelter. However, I was a bit concerned by the size of the critter. He seemed to make the ceiling creak as he moved around in his usual area.

The critter in the attic has been a source of entertainment for me, these past several days. I’ve been confined to my bedroom, as I battle with and recover from the flu. Because I caught the symptoms in time, I was a good candidate for Tamiflu, which I have been taking as directed.

I laughed when my doctor told me about the possible side effects of Tamiflu. She said it might cause my behavior to become a little weird. While literally laughing out loud, I said, “I’m already taking Zoloft because I am ‘off’, and now you are telling me Tamiflu might make me more ‘off’?” Sure enough, straight from Tamilfu’s website: “People with the flu, particularly children and adolescents, may be at an increased risk of seizures, confusion, or abnormal behavior early during their illness. These events may occur shortly after beginning Tamiflu or may occur when flu is not treated.” Abnormal behavior. Hmmm … Define abnormal, because I don’t know that I have ever been described as being ‘normal’.

Let me ask you, have you ever had a fever? Have you ever had a high fever? Well, if you’ve experienced the flu, you’ve probably experienced a high fever. And, I am willing to bet, if you’ve experienced a high fever, you’ve experienced a bit of delirium. It is my belief that one has a tendency to become a wee bit delirious when battling high fevers. And, when one is a wee bit delirious, one may start hallucinating.

Well. I’ve been hallucinating. And, the critter in the ceiling has been adding to the hallucinations. Though, thankfully, the critter is not speaking to me. Yet.

Every time I find myself dozing, I seem to be transported to a world where weird things happen. Sometimes I am transported to a world where normal things happen, only to find the normal thing didn’t actually take place. Case in point? While I was dozing, I could have sworn Rob came in to use the bathroom. I heard him. I was sure of it. And, I could tell he was going to be awhile, because I heard him light a match.

30 minutes later, I was growing cranky. I had to use the bathroom. I barely had enough energy to get out of bed, and because he was lolly-gagging in the bathroom, I was going to have to use the bathroom in the hall. Why – oh why – was he taking so long? I finally said, “Rob!” But I got no response. I sat up, and looked at the bathroom door. The door was open and the bathroom was empty. Was I hallucinating?

And then there was the critter …. the noisy critter. I knew he was real. I heard him when I was awake and when I was dozing. He was in my real world – as well as my ‘other’ world. One of my friends suggested the critter was a raccoon. And naturally, based on her critter feedback, a raccoon appeared in my dreams. (By the way, he was not rabid, and he was cute.) I didn’t really think the critter was a raccoon, though. We live in a single story ranch, but we have a drive under garage that runs the length of the house. I know raccoons are climbers, but I don’t think our attic is easily accessible for raccoons. Squirrels and mice? Yes. But raccoons? It would be a first – at least for us.

During the day, I heard the critter leave the attic. So I thought. I opened the blinds, in hopes I would catch the critter returning. When I opened the blinds, I realized the telephone wire to the house, might be the source of home access. Then I wondered if we had flying squirrels. My mind was racing – or was I merely hallucinating. Regardless, I resumed my spot on the bed and waited for the return of the critter. Then a gust of wind came . . .

With the gust of wind came the familiar nose made by the critter. I looked up to see the culprit! And, what to my wondering eyes did appear?! Well, as the pictures will show, it wasn’t the critter I had expected, but it was the source of all the noise I had heard these past several days. So, here’s to fevers, hallucinations and Tamiflu, because being ‘normal’ is no where near as exciting.

The critter – disturbed with the gust of air.
The critter flapping against the house and rattling the pole.

My View Today

Tolle writes, “When every thought absorbs your attention completely, when you are so identified with the voice in your head and the emotions that accompany it that you lose yourself in every thought and every emotion, then you are totally identified with form and therefore in the grip of ego.”

Because of the overwhelming awareness of emotions within me, the voice in my head rattles on most of my waking hours. And today, there is frustration and sadness within me. My heart aches for my nephew, and my heart aches for one of my very best friends, who just found out her Mom is battling Cancer. And, as I read Tolle today, the frustration within me increases.

Living in an unconscious state is sometimes a blessing. Generally speaking, drug addicts, alcoholics, bulimics, anorexics, etc. aren’t trying to find their conscious state; rather they are trying to find a state of unconsciousness. Yes, I understand the concept of the mind – the ego – telling you that your life is lacking for whatever reason. I understand the concept of using food to avoid the labels of the ego. But seriously, I am wondering if I am too in tune with my emotional state. I am wondering if I am too in tune with a conscious state. I analyze too much as it is now; reading Tolle seems to encourage further analysis which is overloading the circuits in my consciousness.

One of my Facebook friends had this as her status: ‘In the 60’s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.’ There is humor and truth to that thought. Humankind is constantly searching for something else. If that statement weren’t true, books would not be sold, and spiritual teachers would not have pupils attending their classes. Even living in the state of consciousness creates a desire to find an even deeper sense of consciousness. Seeking a deeper sense of consciousness risks falling into the trap of always wanting greater fulfillment.

When frustrated or sad (or experiencing any emotion), Tolle suggests one should express the feeling as ‘there is frustration in me’, rather than saying ‘I am frustrated’. Tolle suggests that the emotion has nothing to do with who you are. Honestly, I do notice a difference within myself when I say, “I feel frustrated” vs. “There is frustration within me.” One of those statements seems to remove me from the situation to the point that the frustration seems less intense. However, even though there are tendencies within me to stew on any given emotion at any given time, I don’t recall feeling as though any given emotion was my identity. Unless ‘crazy’ is an emotion.

Seriously, this book is dangerous territory for me. I need not be encouraged to observe my thoughts instead of listening to my thoughts. Listening was never a strong suit of mine, anyway. In the meantime, the frustration and sadness exists within me. My thoughts are consumed with my friend and her Mom. In fact, after reading this, I ask that you take a moment to say a prayer, send a positive thought, or whatever the spiritual side of you does – please send support to my friend and her family. Her brother, while battling a brain tumor, kept these words beside him during his struggle: Strength, Perseverance, Determination, Hope. Those are good qualities on which to hold tight.

And to my friend, I raise a glass of Guinness to you and your Mom. Guinness for Strength; Guinness for Health. I love you.