Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ping ponging your way through the flu

I remember it so well. It was the winter of 2005. Chuck and I were renting an apartment together ("shacking up" as my mother called it). Out of nowhere, I got the flu.

I spent the next week on the couch, swigging NyQuil. I slept. I watched talk shows and sitcoms. There was no Facebook, so I couldn't gross people out with my status updates—"Just hacked up a lung! Puked again!" No tweeting either.

How did we communicate?

When Chuck got home from work he would lift up the blanket and poke me, just to make sure I was alive. He may have tried to poke me in other ways, I can't remember. It was the sickest I've ever been and yet, looking back on it, it was bliss.

I've been thinking a lot about that week.

The kids both came down with the flu on Saturday. Over the last few days, Chuck and I have been sneezed on, puked on and coughed on. We've endured hours of Thomas the Train and Curious George. We've made Jello and toast and held the kids while they whimpered and moaned. We've tried to sleep while the kids slept on top of us.

Then, a glimpse of hope: the kids started to feel better. Then, reality. I started sneezing. Mother Nature is a sly devil. She keeps you healthy just long enough for you to nurse your kids back to health before whacking you with it. It's the bitch-slap of being a parent: you get slapped on the way in and you get slapped on the way out. 

I was fortunate to come down with it first. I told Chuck I was going to bed and I did—for almost two days. I swigged NyQuil. I slept. I watched talk shows and sitcoms. There is Facebook, so I could gross people out with my status updates—"Just hacked up a lung! Puked again!" 

Every time I heard Chuck sneezing and coughing from downstairs I furrowed down deeper under the covers. Yes, he was sending me SOS's—like letting the kids throw ping pong balls at the stairs and yelling "Kids, your mother is trying to rest!"—but for a few days I was blissfully untouchable. Like I'd been in 2005. Like any time, really, we're able to lie down and take care of ourselves for a change.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. This morning Chuck announced that he was going to bed. He has a fever; I can't contest a fever. I'm going to have to slog through until I'm better. I'm going to have to visit the Island of Sodor even as I hack up a lung. 

But I'll always have the sweet memories of my couch and bed. Of hiding and furrowing, furrowing and hiding. The proverbial good ole days.

Now where are those ping pong balls?


Patty Woodland said...

Hubby and I had the flu once - together. At the same time. We were both in bed unable to take care of each other having alternating chills. It was like one of those vibrating beds that bad motels used to have but we didn't need quarters.

We swore never again. We both get flu shots every year and we have not gotten the flu since. It was the sickest we had been and both of us down at once was just horrible.

I truly hope you are feeling better. Chuck too.

VandyJ said...

It is ironic that as a parent, especially a mom, you don't get as much time to get better as when you didn't have kids.

Leanne said...

Feel better. It passes, soon the kids will get older and then when you get sick they use it as an excuse to eat crap, trash your house and ignore your moans by turning up the volume on TV. But they won't die, so you won't care. Here's to the tween years!

Keely said...

Over Christmas Alfred and I both had the flu at the same time. X had been sick but was feeling better by that point. I'm still not sure how we didn't burn the house down.

Maria said...

I remember well the first time my daughter was really, really sick with the flu when she was about 7 years old. I took over a week off from work to tend to her and then managed to catch her bug. I went to work with the flu because I had missed all that work the previous week and a half!

It was hell, I tell you, HELL. :)

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