When I am sick my teeth feel hairy, like they have fur growing on them. The doctor told me it is from breathing through my mouth when my nose is stuffed up, but I am not convinced it isn’t one of the lesser known cold symptoms. You know, like headache, body aches . . . hairy teeth.
I mean, how much do we really know about the common cold anyway? We don’t even really know where it comes from or how to get rid of it. If I go to the doctor they usually won’t even give me medicine. And I will probably catch 6 more strains of bacteria sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for them to come in and tell me that all I need are fluids and plenty of rest. Now the flu is actually killing people and the folks in charge think it is being caused by pigs? Sounds fishy to me. I think hairy teeth is more believable.
When I get sick my whole family gangs up on me. It is their chance to live a life of freedom. The kids know that my guard is down, I have no resistance. When they want to wear long-underwear, cowboy boots, and a cape to school I just say, “Sure, wake me when the principal calls.” Chocolate cake for breakfast? Like I could stop them. Three hours of cartoons? I don’t even have the energy to find the remote to turn the TV off. The sound of antibacterial hand-sanitizer squirting, the overwhelming smell of mentholated rub, and the spectacle of kids painting the cat with nail-polish; yes, Mommy must be ill.
Even eating is no fun when I am sick. It is just a bunch of chewing (which usually hurts) and I have to make something for myself (which expends valuable energy) and I can’t taste anything (it could be play-dough for all I know), so what is the point? When I am sick we sometimes get takeout, because I am worried about spreading germs by handling food that my family will consume. So, when I am ill, we often pick-up drive thru or deli food to cut-down on contamination. And, since I am the one who is sick, naturally, I am the one they send to pick-up the food.
This last time I was fighting off a cold I had a stack of thank-you cards I needed to send out. I usually have the kids write their own message on thank-you cards; if they are younger I have them draw a picture, or dictate a message for me to write. So while I went to get more Kleenex I left my little one at the table to “write his card.” When I came back he had a napkin over the card and was gently scrubbing it. I thought he was trying to erase a mistake, but when I asked him what he was doing, he replied, “I’m wiping off my sneeze.” Please do not judge me too harshly when I say that I went ahead and mailed that card. That is right, mailed it with the flu-like equivalent of anthrax covering the entire note. You have been warned, if you get an envelope in the mail with my return address on it, spray it with Lysol and open at your own risk.
One thing I hate to do when I am sick is talk on the phone. I sound like Elmer Fudd on hallucinogens.
“Hi, uh, is Sonia there?”
“You sound awful. I just called to see how you are holding up.”
“Nod vew-wee wewl. I hab a stubbed nobe and I am vew-wee ti-wrd. I need to go wy down now.”
The person on the other end of the line is not sure if they just had a conversation with me or accidentally called the psych ward of the mental hospital.
Even trying to sound like a normal person is useless. I cannot think. My brain goes all fuzzy and putting together a coherent thought takes a monumental amount of brain power. It would be easier for the planets to align and for the government to pay off the national debt, than for me to do anything that requires thought when I have a cold. Once when I was sick I put the phone in the washing machine, and then it got sick too.
One of the worst parts of illness is when you don’t have anyone to take care of you. Husbands aren’t the most nurturing when it comes to caretaking. My husband was in a coffee shop recently when a young woman was blowing her nose and exclaimed, “EWWW!” Another woman asked her if she was ok. “Yeah, but when I blew my nose my eye squirted.” So my husband says, “Oh yeah? Let’s see.” That is not the response of a concerned person that is the response of a recruiter for the circus.
Along with the other symptoms that I have already mentioned, I become horribly disfigured, when I am under the weather. My skin becomes so pale it is almost see-thru, I get dark circles under my eyes, my nose is chapped, cold sores cover my lips, my eyes are bloodshot, and because I lay down so much, my hair looks like it lost a fight with a tornado. I scared off 4 girl-scouts and 2 Jehovah’s witnesses just by answering the front door.
Luckily, I am recovering from my most recent bout with the flu. My headache and sore throat are almost completely gone. I have no fever and the congestion is slowly clearing up. So, why am I not happy? My husband came to me this morning and said, “I don’t feel well. *sniffle* I think I have a tickle in my throat. *cough* I am going to go lie down.”
I guess I had better go check his teeth.