To mark the beginning of our first winter back in New York State since 2004, I thought it might be time to catch a nasty cold.
My symptoms are typical. Headache, body aches, sore throat, congestion, and a set of spring-loaded eyeballs that are about to pop out of my head like champagne corks. If I could temporarily remove them myself without any long-term implications, I would. Draining the four gallons of snot packed into the 2-quart jug that is my head would go a long way to relieving some pressure.
All I want to do is fade into an induced coma until this passes, but inexplicably, our health insurance doesn’t cover this kind of self-medication. With the rates we pay, you’d think they could throw in a few complimentary comas now and then. Instead, I’m forced to lay on the couch bemoaning the bureaucracy that’s keeping me miserable.
Normally, I’d love to just lay around and do nothing, but not when every joint and muscle feels like I’ve been clubbed with a 5-iron. Being lazy is far more fun and rewarding when you’re healthy. Everything I do, from rolling over, to wielding the remote control, feels like a chore.
But don’t feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for my wife. I am self-admittedly the biggest man-baby on earth when I get sick. When Heather falls ill, she manages to do everything she normally does when healthy, only with more sniffles and coughs.
As for me? I pretty much just shut down and shift into a martyrdom act to get what I need. It also feels good to complain. I’m not sure why, but it’s great therapy to moan and let out guttural wails whenever I spot someone within earshot. I’ll follow these death calls with a whimpering plea to my children that it’s important for us to spend these last few moments together.
I tell my 9-year old to get me some juice. When he protests, I explain that it may very well be the last glass of juice he’ll ever have to bring me. I tell my 2-year old to just stand there, to let me take in the vision that may very well be my last glimpse of her adorableness. I tell my 15-year old that my dying wish is that he scrape the house and repaint the exterior. But either my family is apathetic to the thought of my demise, or they’re on to me after years of illness shenanigans, because my deathbed demands are usually met with rolled eyes.
“You know what? I wish I could roll my eyes like that! But I can’t. You want to know why? Because my eyes are impacted by snot cement.” I continue to speak louder and louder as they exit the room, “Thanks for understanding, family. Thanks a lot!” I peer from the couch to see if anyone is still listening. They aren’t. I sit alone in an empty room.
(I told you it was a martyrdom act. But, as my wife can attest, this is nothing.)
I used to have a little bell I could ring in case of emergencies; like needing a Pop-Tart, wanting the cat, or asking to massage one of my wife’s buttocks one last time. Sadly, the clapper was ripped from the bell. Clearly, my wife and I have differing opinions on what constitutes an emergency.
I suppose I could take some medicine, but the Tylenol is all the way upstairs. A trip that would require provisions seeing how long it takes me to move around when I’m ravaged by a virus. Every step would be met with a recovery period and a groan to alert the household that poor ol’ dad was forced to move.
With no bell, and with flare guns being inappropriate for indoor use, I have to wait for someone to make the mistake of walking by me if I want something. I simply feign sleep until I spot someone trying to tiptoe by unnoticed. I pretend to awaken, “Oh, good timing, thank goodness you’re here,” and kick my act into high gear until I’m quieted by a few capsules of Tylenol.
One nice thing about being sick is that I remain healthy for months once I recover. By the time I return to full health, Heather is so sick and tired of my juvenile antics that she does everything in her power to prevent a recurrence. She walks around the house double-fisting cans of Lysol spraying everything I may have come into contact with.
The remote control drips with disinfectant, my keyboard and mouse look renewed with a nice antibacterial sheen, and my clothing is burned in a backyard bonfire.
While spraying a quick spritz up each of my nostrils is a bit much, once the afterburn fades, it’s actually quite calming. Plus, every time I inhale, I’m transported to a dewy spring meadow.
Alas, I’m still in the throes of sickness, and judging by the elevated level of stuffiness and pain, it’s just getting started.
So wish me well, fair readers, for I know not the fate that awaits me in the coming days. I can only hope that this isn’t my final post. Even in this condition, however, I vow to give this cold a valiant fight. I’m confident I can beat this thing. I know I can beat this thing.
Assuming, of course, someone walks by soon.