Monday, February 11, 2013

Sick of Being Sick

I am sick of being sick.

I've missed four days of work, and only have one sick day left after today.

Until yesterday, I couldn't even imagine a day of waking up without a completely stuffed head and drowned ears and the desire to continue sleeping for another three hours.

Today, my kids woke up with it.  The crud.  The crud with little white pustules deposited on the tonsils.  "Just a cold," according to the pediatrician.  The Cold from Outer Space.

I don't think I make a very good patient.  I want special treatment constantly, which I rarely get because for the most part I'm still in charge of taking care of everyone else in the household.  This round, my kiddos made me canned chicken noodle soup one night, with saltines.  A desiccated hot dog and under-reheated ranch beans the next. Still, I managed most of my motherly duties besides two dinners.  Not to mention writing sub plans in the wee hours of the morning each day as I realized I would not be going in to work.  Which only heightened my anger at figuring out that the sub didn't even carry out most of the plans.  No, I don't make a good patient.  I either am not allowed to let go and resign myself to illness, or I don't allow myself.  A combination of the two.

Illness is never real until I am in it.  As much as I know it sucks to be sick, I still can't conjure up the realities of disease unless they are within me, or just before me, or unless I am cleaning up after them.  And I resent illness in myself so much, that I'm sure the feelings unconsciously follow into my feelings when others are sick.

Once, early in our marriage, Rich had surgery and was in a wheelchair for two months. I believe I was a good caretaker, but I think my attitude must have been wrong, because by the fifth or sixth week of putting the wheelchair in and out of the trunk, and fetching and emptying what became affectionately known as his "pee pee cup," my temper ran short.  I suppose I don't have so much patience, even when someone is completely at the mercy of my care.

I'm terrible about visiting people in the hospital.  I figure, if I wait a little bit longer, maybe they'll be improved the next time I see them. I know that this is completely the wrong attitude.  The "correct sentiment" (as Rich sometimes terms it when he is reminding me not to be unreasonable) is to visit when people are the neediest, the loneliest, afraid and uncomfortable and wounded.  To show them that we care.  I do care.  I do.  But I am not equipped for these moments.  Perhaps it is some kind of emotional deficiency within me.

And here is the sad and completely hypocritical thing:  I would love someone to visit and bring me tea and leave it steaming on my nightstand while I sleep off a dose of cold medicine.  I would eat that up. There have been many times in my life when I have felt needy, and friends have come forward to coddle me. I know the value of special treatment, and yet, I am still deficient in action.

I suppose that this little strain of hypocrisy within me leads me to also be a self-loathing sick person.  And so,   as a needy, self-loathing, restless and overcommitted sick person, yes.  I get sick of it fast. 

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