No one will ever mistake me for Florence Nightingale. I am able to rally for serious illnesses, but for sufferers of colds and flu, not so much. In my married days, I was horrible about offering support during minor illness because I always felt that if the roles were reversed, I would still be throwing a couple of loads of laundry in AND feeding and caring for the children.
Lets just say that, in general, men happen to be known for milking a minor cold for all the sympathy they can get. My father was a tough, World War II veteran who, as far back as I can remember, never took a sick day from work his whole life. I am sure that he had colds like everyone else, but that generation seemed to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and carry on in the face of small illnesses. You’ve seen the commercials on television about the parent walking into a babies bedroom and saying that they are going to need to take a sick day. Most business offices today would frown on someone like my Dad, bringing the germs to work.
In these days when many are able to conduct business from their homes as independent contractors, the cold doesn’t hold you back from powering through a “sick day” with a cup of tea and box of tissues next to the computer, while never having to get out of your pajamas. When I was a child home on a sick day my mother would fluff my blankets and pillows and bring me a cup of Campbell’s tomato soup with a pat of butter melting on top (don’t knock this until you have tried it).The best part was when she would pull the families only TV (black & white, or gray as my children used to say) on its rollable stand into my room so I could have some “company” while she worked her afternoon shift at my school. Like any child, I always seemed to stretch out my illness for one or two extra days because, honestly, how great is it to lay around being waited on, while watching I Dream of Jeannie or Mr. Ed.
Come to think of it, this is probably where my inability to comfort minor illness sufferers comes from. I witnessed my mother, serving me, and compared that to my father, powering through anything and, as always, selected my father as my desired role model.
You could even ask my children today how it was to have a “sick day” at home with their mother, and the first thing out of their mouths would be that it was so boring because Mom didn’t allow television viewing during their recuperation.
That brings me to today, as I sit in my loft, suffering from a “really bad” cough and cold. Living alone doesn’t offer any sympathy fluffing, but I am able to tough through it, make myself some tomatoe soup with butter and keep myself plied with DayQuill. My youngest daughter called this morning to check on me and about ten minutes into the conversation she told me I sounded like a hypochondriac whiner. She immediately felt bad and apologized, knowing that its not like I have someone here to complain to. I just couldn’t help seeing my Dad in my head, motioning for me to yank up my boots. I am feeling on the mend as we speak.