February 15, 2008

Thoughts from the sickroom

I took today off to indulge the cold that's been attacking me since Tuesday. I should have stayed home yesterday, but I had to put out a few fires at work and make it relatively guilt-free to stay home today.

I love sick days. Ignore the congestion and general mental stupid/foggy brain and it's a great way to spend the day. When we were little, we had a Mom who veered toward the Mother Earth side of life. Meaning we never had sugar or candy or soda. Being sick meant we actually got 7-up and crackers! Best ever. The dark room, the quiet visit and the cool hand on my forehead, the pile of books and the cool fizz of pop in my face as I greedily drank it down--all mean I have a fond enjoyment of being ill.

This morning, I lay on the couch as the sun poured through the sliding glass doors. Against the painted brown wood of the balcony wall, the green leaves of my juniper bonsai glowed. In the diagonal strip of sun, Muttolah dozed in an acrobatic variety of contortions. At one point she lifted her head and half-sat up. She began panting while looking a little ill. "You ok, mutt?" I asked her. Panting, she turned her head and glanced at me, then sat there panting a little more, her black fur gleaming in the heat. "Get out of the sun, crazy dog," I laughed at her. She glanced at me again, then laid down with a happy sigh. Crazy Mutt! (Sorry, I do realize most of you are still deeply ensconsed in winter. I have to justify the Bay Area's cost of living with posts that remind me why it's theoretically worth it to live here.)

The phone rang numerous times. Clean the heater? Clean the carpet? Is this Wells Fargo? I almost didn't answer the fourth time. It was Jrex, so I'm glad I did. He picked me up for lunch. We were on our way to Stacks (home of American style breakfast and lunch) when we saw Sultana. Mmmm...Turkish food instead? Yes, please! He's in the midst of a month-long experiment where he has to inject mice twice a day. Yup. 30 days. Morning and evening. NO DAY OFF. Which meant my Valentine's Day was spent alone on a couch watching Ocean's 11. I was sick and brain-dead though, so that was fine with me. It was a wonderful surprise to go out for lunch. Don't worry, I coughed a bit and wore a scarf, I AM sick after all. This isn't just a mental health day...

I don't think that helped in any attempt to dissuade me from my love of sick days.

Do you have traditions/rituals that you do when you're sick? Memories of childhood illnesses? Do you hate being sick or enjoy it? My impression is that having kids means sickness is just pure torture with no room for self-indulgence, am I wrong? (lie to me, people!)


Snickollet said...

I have the same love of a good sick day. (Barfy illness doesn't count--that's just pure torture.)

For me, the ritual was (and pretty much still is):
Turn the couch into my bed (when I was a kid, Mom would do it up right with clean sheets, special blankies, and extra pillows)
Stack of books/magazines/whatever
Trashy TV

For food:
Orange juice mixed with 7Up
Apples with peanut butter

It was awesome. Every so often, Mom would let me stay home "sick" when I was really not all that sick and she knew it.

Snickollet said...

PS: How many more days of mouse injecting for Jrex?

OTR sister said...

I still make hot, honey lemon water for myself when I'm sick (part of Mom's earth motherness, I guess.)

When I'm sick it gives me permission to do all those things that otherwise I wouldn't do. For example, let my daughter watch too much TV while I sleep. I figure one day won't warp her brain too much.

Beloved said...

Hope you're feeling better and...

hey, hey now--don't knock the mental health days. heh. heh.

Your post (and sickness) is timely. I came down with the worst, longest-lasting flu of my life last week. Horrible stuff. I usually get only a 24-hour bug, but this one hung in there.

Funny, I was thinking exactly the same thing--what if I had kids? At one point I was shaking so bad from the chills that I couldn't even drink water from a glass without it going everywhere. I guess that's when you have to call for back-up.

Inkling said...

I like Snickollet's sick day routine, which reminds me a tiny bit of what my mom did for us when we were little. She added this concoction called applesauce/7-up jello to the mix, and if we were lucky, a chocolate bar. Later on, I read a chapter from Edith Schaeffer about caring for the sick by making a beautiful tray with special soups, etc. Celebrating the idea of resting and healing sounds good to me, whether it's for physical illness or for a mental health day.

I hope you feel better soon, and that you are able to rest and relax without feeling any guilt.

sunny said...

We were also given "soda pop the cure-all" as kids when sick. Because, lots of kid's illnesses actually do require electrolyte replacement. Others require the curative, stomach settling measures of fizzy. At the very least, the child will consume liquids. I still hold to the belief that soda is GOOD for a sick child-even if just for comfort. My kids took "the cure" many a time and still firmly believe in it. In fact, since we now know that soda is poison (except in the case of a sick chid), that is about the ONLY time any of us will touch the stuff. So, I'm guessing when the grandkiddies come along, the tradition will continue.

PS I used to love it when one of the kids was home sick from school (well, they were never frighteningly ill or anything). I got to stay home from work and had an excuse to lounge around all day. Wouldn't do to stray too far away from the sick child and the soda you know. I don't even much care for soda but, as a good mother I set a good example and sampled all the flavors.

Of course, if mother AND child were ill, the child got packed off to the grandparents for some good old fashioned Korean spoiling with all the soda you can imagine. Halmoni went for the soda cure too.

zelda1 said...

Oh god yes. Oranges. When I was a child, I always had a sore throat. Since we were poor, the only fruit that made it into our house were those grown locally and most of the time, they were the wild versions, wild pears, wild peaches, and wild apples. But, when I was sick with a sore throat, Mom would find the money to buy me oranges and very carefully, she would peel them and section them and feed them to me, hoping the acid would make me better. I remember my sibblings standing there waiting to see if I ate the entire orange, and I never did, so they split the rest. Even today, when I smell oranges, I think of my cold bedroom, patchwork quilt, and Mama sitting there feeding me oranges.

Sarah-Ji said...

Oh, man. I spent last night in the glider chair totally paranoid that I would suffocate in my sleep because both nostrils seemed to be permanently sealed by cement, and then because the air was so dry, breathing through my mouth started irritating my throat and making it close up just a little. I'm on day 5 of a nasty flu, and I'll be staying home from work probably a couple more days. In summary? I hate being sick...

Hope you're feeling better!

mplscuz said...

Most times I would have to be contagious to be able to stay home. The Ferris Bueller method wouldn't fool my folks.

Mama Nabi said...

Growing up in Korea, being sick meant time to go get a shot in the butt (I think they called it "health injection" - who knows what was in it!)... and my mom who valued food over rest (hell, she has NO respect for rest/sleep/nap) insisted that I had to eat before I could rest... hm, I don't think I was fond of sick days when I was a kid. One thing I coveted much, as a college student, was being able to sleep as long as I needed to on sick days... and watching Fawlty Towers (John Cleese).
NOTE TO SELF: Make sure I'm more like other people's mom than my mom when LN has sick days.
Oh yeah, moms are not ALLOWED to have sick days.

otrmama said...

Such a funny post! The ONE Main thing I remember about your Dad is his love of sick days! I have told people about them. Until I met your Dad, I never thought of sickness as a time you could just curl up and enjoy being alone-warm-restfull-sick. I think he looked on it as God's gift to give him a work break.