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.

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