"Touch Me I'm Sick" is a Mudhoney song with a title so absurd you can't help but laugh. Seeing as I've been fighting off one cold after another this winter, along with one particularly nasty stomach bug in the middle of all those colds, it seems like the perfect blog post title for my mood this week. Only I'm not really laughing as I type out the song title right now. I'm sick of being sick. All winter I've been coughing and hacking and sneezing and blowing my nose. I've coughed so hard my muscles ache now, giving me the feeling of having the flu again. Delightful.
Like most men, I suppose, I'm a terrible patient. I have asthma and allergies, so common colds can sometimes morph into upper respiratory infections, hanging on for much longer than colds usually do. I've been really healthy for a good long time, but then this winter our kids started daycare. Everyone warned us: "Oh, they'll catch everything going when they start, and then you'll catch it." I knew this was likely but for some reason it never really occurred to me just how wretchedly sick we'd get. Our house should have been quarantined for a few weeks. The kids have each been through several colds, an ear infection, and a flu in the last month. Thankfully they've been really healthy for the past week. I'm thrilled to see them thriving in daycare and playing again with the same vigor as before when they're home. But I think I'd be even more thrilled if I felt better. I've learned that you really do care more about how your kids are doing with their health than you do your own health. That's just the way it is. But there's still a part of me, that whining, negative, selfish, lousy patient in me, the one who had cultivated a lifetime of reacting poorly to being sick before our kids came along, who just won't stay quiet when I'm sick. That part of me is a bit of an unhinged pessimist, frankly. I'm not proud of that part of me. I try to push it back when it rears its ugly head. But sometimes, when my defenses are down and I'm just plain exhausted from coughing and aching and sneezing, I give in and I let loose with the full blast of my miserableness. In short, I'm not the most pleasant person to be around right now.
So, we're moving along into February. Winter's rolling into its back half. Viruses and bacterial infections are bound to start heading wherever they head for their spring and summer vacations, leaving us to recuperate and build up our immunity for next time we have to do battle with them. So there's light at the end of the tunnel, right? Then I remember that time I caught a wicked stomach bug in July, one of the worst I've ever had. Food and I didn't make nice again for a very long time after that virus ravaged my system. I remember seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs play just a few days after the virus hit me. I was over the acute symptoms by then, but the after-effects lasted for several more days. I was pretty worn out at that show—which happens to be one of the best concerts I've ever been to. But even when Karen O was rocking it on stage and I was reveling in the awesomeness of finally seeing one of my favorite bands, that part of me that's miserable when I'm sick was doing his best to dampen the mood. I really hate that guy. I tried to tell him off that night. It worked, for the most part. Wish me luck keeping him under control for the rest of this dreadful winter.