In Sickness

When sick in my family, there was a mantra: drink plenty of fluids and rest. Pretty simple, really.

When sick in my family, there was a mantra: drink plenty of fluids and rest. Pretty simple, really.

Miles run yesterday: 4.5

Presents wrapped for Christmas (not counting the ones we shipped): 0

People home sick: 2

Are you good at being sick?

I mean, really think about it: do people rush out of the house to get away from you when you’re sick… and not because of the germs?

I have come to believe that there are two things that challenge a marriage because we are raised with our own set of expectations:

1. Food

2. Illness

You might say the rather predictable money, but if you die first, maybe money isn’t your biggest issue.

I can’t tell you how often food procurement and preparation or lack thereof haunts my friends and their families. Sometimes, I find myself siding with their spouses. If you grew up in a foodie-type family, then there is an expectation of regular grocery shopping, hot meals and recipe scouring.

If you were brought up in a scavenging sort of household, a bowl of cold cereal or tub of popcorn might suit you just fine… and you wonder why your spouse gets so bent out of shape about boring stuff like eating. I mean, survival-level nutrition shouldn’t be such a big deal, you think.

So, too, with illness.

My husband stinks at being sick.

I mean, he’s really bad at it.

In my family, when you were sick, you were told to drape yourself over the couch, watch TV, and request that things be brought to you. People stopped by to kiss you but generally let you get on with your mopey, bedridden self.

My husband does not subscribe to this manner of being sick. He is certain that other people delight in being ill, positively relish it. That when other people’s skin feels like it’s going to fall off and their joints ache and they have a fever and feel foggy, they are well-suited to it.

I try to disabuse him of this viewpoint, but he closes his ears and does a silent “Nananana… I’m not listening” in his head. At least, that’s what it looks like.

When I ask if he wants something from the grocery store, anything at all, he says, “Noooo.” Then he tries to think of reasons he needs to run out to the store to get something. Anything.

When I get home from the store, I say I’m going to make myself some fried eggs; would he like some, too?

Him: Ergh. That doesn’t sound remotely good. Okay. But let me flip mine.

Me: I can flip them.

Him: But they’ll only be good if the yolk is still runny.

Me: So I’ll leave the yolk runny.

Him: But you might not. And then I won’t eat it.

Me: You’re very bad at being sick.

If I were sick, I would be very happy, nay, gloriously blissful, if someone offered to make me an egg or two and bring it to me.

My husband says this is because other people (like me) are content to be still. He is wiggling on the couch while he says this.

I decide to take my stillness and walk it very quickly out of the room.

How about you? Are you a calm, good-natured and still person when you’re sick? Do you allow others to help you? Or are you grumpy and wish everyone would just leave you to your own fried eggs which will be flipped in precisely the most perfect manner? Not that I’m passing judgment.

32 thoughts on “In Sickness

  1. Daryl says:

    I’ll admit it; I’m not good at being sick. Not that I want to milk-it, just the opposite. My brain is still operating “semi-normally”, but my body cannot delivery what my brain is requesting–that’s infuriating. I wish I knew how to switch off. Having body aches when you are already suffering with sciatica and low back pain is the pits. I need to recharge with DayQuil (Zombie-strength) and head to the laptop and develop another study for what I hope will be a kick-ass publication. To my wife and kids, “I’m sorry; I’ll try and be less of a grump”. Cheers

  2. Bernie Brown says:

    Yes, when I’m sick, I’m good at letting people bring me things. Probably too good. In fact, I really like that part, and put in orders for exactly this kind of soup and that color of jello. And I can usually think of one or two things that require at least one extra trip to the the store. If I’m deathly sick and really can’t eat anything, then I just moan and pity myself and make sure everyone around me understands just how much I’m suffering. So, I don’t know if all this makes me good at being sick or just really annoying.

  3. For me it depends on the level of illness. If I am still capable, I will try and help out with normal duties, However, the CEO of my domicile usually steers me to bed or the recliner where I respectfully accept any and all attention aimed in my direction.

