In sickness and in health

So the good news is I won’t die today. Probably. I have been sick for three weeks. Nothing too serious, just a run of the mill wracking full body cough, spiky fever and random swooning.

At some point I think my life was in danger. Not due to the illness exactly. I just know that if Mr. Wonderful had snapped and killed me for being annoying, not a jury in the land would have convicted him.

Blame

I blame the children. Certainly they are sweet, darling precious lights of my life who may in fact care for me in my dotage should I be allowed to live that long.

They are also pestilence riddled carriers of the plague. Public school, no matter how they try to sanitize for our protection, is just a Petri dish of disease. Being gold-star sharers, they bring it all home to me.

Doctor? No. When my hacking, tubercular cough announced my presence long before I had physically arrived, I took the concern and panicked waving away of my friends in stride. “Yes I have a cold.” “No I have not seen a doctor.” The latter was said in an offended tone. What am I a big sissy?

I also rolled my eyes at anyone who suggested I should “get something for that.” What “something?” There is no cure for the common cold. That’s kind of the oldest joke on mankind. Man on the moon? Sure! Cure for the common cold? No go.

Granted I am the completely fake kind of tough in that I want to pretend I am rugged and “toughing it out” but I actually want endless amounts of pity and pats on the back for doing so. Thus in week two I straggled around moaning and coughing and sharing my martyrdom through better whining.

Sniff

Among the tragedies I could (and did) grouse about? I have such sniffles in my sniffer that I lost my sense of smell. This meant I could not engage in my favorite pastime of all, which is sniffing the air like a tracking dog.

I am the queen of “don’t you smell that?” wherein I torture everyone in my vicinity until they admit that yes they smell the elusive-and-barely-there scent just to make me shut up about it. I sense the cleanliness of any environment by how it smells. I have snuffed out gas leaks (true story!) that no one else picked up on.

Without my sense of smell I shrivel like Superman robbed of his ability to fly. It’s pitiful. Now I live in fear that I will step in dog poo and nobody will tell me. If that happens and you can smell, you’ll tell right?

With the sense of smell goes the sense of taste. Thus I have also not had any discernible way to know if the past three weeks of my meals were tasty delights — or pig slop. I define my cooking now between “hot stuff” and “cold stuff.” So that’s been fun for the family.

Mainly I just dragged around, coughed up a lung, and went to bed at 7 p.m. If anyone mentioned that I should see a doctor or get out of cold and rain (see also: soccer weather) I complained bitterly. If I had a dime for every time I protested “you don’t get a cold from being cold! That’s an old wive’s tale!” or “Antibiotics do nothing for a cold!” I’d have the co-pay all covered.

Surrender

Week three is when “that which doesn’t kill you” won’t necessarily make you stronger but will, in fact, ramp up the attempts to kill you. Week three I finally broke down and went to the doctor. And by this I mean an actual medical doctor in an actual office. I didn’t just Google my symptoms and then head over to WebMD.com.

Well, O.K., I did, but that immediately convinced me that I was terminally ill and THAT motivated me to see an actual doctor.

Said doctor informed me that I was “riddled with infection from tip to toe” (overachiever) and questioned, with some concern for my faculties, why I waited so long to come in? Oh, I don’t know. Is “stubborn idiot” curable?

I’m only 24 hours into the wonders of modern medicine but I must say I’m feeling better already. It turns out that sometimes listening to old wives’ tales work out pretty well for old wives like myself. I was being a real pill all by refusing to get a prescription for one.

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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