I spend an inordinate amount of my time avoiding illness. I scan facebook each morning, looking for who’s sick so I can avoid them for the next 10 days. It’s a mental problem, really, my fear of getting sick. I’m not talking about a cold, but the flu, the stomach virus. The big ones.
Last night as we were getting ready for bed, Ben slipped in to the bathroom and came out a minute later holding the thermometer. He said, “my head, back and knees have been hurting all night. You said I looked flushed earlier so I checked my temperature. I didn’t want to scare you, but it’s 102 degrees.”
We’ve been together for 8 years and neither of us has ever had the flu in that time. I’ve never had it ever. I immediately began to panic. The youth winter retreat departs Sunday morning at 9 am for a 2 day camp, so we had to act fast to make plan B. We logged onto the emergency room website to schedule Ben without waiting in the horrendous waiting room. It said our appointment would be at 1:15. A.M. Yikes. We rolled into the ER to get him swabbed for the flu, sleepily, at 1:10 am, and finally left at 3:30 am with inconclusive results. But he’s got all the symptoms, so let’s assume it’s the flu and give him a Tamiflu prescription, they said. Thanks to our amazing selfless youth parents, the trip is still on, but Ben and I will be staying home.
Thanks to a dose of Aleve, his fever was gone by the time he got in bed (in the guest room) and was still gone this morning when he woke up.
By afternoon, the fever had returned along with a splitting headache that’s still hanging in there. He’s hardly said 5 words in the last 20 hours, I guess to reserve his energy and get better faster between hacking coughs.
We’re both chugging Emergen-C and eating Cuties like they’re a miracle remedy. So far, I feel good except for the sleepless night I had. I kept waking up, aware that Ben was not there. I was cold, even with the furnace humming all night, and I wanted to know how he felt, but rather than going upstairs and waking him when he needs to rest, I laid there. Thinking how empty the bed feels when he’s not there.
But let me tell you something wonderful. This sounds incredibly stupid—there are people out there with far worse ailments and diseases than the common flu, but it’s hugely frightening to me. It’s an irrational fear, and I know that. But today I’ve been okay. I’m sort of feeling like if I get it then it will just be one of those things, a learning experience that’s rough for a few days and with the miracle of modern medicine will be less rough than it could’ve been. Maybe my immune system’s going to come through in the clutch like it has my whole life (I’ve only had a stomach virus once in my entire memory) but if it doesn’t, I know it really isn’t going to be the end of the world. It’ll be a great opportunity for resting, spending time in my head with God, something I desperately need to do more of. In fact, that’s kind of all I did today when I wasn’t playing nurse.
He just sneezed. I’m going to get the Lysol to be safe.