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    As a mother, I’ve never had the experience of others waiting on me while I’m sick. I’m still doing the things I need to do. Apparently, I’ve been missing out on something. I’d try to rectify it, but sadly, I’d be left on the coach with no food or water, as my family members scatter to the wind and forget about me… πŸ˜‰

  5. thepoelog says:

    I have, fortunately, not been sick since July 2011. The few times I’ve thought I might be coming down with something, I immediately took airborne or similar and felt better a few hours later. This is all a minor miracle since my significant other has the most delicate immune system on the planet and gets sick all. the. time. He used to insist on toughing it out, but like his immune system, his resolve to be a trooper has also deteriorated and now, he’s a very whiny, needy sick person. So yes, good at needing attention, but bad at being stoic.

    • annewoodman says:

      I’m thinking your running is the reason you haven’t been sick. ; ) Yay, running!

      Maybe he will go through a good period of relative wellness… I find that sometimes you just need to get sick for a while to catch up on your immunity. At least, I think that to make myself feel better.

  6. Your husband is bad at being sick. I mean, come on, who on earth likes runny eggs?

    I’m bad at being sick, too, but for different reasons. When I’m unwell, I am a cantankerous grump who wants the house to himself. The problem with that plan is, well, I live with people.

  7. Amy Mak says:

    I think I’m good at being sick but I’m not good when my husband is sick. I have to be very, very convinced that he’s near death to actually believe he’s sick and not just being lazy, which is ridiculous b/c he works really, really hard in real life. Sickness annoys me greatly and I know it’s personal weakness πŸ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes!!!!!! Sickness, my own and other people’s, annoys me, too. I know it’s a problem, but I can’t make it stop. I am every bit as annoyed at myself as I am at other people. I feel that things should work properly, including our bodies. It’s very disappointing when they don’t!!!

  8. robincoyle says:

    I am excellent at being sick. How’s that you say? I ignore it and carry on with a box of Kleenex stuffed up my nose. Mom’s aren’t allowed to be sick. Why is it that every time I say, “I think I’m coming down with something,” my husband says, “Me too. I feel lousy.” I go on to be sick, and he goes on to be healthy as a horse. Men.

    • annewoodman says:

      Hmmmm. My mom got sick very rarely, but whenever she did, my dad would all of a sudden say, “I think I’m coming down with whatever you have” and spend the next five days in bed. My mom would roll her eyes and keep truckin’. So funny.

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    I hate being sick. I want to keep doing my usual routine, but it doesn’t usually work. So I’ll get all mopey and have to work hard at not taking it out on my husband, who does a great job getting me everything I want.

    Now I’ve probably jinxed myself in some way and will come down with a cold or flu just in time for Christmas!

  10. I’m hardly ever sick and generally if it’s something mild, I’ll just keep going, if it’s a bad dose of flu or something though, I will happily retire to the couch with my duvet and have people bring me things.

    • annewoodman says:

      Yeah, this one was definitely flu. He’s had it rough. And he’s mowed the lawn, cleared out the irrigation system and written some stuff for work. He. Can’t. Be. Stopped.

  11. 4amWriter says:

    I’m terrible at being sick. I get stressed out about all the things I’m not getting done. I can’t sit or lie still, either, and I’m a terrible patient. And I wouldn’t want someone to make me food either because it wouldn’t be like how I make it. Luckily, no one else in my house knows how to cook, so that is never a problem when I’m sick. πŸ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      And luckily, there aren’t many cooked things I usually want when I’m sick! ; ) I can’t stand to see all the stuff I’m not getting done… because at least a few of them are staring me in the face from the comfort of the couch (floors, surfaces, kitchen, computer…).

  12. stephanie says:

    I think I’m pretty good at being sick. I’m definitely better at being sick than I am at cooking.

  13. Absolutely the best thing about the most recent and violent stomach virus is that hubs was in another country at the time. PLEASE just let me lie here, wishing for death and/or feeling like it. I shall crawl downstairs later and treat myself to saltines and 7-up when and how and where I feel like it. Go. Away. And for the love of all that is holy do not ask me for the 17th time how I feel. I will inform you of any important updates.

    • annewoodman says:

      Ha! Yes! That’s it exactly. Peace and quiet and a gentle kiss on the head thrice daily is a good recipe for pleasant sickness getting-overing. I sure hope you’re feeling better, Terrilee!

  14. 4amWriter says:

    Hi Anne. I nominated you for the Blog of the Year Award. You can find the post here.

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