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Monday, March 12, 2012

I never get sick

I never get sick.

Okay, that’s a lie. I almost never get sick.

When I do get sick, it’s a doozie…

… Like the time at our family Christmas party when I had to go upstairs to, um, puke my guts out repeatedly while everyone downstairs ate food and opened gifts.

But I forget these things during my long healthy years between bouts of illness.

Yup, it’s been years since that Christmas siege. Then last week, the true influenza came to visit. I don’t mean the thing commonly mistakenly known as the “stomach flu.” Nope, I didn’t have a stomach virus.

I had the real flu – in spite of getting a flu shot last fall. I was hot and headachy, my throat hurt, my whole body ached, and my nose ran. The attack came suddenly, during our morning walk. About halfway through, I told my husband, “I think you better go get the car. My hips are killing me.” I kept walking slowly, like a grandma (heh), with our dog, while Mike went ahead to get the rescue vehicle.

It was Thursday, my grandma day – the day I normally spend with Liam and Oliver. I knew Colleen might also stop over with Alaina and Marisa, like she did last week. I thought I’d be okay. I figured my hips were just sore from arthritis; it’d been damp lately. Surely I could still enjoy those kids. But after I called her, my daughter-in-law Rae rescheduled her work appointment. She and Liam felt punk too. I let Katie and Colleen know that I was out of commission. No little kids for me.

It was lucky Rae rescheduled her work appointment, because I spent the next seven hours sleeping. From time to time I’d wake up and realize I was in so much pain that sleep was the only escape. I wasn’t hungry but I drank water because I was paranoid about getting dehydrated. During my few waking moments, I realized that my head (not my mouth) was screaming. My skull was too big for my scalp. I lay on a bag full of ice cubes. Then I lay on another bag of ice cubes after my heat melted the first one.  I escaped into sleep repeatedly. It was self-defense.

The worst of it was that my teeth hurt. I kept touching them, as if that would make the pain go away. I worked my jaw open and close. That hurt bad. The most severe pain seemed to center around a crown I got last fall. I fantasized about having the dentist pull the crown out. Then I fantasized about him yanking all the teeth around it. Then I repositioned my ice bag and went back to sleep.

My sister-in-law Nan told me that once when she was sick, her hair hurt. I was glad my hair didn’t hurt.

Mike brought me crackers and chicken soup after his long tax season day. It was a nice 9:00 pm supper. I love sick food when I’m sick.

The next day was Friday, my writing day. I woke up and I knew immediately that I was healed.

“Mike,” I said with glee, “I’m better! I only have a splitting headache and my nose is running, but that’s it!”

It was such a miraculous difference from the day before that I was filled with energy. I vacuumed the carpet. I took the Swiffer to the wood floors. I did three loads of laundry. I drank six cups of real caffeine coffee (my homemade headache remedy) and eventually my skull fit back into my scalp. My nose wouldn’t stop running, and it got pink from continuous blowing, but I didn’t care. The real pain was gone. My teeth didn’t hurt. I was me again. I even did a little writing.

You never realize how good you feel normally until you don’t feel normal.

Now I know what I’ll do. I’ll forget all about my flu day and return to thinking “I never get sick,” until I get really sick again. I hope that day is another four years away and that my nice Michael will bring me chicken soup.

1 comment:

  1. You know, of course, that by posting this you are priming yourself to catch something major like the bubonic plague? Hopefully not, but you're definitely tempting fate...

    Seriously, I'm glad you're better. And I'm really glad you didn't go to WSF last week and infect the car pool. :-)