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Saturday, 10 March 2012

4. In Sickness and in Health

So.  A few weeks ago, I was relating to a girlfriend about how Matt had come down with a bug after his recent business trip to London which was also compounded by jetlag.  Poor guy just wasn’t himself.  Her response was a flippant, “Oh.  Its probably just the ‘man flu’!”  Translation?  Its ALL in the mind.  I shared this observation with Matt, who in between his symphony of coughing fits and nose blowing, promptly informed that the ‘man flu’ was very real but was up a few notches at “Rambo strength”.  Anyhow, karma was to bite me in the proverbial ass for not realising just how sick he was; when for Valentine’s Day, my lovely husband gave me a kiss.. AND his cold.  The next day, my throat was scratchy and my body ached.  I was NOT a happy bunny! 

I know I can sometimes be a little too chirpy for some people’s tastes.  Example?  If I know you, and I don’t have to know you very well, my hellos are normally followed with a very energetic wave if you are a few metres away.  Otherwise, I may just blind you with one of my power-watt-show-you-all-my-teeth smiles and grab you into a big hug.  I also think nothing of asking waiters or shopgirls who have served me their names just so I can thank them by name and blind them with a smile, no doubt leaving them to wonder if I had just escaped from some mental institution.

Tia, (daughter number two), is constantly embaressed by how friendly or how cheerful I am.  “Mom, please can you stop singing?” or “Mom, please can you stop bouncing around so much?” is often followed by her physically trying to hold on to me (often disguised as an embrace) in an effort to either calm me down or hide me with her body.  Of course this only serves to amuse me and sometimes, if I’m feeling really wicked, I simply exaggerate all the action she’s trying to stifle even more.  Poor Tia!  I know she sometimes wishes the ground would just swallow her (or better, me!) up.  But, other times, I think she’s secretly amused I am so silly.  Mind you, I do tend to balance the silliness with a very stern “have you finished your homework yet” or “why is your towel lying on the floor?  How many maids do you think you have?!” whenever it is required.

Me sick however, is a whole different kettle of fish.  Picture this:  total absence of any kind of smile, flat tone, bedraggled hair that looks like I had been caught in a wind tunnel, and just a general grumpy air.  And DO NOT even THINK of getting me to say anything more than once!  All in all, not a charmer by any stretch of the imagination! 

At the sight of this very obvious transformation, all my three girls speak in hushed tones to each other.. except I can STILL hear them from my bedroom as I have developed extra sensitive hearing where even a pin drop is unbearable.  My bloodshot-light-sensitive eyes lead me to dress in the dark, resulting in quick offers to find their own way to school and back home again – which I gratefully accept and sink straight back into bed again.

Even food becomes an effort as I struggle to get anything down.  After four days of this, and as I feel myself turn the corner with this flu, I ask Matt if I’ve lost any weight.  “Uhm… no?” He responds.  “Really?  What’s the use of being so sick if it doesn’t lead to losing any weight?”  I grumble.  My neighbour however, proclaims I look emaciated from all the weight I’ve lost from being sick.  Totally unprompted I might add!  I thank her profusely and tell her she’s my new best friend.  Matt watches this exchange and quickly excuses himself to watch paint dry on a wall somewhere!

I have to say this though.  As my health returns and my mood bouyed (perhaps thanks to my neighbour’s observations), I feel very grateful for Matt’s patience and his ability to keep his temper in check even when I’m snarling responses to his attempts to carry on perfectly normal conversations with his crazed wife (to be clear, that would be me); and his good humour when I stare stonily into a distance because I am sick of being sick.  A model patient I am not.  But a wonderfully patient husband, he is.

So, next time, when he tells me he’s sick I promise I will not be so blasé.   AND should any girlfriend snigger about the ‘man flu’, I will shush them, tell them to wash their mouth out with soap as the ‘man flu’ is very real and there is nothing imaginary about it.


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