Growing up, being sick was seen as a sort of moral failing—something you probably brought on yourself through poor hygiene, eating junk food, associating with lepers or some other stupidity. I remember at least one birthday desperately trying to conceal an oncoming cold because that meant I’d be confined to my room with my designated “sick” bowl and utensils, partaking only of water, vitamin C and papaya smoothies that parents swore cured about everything.
What these things did cure was any desire to ever be sick, and much ability to deal with being around people who are. Those of you who read my romantical previous blog (“The ring doesn’t come off,” he said) can see that I rise to a crisis, have epiphanies and revelations, and even do the right sorts of very difficult things like driving someone writhing in pain to the emergency room without getting in an accident.
What I’m not so good at is the aftermath: changing bedsheets, fixing dressings, heating chicken soup, and dealing patiently with a person in pain who’s feeling sick and grumpy. I tend to get resentful when my tender ministrations aren’t received with slavering gratitude, and I “flutter”—a mixture of indecision and ineffectiveness that annoys even me. “Do you want your pillow fluffed? Did you drink your water? How about another pill?” while buzzing around the room straightening things.
In some of these episodes I’ve even been known to flap my hands like a late-blooming autistic. Apparently this is not relaxing to sick people. You see, I like to be able to DO SOMETHING. And a lot of the time, there’s nothing to be done but just tolerate with your loved one the horror which must be tolerated by them.
Frankly, I’d rather have the enema myself.
Perhaps I will just give my unfortunate spouse a Vitamin C and papaya smoothie and designated utensils, and close the door on him until he’s better. He’d probably thank me for it, because as we all know I’m no Florence Nightingale.
All that aside, the dust is settling (literally) around our house as the Hubby slowly recovers from his surgery, and our fun-hogging kids and their friends expend one last burst of energy tomorrow on the Commando Trail before leaving for their assorted cold/snowy/rainy/dark Mainland colleges.
The Commando Trail is legendary, and probably has a wonderful Hawaiian name I’m not privy to. So legendary, in fact, I ruled out ever trying it and instead enjoy the stories of epic adventure it generates. It starts somewhere (shrouded in mystery) off the Road to Hana and is about 8 miles of bamboo forest, rock hopping, creek swimming, waterfall scaling, and lava tube crawling that ends in a 40-80 foot cliff jump into a pool that MUST be jumped, or miles added. Man-and womanhood is at stake on those cliffs!
I remember being that young and fit. I remember taking chances like that. Now the very idea sends me into ‘flutter’ mode:
“Did you pack enough water? First aid kit? Asthma inhalers? Energy bars? Satellite phone? Splints and proper footwear?”
Eye rolls are all I get in reply. The Hubby and I will be staying behind, sipping Emergen-C fizzy drinks, the closest I’ll come to those papaya smoothies of yore, and hoping all return safe and sound.
What kinds of things have shaped your attitudes about being sick? What “cures” do you swear by?