Sick Again
Pass the Jack Daniels

June 4, 1999

As many of you dear readers probably already know, Chuck is sick. Not like little cough or sneezy kinda sick. Down for the count in that big-bad-ways-guys-have sick. This is OK. To a point. I can play Florence Nightingale with the best of them. But again, only to a point.

When I was a kid, on those rare occasions when my dad got sick, and I mean truly rare, he retired to his bed with a never-empty mug of hot tea, liberally laced with Jack Daniels. My dad didn't generally drink, except when he got sick. In two or three days he reappeared, cured, and life continued as before.

When I was older I asked him if the Jack made him better. He said no, but with enough of his own special brand of medicine, he just didn't care that he was sick.

So this was the way I thought men were when they were sick. Down for the count for a couple of days and then poof, voila, all better again, with a nice glow in their cheeks.

I now know that this is so not true I could kill my father for deluding me so. But then, what are dads for?

In the 20-something years it's been since I lived at home I've had the opportunity to witness other men in ill health. Men suck when they're sick.

OK, I know this is a rash generalization, but in Beth's world, this is gospel, and after all, we are reading about Beth's world.

When I'm sick I go to bed. I go to sleep. I wake up in a day or three and I'm all better. Yeah, I'm a bit of a baby, but I think I'm pretty self-contained and unobtrusive.

When Chuck is sick he parks himself on the couch and just is. He doesn't really complain much, or ask for stuff. A plus. But he just is. The coughs, sniffles, and really pathetic groans emanate from wherever he has landed, like a beached whale (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) for all to see and step over. Right in the middle of the world of well people.

Maybe that's the thing that gets to me?

Before Zoe, I would get slightly sick maybe once every two years. Chuck would get hit hard about once a year. Killer flu. But that was it.

Since the start of preschool almost exactly one year ago, we've been sick something like 25 times.

Not little stuff. Big honkin' sick. Throw up sick. Raging fever sick. Exotic flu and weird virus sick.

Chuck and I are not patient people by nature. We've really grown in this area since the arrival of Zoe, but we all have our limits. Neither of us is a good sick person (if there is such a thing). And neither of us is really good when the other one is sick.

When Zoe is sick we rally. When she was about 15 months old she had what was finally diagnosed as a bladder/urinary tract infection. This infection was causing her to have fevers upwards of 104. Chuck would wake up in the middle of the night and bathe her just to cool her down. I sat with her for long periods of time just sitting with her. As Chuck has pointed out, lately, unless there is nonstop barfing or raging fever, I guess she qualifies as a good sick person. She comes by when she wants help blowing her nose, but otherwise, she's business as usual.

Perhaps we could learn something from her?

Until next time. . .