by Cassondra Murray
Wait. Correct that. It blows.
I've had it since Saturday night, but I'm way tired of it already.
Generally, I am not sick much. This is a good thing because I'm a lousy sick person.
I get whiney, impatient and needy and want somebody to take care of me.
My husband, Steve, does an admirable job of this, actually, which I do not understand, because when Steve is sick with some kind of bug, it goes something like the following:
"Honey," I say, "your fever is 110, which puts you near death. I think you should call in to work and tell them you're sick."
"Can't," he says. "Have a patient coming from a thousand miles away, across burning lava fields and shark infested waters. Little old lady who won't let anybody draw her blood but me."
Later that day, while he wears a mask at work to keep from killing said little old lady and everyone else....
"Honey," I say, (on the phone this time) "how's your headache and fever?"
"About the same."
"Have you taken any Ibuprofen?"
"Yeah, I took some earlier."
“Do you think it’s time for more?”
“I’m waiting for this to kick in.”
"What time did you take it last?"
"This morning. "
"What time this morning?"
"Before I left the house." ( It's now two in the afternoon. )
"Honey, it's a four-hour medicine. You left the house at 7."
"Oh. I guess it's time for another dose."
Later that evening...
"Honey, how's your head?"
"About the same."
"Have you had any pain meds?"
"Yes. They're not working."
"They didn't work at all????!!!!"
"Well, it eased up for a few minutes, but it's back."
"How long ago did you take them?"
"When you called me at work. ."
"Honey, that was 2 o'clock. It's 9 now. That's 7 hours ago."
Now I promise you that Steve is a bright boy, and he can count to four and tell time. But when he's sick, he watches movies, cleans guns, pigs out on the junkiest food we have in the house (I don't keep junk food, but when he's sick, he will stop to buy some), piddles around the house, and does what he normally does. Oh, except he stays up all night. He does not normally do that. Except when he's sick.
I have to nag him into eating healthy food, hydrating, taking meds and resting. He refuses to cooperate with anything even potentially sensible. It's like being sick brings out the stubborn in him.
When he's sick, I'll get up at 3 in the morning, and find him at the computer, in a bathrobe with nothing under it, barefooted on our cold hardwood floors, with the thermostat set at 58 degees. He'll be huddled in the computer chair, shivering and miserable.
"What the blue bloody blazes are you doing up," I say, "and fanning around the house half naked when you're sick?"
"I couldn't sleep."
"Did you take your Nyquil?"
"I had some earlier. I’m waiting for it to kick in.."
Yeah….like eight hours earlier. And here we go again.
When he's sick, I can't make him take care of himself. He does it the hard way. Fights off that dirty rotten virus alone, lonely and cold, in the middle of the street at midnight, with his bare hands, dammit.
I am the complete opposite. I crawl into bed under a mountain of covers with an enormous stack of pillows and a book, and wait for help to arrive.
And arrive it does.
"How's your head?" Steve says as he comes through the bedroom door.
"How's your nose?"
"Not feeling any better at all?"
He comes into the room and pokes a thermometer in my mouth, which almost certainly reads the same as it did two hours ago, but he pours out the next dose of Robitussin and stands at the ready as I gag it down (Is that stuff gross or what?) and reach for my water chaser, which he also has ready, cap open, so I can get rid of the vile stuff as quickly as possible. He puts another blanket on the bed, and makes sure everything is in place.
Fresh glass of orange juice? Check. Bottle of water I'm drinking now, plus one or two more for backup? Check. Extra blankets? Check. Box of Puffs Plus? Check. A 600-pack of Hall's Honey Lemon cough drops, plus two extra 600-packs in the drawer?
Check. Enough cold meds of every kind to last until the end of time...you know...just in case he should time it wrong and I wake up in need while he's out feeding dogs? Check.
I have a distinct preference for the Medicated into a numb state kind of lousy feeling over the running nose, sneezing, can't breathe, cough yourself into an oxygen-deprived stupor kind of lousy feeling.
Tonight he called from the grocery store (where he was buying more of my favorite orange juice (all-natural, not from concentrate, lots-of-pulp please) to ask what I wanted to eat. I wanted Teriyaki Chicken, so he drove across town to the best Japanese place to get two orders. No huffing and puffing on his part, and absolutely no guilt thrown.
I honestly do not understand this phenomenon.
Could it be that some latent gene lies within him? Could it be that when I’m sick and in bed for long periods during the daytime, the gene activates, based on some primordial fear that if I am not well soon, there will be never again be clean laundry?
Yes, I can function when I’m sick and do just fine. I have done it in the past at a rather high level, and I likely will have to do so again. But I don’t like it. I’m a rotten sickie.
Last night when I was firmly sandbagged into my warm, pillowed, healing place, I read Kate Carlisle’s fabulous new mystery, IF BOOKS COULD KILL. Nothing like a good mystery when it's snowing outside and you're sick. Tonight I think I’ll go for Anna Campbell’s latest while I nurse my poor nose and sip my new orange juice.
You should see the stack of dishes in the kitchen. I am fairly certain that we are out of clean plates and silverware, and so I will have to get up and come back to the realm of regular people and do home maintenance at some point soon.
But not now.
Cuz I hab a colb.
So what about it?
What kind of sickie are you? Are you a stubborn, “can’t keep ‘em down” sickie?
Or do you sandbag yourself into a comfy spot and wait for the cavalry?
Do you like to be left completely alone to lie in a pool of your own misery while you heal?
Or do you like to be taken care of and pampered?
What do you crave when you’re sick?
And what absolutely must be available? Lotion enhanced tissues? Orange soda? Sherbet and 7-up?
Do you keep the pharmaceutical companies in business with your supplies of Nyquil, Dayquil, and Robitussin?
Or do you tough it out with the aspirin and hot water bottle?
What’s your poison when you're in bed sick or hab a colb?