Sick Days

toiletWretched, wicked, despicable, diabolical little virus that has invaded my fortress. Nestled in my favorite chair surrounded by my implements of defense against this faceless adversary who has pumped my stomach for the better part of two days, I gain solace in the fact I am winning the war. My understanding was that sick days were only supposed to be used for emergency golf outings on a Spring day or the occasional hangovers.  But this menace of a spineless variety yet so fastidiously contagious, the stomach bug is a little unnerving and certainly unsettling to the gut.

I blame my kids for my true or real use of sick days. They don’t do it on purpose, they are just kids. The buggers are a gnarly bunch and they are truly gifted in the art of cold, flu, and ambiguous ick transfer. I’ve pride myself on the mental toughness it takes not to “get” what they “have” and for the most part it works. Even volunteering to care for them during the most contagious times of the various illnesses they bring home. Fever ridden, sniffling, sneezing and a hacking cough have not deterred me, but the times may be a changing. Me not so strong anymore, doubt has crept into the palace walls and I may indeed accept my mortality.

My daughter brought home a homogenized variety of a cough/general stuffiness combo that I didn’t even recognize as a relevant threat. Verily, it’s ferocity was laid upon me like an uppercut from an unheralded opponent facing the Heavyweight Champion. Head swimming and shaken but still standing, I endured this two-week bug still not giving it audience and certainly not respecting it for its sinister ability to get me to channel a chain smoker running down a flight of stairs in a smoke-filled inferno. Due to the hacking cough, I indeed had to use a couple of real sick days. See, at my place of employment they really don’t take kindly to the sick coming to work and allegedly infecting coworkers. Despite my protest of good health, I would have taken much grief from my superiors, so I decided to sleep in and accept my fate.

A week of normal health went by and I once again was atop my mountain. My son, on a weekend no less, was racked by the aforementioned stomach bug. My wife had been warning me for weeks of an impending doom as her Facebook account was filled with nothing but neighborhood kids falling to this “new”evil.  This new an improved stomach bug became a ghoulish Spector repeatedly and violently spilling the contents of it’s victims . Again, I looked at her disbelieving and telling her without the least bit of hesitation, that our kids would be fine….we weren’t going to “get” it. “Sure the neighbor’s kids got it, but they aren’t our kids, so don’t give it life by talking about it”, I told her confidently. So the boy goes down for the count and I make it my duty to be there for him. He is retching like he’s been on bender and the only encouragement I could offer him was that in fact this was good thing. “Your body is taking care of business”.  The fever came next and now he was in that place where most of the male species ends up when they get sick….”I want mommy”, but I assured him he would be fine. “Son, you do have a little fever and this too is good. Your body is going to burn that bug up and you’ll be good as new”. He countered with “why do I feel so bad then?” Hard to come back with something inspiring at that point, so I did the next best thing, I went with the tough love angle. “Boy, you are going to have to suck it up and be tough. Quit your whining and bundle up under the covers and get some sleep, you’ll feel better in the morning.” I should have realized then, that my days may be numbered.

His mother was out with the girls for the evening and she had texted me a couple of times checking on her boy and I assured her I had it handled and she should enjoy her much needed evening out. The monster within my son arose again and again and he faithfully made his donation to the fabled porcelain temple. At midnight, I figured the jig was up and he was good for the night, he couldn’t possibly have anything left. At 2:30 in morning my son stood over me at my bedside…”dad, I think I’m going to be sick again?” Frantically, I steered him to one of the two available bathrooms he bypassed to make his proclamation. Our carpet spared, he mustered what he could before returning to his bed. Typically I’m not in a good place when awoken from my slumber, but somehow I managed to embody Nightingale even in the haze of the early morning hour. Besides, no way I was going to “get” what he “had”.

So here I sit once again watching SportsCenter for the 4th time practically mouthing the words with the announcer.  Cliff Lee went to the Phillies…it’s shocking, there was indeed a third team in the bidding. Looking forward to going back to work in the morning. News flash, my wife has just informed me that the neighbors are on their second go around with this evil new bug….should I tempt fate defiantly?


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