Will has occasionally referred to me as the world’s worst sick person.
The thing is, I get a teensy, tiny, wee bit irritable when I’m sick. I’m sensitive to things that otherwise only mildly bother me: people, light, sound. I also don’t like to talk when I’m sick – it takes too much energy. I just like to lie on my side and try not to think.
Fortunately, I’m not sick often. But when I go down, I go down hard. And right now – I’m down.
It started on Friday, right before Thanksgiving #2 with my side of the family. I’m someone who never misses a meal (really – it’s never happened), but somehow instead of enjoying the witty repartee of my sisters and their men at the table, I was ready to curl up for a good eight-hour nap. And this was before the wine was uncorked. By five o’clock we were at home. Will headed out to work, and I went to bed – where I pretty much stayed for the next two days.
Every few hours, I stumbled out of bed and dragged myself down the hall. Good news! My kidneys were still working. Then I got another glass of water because my throat felt horribly tight, as if the opening was the same circumference as a pencil eraser. Walking down the hallway left me dizzy and sweaty. My temperature: 101.
Saturday passed in a blur of Food Network and the America’s Next Top Model marathon on Bravo. I tried to read and gave up. Baxter came to the bedroom every few hours and sniffed me.
“I’m going out,” Will called at one point. “Do you want anything?”
“There’s no point, because I’m dying,” I said from beneath three layers of blankets.
Right before he closed the front door, I called, “Maybe orange juice.”
Later, I found the energy to put on jeans, mascara and shoes that were not slippers, and we went to the grocery store. We nearly made it to the frozen yogurt before I felt woozy again.
I called my mom that night. “I’m sick. My throat,” I hissed.
“Who is this?”
On Sunday, USA Network had a Monk-a-Thon that lasted until eleven p.m. I occasionally switched sides, worried about bed sores. Will came in and out, bringing news of the world. I ventured out a mile or so to Walgreens, where I located instant oatmeal and more NyQuil. At home, I stacked the bag on the kitchen table, too exhausted to unpack. With the newspapers, blankets and plastic bags everywhere, our house was beginning to look like an episode of Hoarders. My temperature: 100.3.
Last night, Will woke me up to tell me I was snoring. “I’m not snoring,” I insisted. “I wasn’t even sleeping. I was just thinking.” Even as I said it, I realized that I might not be the best judge of the difference between sleeping and thinking. I’d been cycling between the two for some time. And whenever I tried not to think, the words “swine flu” appeared on the insides of my eyelids.
“My throat is killing me,” I said.
Will checked it out with a flashlight.
“Do you see anything? Like blisters or swelling?”
“Hmm. I don’t know. It’s red. And I don’t see your tonsils.”
“What? I definitely still have my tonsils.”
“Okay. I’ll take your word for it.”
Wonderful. Something else to worry about.
But today, I woke up feeling 90 percent better. Fever: gone. Sore throat? Still here. It’s like something small is caught there, a sideways potato chip or a razor blade, maybe.
Sadly, even Ben & Jerry’s FroYo hasn’t been able to cure it.
Paula Treick DeBoard