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.
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.