The Sanctity of Sick
By stephbernaba on October 24, 2011
You know that feeling when you're coming down with a cold or a virus? The fatigue, the scratchy throat, the sneezing, the headaches? The general malaise? The symptoms that you repeatedly question and ultimately attribute to something else?
This is happening to me today, except, like most instances I can fondly recall, I can't savor them in solitude.
I slept fewer than three hours last night because Michael was awake, congested and whiny. I started to get nauseous around 4am, and attributed that to not having slept. I awoke this morning (and I put that term completely loosely) to more pronounced nausea and a headache. All three children are sneezing and coughing around me.
And I can't figure out whether or not I'm getting sick.
Why? Because it's hard to listen to your body when it's covered in babies and cats. I can't tell if I'm nauseous because I'm sick, or because I made the unwise decision to eat only coffee and tomato soup today, or because my son's been using my torso as a trampoline. Or all of the above.
I used to be able to relish this state of uncertainty, on the couch, wrapped in my favorite blanket, with a remote in my hand. I used to figure these things out while indulging in cocoa and The Price is Right. I used to be able to rest and fight the germs back, and I would wake the next day refreshed, and move on.
But I can't do that anymore. Not with three kids and three cats, and a husband who has the day off today and really wants to chat. I can't even stare, completely self-absorbed, into the mirror at the bags under my eyes, because Matthew will break my concentration by tugging on my shirt and asking, "Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Teeth? Potty?"
I don't want to slog through the next five to seven days running around in circles, wiping noses, delirious with fever. I don't want to lie amongst a bunch of sick, stinky babies if I'm not strong enough to take care of them. I don't want to run a family of five on empty. I just don't.
You know, you lose a lot of things when babies come into your life, some of which you miss, and some of which you don't. Me? My heart is aching for a crocheted blanket, a cup of tea, and Ellen. And it wouldn't hurt if there were no one within an arm's length of me, either.
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