Day 48: Asking for Help

Everest kalapatthar

Photo image: By Pavel Novak [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve never climbed Everest. It’s a source of fascination to me, those who climb it, putting themselves through inhuman conditions just to achieve some personal glory. “Into Thin Air”, by Jon Krakauer, is one of my favorite books. It describes a slow-moving catastrophe among two guided tours attempting the summit. My father, and many others, see the climbers as selfish and vain. I see them as utilizing their bodies and minds so fully, so exhaustingly, so completely. How do they do it? It’s a marvel to me.

Last night, I felt like I was in the Death Zone (higher than 26,000 feet). “Extreme Fatigue” is one of the symptoms of Whooping Cough. Krakauer’s descriptions of altitude sickness: shallow breathing, coughing severe enough to break ribs, severe headaches. Check, check, check.

If I drag out this metaphor, if I was on Everest, I would have been a guide in charge of weaker, less experienced clients, or, the twins. They were miserable last night, and kept crying for food, water, bathroom help, anything, because they couldn’t sleep. For two hours I trudged through trying to give them what they needed until I finally collapsed on the floor in a near-swoon.

All I could think to do was say “help”. I’m not sure who it was directed at, but I said it over and over, as if in a meditative state. Part of me felt foolish, but I kept saying it for a few minutes. Then, I felt better. Not fully cured or anything, but well enough to convince the twins to fall asleep. (I guaranteed them, like George Zimmer, that they’d be able to sleep.)

Hmmm…I guess we’re all alone here, really, in the end. (Wouldn’t that make for an uplifting Hallmark card.) But maybe asking for help from the universe at large (or God, or whatever you believe) can help get us through our toughest times? Is that sappy?



Filed under Discovering joy, Family

9 responses to “Day 48: Asking for Help

  1. chhandita

    It may sound sappy but it works for me All.The.Time!

    Glad you are feeling better.

  2. Ahh, hope you feel better soon! Asking for help is not sappy at all in my opinion.

  3. Aww, I hope you all feel better soon.

  4. i had something that might have been whooping cough — jury’s out between that and swine flu — two years ago. it was truly horrible. i won’t tell you how long i was sick for, as i don’t want to demoralize you (and also because i’m sure my underlying asthma contributed a LOT), but i will say that when you start to feel better DO NOT act like you are better right away. recovery was slow and trying to do too much definitely led to set-backs. (and by “set-backs,” i mean coughing so hard at work that i threw up on a tree.)

    here’s hoping you are better soon.

  5. not at all sappy. the crazy thing is we typically only turn to the Universe in abjection and the Universe is as good at partying as it is in holding us together when we allow it/ask for it.

  6. Okay, I’m afraid this will sound all wrong, because I am so sorry that you are so sick, on top of having your husband is gone and having to take care of the twins on your own, *but* . . .

    I found your story of what happened last night, how you asked for help and then felt better, and how you compared your symptoms to climbing Mt. Everest, inspiring somehow. Not the part about being sick in the first place. The part about finding the strength to go on in such an incredibly challenging situation.

    (And, no, I didn’t think it was sappy. 🙂

  7. Alone, that’s what I suspect too, and yet I find myself pleading during the 2WW.

    Get well soon!

  8. AP

    I think that’s smart. When I ask I don’t know who I’m directing it to, but it never hurts to ask! It always makes it somewhat better.

  9. Pingback: Day 50: End of the Stoic Month | Too Many Fish to Fry

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