Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The mother of all illness

If there is anything worse than being sick, it is being a mother and being sick.

You see, moms do not get sick days. Kids still need to be fed, watered and refereed no matter how much you want to stay in bed. Which is a real dirty trick, because who do you think makes most moms sick?

I thought the worst moment was when my 7-year-old-- in the last gasps of this horrible, energy-sucking bug -- called out to me -- in the beginning throes of "who ran over me with a truck?" -- to ask for a foot massage. Yeah, kid, I'll get right on that.

But no, there was worse, much worse to come. The day we sent said 7-year-old back to school, I get a call mid-morning from the other child's school: "Mom, I really don't feel so good." Somehow, suggesting he bike home didn't seem very nice. The question for the ages: Who picks up your sick kid when you too are sick? And would the middle school staff care if I showed up in my jammies?

Those little varmints, though, are young and resilient. So, when the kids insisted (at 7 am) that they were well enough to hunt for the springtime cache of sugar, I played along then burrowed back into my comfy den of covers.

The worst, though, is the perky folks who call in the middle of the day, expecting you to be just as perky. Conversations generally go like this:
"Croak," I say into the phone.
"Oh. did I wake you?"
"No, there was just a strange ringing in my ear." Then coughing that should produce at least part of a lung.
"OK, I won't bother you." As if you didn't already.

So, although I suspect this is actually a sinister plot between my waistline and my wallet to keep me from gorging on post-Easter chocolate bargains, I am doing my best to get through this. In addition to the home Easter ritual, I've managed to conduct a neighborhood Easter egg hunt, celebrate two birthdays (including homemade dinner and cakes) and weather a daylong church retreat, mostly without a voice. I will not let this thing get the better of me. Give me some telemarketers to torture and some of our pharmaceutical industry's best efforts and I'll be up by noon in no time.

I have to, my birthday is next.

Epilogue: It can get worse and it did. Being sick on one's birthday is totally not fun.

Bullying this swine of a flu bug gave me enough energy to make a semblance of a celebration. One of our favorite restaurants shares its founding with my birthday so I felt an obligation to partake of the $19.94 lobster special, and my sweet, caring and extremely patient husband produced my favorite cake.

It's just not the same with a cough syrup chaser.