January 20, 1999
Florence Nightengack

Working on it.
David is staying home from work today. He's been sick for over a week, but -- like the   [big macho dumbshit] GUY that he is  --  he thought that if he ignored it, it would magically go away. It didn't, and now he's [helplessly trapped] flat on his back in bed ...

... and I -- being the caring nurturing goddess of mercy that I am  --  will hover tirelessly over him today, bringing him juice and scrambled eggs and Vicks VapoRub, checking his temperature and fluffing his pillows, finding the remote control for him and adjusting the curtains/the thermostat/the blankets, and asking him "How're you feeling?" "How're you feeling?" "How're you feeling?" until he's ready to SCREAM ...

... and then, of course, I'll come back here and write about it on the website for all the world to enjoy. (From the bedroom: the sounds of a man frantically scrambling up off his sickbed and looking for his car keys.)

So check back later ... and in the meantime, don't forget to click here to visit the *Unofficial Ed-"Sniff!-Sniff!-I-Smell-A-VANITY-Pressing!"-Kaz Website.*  He'll cry if you don't ... and you really don't want that on your conscience, do you?

Later That Day:

SOME people are good patients.

They lay in bed quietly, and they swallow their Robitussin without complaint, and they smile wanly-yet-bravely whenever you walk into the room, bringing them another glass of juice. They are absurdly grateful for everything you do for them, whether it's fixing them another slice of Happy Panda Face toast, or hurriedly re-making the bed while they're in the bathroom. They say "thank you" a lot. Mostly, though, they sleep. Perspiring delicately. Snoring cutely. You tiptoe into the room from time to time and watch them fondly, concernedly  ...  laying a cool hand on their fevered brow  ...  then tiptoe back out of the room, knowing that when you come back in twenty minutes they're gonna be right where you left them. Asleep. Perspiring and snoring.

Getting well.

NOT sitting in front of the computer in their skivvies, writing message board posts about Holy Foreskin, eating salami, listening to John Trubee records, asking you if you know what "dropsy" is.


Is this another one of those *guy* things  --  this inability to lay quietly in bed and do absolutely nothing? To allow someone to fuss over you a little? (OK: to fuss over you a LOT?) To simply lay back and close your eyes and  ...  ohidunno  ...  avoid getting pneumonia, maybe?

I know that when all three of the Tots would occasionally get sick at the same time  --  I'm thinking specifically of The Great Chicken Pox Epidemic of 1990  --  Daughters #1 and #2 were meek and obedient patients. They would patiently endure their mom's more fanciful *remedies* (like having them crawl into an inside-out sleeping bag, so the cool slippery outer part of the bag rubbed against their itchy skin). I would bring them Paula Abdul tapes and calamine lotion, paper dolls and popsicles, and they were more than happy to just lay back and let me fuss over them. On the other hand, if I so much as blinked Son #Only would be sneaking out of bed and running outside to kick a soccer ball around in the tomato garden. (A few minutes later, Betty from next door would call. "Did you know your son is outside in his underwear again?")

So maybe it is a guy thing. I don't know.

Or maybe  --  and I'm the first to admit it  --  maybe it's the fact that I can be a bit on the side of overwhelming, when it comes to taking care of sick people. Especially sick people I love. I can't help it. It's the Grandma Vert in me. When someone I love is feeling poopy-with-a-capital-"oopy," I instantly feel the need to plop them into a comfy bed and fix them milk toast and bring them old copies of National Geographic. I want them to feel better right now ... and if they don't, I stay and I hover until they DO, dammit.

And maybe that's a little more than some people can handle.

Anyway ... David is sleeping now. I think all of that frenzied message board posting finally wore him out. He's got a deep hacking cough and a fever, and he is clearly exhausted -- even when he's running around the apartment, insisting that he feels "OK" -- so I'm glad to see him sleeping now. I hope it helps.

And no matter how strong the temptation ... I'm going to avoid going into the bedroom and feeling his forehead again.



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