Get up, fuck that, I’m down with the sickness….
So both my 3 year old and my wife are sick. We pulled an all nighter with the wee man on Saturday night, ending in a trip to the ER, only to be followed by a 4 hour ER trip last night for my wife. My son didn’t get it quite as bad, and was throwing up and such and crying, but took it rather well with all things being considered.
My wife apparently got hit with a different strain, something that should be called the Vesuvian Electric Chair or something. Besides being sick every 20 minutes or so, hers was accompanied by massive spasms of pain. She ended up with her hands locked into claw-like positions while she spasmodically convulsed on the hospital bed until they gave her something strong for the pain. Unfortunately, though, they offered me no such drugs….stingy fucks. She is now home recovering.
This prompted me to really contemplate what it’s like being sick, and the differences between being sick without having children and being sick WITH children.
Being sick without having kids is a breeze. You feel like hell, like everything sucks and you could instantly perish at any moment. You can also decide to lay on the bathroom floor and stay there for awhile, since it logically provides all that you would need. You have water, a toilet, medicine, and a cool tile floor to sleep on, or a warm rug to sleep on, depending on the level of fever at the moment.You can just mellow out on the couch watching television in a miserable fever-induced stupor, going through tissues faster than a frat boy at a party goes through beers.You can decide to not leave the house for days, make your food at your leisure, and watch or play whatever you want on TV. If you’re married, your significant other can care for you and tend to you fully while you recuperate.
Well now you have kids. Basically it’s the same as any other day for you, except you feel like you’ve been gang raped by shit demons. For those who don’t have kids, let’s walk through a bit of it.
Kids will ask for things constantly, will want to go here or there, will need to be fed, and will ABSOLUTELY know that you are feeling like shit, which means they’ll pay even MORE attention to you. This results in less time to yourself than you’d ever get when you’re well. This also means that you must perform all parental duties completely, while all the time you’re struggling to maintain consciousness and not vomit on the newly folded laundry.
Wanna watch a movie? OK, it’ll be either a kid’s movie, or a ‘crossover’ movie that you’ve seen 1000 times because your child was showed it once and needed to watch it every day for 3 1/2 months straight.
Wanna play video games? Well, you’ll have to settle for something child friendly, and will have to deal with the child grabbing at the controller during key sections, thus adding to your frustration and the headache you’ve had for 8 hours.
Feel the need to run to the restroom and explode while filling the bucket that is now resting on your lap? Well then I hope you like company, because you won’t be alone.
There is no being alone or without responsibility when you have kids, sick or not. It’s not like just having dogs, for instance. The only thing that’s similar is that you can’t spend the day on the bathroom floor when you have a dog, since you’ll end up with your ears licked off. Oh sure, you could always lock yourself in the bathroom so the dog can’t get in, in which case you’ll be cleaning up bits of pillows and such when you finally emerge stinking of vomit, feces, mouth wash, and toothpaste. This will also make you MUCH more interesting to your dog’s sense of smell, which means MORE LICKING!!!
Finally, for those who don’t get the ear licking part, here’s some research material, written by none other than the great Dave Barry…
by Dave Barry
We have the flu. I don’t know if this particular strain has an official name, but if it does, it must be something like Martian Death Flu. You may have had it yourself. The main symptom is that you wish you had another setting on your electric blanket, up past “HIGH” that said: “ELECTROCUTION.”
Another symptom is that you cease brushing your teeth because (a) your teeth hurt and (b) you lack the strength. Midway through the brushing process, you’d have to lie down in front of the sink to rest for a couple of hours, and rivulets of toothpaste foam would dribble sideways out of your mouth, eventually hardening into crusty little toothpaste stalagmites what would bond your head permanently to the bathroom floor, which is where the police would find you.
You know the kind of flu I’m talking about.
I spend a lot of time lying very still and thinking flu-related thoughts. One insight I have had is that all this time scientists have been telling us the truth: Air really is made up of tiny objects called “molecules.” I know this because I can feel them banging against my body. There are billions and billions and billions of them, but if I concentrate, I can detect each one individually, striking my body, especially my eyeballs, at speeds upward of a hundred thousand miles per hour. If I try to escape by pulling the blanket over my face, they attack my hair, which has become almost as sensitive as my teeth.
There has been a mound of blanket on my wife’s side of the bed for several days, absolutely motionless except that it makes occasional efforts to spit into a tissue. I think it might be my wife, but the only way to tell for sure would be to prod it, which I wouldn’t do even if I had the strength, because if it turned out that it was my wife, and she were alive, and I prodded her, it would kill her.
Me, I am leading a more active life-style. Three or four times a day, I attempt to crawl to the bathroom. Unfortunately this is a distance of nearly 15 feet, with a great many air molecules en route, so at about the halfway point I usually decide to stop and get myself into the fetal position and hope for nuclear war. Instead, I get Earnest. Earnest is our dog. She senses instantly that something is wrong, and guided by the timeless and unerring nurturing instinct that all female dogs have, she tries to lick my ears off.
For my son, Robert, this is proving to be the high point of his entire life to date. He has had his pajamas on for two, maybe three days now. He has a sense of joyful independence a five-year-old child gets when he suddenly realizes that he could be operating an acetylene torch in the coat closet and neither parent would have the strength to object. He has been foraging for his own food, which means his diet consists entirely of “food” substances that are advertised only on Saturday morning cartoon shows; substances that are the color of jukebox lights and that, for legal reasons, have their names spelled wrong, as in New Creemy Chock-‘n’-Cheez Lumps o’ Froot(“part of this complete breakfast”).
Crawling around, my face inches from the carpet, I sometimes encounter traces of colorful wrappers that Robert has town from these substances and dropped on the floor, where Earnest, always on patrol, has found them and chewed them into spit-covered wads. I am reassured by this. It means they are both eating.
The Martian Death Flu has not been an entirely bad thing. Since I cannot work, or move, or think, I have been able to spend more Quality Time with Robert, to come up with creative learning activities that we can enjoy and share together. Today, for example, I taught him, as my father had taught me, how to make an embarrassing noise with your hands. Then we shot rubber bands at the contestants on “Divorce Court.” Then, just in case some parts of our brains were still alive, we watched professional bowling. Here’s what televised professional bowling sounds like when you have the flu:
Play-By-Play Man: He left the 10-pin, Bob.
Color Commentator: Yes, Bill. He failed to knock it down.
Play-By-Play Man: It’s still standing up.
Color Commentator: Yes. Now he must try to knock it down.
Play-By-Play Man: You mean the 10-pin, Bob?
The day just flew by. Soon it was 3:30P.M., time to crawl back through the air molecules to the bedroom, check on my wife or whoever that is, and turn in for the night.
Earnest was waiting about halfway down the hall.
“Look at this,” the police will say when they find me. “His ears are missing.”