In sickness and health

There is a common misconception that women are stalwart in sickness while men take to bed with even a minor case of the sniffles. That may be true in the lives of others but around here I fully admit I am the big crybaby and Mr. Wonderful is the hardy, rugged type.

Before we met, he actually severed not one, but two of his fingers in separate incidents. I’m told he behaved admirably each time. Suffice to say if you end up with a man who once spent the afternoon driving around calmly with his detached finger in a paper cup, your run of the mill aches and pains are probably going to go unremarked upon.

Contained

I vividly recall the first time I actually understood the phrase “mommies don’t get sick days.” I was violently ill with the flu. Lying prone on the couch with my infant daughter and two-year-old son nearby, I was shocked to see Mr. Wonderful with lunch box in hand heading for the door.

There I was, on death’s doorstep, with two helpless children — one who had the manual dexterity to reach high places — and there he was leaving in my time of need? Of course further introspection proved that we had bills to pay and had grown overly fond of having heat and lights, so he really had to go to work.

Coping

So he went and I corralled the children safely in the living room and roused myself from the sofa periodically to toss fish-shaped crackers and juice in their general direction for regular intervals until bedtime blessedly arrived.

I have never been so grateful for baby gates and 24/7 children’s television programming as I was on that date. Had I had the strength I would have lobbied to nominate Elmo for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now that the children are older, I take any illness on my part as a chance for them to make up to me the times I was fixin’ to die and they needed me to drive to soccer practice or make macaroni and cheese. It’s so nice to finally have pillow plumping, water fetching types at my beck and call that I may be guilty of taking a tad too much advantage of the situation.

The other day I managed to finagle them into cleaning much of the downstairs and making dinner for us all after I came down with a cold.

Sofa

Having taken to the sofa like an overacting movie heroine to a fainting couch I shall share what I learned while ill. Clearly the inventor of DayQuil / Nyquil combo is a genius deserving of her/his own national holiday and a parade.

This is true only until the medication wears off. I think “every four hours” is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule, right? Overdoses are so 90s rock star.

I don’t mean to be a big baby about illness, it’s just that it’s so inconvenient, and uncomfortable and whining makes me feel better. I want to kind of behave like I’m being strong about it while not actually having to be strong at all.

Fun

Finally, I still want to toss fish-shaped crackers at the children when I’m ill. This isn’t because they can’t be trusted to be alone while I suffer, it’s simply because now that they are old enough to act as moving targets, I find it rather fun.

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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