It is rare that I get sick. I mean, very, very rare. The last time I found myself horizontal for longer than an average nights sleep, I had just given birth to a child via a Cesarean. For some reason the maternity staff at the hospital thought I needed to bond with my son so they set him up in a bassinet right next to my bed. Despite the fact that this was my third child and I knew all I cared to know about bonding, I didn’t have the heart, maybe courage, to say all I wanted was a good nights sleep. I wanted to shout: ”Hello! Just keep the baby in the nursery please! I’ll pick him up in three days!” Of course, uttering that comment is the equivalent to saying, ” Go ahead and call Child Protective Services.”
But coming down with the flu or even a cold is not something that happens to me. I don’t even get flu shots because it’s not on my radar to get sick. Of course, all good things must come to an end. Last week I found myself crawling into bed in the middle of the day to ease what turned into a full blown fever and upper respiratory illness than knocked me to my knees. It didn’t help that my husband was sick as well. We were too ill to acknowledge or show any alarm that we were at the mercy of our teenagers.
In the back of my mind, I always thought I could handle a little stomach upset, maybe a headache, or sore throat, as long as I could milk it for another day in bed just to read a book or catch up with my Netflex. But if truth be known, I was also curious to see how my children would nurse their sickly mother. I longed to watch the worry on their faces as they gently comforted me while asking if they could they make my suffering any easier. Everyone needs to be pampered at some point in their lives and when your children, now your temporary caregivers, nurse you back to health everyone wins: they recognize how much you do for them, and your impressive, motherly nursing skills have been passed to a new generation. I have two words for you:
I won’t even acknowledge it’s a small miracle that I am able to sit upright and type these words do to the lack of fluids I received during my bedridden days since I never saw a child’s face as I fought off dehydration. When my shouts for water went unanswered, I finally had to resort to drastic measures. Short of throwing my cell phone through a window to get anyone’s attention, I did what I was certain would bring immediate relief. I tweeted that I needed water. Sure enough, one child instantly responded, “I’m out to dinner. I’ll get it for you when I get home. Love you!” Fortunately, another child walked through the door with a bottle of water.
“Why didn’t you yell for me? I’m in my room.”
I decided not to respond. Water never tasted so good. As it poured down the sides of my mouth and drenched my sheets I gulped that precious liquid with every last bit of energy I could muster.
A word of advice as you lay in your sick bed pondering your existence. Stay clear of all thoughts regarding the exemplary care you supplied your children when they were ill. Remember providing those endless glasses of 7up with cute sippy straws, Campbells chicken and stars soup with saltine crackers, and as many popsicles as they wanted? Well, they apparently don’t. Forget the fact that as a mother, you went and bought your ill child sticker books or a new video and played endless games of Candy Land. Ignore the times that you slept by the side of their bed in case they needed you or because you were terrified they would choke if they threw-up in the middle of the night. Don’t torture yourself with the thought that you put everything into their recovery and monitored their Children’s Tylenol dose as carefully as you do now with your Xanax subscription. It’s simply not good for your recovery. I found that while I was ill, the gentle relief of NyQuil was what comforted me.
So keep this in mind if you should ever find yourself at the mercy of your teenage children: call a friend to check on you every few hours.
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