The Bliss of the Flu

Posted by: , January 24, 2013 in 1:41 pm


really tired mom The Bliss of the FluI remember it so well. It was the winter of 2005. Chuck and I were renting an apartment together (“shacking up” as my mother called it). Out of nowhere, I got the flu.

I spent the next week on the couch, swigging NyQuil. I slept. I watched talk shows and sitcoms. There was no Facebook, so I couldn’t gross people out with my status updates—”Just hacked up a lung! Puked again!” No tweeting either.

How did we communicate?

When Chuck got home from work he would lift up the blanket and poke me, just to make sure I was alive. He may have tried to poke me in other ways, I can’t remember. It was the sickest I’ve ever been and yet, looking back on it, it was bliss.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that week.

The kids both came down with the flu on Saturday. Over the last few days, Chuck and I have been sneezed on, puked on and coughed on. We’ve endured hours of Thomas the Train and Curious George. We’ve made Jello and toast and held the kids while they whimpered and moaned. We’ve tried to sleep while the kids slept on top of us.

Then, a glimpse of hope: the kids started to feel better. Then, reality. I started sneezing. Mother Nature is a sly devil. She keeps you healthy just long enough for you to nurse your kids back to health before whacking you with it. It’s the bitch-slap of being a parent: you get slapped on the way in and you get slapped on the way out.

I was fortunate to come down with it first. I told Chuck I was going to bed and I did—for almost two days. I swigged NyQuil. I slept. I watched talk shows and sitcoms. There is Facebook, so I could gross people out with my status updates—”Just hacked up a lung! Puked again!”

Every time I heard Chuck sneezing and coughing from downstairs I furrowed down deeper under the covers. Yes, he was sending me SOS’s—like letting the kids throw ping pong balls at the stairs and yelling “Kids, your mother is trying to rest!”—but for a few days I was blissfully untouchable. Like I’d been in 2005. Like any time, really, we’re able to lie down and take care of ourselves for a change.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. This morning Chuck announced that he was going to bed. He has a fever; I can’t contest a fever. I’m going to have to slog through until I’m better. I’m going to have to visit the Island of Sodor even as I hack up a lung.

But I’ll always have the sweet memories of my couch and bed. Of hiding and furrowing, furrowing and hiding. The proverbial good ole days.

Now where are those ping pong balls?


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