My momma raised me never to be sick

No really. In many ways my Mom was the perfect Betty Crocker mom. She stayed home with us until we were in school. She bakes bread from scratch. Sunday dinner was often pot roast. Our parents loved us and gave us everything we needed emotionally, physically, and financially. But when it came to sick, the parenting really left something to be desired. For example. When I had my wisdom teeth out, she had a family friend bring me back from the doctor. I’m a shy person, so I don’t insist that we stop to pick up my prescription of codeine. (*MISTAKE*) I come home to find my 11 year old brother also at home, sick. Really sick. With chicken pox as it turns out. My mother believes this is a good combination of affairs, since I’ll be staying home anyway (recovering from surgery) I can take care of my brother. I finally get codeine several hours later, having gotten desperate enough to call my mother and tell her she HAS to go get it for me!

When we weren’t feeling well, Mom would take our temperature. If it didn’t break three digits, she’d do the worst possible thing. She’d say, “It’s up to you if you go to school today. Only you know how you feel.” I rarely, if ever, run serious temperatures. I’d always convince myself I was faking it, and drag my sorry heinie into school. My sister, who had chronic strep infections, actually got to the point where she did the whole doctor thing herself.

When we were sick, Mom would be sure to drop in and see how we were doing at least twice a day. There was no coddling.

All this has led me to be a grownup who cannot believe, without strong empirical evidence, that I am indeed sick. Take today for example. Known facts: I have morning sickness, I have a cold, my back was/is out. I actually called in sick to work today (as opposed to “working from home” which I did yesterday). But I sincerely and honestly believe that I’m just faking it, and that I could be working if I was just tough enough.

Folks, I’ve thrown up three times in the last 24 hours including this morning. Yesterday’s calorie intake was 1) bowl of grape nuts 2) bowl of Cap’n Crunch 3) 10 Teddy Grahams and half a glass of milk. That’s IT. Yesterday, I was awake for a grand total of 8 hours. What, do I have to be hospitalized to really believe that I merit a sick day off work?! Sheesh.

Um, so that’s me now. The good thing is that I feel better today than yesterday. The bad thing is that’s making me feel even more guilty. Ugh.

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

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