Lyrical Laughs

Friday, April 21, 2017

The cold and flu season competition

When our children were young and in school they brought home every cold, flu, stomach bug and occasional extra special event like chicken pox, home to roost. As Mom, i.e., supplier of medicine, backrubs, tea and toast, extra blankets, and endless viewings of their favorite videos, I did not have the luxury of being sick along with them. If I think about it, I have zero memories of my own mom being sick before, during or after she catered to my illnesses.

Once the kids are grown and flown, being sick can become almost a competition between partners. These days Spouse and I may not have any young’uns to pass their parasites on to us, but we do manage to bring home an infirmity here and there. We all know the jokes about how a “man cold” is so much worse than a woman being sick. The theories vary. I’ve read that men, while living their “live fast, die young” lifestyles, have failed to build up their immune systems like females. There was a study of mice (not men) that indicated physiology was a factor. All I know is that Spouse is cranky when he’s sick, which can make me borderline sick – of him.

For the most part we avoid the office colds that pass through, but if one of us does catch something, we tend to exchange ailments due to our close quarters (and we kiss during cold season). While we were visiting family last month in Kansas, Spouse came down with the cold from h-e-double toothpicks. I’m convinced he contracted this nastiness from one of several people who were coughing, sneezing and sniffling on our flights. Put a bunch of germs into a giant metal missile and this is what happens. His cold lasted all weekend and he succumbed to half a day of sleep at one point.

For close to a week, I avoided the mini-plague with constant hand washing, changing towels and using wipes everywhere. But all healthy moments must come to an end. It started with an annoying sinus headache until by the weekend I was ready to pull my own head off from the pain and pressure. Between sickness and last week’s storm, I barely left the house for five days, save for visiting the walk-in clinic and picking up my prescription for what turned out to be a sinus infection.

In general, my mate is typically pretty helpful when I’m down for the count, but he will occasionally break the two conditions I have when he leaves for work in the morning: feed the cats and leave extra coffee for me. If those two rules aren’t adhered to, I might be a little less than pleasant when he calls - from a safe distance at work - to ask how I’m feeling. On my second day of staying home sick, I made sure extra coffee was set up for the next morning’s brew.

I must give kudos to the doctors who face those of us who walk in with heaven-knows-what and demand a quick cure, whether male or female. The clinic was more efficient than my regular doctor’s office would have been, even with a full house.

If Spouse and I were sick at the same time I can picture him half-sitting, half-laying down in the waiting room chair, hood up on his sweatshirt, emitting an occasional grunt of misery, while I’m reading a book, possibly checking my email, and trying to quietly blow my nose. 

Are our places in medical maladies destined to be different? Were we simply taught that Mom has to hold it together better than Dad when it comes to being sick? The jury is still out on that. For now, I need to take my meds… and feed the cats.

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