Just What Is Important (tf)

There are different kinds of “being sick” of course. Mostly we just feel crappy and sorta ache all over. Maybe we’re running a bit of a temperature or dealing with a sore throat.

But then there’s the “sick” that sends us to the loo. We call this the “stomach bug”, and the words alone can terrify. I’d rather be waterboarded at the dentist while being force-fed Glen Beck paranoia than be isolated with only a slop-bucket for company. Being nauseous is one of life’s worst feelings. Worse even than being a New York Giant fan (I’m not one myself. I’m just making an assumption based on eye-witness reporting). 

People avoid you, perhaps occasionally sliding saltine crackers (or pretzels if you are “feeling better”) under the door…..or yelling in to tell you they are going to the store to “buy 7-Up”. I often wondered how the 7-Up people feel about their product being so historically linked with consumer vomiting. That’s gotta be a marketing nightmare, no? (“The drink you don’t have to drink again!”)

Anyway, we hear of things “going around” and the first question was ask concerns puking. If it’s just regular old “getting sick” we heave a sigh of relief. Some of us even welcome a few days in bed with a low-grade fever and a few aches and pains. Sure beats sitting in a cubicle.

The last time I got the “stomach bug” I was in the midst of reading the Roddy Doyle novel “A Star Called Henry”. A wonderful book and, as it turned out, the first in a trilogy. But the book is so forever linked with upchucking that I’ve never been able to convince myself that reading the next 2 installments is a good idea. In fact Doyle went from my favorites list to the “burn immediately” category. It’s not his fault. Just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

When you’re in such a state you lose track of things. Like time. Is it day or night? Wednesday or Thursday? Which hand is my left hand? Your eyelids burn. You alternate between kicking the covers off so the pools of sweat on your body can air-dry to burying yourself with more and more afghans and robes and blankets pilfered from the trunk of your car. You watch so many episodes of “The Price is Right” that you start to wish very bad things upon Bob Barker. If you stand up it feels like you’re on a ship with no ballast. You can’t read because you keep falling asleep…but you can’t stay asleep because you keep waking to throw-up again. The laws of physics don’t seem to apply because you’re putting nothing in your body….and yet things keep coming up. After a while you expect your socks to end up in the bowl.

So what are you advised to do? “See your doctor”. Yea right. I can’t walk 2 feet without falling down. I smell like a Wildebeest. And I’m as contagious as a leper. I’ll just powder my nose and pop over to see Dr. Robert, who’ll surely fit me right into his schedule.

We all know there’s nothing that can be done. We must “take it like a man”, which is a saying that really ought to be revised because most sick men I know are as helpless as Texans on ice (Woman aren’t much better but they get a pass ’cause of the giving birth thing). In truth nobody is more rugged when sick than a child. My 8 year old goes about her life as normal as possible. No face-in-the-bowl histrionics. She simply carries the bucket with her and infects all living things in her path. When she recovers she delivers the 7-Up with a smile.

Nothing, after all, is more important than a healthy child.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on January 10, 2011.

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