Last week, the whole family was sick with some kind of evil upper respiratory virus that included stomach complications. No need for gross detail, just allow "complications" convey what I mean here. The girls each ran fevers, had cruddy colds and suffered through hacking coughs, which kept them home from school for a few days. I am finishing up the virus myself, with an earache and laryngitis, but Mike was hit the worst, by far. Saturday evening, there was the all over ache of fever, accompanied by chills. These were layered with a pounding headache, a sore throat, and sinus congestion. By Sunday night, he was crawling to bed before dinner, saying "I have to try to sleep this off, so I can go in to work tomorrow." By two a.m., he was experiencing those "complications," and dragging himself back to bed, stopping only long enough to email his boss to let him know that the trip downtown to work was not going to happen.
He couldn't really eat on Monday, though he kept up a regimen of acetaminophen and tried to stay hydrated. "I should feel better tomorrow," he said around five o'clock, before going to sleep only five hours before his regular bed time. The sleeping part didn't go all that well, though, and the aches and pains persisted and were joined by a tremendous cough. Rather than detail the rest of the week, I will just say that he felt like a pile of crap and couldn't really shake it. He didn't even feel well enough to get himself to the doctor's office (when you feel like hell, public transportation is no small undertaking) until the end of the week. Then, he was given antibiotics which finally set him on the road to recovery, as magic wonder drugs they are supposed to do. He went back to work today, though he was clearly dragging by the time he got home.
If I haven't lost you in the description of my husband's week of illness, you might at least be wondering why, in the name of all that's holy, I would devote such a long paragraph to such a thing. It might just be that illness overwhelmed me this week. Frankly, I got to a point this Saturday where the sound of anyone coughing made me want to hit myself in the head with a large hammer. Among the four of us, the sputtering, stuttering, horking sound was constant, filling the apartment like a cacophonous piece of modern music composed to irritate and aggravate the listener. Maybe, because I have been sick myself, I was just fascinated by the fact that someone could be sicker.
I can't actually remember when I've seen Mike this sick, even though we've certainly taken turns suffering through colds and stomach bugs. And we both get migraines. And of course, there were my two pregnancies, which, while not technically illnesses, offered him the chance to see me wretchedly ill and in tremendous pain. (Though he has said he did enjoy seeing me practically bite the head off the poor resident who tried, in vain, to administer an epidural while I was in labor with Delia. Or was it Fiona? Funny how those episodes kind of run together.) I have been with him through some awfully invasive tests and a singularly harrowing trip to the emergency room, not to mention surgery in response to cancer. We've also waited (and worried) together for test results. It sounds like a lot of suffering, when you stack it up like that, and we have only just started to grow old-- him first of course, because I am his much younger wife...
This is the thing though, it's right out of the vows, right? Sickness and health. Richer and poorer. As long as we both shall live. Even when it seems like a lot more sickness and a lot less richer, we've gotten through it together. This sick week was a reminder of that. As he started to feel better this weekend, Mike put it well, "I wouldn't want to be sick with anyone but you, sweetie." And even though I can't wait until the coughing stops, that goes double for me.