Friday, August 17, 2012
By the Honor of Grayskull...I AM SHE-RA!
I was in my twenties when the super-kitschy She-Ra, Princess of Power hit the American airwaves and my chief reaction was one of surprise...and delight.
Through the portal of pop culture, my strange, foreign name -- Shira -- suddenly went mainstream.
Since 1985, I've had a great fondness and affinity for She-Ra, going so far as to adapt the moniker "Princess of Power" as my own...in the cybersphere and karaoke bars alike.
My friend Margot had it engraved into a pewter flask for my 50th birthday party.
In truth, She-Ra, Princess of Power has been a fair weather faux persona, something to take out of the closet on Halloween and Purim, to riff on in conversation and online, to use in a strictly ironic way.
But I'm not too cool to admit that this week, I found myself thinking of the metaphorical value of She-Ra as a superhero as I faced down the fiercest fever I've had in at least a decade. At the tail end of a challenging summer, on my way back from a draining staff retreat in Atlantic City, I wondered at my sudden energy deficit, the slackness of my muscles, the heat creeping across my forehead.
It took me 15 minutes to gather the strength to emerge from my parked car, retrieve my luggage and get myself into the Urban Bungalow. Once upstairs, unable to eat despite my hunger, the reluctant awareness dawned on me:
I am sick.
Within the next few hours, I found out just how sick I was as my fever took root, ravaging me. I was utterly shocked by its power and frightened because I had no discernible accompanying symptoms, no aching throat, no upset stomach, no hacking cough, no indication what had caused the spike in my body's temperature.
As I tend to do in moments of physical distress, I found myself empathizing with the very sick; I wondered how people endure aggressive cancers, post-operative pain, car accidents, terrifying injuries, the innumerable diseases that feast on the human body.
Realizing I needed to bring my fever down but unable to walk, I woke up HOBB and had him bring me Tylenol, which enabled me to fall asleep. In the morning, it was scarily evident how serious my illness was. When my husband left to teach, saying he would return at noon to check on me, I cast him a wan and desperate glance.
A full hour before he returned home, I was burning hot again. The Tylenol was out of reach and I could not get up to find it. Seeking succor, I found myself visualizing She-Ra in all her leggy glory, holding her Sword of Protection aloft and proclaiming "By the honor of Grayskull....I am SHE-RA!" as she charged into combat with Hordak and the Evil Horde, fleeing like the wind on the back of Spirit, her winged unicorn.
Vanquished by the fire burning under my skin, weakened so thoroughly that I was unable to stand, I felt as sad and vulnerable as a small child.
Maybe that is why I summoned to mind a children's cartoon character.
It is now Friday morning. Alarmed at my state on Wednesday, HOBB took me to a local Urgent Care Center -- City MD -- on the Upper West Side, after my regular doctor's practice failed to return my urgent call. The Urgent Care doctor could not have been nicer. Though uncertain of the cause of my "febrile state" he prescribed antibiotics and mega-strength Motrin. I feel better but am not well yet.
The rest of the day, HOBB was as heroic as He-Man, bringing me water, my medication and a bucket to throw up into, calling my family members, getting advice from BOBB (brother of Bungalow Babe -- a doctor!), calling the Urgent Care doctor twice.
For this princess of power, being held by the evil horde of illness, a hero is just what the doctor ordered.
By the Honor of Grayskull, I AM SHE-RA!
For a primer on She-RA, Princess of Power, here's a site I especially like. Or check out this one.