Pull up a box of Kleenex and sit down

By Mir
May 14, 2008

There’s that old saying—and it’s absolutely true, just ask anyone—about how moms don’t get sick. We’re supposed to be invincible, you know, and failing that, at least uncomplaining. We’re one step up from mail carriers; neither rain nor sleet nor hacking cough can deter us from our appointed nagging.

Well, I’ve never been invincible and I pretty much complain even when I’m well. It’s not a good set-up for that whole Supermom gig, I guess.

Of course it figures that I would be felled by a virus just as the Today Show furor is dying down, and life is feeling somewhat normal… and then Dooce links me and I am flooded with new visitors. Um, hello! Come on in! Please disregard the mess. And the snot. And the whining about how I want to go back to bed. Really, normally I’m much more entertaining. Or at least showered. And… oh, hey! Have you seen my new grill? Shiny!

Otto has seen me sick before, of course, but this is the first time I’ve had the audacity to be ill in the midst of what should be our normal routine. So yesterday I managed to drag myself out of bed and get the kids going and pack their lunches, but things worsened during the day and by the time everyone came home, I was back in bed. Otto was panicked. Was I okay? Did I have a fever? Did I need something?

No, I wasn’t okay—I was sick. Yes, I had a fever. No, I didn’t need anything other than some rest.

Being the take-charge man that he is, Otto wrangled the kids for the evening without complaint, even helping Chickadee with her homework (which, believe you me, is an exercise in frustration, because no matter what you say, she screams and cries because if she can’t get it in the first second it is VERY TRAGIC INDEED). He was fixing dinner when I decided to make my way from the bed to the couch, and then he kept asking me if I needed anything, and it was sweet and charming and ANNOYING and I just tried to breathe deeply and say, “No, honey, I’m fine, thanks.”

The kids were surprisingly compliant. I guess they’re growing up, a little, and are less offended by my daring to be unavailable for their every whim. Either that or Otto is just more fun than I am, anyway (quite possible). On the whole I was impressed by their ability to go with the flow, do their homework and chores, eat the dinner Otto placed in front of them, etc. We put them to bed without incident and I retired to the couch with my laptop, trying to figure out how much work I could get done before I’d need to go back to sleep.

So I’m sitting there, with the my computer, struggling. On the one hand, I feel like crap and I don’t want to do anything but sleep. On the other hand, I’ve pretty much been sleeping all day, and it’s not like freelancers get sick days. I had work that needed to be done, and I needed to do it. I tried to focus my eyes and get to work.

It was at this point that Otto—having dealt with the kids, prepared dinner and then cleaned up the kitchen, taken out the garbage, and just generally been an excellent housewife for the evening—was free to focus on me. And I know, I KNOW, the conventional wisdom is this whole thing where women are supposed to suck it up and be fine, and then men are giant wusses when THEY get sick (see also: Man Cold), but Otto is completely different.

Otto is a robot. Otto NEVER gets sick. On the rare occasions when Otto finds himself suffering from what another human would consider illness, he merely powers through, viewing the aberrant symptoms as a small annoyance. This is a man who was participating in an all-night car race and contracted food poisoning along the route… and KEPT GOING. Sicknesses have met their match in Otto, is my point.

And you would think that someone like Otto—someone who never, ever succumbs to being sick—would expect the same from others, but on the contrary, Otto is nothing but solicitous when I’ve fallen ill. I can only conclude that he assumes that if it’s bad enough to cause me to take to bed, I must be dying. I mean, seeing as how that’s the only thing that would slow HIM down. Let’s not tell him that I’m just a melodramatic pansy-ass, mmkay?

So here’s the conversation we had last night.

