For weeks now, my Facebook memories have been popping up with statuses from 2 years ago like, “When will these horrible bugs leave our house?” and “Unclean, unclean”. Fate tempting bastards.
March is like Christmas to disease in our family. As soon as the February pages on the Minecraft and Disney calendars flip over, you can almost hear the bugs rubbing their hands with glee, ready to rush towards my unsuspecting kids as they sleep. As usual, this March, the kids and Paul had fallen headlong into the coldy-coughy lurgy, but I had managed to avoid it.
Or had I? Was it just lurking in the wings? Did I have too many things to be getting on with to be ill? Was it just waiting until I relaxed, let my guard down, before pouncing like a bastard? Yes.
Bank Holiday weekend had begun, shopping needed buying, DIY needed doing and then the loveliness could start. It lulled me into a false sense of security, this delightful bug. I truly thought I had escaped with my health in tact and everyone else was better enough to enjoy the festivities. Fool.
Look. I’m not saying I was the sickest I’ve ever been or ever will be, but when you spend the first half of your holiday weekend feeling like you’re fighting something off and then it lands slap bang in the second half, you’re allowed to be pissed off.
So. There I was. Throat coated in razorblades and ears full of itchy monsters, with enough fruit and herbal tea to keep a hippy commune hydrated for a month. Fortunately I also had my dressing gown, pockets full of half empty blister packs of painkillers, previously hoarded in handbags, drawers, pockets and gloveboxes for just such an occasion.
What I had in addition to this was a husband and children that couldn’t really give a fuck.
Sure, they made the right noises occasionally. The kids would come and give me a hug or plant a kiss on my forehead and say they hoped I felt better. Then they’d want to play Minecraft. And also moan about how sick they are/were. I’ll give you a clue – it’s always sicker than me…
This particular morning, I was waiting for the surgery to call me back to triage my illness and assess whether I was, in fact, sick. (Because I love to spend time at the doctor’s when I’m not sick – where else would I catch up on magazines telling me who was looking like the favourite for Strictly Come Dancing 2012?)
When my lovely doctor called and confirmed she wanted to check out my razorblades to make sure there was nothing she could do for me, I had to hustle them out of the door within 20 minutes. That meant putting the Playstation controllers down.
You’d have thought I was chopping their arms off/locking them in the bathroom all day so I could go to the pub. My youngest even looked at me once I’d got dressed in something more appropriate to face the world at large and sneered, “You don’t even look sick.”
I can assure you that, even with the removal of my pyjamas and the addition of some jeans, I did not look on top form. I also couldn’t have cared less whether I looked like something from the Walking Dead or not, but clearly my darling daughter wanted me to be sicker than I appeared, to justify disturbing her beloved computer time.
And then there is their father. An extremely loving, kind and caring man. Without an ounce of sympathy when people are sick. Sickness to him and more importantly, giving in to sickness is a weakness. You cannot allow the sickness to beat you. You must never, repeat NEVER have a sick day. It is tantamount to high treason. If you are sick, it is your duty to still go to work. You are being paid to do work. Do it. Even if you have to be sick in the loos and then carry on with your work.
You must also not take any medicine. I have never been sure about the reasoning for this. Is it unmanly to admit you have pain and want not to have pain? Not that I give a fuck about why he doesn’t want to take it – you crack on and be in pain if that’s your decision. His justification is always that if you have a headache, it is a symptom of something and covering it up using painkillers might be dangerous.
Nothing to do with not being able to swallow tablets…
Either way, unless I have broken something/am bleeding profusely/at death’s door, his sympathy level = zero.
This also lets him off the hook when the kids are ill. Regardless of their complete lack of fucks given when I am ill, they expect nothing but the gold standard of care when they are poorly. Daddy occasionally telling you to drink some lemon squash just doesn’t cut it.
Cue a recent 48 hours of poorly boy, demanding that I not leave his side for even a moment to wee/make myself a cup of tea/sleep. It was unpleasant and knackering, but even if I could pass the baton of vomit to my other half and toddle back to bed, it would never have been allowed.
I clearly have made a rod for my own back, but I am hoping that I will reap the rewards when the kids grow up to earn megabucks and my Mother’s Day features a brand new convertible/trip to New York…
As I shuffled around in my dressing gown and pyjamas feeling sorry for myself however, the universe righted all of the wrongs by providing me with a wonderful network of family and pals.
They allowed me to wallow in a bit of self pity on the sofa whilst they amused the kids, brought drugs and laughter and generally accepted the fact that when a Mum gets sick, it’s REALLY serious. Sod Man Flu, Mum Flu is the worst…
But then, if I wasn’t a Mum, I wouldn’t need help with the kids. I wouldn’t need someone to do the school run. I wouldn’t appreciate my own Mum as much as I do. And I wouldn’t have met all of the amazing Mum Squad members that I have.
That’s worth the occasional dose of Mum Flu.
Sometimes though it would be nice to be the one getting a full night’s sleep because they, “just want Dadddddddy!!!!”