The past week has been rough. George has been really sick with what we thought was a cold, then the flu and now it turns out is pneumonia. 2 of our 3 kids have also had viruses, including Miss 2 with consistent fevers over 39 degrees for a few days. Our kitchen bench looks like a pharmacy shelf. Curiously, I seem to be the only person who has resisted whatever bugs are going around. Just call me Superwoman.
Having George around at home for a week now has made me reflect on the different ways men are sick, and how they are able to react (well here anyway). When sick, George lies in bed all day, doing nothing. He tries to sleep a lot but when he can’t get to sleep, he just lies there like an Egyptian mummy. When I am sick, I never get the luxury of lying in bed. I always have children to herd and look after. But if it was a weekend and George was around, rendering me able to lie in bed, I would probably read a book, or at least watch TV when I wasn’t sleeping. I think simply lying there would make me feel worse due to excessive boredom.
Can I admit to you a little daydream I have? I feel like I shouldn’t admit this as it may be bad karma, and I don’t really mean it. But I also do. Being a mother of 3 kids with no family support around, I sometimes have a little dream of having to go into a nice private hospital for a non-invasive and non-life-threatiing procedure of some kind that then requires a week of bed rest as an in-patient. Having my meals brought to me and then taken away, having no laundry to do, watching TV all day and getting the occasional visitor bringing flowers and chocolates…that is the stuff fantasies are made of!
When I had my second and third babies, they were both required to be scheduled caesareans. Each time I spent a week recovering in hospital after their births and it was delightful. Sure, I was getting over a major surgery and had swollen aching breasts that Dolly Parton would be scared of, but I was required to do nothing except feed the baby and relax. I had a TV by my bed, morphine on demand and a night nursery. Bliss! Since then I have never been sick where I’ve actually been able to be sick and lie in bed all day.
It is also a widely acknowledged idea that men don’t cope with being sick as well as women do. I am sure this doesn’t apply to all men, but it’s a common idea that I’ve heard people talk about as if it were fact. Maybe it’s because women are used to feeling pain or discomfort more often as part of regular life. We get regular period pain, have to deal with pregnancy, labour and often painful breastfeeding as part of life. With men, their bodies are always the same. Elaine Benes said ‘the male body is utilitarian, it’s for getting around, it’s like a Jeep’. Now, she was talking about look of the naked male form but maybe this ideal could also apply to their state of ongoing health and maintenance? So when something comes along giving them an ‘owie’, they can fall apart a bit quicker as they’re not used to it. Case in point was George telling me the other day that his sinus pain when flying home from our Qld holiday was as painful as he imagined labour would be. Wow. He’d be begging for the epidural with the first contraction. I can’t complain though. As far as sick, pathetic men go, he’s pretty good. Much better than this guy:
Seeing George sick this week reminded me of that video, an old favourite. I am sure you have all seen it but it’s good for another chuckle that’s on point. And as for me, I promised to love George in sickness and in health. Now that the former is upon us, Superwoman must fly off and prepare her hero a honey and lemon drink and rub his tummy. Good night!