I hate getting sick. Not that I think anyone really enjoys being ill, but I really, really hate it. Like, if you come near me with your runny nose and sneezy self, I may swipe your leg before you can reach me, then sprint away, spraying Lysol in your general direction and invoking all the anti-bacterial spirits.
I’m not just a run of the mill germ-o-phobe. There are reasons for the terror that comes upon me when I notice that glassy-eyed fever stare. For one, have you ever met any man that has ever gotten a cold? There is whining and groaning. There is disbelief and incredulity and a ridiculous amount of self-pity. The pain and suffering is unbearable. For anyone around them.
Then there is the prospect of getting ill myself. I’m a feverish sick person. The constant temperature spikes have me feeling one minute like I’m naked and afraid in the Arctic and the next it’s like I went a few rounds with the Heat Miser and the little bastard sucker-punched me. Adults, it seems, are not supposed to get high fevers and I’ve actually had a nurse — who thought I was being overly dramatic in my coat and mittens — go look for another thermometer because the one she removed from my mouth that read 103.6 was surely broken.
Then there’s the dreaded stomach bug. I will only speak of it while knocking on wood, crossing my fingers and chasing down a fluffy bunny so I can rub its foot. I’m clearly not chopping off its poor little leg, but I can’t see how it would mind allowing me a wee little pet of that lucky paw. Because no creature wants to end up sitting on the floor, puking in a bucket, over the head of a nursing baby, while her husband steps over both of them on his way to work.
A few years back, I had pneumonia. Besides missing a girls’ weekend in Atlantic City, in a 1,200-square-foot room with a jacuzzi, without my kids, or any responsibilities other than keeping myself alive and not bankrupting us, I also missed a Thanksgiving. One that I was supposed to cook. Each day, when I would drag my sorry self from bed to the couch (so I could at least pretend to parent because you can’t ask Grandma and Grandpa to come over to babysit when pneumonia’s on the table,) I would saturate the surface behind me with a good, solid layer of Lysol disinfectant.
Shivered in the bed? Lysol. Touched a doorknob? Lysol. Drip-sweated onto the couch and rug? Lysol. Used a spoon? Lysol (I was a bit delirious.) Looked in the mirror? Lysol. Just kidding. I definitely did not look in the mirror for at least a week.
I would have preferred putting everything through the sanitize cycle of the wash, but just pressing the nozzle down on the aerosol bottle left me winded. I did the best I could.
Of course, whatever the ailment, being sick is always tough. But the real fear, for any mother, is what she will find when she emerges from her germy misery. Because when Mom goes down, the battle has been lost. You might as well wave the white flag and put Merry Maids on speed dial. The dishes will multiply in the sink and grow furry coats. The laundry will swell like a 41-weeks-pregnant woman in mid-August. The bathroom will become covered in a thin layer of hair and dead skin. Essentially, there’s a corpse on the tile floor. And all the pets will starve to death. I don’t like the coughing, the cold sores, the fevers, and the snot, but I’ll take all of it, hands down, over the tornado of filth that awaits me when I come to.
Listen, I’m not blaming my husband. He’s a good man. He tries. Honest to God, he tries. He uses all the skills with which he was endowed to keep up. But it is just too much. He is inundated with wave after wave of drooled-on pillowcases, half-empty tea mugs and single wool socks, torn off in a sweaty fever-fit, then screamed for when, once again, the icy cold descended. Plus, there’s that whole job thing he’s got going on. Really, he never stands a chance.
So it was with mass hysteria that I greeted the infectious disease that overtook my child for the holiday break.
First, let’s discuss the fact that it is pure unadulterated evil that takes down a kid during school break. Even me, who really liked school, looked forward to each vacation with the ferocity of a honey badger. But this kid views school like a lifetime prison sentence for which he committed no crime. Vacations are one of the few things that sustain him. That and Doritos. (Fun fact: When you never give your kid Doritos because they’re loaded with artificial everything and turn skin an unholy shade of deathly orange, any time that child gets any cash, for any reason, these poisonous triangles will become their own food group.)
Second, let’s also discuss that it was my vacation, too. And though I would legit give my life for my child, I would prefer to eat pizza and watch superhero movies. I think we went through four boxes of tissues, three boxes of tea, a half-pint of raw honey and 392 cough drops. I spent five days with disinfecting wipes attached to the ends of my arms, wiping and swiping my way out of his room. I pulled off his sheets, stole away his throw blankets and boiled anything he breathed at, every day. And when our doctor sent us off to the emergency room, (it seems they get nervous when you say things like, “shortness of breath” and “swollen neck,”) upon our return, I shoved him off to the shower and burned his clothes. Not really, but I wanted to because hospital germs are more terrifying than a hungry baby goat alone in my closet.
So far, we’re all still alive. I know I usually espouse the merits of natural, healthy living, but sometimes my OCD wrestles that lady for control and comes out on top, waving bleach and screaming germ-killing obscenities. However, when I started to break out into a cold sweat when the nozzle failed on my death spray, I decided it might be best to have a backup. After a little research, I found out that hydrogen peroxide is both good at killing the germs that are trying to take me out, while not overtly poisoning my pets and family. Woohoo! You can read the science on it at cleaningbusinesstoday.com. The consensus from the sites I checked out suggests using the bottle in which the peroxide came and simply attaching a spray bottle top. Easy, breezy, beautiful!
Laurie Nigro, is the mother of two biological children and one husband. She also takes care of a menagerie of animals that leave throw-up around for her to step in in the middle of the night. Laurie’s passionate about frugal, natural living, which is a nice way of saying she’s a kombucha-brewing, incense-burning, foodie freak who tries really hard not to spend money on crap made by child laborers. You can hear her rant about her muse (aka husband) and other things that have no bearing on your life, in this space each Sunday.
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