Thursday, 23 June 2016

a winter epidemic

It's winter here in New Zealand and for the past two weeks my family has been suffering through winter colds.

First my husband, the nurse, came home from hospital with a slight fever and a tickle in his throat. He declared he was dying. Possibly with pneumonia, although it could have been bronchitis (the deadly kind). He coughed all over the house - those huge, dramatic, hacking coughs that prove a person is genuinely, seriously ill. Then he took to bed - armed with his tablet computer, because although dying, he still had to take part in a war in Clash of Clans.

Next to become ill was my eleven year old. She came home from school with a runny nose. She told me the world hated her and burst into tears. Apparently her illness could only treated with copious amounts of TV and ice cream. It was obvious by then that she had the same illness as my husband and I began to worry that I might have the beginnings of an epidemic on my hands. Going by their symptoms and declared level of unwellness (is that even a word?) I thought we might be dealing with Ebola, or the Bubonic plague. I watched my six year old carefully for symptoms, but apart from half a day sneezing, she seemed fine. I even asked her if she was dying, just to make sure. She asked me if I was nuts.

I, of course, stepped right into my role as nurse without one word of complaint. (Insert laugh here.) I made daily pots of chicken soup, fed everyone garlic bread with every meal, stocked the fridge with fresh fruit smoothies and dished out cold medication at the slightest complaint. I was patiently silent through nights of hacking coughs, moans, sneezes and thumping of chests. (Yeah, I don't know why my husband thumps his chest when he's sick either. Perhaps it's a medical technique he learned at nursing college.) I didn't say a word when they reached the stage where they were too sick to leave the house (apparently) but too well to stay in bed, so they found other ways to occupy themselves. My husband spent his time vacuuming. Hours and hours of vacuuming, in a zombie-like state, over the same section of carpet. My daughter spent her days wearing pajamas and baking cakes that no one wanted to eat because she coughed all over them. I spent those days tidying the kitchen and gently suggesting that the carpet was clean already.

Now everyone is back at work and school. The house is quiet once again. There are no tissues scattered over the floors and we've stopped stinking of garlic.

And I have a cold.

I'd just like to state for the record, that I am not dying. I don't need to go to bed. And I have no urge to vacuum. But I wouldn't say no if someone would make me chicken soup!

EDIT: I take it all back! All the sarcasm I've written above, I take it back. I now realize the cold everyone was suffering was actually flu - they weren't just being huge drama queens. (for once!) I know this because, I'm pretty sure there are two hundred tiny invisible elves attacking my body with teeny hammers. I will never make fun of my sick family ever again. Honest. (Well, my kids anyway. My husband I need to deal with on a case by case basis.) In the meantime, I'm going back to my sick bed - before the urge to vacuum strikes...

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