So this week, I got hit with the flu … hard. I guess that is somewhat of an oxymoron, because does the flu come on any other way? It isn’t like all of a sudden you hear a tiny whisper saying, “I’m just going to come on nice and slow, easy so you know I’m coming and can take all necessary precautions.” No way. The flu smacks you in the face like a clothesline. 5:00 in the morning and wham! A sudden roll of nausea, a gut-wrenching race to the bathroom, one sick-call in to the boss and down for the count back in bed. Before he left, I reached out a pathetic hand to my husband and asked, “I’ll get better soon right?”
“Of course hun,” he replied somewhat patiently at my hypochondriacal-tendency of thinking the worst. “You’ve just got a bug.”
“You’re sure? I feel really awful,” I asked.
“I’m sure, but I’ll call you okay?” he asked.
Probably to make sure I’m still alive, I thought to myself. Then, turning over in a moan, I had to laugh when I thought of the quote from Redd Foxx that said, “Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.” Sadly, that statement is totally me, but yesterday’s chills, achy-bones that made me feel one hundred, and enough bathroom trips to clear out our supply of toilet paper could’ve fooled me. I felt like death, and looked like it too from the disheveled troll I glanced in the mirror.
The thing about being a parent is, you don’t really get to be sick for long. Because by three o’clock of the same day, it was time to pick up my loves from school and they weren’t about to drive themselves. It was a good thing I was mobile at that point, because about two hours later, my husband surpassed my weak-kneed queasiness with his full-blown version of what I’d developed twenty hours before. All I could think was, “Aww, man! No early-to-bed for me.” Single parent functioning at 50% was not how I hoped to end my day. I could’ve punched Henry David Thoreau in the face when I remembered he once said, “‘Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.” Here I was, moving at a zombie’s pace, only fit to step into public after a heavy application of foundation to hide my after-life complexion, and Thoreau had the nerve to tell me this was healthy? I realized then, that he was a brilliant idiot and forgave him for not having a fricking clue.
But then, (ah yes, there is a but here) a few moments after picking up my kids, one of their teachers asked if she could pray over me. She touched my shoulder and asked for healing and protection of God’s angels to keep our children safe. She then went on to tell me that my daughter had prayed for us today to be healthy. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so much sick as guilty. Here I was ready to sucker-punch one of the greatest American authors in history for annoying me only moments before, and I had beautiful, heart-felt prayers cast upon me that I didn’t deserve. The moment of reckoning stretched on when I realized that, in a small way, I was already beginning to feel better. Sure I was only half-way there, but how many people who are sick … really sick, can say that in a twelve hour period?
This past summer my favorite cousin in the world, my sister for all practical purposes was diagnosed with cancer. Mother of a four-year-old and four-month-old at the time, I’ll never forget how strong she was when she told me. She only looked at the positive side, that it was treatable and they’d found it early. I sat beside her, trying (and failing miserably) to be strong for her, but the truth is–it wrecked me. It wasn’t fair, she was young and strong and healthy and good and caring and everything that sickness should stay the heck away from. But cancer doesn’t discriminate; I wish to heaven it did. It is now about seven months past the diagnosis, and treatments and surgeries later, she is in remission … the cancer is completely removed and I am divinely grateful. I, who can’t handle the flu.
The worst part of it is, when I mentioned I wasn’t feeling well, she was one of the first to call, text and check in on me the next day. Thoreau was completely right. It is healthy to get sick sometimes. It reminds you that: a) you’re human, b) you’re meant to slow down and, c) you have a lot to be thankful for. So I know this post is just a post, I know it isn’t really equipped in importance enough to warrant a dedication, but I’m going to give one anyway. This post is dedicated to all of those whose 50% days are their best. I am so sorry that it takes my “sick” days to remind me just how much you go through. Forgive me, as I pray for you today … and much more often from now on.
If you have someone you’d like to lift up, feel free to do so … digitally, or in a wireless prayer to heaven.