I have a fever and a head cold, and it’s been about a week since I bragged to someone, (I can’t remember who), that since moving to Seattle, I hadn’t been sick much. Don’t get happy, Lauren.
This morning I woke up with what I thought was a doughnut hangover, (there has been a glut of doughnuts around here the last few days), but quickly realized that the nausea was more a side effect of my head full of snot. (This post should probably come with a trigger warning, both for whining and gross bodily fluids.)
So, I’ve been in the beanbag chair in my sweatpants, alternately under a blanket and kicking it off, depending on whether the fever or chills want to be front and center, in and out of schoolwork and sleep, Kiva pressed in the hollow of my elbow, her head tucked towards her tail. I’ve been drinking lots of tea and shivering and sniffling. Things seem much more tedious when you’re sick.
It’s funny how we view sickness of children versus that of adults. When I was a kid, sick days were the best. Not to oversell, I WAS sick, but I could lie on the couch and watch The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins and Aladdin for the whole day. My mom made me toast and soup in a cup and brought me Saltines and Sprite. I was luxuriously, unconditionally taken care of.
Now, as an adult, the idea seems to be, just don’t get sick. You don’t have time. Keep going. Go to work anyway. Get out of bed. Stop being a baby. The sicker you are and the more you keep moving anyway, the more you suck it up and never slow down, the better stronger more commendable you are. I’ve got a new mantra, and you’re reading it here first: martyrdom is not sexy.
Certainly, the intense work culture we have in the United States only reinforces our refusal to take care of ourselves. You have a deadline, no one else can do it but you, this can’t wait, it’s urgent. Admittedly, I get so annoyed with people who come to work sick. Why? It seems so inconsiderate, but maybe I’m just crabby. I can’t help it, I’m sick.
As sucky and inconvenient as being sick is, it’s also a time to be cared for, whether you do it for yourself or there is someone who can do it for you. Mary Poppins and being read to and tucked in with all your blankets shouldn’t be just a kid thing. That’s why I’m sleeping and drinking tea and trying to convince myself to walk down the hill for pho. Self-care is a good thing.