“The day you feel better is the day you stay in bed.”

I woke up this morning and felt a little better. I started to think of things I might do. But I immediately remembered the words of Nurse Karen from Camp Greystone during the summer of 1998 when I had some kind of intestinal virus. I stayed in the Health Hut for a week! I couldn’t wait to leave. On the day my fever broke and I could eat again, I raced down to the Dining Hall, ready to reintroduce myself to society.

“Heather! Heather! What are you doing?” Nurse Karen cried out. “Get back into your bed!” She shook that loving finger at me and frowned.

“But I feel better today! I finally feel better!” I protested.

She said the words I never forgot all these years later. “The day you feel better is the day you stay in bed.” She explained it like this: “You always need one more day than you think you do to recover. If people rush out on the first day they feel good, they relapse. They push their body too hard. They think they are healed when they always need one more day.” 

She was right. Even as I dragged myself back up the hill to the Health Hut, I knew my body wasn’t ready. I spent one more day in those crisp white camp sheets with fans cooling the room, sipping watered-down Gatorade and eating crackers. I slept and slept. I felt great. I listened to the cheerful sounds of campers and followed the bugle schedule from afar. I stayed in bed.

And the next day, I went back to work.

The doctor said to give this COVID variant a full 5 days. I’m on day 3. When I feel better, that’s the day I’ll stay in bed.

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