Spring has arrived with all of its usual accouterments. The weather is up and down. Two days ago the thermostat reached almost 70 degrees. Yesterday it was snowing. There are buds on some of the trees. The grass is greening up and spring flowers are poking out of the still hard ground. There is fast increasing daylight making every da a little bit longer and more relaxing. And then there are spring illnesses. Which are all that much harder when you’re alone.
The Spring Sickies
I got a call from my daughter early this morning. She had a high fever, terrible sore throat. Her roommates were away for the weekend. She was alone. And feeling terrible with no one there to take care of her.
The Joys of Being Taken Care Of
I’ve been in all the different positions relative to illness. I have strong memories of being sick when I was a kid. Throwing up, aching throat. But also a place being made for me in my parents’ room that became the sick room (probably to keep germs away from my sisters). It was the only time I got to watch unlimited TV. And food served to me on a tray. More recently, I was laid up and waiting for test results. I was physically low and emotionally stressed. My partner took on the household chores, made me meals, rubbed my head. In these situations, I got to let go of responsibility, put my well-being in the hands of another.
The Satisfaction of Caring for Others
When I was a mom of little girls, I stepped into the role of caretaker. I hated my kids being sick but I felt satisfaction in the ways I could make them feel better. Cold clothes to forehead, managing their trips to the doctor, making lots of chicken soup. And spending time with them, being that constant presence that assured them they did not need to worry.
It Sucks to be Sick Alone
I also remember living in my first apartment after law school. I was so excited to have my own place. I fixed cool dinners for my friends. Loved getting up on Saturday mornings, joining other young adults in the weekly shopping ritual. Getting coffee with the paper. A full, satisfying life. Until I got sick. I felt physically awful. But most of all, I felt alone. No one to bring me meals on a tray or do the chores. No one to bring the fever down or rub my head. And, since I have a hypochondriachal nature, I missed just having someone to console me and tell me it would all be OK.
It Takes A Village
I Facetimed with my daughter today. I did my best long distance caretaker: talked her through the steps of caring for herself, assured her she would be OK, gave her a verbal head rub. A friend came over to bring her some OJ.
Most of us have been there at some time or other. We get through it and go back to enjoying the longer days and better weather. But while we’re in it, it sucks. So those of us who have friends or loved ones laid up, remember how good it feels to be taken care of – reach out and take care in return.
Share your stories of coping with the sickies ☹
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