It's not about the house.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sick-A-Bed: A Prose Poem

When I was little, and probably before that, we had an expression in our house:

"Sick-a-bed and two chairs."

It meant that you were ill enough to be not only confined to your (hopefully well-apportioned) bed, but that the well ones had taken the extra precaution of sliding two chairs along the edges of it , just in case -- in your fevered state -- you should happen to fall out.

(Here's a marginally-related hint: despite their apparent similarities, two chairs do not work as well as conventional bed-gates in restraining a nearly-four-year-old Football Buddy. If you rely on them to do so, you will be woken at ungodly hours by a soft tap on your elbow and the repeated, chanted mantra: "Auntie Erin. Auntie Erin. Auntie Erin.")


When I was not so little, I used to call my parents with the slightest sniffle to announce that I was sick.

"I'm sick," I would announce, and then sit back and let the sympathy wash over.

Eventually, as I aged well into my twenties, this became a sort of joke. I would still call with the announcement, but instead of genuine sympathy and genuine chagrin, we would exchange a mutual sarcastic pity-party.

"I'm sick."

"Oh, poor EGE. Are you going to survive?"

"Yes," heavy sigh, "I suppose so."


At some point, I don't remember when or how or why, I have stopped calling.

Maybe it's because I have someone in my house now who notices and sympathizes when I sniffle.



Someone in my house got a drunken massage from a similarly drunken friend a couple weeks ago, and woke up the next morning with some torn muscles and a couple fractured ribs. It's not the friend's fault. Mostly. Those two ribs had been broken once before and, the way I understand it, broken ribs don't ever really heal. But sneezing? With a factured rib? Hurts lotsly.

So when I started sneezing this time, and wondered aloud why the allergy pills weren't working, Someone In My House was understandably inclined to shy away.




By the time I realized I was actually sick, I didn't even think to call my mother (and I couldn't call my nana, because she isn't my real nana and besides, she lives in New Zealand and I never know what time it might be there). Mother would have given me sarcasm or sympathy -- and she would have known by the sound of my voice which one I wanted -- but all I really wanted t that point was to be well.


I am not sick-a-bed and two chairs -- I'm not even sick-a-bed -- but I am, apparently, actually, sick. And I don't have any time this week to be so.

I have recently gotten over my habit of buying cold medicine every time I have a cold. I have recently (and only recently) grown up enough to remember that a person doesn't actually drink an entire bottle of NyQuil in a 4-7 day virus-duration, and it's therefore worth peeking to see what a person (and Someone In Her House) might have in the medicine chest/closet shelf/pile that might make her able to think/work/breathe again.

What's this?

Looks like a baggie of Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold medicine, in Night and Day incarnations. But why is it not in its boxes? And, if I have this, why would a person -- a person who is proud of having gotten over her drug-buying habit -- also be in possession of several incarnations of the generic kind still in its generic boxes?


Oh, Holy Good Stuff, Batman!

That is not an 8, my friends, that is a 3.

This is the shit.


My sister found it in her medicine chest/closet shelf/pile when she tore said closet out to biggerize her bathroom. She -- being normal and afraid to die and everything -- was inclined to throw it out, since it was five years past the expiration date. But she remembered that I'm not so mori memento, and she recalled this post I did about how the new AlkaSeltzer doesn't work as well as the old stuff, and so she called me to ask me did I want it.

Did I?


That was two days ago. I'm better now, and only ever took one single dose. I've decided to save it up for when it's really necessary. Like that old "The Sponge" episode of Seinfeld, I will from here on out be judging every sniffle: Bad enough? Or not worth wasting The Good Stuff on?


This started out as a prose poem, but did not end up so much. So here's a quickie for the winners:

Saw the tissue
Where the TP
Supposed to be

(A.K.A. Nana)'s
Who cottoned the
Sickness of me

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