I love my husband and son a lot. But sometimes they make me sick – literally.
First my son came down with an upper respiratory infection (URI). Cold or mild flu? It’s all the same to me – scratchy throat, nasal congestion, cough, sniffles, post nasal drip. All the fun stuff.
He was pretty careful not to hug me when he realized he was coming down with it. And I became a germicidal maniac – hand washing and cleaning and avoiding items I knew he touched. I felt a bit guilty because every day, when he left for work, I grab a Clorox wipe and clean door knobs, light switches, faucet handles, etc. It seemed to be working.
Then my husband came down with an URI. Everyone at his workplace has had something – cold, flu, intestinal bug. As soon as he realized he was having symptoms, he stopped kissing me on the mouth and tried to avoid passing it along to me. I’ll have to admit I wasn’t as diligent about the cleaning after him because I trust his hygiene more – I knew he’d wash his hands often.
You can guess the result of all this caution, can’t you? Yep – I got something! It started Friday afternoon, shortly after I had agreed to go to a hockey game that night. Scratchy throat and mild nasal congestion. I took something and went to the game. Worcester Sharks won – excellent! I started sneezing in the third period.
I had discovered that the National Archives office in Waltham was open this Saturday and I needed to go there to view some documents that prove my husband’s great-great-great-great grandfather was a Revolutionary War veteran. The plan was to get up early and drive to that office about an hour away. Plans have a way of falling apart. By the time we got up at 7 AM it was snowing like crazy and my symptoms had increased. So I took some medicine while my husband worked his magic on the snow in the driveway. After a quick call to make sure they were open, we set off in the snow for what would normally be about an hour drive.
The trip wasn’t too bad and we got there about 11 AM. Since you can’t take beverages into the research room, I grabbed a handful of wintergreen Lifesavers to try to keep the cough at bay. I tried to remember to sneeze into my elbow instead of my hand since I was using their computer. The trip was a success as I now have documentation of what we knew.
By the time we left, the snow had stopped. My symptoms, however, had increased. We grabbed some lunch on the way back and picked up a few things we needed. The day had turned sunny and beautiful – and very bright with the sun on the new snow. It had warmed up above freezing and the snow was already starting to melt. I was starting to feel like I was melting – not feverish, just really energy-drained. I could have curled up in a little ball and slept for a month.
When we got home, I took stronger medicine and sat down to review the records we had copied. It was tough to read them and tougher to keep my eyes open. My husband finally got done using my computer, which is the only one connected to the printer, so I use it. By then, I couldn’t think clearly enough to write. I sat playing computer games until it was time for bed.
I slept decently thanks to my CPAP machine and medication. But my symptoms are still here this morning. I have to get rid of them before we leave next Saturday for a week-long vacation — a hockey trip taking us by car to Syracuse, NY, Pittsburgh, PA and Hershey, PA. I’ve been looking forward to this and don’t want to be sick.
I guess that means lots of water and chicken broth this week, along with lots of rest. And I can kiss my husband again because, after all, I now have the germs he tried not to share. I can’t wait until he retires. Then the odds of our getting these viruses will go down signficantly. My health improved markedly in that area when I was disabled from work by fibromyalgia. Once upon a time, I was sick all the time with whatever was going around the office (it was even worse when I taught in high school).
Of course, I know that you shed virus even before you start to have symptoms, so I really can’t blame my loved ones. I appreciate the affection and would never want them to stop showing me that they love me. It just seems rather unfair that something so good (sharing love and affection) can have such negative consequences.
I guess I’ll have to keep up with cleaning the door knobs and light switches.