Otto: If you’re still sick tomorrow, I want you to go to the doctor.
Me: Why?
Otto: Because you’re sick! And you need to get checked out!
Me: Ummmm, no. I have a virus. There’s nothing they can do for that.
Otto: Well you need to get checked.
Me: Sure, lemme tell you how that’ll go. First I have to drive across town to get there, then wait an hour in the waiting room, then when I go in I’ll say “Hey, I’m sick,” and he’ll say “Let’s have a look” and ten minutes later he’ll say “You’re right, you have a virus. Get some rest and plenty of fluids, now please give me many dollars.”
Otto: We have health insurance. It’s only FIFTEEN dollars.
Me: Right, fifteen dollars I can keep in my wallet if I just stay home and recognize that I just have a virus.
Otto: You should go. I could take you, even.
Me: I’m fine.
Otto: But you have a fever!
Me: From a VIRUS. I’ll take some more advil.
Otto: I’m just worried about you.
Me: I know. It’s cute.
Otto: Oh shut up.

Guess what I’m not doing today? Going to the doctor!

Now the kids are off to school and Otto is off to work and I’m contemplating all the work I have to do and how much I would really just rather take a nap. Hey, maybe if I went to the doctor he would give me a note and I could get excused from my work…? No? Damn adulthood. Hmph.


  1. saucygrrl

    Sean does the exact same thing about getting me to a doctor. But… because they’re completely awesome, sometimes you have to oblige. Hope you feel better!

  2. Leandra

    We have that conversation in our house but usually it’s the other way around. My husband has the y-chromosome instilled fear of all doctors and would much rather walk around complaining of any type of ailment (even non-virus ones!) than actually DO something about it, including taking anything to relieve my — I mean HIS — misery.

    Hope you feel better! There’s some yucky stuff going around.

  3. lindasands

    I am just like that. Seems the more people go to the doc the sicker they get– I’m better off not knowing how bad my illness is and pushing through anyway.. but I don’t know, a nap might be good for you- or some Red Bull and vodka.

  4. Deb

    Hope you feel better soon!! Get some rest today.

  5. Beth

    I understand that you’re your own boss, deadlines, etc., but if you don’t feel good, you’re not going to do the same quality of work you normally produce. Give in to the blanket monster and sleep. Drink lots of fluids (non-caffeine and non-alcohol, but you know that!) and sleep.

    I’m a great believer in taking the day when you feel gross and sleeping. You’ll be better sooner and your work won’t suffer as much from one day taken as from it dragging on for days.

    OK, too many words: GO TO BED, PRETTY TULIP!! Sleep and dream of pretty, free shoes and get better!

  6. suburbancorrespondent

    Have you and Otto been married long? Because this reminds me of how, during my first pregnancy, my husband let me carry absolutely nothing. He’d jump up and help if I were removing a carton of milk from the fridge. Later pregnancies? I’d be carrying the toddler on one hip while I balanced a (heavy) bag of groceries on the other…

  7. Mandee

    Feel better!

  8. All Adither

    It’s the same at casa All Adither. I’m the one who withers to the floor with my wrist pressed to my forehead when I get sick. My husband just goes on with his life.

  9. Ladanea

    Lest you begin to believe that men stop being sweet and helpful and caring just because you’ve been married more than a few months, I am here to testify that I know one man who is still like that after years of marriage. Just one, but it’s a sign of hope. (Way to go Otto!)

  10. Veronica

    Dude, Dooce linked you? Also, Otto is a saint and you need to get better fast.

  11. wafelenbak

    Feel better, pretty Mir!
    You are very lucky to have a Nurse Otto, even if he does try to persuade you to go to the doctor for a virus. ;)

  12. Flea

    Hey – get a prescription for me while you’re at the doctor, will ya? I’ve got the same thing. And grouchy mommies are no fun. Get better, Mir.

  13. The Mom Bomb

    Awww. I love your sensitive, nurturing, extremely hardy Cyborg husband.

  14. Smalltown Mom

    Otto sounds amazing, but there’s no point in going to the doctor for a virus. Get in bed now! Stay there as long as possible!

  15. Aimee

    Aw, sorry you’re sick! *patpatpatpatpat*

    Feel better soon.

