I am currently sick. I’m not drastically sick – in fact I have very few symptoms outside of a minor fever that’s leaving me sleepy and irritable – but I am sick all the same. But I still have two small children, and I still work from home, and all of that stuff. This means that taking any kind of meaningful sick day isn’t really much of an option for me. As a result I am feeling sort of sorry for myself, and not for the first time, either.
I could take my current illness as an excuse to not publish a blog post today, and I actively considered doing that. But a larger part of me really wanted to write here, in this space, where I can whine safely. I’m not getting any sympathy from a four-year-old and a seven-year-old, I can tell you that much. And while I can let a few things slide at work, the truth is that I’d only have to do them later. Plus, there are other things I can’t let slide. So, while my husband is being kind enough to wash the dishes while I laze around, or drop my daughter off at school, I’m still mostly doing everything I normally do.
See? Whiny.When my husband gets sick, his first impulse is to get angry. He says things like, “I can’t get sick!” and, “No, this isn’t happening!” I laughingly respond, “That’s right, get mad at the cold, scare it away.” It rarely works, but I can understand the annoyance all the same. How irritating that something so tiny as a virus could render me so utterly useless.
To make myself feel better I take my temperature several times a day. When the thermometer starts to head north of 37 degrees Celsius, it provides me with some kind of justification. I’m not just imagining things. I’m not just being lazy. I have actual evidence, right there on the little digital panel, that I’m actually not well. Somehow, that makes me feel a little bit better about the whining I’m indulging in. Like maybe it’s justified.
When I was a kid, my mom was at her best when I was sick. She’d go to the store to buy me all sorts of little treats to help me feel better – colouring books, ginger ale, magazines, crackers, soup. She’d take the day off work if she could, and let me lie on the couch and watch all the TV I wanted. She would even change the channel for me sometimes, back in the olden days when we didn’t yet have a remote control.
My husband and children are not so inclined to baby me when I’m unwell. In fairness to them, I’m not their baby. And in extra fairness to my husband, I’m not sure I’m always so considerate towards him when he’s not at full strength, either. It’s a different sort of relationship.
So, I sit here in my computer chair, annoyed that I have to make dinner, while my children watch Sesame Street in the other room. These days, when I’m sick, they’re the ones who get to watch extra TV, while I mope around and whine to the Internet. It’s not a perfect arrangement, but it’s all I’ve got for now, so I’m running with it as best I can.
What is your response when you feel sick? And how do you catch a break when there are kids to take care of? I’d love to hear. Or just express your sympathy, either way.