I remember when being sick used to mean lying in bed, hot tea at the ready and dozing in and out of comfortable sleep while predictable movies served as background noise. Now a cold means “oh shit, Simon’s going to want to play trucks and it’s going to piss him off when I say no.” Or something along the lines of “I’m so sorry Kate,  no I haven’t been knitting that little toy I promised, Mummy’s a little sick today.”  The sublime slothiness I never appreciated but previously came with my colds, has been replaced with nothing more than guilt. Guilt + exhaustion. And if I have my numbers right, guilt+exhaustion = nothing good. I hate math.  

If it can be believed, strep entered my system exactly on August 1st – for the third time this year no less (no this is not normal, and investigations over which member of our family is the  Typhoid Mary  have already begun). Ten days and 60 penicillin pills later, I was feeling just fine. Until the next day when I felt less fine. Ignoring the tickle in my throat as phantom strep pains (any mothers out there experience phantom kicks? I do), I moved on. Until the next day when things were less tickle and more, er, sticky? Scratchy? Tickle-less?  I don’t know, what’s the opposite of tickle?  This image isn’t working out very well is it.  

And just like that, mere moments after recovering from strep, I had a cold. A stupid, fucking, uninvited, cold. In the summer. A summer cold. Which doesn’t sound nicer, or prettier or easier, it sounds sadder.  

Despite the melancholy that comes with being sick in the summer, I clung to the hope that because it’s summer, somehow a cold doesn’t really count. Like it can only be really bad in, say, winter. Or late autumn, or early spring, or mid-spring, or early autumn, or…  but not summer. Please. Not. Summer. Each day I promised myself, as only the delusional can, that tomorrow would be better. And as each tomorrow dawned exactly the same as the one prior, only worse, I was still slow to accept the firm roots this particular summer cold was planting. The fucker.  

I’m particularly impressed by the way the coughing creeps up just about dinner, settling itself until just after a late coffee the following morning. It’s the perfect way to ensure I get exactly zero sleep but spend hours trying to. The other night I actually cried because I was so desperately exhausted. Ask me now if I’ll ever have another baby, another keep-you-up-for-months-and-months-and-months baby.  

Poor Simon, with Kate at camp it’s been easy to take advantage of his still-being-three-and-can-be-easily-divertedness and pawn him off on movies and some loosely held conviction he needed more “alone-time” while I moped around like a zombie. He’s wound so tight right now I’m a little nervous how he’ll be when he finally unravels in the fresh air he hasn’t been getting. Ignoring him anymore would be abusive, so today I went to my doctor.  

Apparently it’s “at least bronchitis” and the results from my chest x-ray will confirm the more serious pneumonia. The antibiotics prescribed apparently cover either, which is handy, meaning I can start them today. This little fact makes an x-ray sort of pointless, since it’s “at least bronchitis” and the meds will resolve pneumonia, and it’s kind of a waste of money to know, when knowing doesn’t actually affect the treatment…. but I’m nosey, and I’ve only ever x-rayed my teeth and I wanted to take a peak. Which I did. The technologist was happy to show me the film, making some joke about whether or not a “heart will be in there”. (If only he knew Marc’s thoughts during our numerous towel fights.) He spoke about my spine which apparently isn’t as straight as it could be, which I’m happy to report did not affect my self-esteem in the slightest. I asked about my lungs, obviously, to me they looked foggy (but maybe they always do), which I mentioned and he responded with “the good news is you don’t need to go to the hospital.” Whatever that means, Simon got ice cream for waiting in the hall nervously and patiently while some strange man in a dark room touched his mummy and took pictures of her insides. I will never be above bribing/rewarding my children with food. Never.  

Really I should be resting, but you know, the cough. It’s here yet again, but I’ve consumed the celeb mags Marc brought yesterday to keep me company while he went out, and I just finished my most recent book and haven’t decided what will be next, so I need a distraction from the awfulness. Something I can do until I’m so I tired I literally pass out. I’m sorry, is that insulting?  

I have medicine now so tomorrow really will be better. I hope. Stupid August.

Don’t worry too much about Simon, when he asked to go to the “coffee store” this morning after sending Kate off on the camp bus, I had just enough energy to oblige. I’m so selfless, what with the drinking coffee and sitting.  

selflessness, 2010

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