  16. Teresa

    Found you through dooce!
    Hope you feel better!
    I would kill for a nurse like Otto. R can barely function when I take to the bed. I just want the child fed and bathed, those are the only requirements and that is all I get. But, it is better than getting woken by a child at 10 am on a school night whispering, ‘mommy, I’m hungry’. Because daddy didn’t give her any real dinner!

    Feel better soon!

  17. Andrea

    Hey- Where do I get me one of Otto? My husband is the biggest baby when he is sick and I get absolutely no sympathy when I am sick…no additional help – NOTHING! You are one lucky girl (ok – not that you are sick – but at least you can let yourself feel sick where I cannot)

  18. elizabeth

    I’m in the “go to the dr” camp but it may be because we have strep running rampant here – me two weeks ago (fever of 103, thank you very much) and the four-year-old just diagnosed yesterday. he was so sad, pathetic really, but only slightly warm and not complaining I almost didn’t take him for the throat swabbing. gotta rule out something treatable.

    hope you feel better soon.

  19. Headless Mom

    I thought that when you said pull up a box of kleenex it would be for some sappy Love post. Ha! That’ll teach me to try and predict you!

  20. Shalet

    I can hear you sniffling as you type. Get some rest!

  21. Megan

    But! If you go to the doctor you can inhale so many more viruses (scuze me – viri) during your waiting room hour! Exotic bugs, all beefed up and sexy and that and they can cross breed into a SUUUUUPah virus which might have fabulous side effects like causing sleek and shiny hair or something. It could happen.

  22. Ava

    $15!?! Our co-pay is $30. I put it off for nearly a month, then my swollen red eyes glued shut with green gunk, was more than I could ignore. Now I’m taking pills the size of Portland. Don’t wait too long, if you aren’t feeling better soon. Laundry catch-up is a bitch!

  23. Dawn @ Coming to a Nursery Near You

    My hubby was adamant that he wanted to get me checked out last year to begin figuring out all the weird things that were going on. Here we are, 1 year later and nearly 10k in the hole with no answers.

    I hope you feel better. Doctors don’t know everything.

  24. themuttprincess

    I hope you feel better!

    Your husband is a wonderful man!

  25. Susan Getgood

    Hope you feel better soon. Summer colds are the worst.

    My husband is the same about the doctor. I will put it off for days and then finally go, mostly so he will stop pestering me.

  26. Cheryl

    That’s so sweet. Reminds me of the joke about 7 years of marriage – and Otto’s reaction is about right for you having just completed the 1st year.

  27. jennielynn

    He’s a goog man. Hope you feel better soon. Being sick just sucks. Or Blows. Yeah, being sick blows.

  28. BOSSY

    Kleenex is the new Little Black Dress.

  29. BOSSY

    PS congrats on the media blitz.

  30. MomCat

    No FAIR, Mir! Now that you’ve set the fashion in Ottos, we’re all going to want one!

  31. RubiaLala

    What a nice guy. I don’t want to give you medical advice but if you really think it’s a virus don’t go to the dr.

  32. StephLove

    Feel better soon!

  33. Jen

    Man, that is some virus. It’s hit you over there and me over here in the UK at the same time. I’m still in an office job so today I was able to take a day off, and my 17 yr old needs just slightly less of my time than your little ‘uns, so I feel I have the better deal here. *aaaahCHOO!* Ouch, every time I do that I can feel another layer of cells getting ripped from my throat… Let’s hope normal service is resumed soon, for both our sakes. (PS My other half has the same constitution as Otto the robot. No fair)

  34. mammafor2

    Maybe he could give you a Rx to be left alone, no talking, no asking questions, just a 24 hour nap!
    Your lucky! My dh, sweet as he is, when I get sick he grumbles gives me a package of crackers ( not a plate, just the whole plastic sleeve), and a HUGE glass of gatorade with ice. We have been married now for how many years (?), I don’t like ice in my gatorade, or crumbs in my bed! Then he forgets to check on me… *sigh*.

