Monday, March 14, 2011

Sometimes We Fall Down (Sick in Bed)

What is that they say about 'the best laid plans'? Ours were derailed last Wednesday when I took to bed with what I thought was a flu; it may have been to begin with, but by Saturday morning at 3AM I was certain it was strep throat. Luckily, I had already procured a 'just-in-case' prescription from my doctor earlier in the week, so at 5AM I was driving to the 24-hour pharmacy, a slightly preferable situation than lying awake for two hours, trying not to swallow.

First and foremost, my husband is an amazing and sympathetic man. He stepped in to pick up the slack and did a bang-up job. He ordered takeout Vietnamese from Nha Trang, including spicy beef noodle soup (my favourite sicky soul food) when I couldn't get out of bed long enough on Wednesday to pull supper together. He even took my kids to my own grandfather's 90th birthday party—which one cousin described as "great to see everybody, but it was kind of like speed dating with the furnace turned up, in a space two times too small." Four generations of family (except me) was there. That's about 40 bodies in a small townhouse. I think they had fun, and thoughtfully came back home with a care package that consisted (oddly) of Kentucky Fried Chicken and my grandma's homemade cabbage rolls.

I learned several things things about myself in this latest (and most severe in a long while) illness:

It's a novelty to go shopping when I have no appetite. No temptation. Just like all those weight loss magazines tell you not to shop when you're hungry. It's true! I don't think it's ever happened to me before. Usually, I can think myself hungry. So it takes something beyond my having just eaten to truly turn me off food. Hence, I have to shop when I'm feverish and flu-y to enjoy the same result.

I realized when coming out of my stupor that this coming weekend I'm hosting a fancy dinner for girlfriends, and that between recovery from my flu and sketchy childcare, I had better not plan to do one single other thing this week except prepare for this dinner, if I want to pull it off. I used to take one day to do something like this. Now it takes me a week. That's parenthood for ya. But it will just make it that much more special. At least that's what I've decided. I've also opted for ultra simple dishes (and more stuff than usual comes from cans) for my meal plan this week.

I forgot how close my moods can resemble a mama bear when I'm not at my best. And you don't have to know me to be at risk of an attack. I almost lost it at the grocery store when I saw a pregnant woman contemplating the Hamburger Helper.

Having had my brain virtually turned off for four days does wonders for my short-term memory. On my first outing since my illness, to buy groceries on Sunday, I somehow managed to lose my list between the house and the store. Amazingly, I managed to remember every item, except one. Normally, even when I carry the list with me, I manage to forget one thing on it. So I considered this to be a great success.

Tonight was the first night I actually enjoyed my meal. Certainly, it was a satisfying meal of balsamic lamb chops and a white bean and butternut squash gratin, but it felt that much more wholesome since it was the first in several days that I ate with gusto.

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