This past weekend I spent my time hacking, blowing, pill popping, and de-stuffing. Having the flu is the equivalent of entering a food eating contest and a marathon and realizing that you have to do both at the same time, in the middle of the Grand Canyon, during August, with nose plugs up your nose, cotton balls in your ears, and tears leaking out of your face. While also being chased by a bear. I don’t know where the bear came from but it felt right. I don’t think I have to provide any further information about how I feel about being sick.
I’ve gone from hanging upside down on my couch, to licking the remains of my cold tea pathetically from my mug while shoving tissues up my nose. However, in between playing Plants Vs Zombies 2 and Dots on my IPhone, I’ve spent some time thinking about all the other times I’ve been sick and felt this way.
There’s maybe one other time. Which is clouded by all of the times I decided that PLAYING sick was way better than going to school. Careful kids, Karma will getcha.
From the time I learned to talk to the time when I started going to school, I realized my skill in faking sicknesses. They usually went something like this:
My mom would come into my room at what I thought was excruciatingly early, 8 AM, to wake me up for school.
I’d roll over and moan like a person who had been bed ridden for weeks. My arm would reach towards my moms face as if the crusts in my eyes were not from a good nights rest, but instead, a deathly illness. “Come on. Up. School.” My mom always spoke sternly with few syllables in the morning. With each syllable my fake condition worsened. The moment she left the room, I’d change, I’d switch my fan off and crawl back into bed in my skinny jeans and tuck three blankets over my face. I’d sweat underneath the covers until she returned back to my room ten minutes later. Then, I’d fake a horrid fever through tired eyes. My body, hot from cooking underneath layers of blankets would win me major brownie points. Or so I thought. I would whine about my hard attempt at dedication to school from the fact that I had gotten up and got dressed. My whimpers went something like, “I tried, Mom. I tried to get ready but my head is just pounding and I feel so sick.”
She’d roll her eyes at me and I’d pray that she would feel my forehead, still warm from the covers. If I didn’t have her hook, line, and sinker, by that point. It would get worse.
"Mom. I feel like I’m going to throw up."
I distinctly remember chewing up beef jerky, and orange juice and spitting it into the toilet once before she came to check on me. I laid next to the toilet grasping my stomach and panting heavily to give the impression that I had just vomited out my insides. I feel guilty now, but I think I stayed home that day.
My mom wasn’t the only one who had to suffer through my fake illnesses, either. I was exhausted in 5th grade once, so exhausted that I went to the nurses’ office to lay down due to a “chronically painful stomach ache” that lived in the area where my appendix is. My nurse, who had just had her appendix taken out, was still sensitive and extra cautious about appendicitis, due to her recent experience. So she quickly laid me down and told me that my mom would be picking me up soon. I fell asleep almost instantly, exhausted from whatever I had been doing the night before. Probably watching Disney Channel. I woke up to my mom, almost in tears because the nurse thought that I had lost consciousness and was considering calling an ambulance. She called my mom and my mom had a pretty big panic attack. I woke up, in a sleepy daze, feeling nothing but a little gassy from lunch and tired. But I felt the urgency in the room and clutched my stomach for added effect and told my mom that I was going to be okay and that it was time to go home. Thankfully the ambulance wasn’t called, and my slumber wasn’t disrupted.
What’s even worse is the times that I was actually sick, I had to rough it out in school because by that point in the year when everyone was actually getting the flu, I had missed so many days of school that the principal would call. Those days were the fun ones. (Sorry mom!)
Needless to say, I’m feeling the effects of years of fake illnesses. My nose has enough mucus stuffed up into it to flood the Mississippi River.
And although, I love negatively remarking how I feel, I’m also thinking about the awesome Mom that took care of me through my days of playing hooky. I will be forever grateful to her for flushing my toilet of my fake throw up, and curing my sicknesses, whether they were fake or real, with candy. (Okay. Maybe not always with candy.)
Parents are awesome and being actually sick, sucks.