Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Being 40: The Flu is... Still the Flu

I am not a good sick person. Doing nothing is difficult for me and when I am sick, I am non-functional. I lack focus for anything beyond soap operas and infomercials and I feel so weak I can hardly lift my big fat arms. But, when you are blowing noodle chunks through your nose, it's time to admit you have the flu and just sit down and relax.

Unlike many other things in life, the flu does not get easier with age. When I was a kid, my mom would set up a comfy bed of pillows and blankets on the couch in front of the television in our family room. Beside me she would set a big plastic olive green bowl. It was the puke bowl. And a TV tray with a cold rag, the thermometer and a small glass of coke syrup sat within arms reach. Every now and then, between wiping up the floors and ironing my dad's handkerchiefs, mom would come through the kitchen and into the family room to check on me. She'd plunge the glass thermometer filled with mercury into my mouth and jam it under my tongue and after a couple of minutes she'd remove it just as quickly. Then she'd make me take a sip of that coke syrup. Soda without carbonation that she'd get and Venker's drug store up the street... Mom would clean out the puke bowl and bring me a fresh cold rag and change the channel on the television to a new show (because back then... WAY back then... we didn't have remote controls for our televisions). I was sick and I was uncomfortable but I was taken care of and it was nice. I could sleep all day without worrying about how far I was falling behind at work. And within days, I was like new!

Today, after puking through my nose and choking up a glass of water, I curled up on the couch and took a couple of calls for work, answered some emails, had a conference call with a client and then I fell asleep. I woke up in a panic because I can't imagine how much work I have to catch up on tomorrow after two days on the DL (that's disabled list for you non-sports-minded folks). I ate some Jell-o and I hate Jell-o. Then I had a Diet Dr. Pepper and some mac & cheese. There was no fluffy bed of pillows and blankets. There was no temperature gaging or coke syrup. My mom wasn't around... and I thought... that's the problem!

Without our mom's we aren't forced to be good sick people. They made us stay in bed or on the couch. They forced fluids in us until we practically floated. They told us when we were better and it was ok for us to go back to school. It doesn't matter how old you are... The flu is still the flu. And sometimes, I suppose, you still need your mom.

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