  35. Tammy

    If Otto is truly a Cyborg (as suggested by The Mom Bomb), does that mean he can be replicated? If so, I’d like to put in my order now.

    Hope you feel better now & congrats on the Dooce linkage!

  36. Vane

    Hmmm … feeling major envy over here! I have a nasty cold, a daughter with a broken elbow and no one to take charge *sigh*

    I hope you feel better soon!

  37. Sheila

    I love my husband to the depths of my soul, but he’s no Otto. When I get sick, which happens rarely, he seems to regard it as a personal weakness or something. He needs Otto Lessons.

  38. Sheila

    P.S. I forgot to say I hope you feel better soon.

  39. Looking Glass Jewels

    Aw, Nurse Otto is the best.

    *I* am the overly concerned-can-I-get-you-anything-do-you-have-a-fever-are-you-ok-oh-were-you-asleep ANNOYING person in this household. Drives my husband crazy. However, he is the perfect nurse; he leaves me alone unless I want him to fetch me things. Ha.

  40. Heather

    Haha that is pretty cute. :) We all need a guy like Otto.

  41. Lori

    Ah the life of a work-from-home-mom/free-lancer! I had a similar thing last week, but since kidling #2 had strep I dragged myself to the doctor on the 3rd day to get tested. What do you know? Strep! Funny thing was, I was more tired ON the medication that I was before I took it. And I still had deadlines to meet.

    Grrr…when did I grow up?!

    Hope your “virus” was something treatable & you feel better soon! (If you gotta go to the doctor, you might as well hope for something antibiotics will cure & get your money’s worth out of the visit!)

  42. Krisco

    Hope you feel better. Hope she gave you a headsup. How many hits is that, anyway?

  43. catnip

    I’ve been fighting something all week too, but my mommy work and my freelancer work don’t allow for sick time either.

    Lots of new readers? That means more people to give you advice about MINT!

  44. Andrea

    As much as I hate the V word (virus), maybe you should go. My saga: Came down with something on last days of vacation on March 30. Came home; got sick with virus and cough. Felt awful; hubby sent me to urgent care, where I learned I had high blood pressure, probably from all that cough syrup; switched to Flonase and Mucinex; blood pressure still high; my dr did blood work=high white blood cell count; took antibiotics and felt better!; still high bp. Now I’m on bp meds and it’s mid-May. April was lovely.

  45. Brandi

    This is the part where you tell everyone where to acquire an Otto of their very own… or, at least.. where to get your existing significant other trained in the ways of Otto?

    Feel better soon!

  46. cindy

    I want an Otto, too! I’ll even settle for half an Otto at this point. Where can I get one? LOL! Hope you are feeling better. I really enjoy reading your posts!

  47. Jamie

    Yeah, I get an “F” in the Moms Never Get Sick category, too. As for the Not Whining, I won’t even try to score that, because — can you even GET an “S”?

    Hope you feel better soon. (Good call in skipping the doctor, though. Although I don’t think that $15 is really much to part with when you take into consideration your buckets of money.)

  48. Chuck

    Get will soon Mir! Posting WHILE you are sick is an exercise in blog devotion, I am very impressed…but I will say, don’t work TOO hard…we’ll all still be here when you get back if you need to take a break!

    I would have skipped the doctor also, unless I needed a sick note for work.

  49. Mothering Two

    Reading this has just totally given me hope that I too will someday be able to rest when feeling ill! Hi! I found your blog through dooce and am enjoying your writing. My kids are 3 and 1, and trust me you, there is no rest for this mama. Lucky for me, however, I’ve only been sick once since they came into my life. I made Hal, my hubby, stay home from work. I almost preferred the day of rest with constant vomiting! Anyhoo, thanks for the hope! :)

  50. mommytherobot

    Otto and my robot husband otherwise known as Hercules, should hang out. he has gotten sick ONCE in the 4 years i’ve know him. When I tell people he’s strong and indestructable they think, oh she’s so cute and in love. but little do they know, its ALL true. he runs on Mobil!

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