Yesterday, I woke up with a horrible cold. It started with a faint tickle in my throat and a wave of denial in my brain. By lunch, I had gone through all of Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining and depression – before acceptance hit with the fact that I was indeed going to be sick. And not a normal sick. No, this was an end of the world and the start of the Apocalypse kind of sick.
When I was growing up, I loved being sick. My mom, being a rampant hypochondriac, would research every symptom my sister and I would have and come to some pretty far reaching conclusions. She never went to the doctor – no, she looked everything up in her Reader’s Digest Medical At Home Symptom Guide. The fact that it was published in 1958 really didn’t faze my mom. She felt that there were so many illnesses in the world that doctors could not possibly be trained in them all so she like to help out by doing her own diagnosing. When I was thriteen, she kept me at home because the red spots on my face were obviously a symptom of dengue fever and not acne. My sister missed two weeks of school in grade seven because of an onset of yellow tailed monkey disease/ polio.
Still, it was fun being sick. First of all, my sister and I got to lie on the couch with our feet up smothered in quilts, hot water bottles and poultices. Secondly, we got total control of the TV remote control with viewing rights to any program that might make us feel better. Third, we got to eat Lipton’s chicken noodle soup in a tin foil package – you know, the kind that you boil in water for five minutes and it tastes like Oxo cubes with cut up bits of spaghetti in it. Finally, and this was the best, you got apple juice in a glass with a bendy straw. Even today, I still melt for a bendy straw.
Today’s sickness was very different. I went home to my house and lay in my bed. No one brought me soup. No one told me I had Asian pneumonic septicemic streptisemic flu. And worst of all, no one brought me juice. In fact, I began to realize that if I died from this cold, no one would even know until the smell hit the outside of the house. Yes, creepy thinking for sure but when you have a fever and no poultice a gal’s thoughts go to the macabre.
So here I am typing on my computer and realizing that the best cure for the common cold is a gal’s mom. And a bendy straw.