Tuesday, October 6, 2009

El sicko, namely, me

Here’s the thing about having kids and being sick. Its tough shit for you. When you don’t have kids and you get sick, you rest. Period. Maybe you take a day off or maybe you have to go in to work, but for most of us blog-readers that means sitting at a desk which is -- come on, let’s face it -- pretty restful and when you get home at night, you order in and watch TV. You take it easy until you feel better. It is a very civilized way to live. I miss it.

When you have children you are bound to be sick all the time because those children go to school or day care and bring back awful, weird germs that cause viruses that sound like STDs. The first time I heard of Cox Sackie, I nearly blushed, it sounds so dirty. So, as a parent, you get sick all the time and when you are sick, your children will likely be sick, or recently-sick and still cranky, and you will have no choice but to care for them, just as if you were perfectly healthy.

Children aren’t understanding, they aren’t sympathetic to your woes. In fact, I’ve found it’s quite the opposite. They prey on your weakness. For instance, now that I’ve been sick, my son has decided to push back his wake-up time to 5:30am. And that’s after my daughter wakes several times in the middle of the night with the lingering cough she shared with me. If I didn’t know better, I would say they were purposely trying to do me in.

Once, when Primo was about four months old, I took him to a Mommy and Me Yoga class and the yoga instructor told this story about how she had just recovered from the stomach flu. She said it was great. When you have two kids, she explained, the only way you get to stay in bed for a day or two is if you’re vomiting while on the toilet bowl.

At the time, I thought this was insane. Now, of course, it seems completely reasonable to secretly wish yourself sicker so that you can justify convalescence.

When you’ve got a high fever and are vomiting uncontrollably, you have no choice but to shut down. You can not bring your children to school, you cannot drag yourself to playground or the grocery store. Family or friends or babysitters will relieve you, or you can let your kids watch TV for eleven hours straight. You can be taken off-duty.

When you have a cold, even a very bad one where your head pounds and your chest aches and can’t hear out of one ear, you must continue to shoulder your normal burden. You can continue like this, making dinner and taking the kids to birthday parties, propping yourself upright Weekend-at-Bernie’s–style for weeks if necessary.

That’s precisely what I’ve been doing for two weeks. Two weeks! Pre-kids I was never sick for that long. I’d get a cold, sleep a lot, eat soup and be up and running in a day or two. Instead, with lack of sleep and bad nutrition, my cold has bested my immune system and developed into a super-cold, perhaps even some kind of sinus infection.

David says he’s sick too but I don’t believe him. Or, I should say, I believe him all right, I just don’t accept it. We can’t both be sick at the same time, and I was sick first. Plus, ever since I had a baby I have regarded him as belonging to the weaker sex and so I feel that when he says he’s suffering its only because he doesn’t know what suffering is.

I am insufferable sicko. Send wishes of speedy recovery.