Suck it up, buttercup

5 years ago

I'm sick and all I want to do is curl up in my bed with the covers pulled over my head and drift off to sleep and not wake up until I feel like myself again. It all started a couple of days ago. I woke up on Saturday with a sore throat. I somehow trudged through the day and assumed, "Maybe it's just allergies and i'll feel better tomorrow". However, by Sunday morning my nose was completely stuffed up, my head was pounding like the worst hangover you can imagine, my body felt like it had gotten ran over by a truck, and I had an annoying whooshing sound circulating in my ears. Yep, definitely sick.

When I was a kid being sick was not that bad. My only responsibilities were to lie in bed and rest until I no longer felt like my body had been abducted by aliens. Isn't it funny how you can feel so completely fine one day, and then the next it's as if you've lost your will to live? Okay, okay perhaps i'm being a tad dramatic! Seriously though, I will be the first to admit i'm a huge baby when i'm sick. Injuries I can handle. Illness, not so much. I'm like the man with the "man cold" except i'm a woman so i'm not sure what they call that. Oh yeah. A cold.

I wasn't any better when I was a child. I can remember many crying fits and repeating, "I'm dying" more than i'll like to admit. Yes, i'm a wimp when it comes to illness and it's no family secret. My dad still likes to recount the stories of my dramatic childhood episodes and don't even ask my husband how much fun I am to deal with when i'm sick.

My mom was the best doctor a child could ask for. She wasn't really a doctor (elementary school teacher) but in my eyes she was pretty darn close to perfection! She would make a bed for me in front of the television and I would watch the Price is Right, followed by several hours of daytime soaps. I had an endless supply of 7 Up, chicken noodle soup, and cold washcloths for my forehead at my disposal. My mom would drop everything when I was sick. I was her entire focus and i'll admit I loved it.

Now things are a little different when i'm sick. Here is a little rundown of my morning….

Woke up at 7 am, rolled out of bed, threw on my sweats. Blew my nose until I thought my head was going to rupture. Made 2 trips to 2 different schools to drop off my kids. By this point I think I was on auto pilot as I don't really remember driving there or back. Came home and all I could think about was curling up and going back to sleep. I made a feeble attempt to take a quick little cat nap on the couch. I turned on an obnoxiously annoying Disney Jr show for the boys, crawled up onto the couch, got all comfortable and started to close my eyes when I heard, "Mooooooom. I want some cereal". Trying to ignore the little voices in my head (perhaps I was dreaming and they weren't really there) I closed my eyes again and tried to drift off to sleep when the noise got louder. "MOM. I'M HUNGRY". Sigh. There was no way to ignore this one! I threw the blanket off my legs, rolled myself off the couch and staggered into the kitchen. By this point the whooshing sound in my ears were more like full blown ocean waves crashing against my head, my headache had turned into a piercing migraine and I had more snot running out of my nose than a daycare center in the middle of the winter!

I poured the cereal as best as I could being as I could barely see out of my left eye. I think half of it went into the bowl, the rest spilled out onto the counter and floor. I set the cereal on the table, walked back over to the couch and figured I could steal a few minutes of sleep while the boys ate their cereal. No such luck! "Moooooom, I want some milk please". Oh bloody hell! He even said please! How can you ignore such a polite little request? I staggered back into the kitchen. Grabbed the milk out of the fridge. It felt like a 100 lb cannonball at this point. With a shaky arm I successfully poured the milk, set it on the table and crawled back onto the couch. A few minutes later I hear, "Moooooom. Peanut spilled his milk all over the floor". By this point it was pretty darn clear that a nap, no matter how short, was not in the cards. I popped some Tylenol, guzzled some caffeine, and gave myself my own version of a Rocky worthy pep talk, something along the lines of "You can do this".

What I failed to mention about my mom is that she really was sick. Legitimately sick with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. She is the one who should've been propped in front of the TV while we waited on her hand and foot and brought her chicken noodle soup. But, I was a young child and I really had no comprehension of how ill she really was. She never complained, never showed any signs of weakness, and certainly never said, "I'm dying" as um, yours truly over here has done in the past (hanging head in shame). I honestly don't know how she did it? I mean here I am complaining about a cold. A silly little head cold, but yet my mom could still run an entire household, work a full time job, and care for two children with cancer?!

So, this is a small tribute to my mom who passed away in July of 1996, just 2 days after her 50th birthday. She was my hero, my doctor, my cheerleader, my biggest supporter, and the reason i'm going to suck it up and deal with my cold like an adult. Although if I had my way, you better believe i'd be picking up that phone and saying, "Mommy I need you". And I know she would've been here in a heartbeat.

Sometimes if I close my eyes tight enough and drown out the whooshing sound in my ears, I think I can still hear traces of her soft, cheery, familiar voice in my ear whispering, "How are you feeling now sweetie?"

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