I am a woman who has survived over 60 weeks of morning sickness (for which I was hospitalised twice), and had three natural, drug free births. So I know all about real pain. And if I say I am sick, then let it be known that I am truly, very, very sick.
This week I have been sick. And I mean REALLY sick. I have a terrible cough and cold that I can't shake, and my ribs hurt from the force of my coughs. My sleep is interrupted and my allergies are acting up. On top of all that, I have been working full time (teaching) this last fortnight (with one more week to go), and maintaining a house (with a little help), and stressing about child care, and making sure dinners and lunches are still happening too!
Superhuman effort if I do say so myself!
I don't like to complain about being sick either. I mean, most of the time, what can you do? You just have to keep putting one foot in front of another. My kids get fed, my house gets cleaned, the washing gets done... etc. So it's possible that sometimes I could be sick for over a week and no one might ever know about it. I know that this goes for ALL mothers too!
Which brings me to the dreaded Man-Flu.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Man-Flu, it works like this...
1. When ladies get a mild cold, and a man contracts the same thing, he gets something more akin to a real flu.
2. When you get a real flu (aches and pains, chills etc.) your partner is bound to be nearly on his death bed when he contracts the same strain.
3. Even male children/infants/babies are susceptible to Man-Flu.
Need a visual? There are many examples of this if you type in "man flu" on You Tube.
So while I have been suffering in silence this week, hubby has constantly felt the need to remind me of his own "itchy or sore throat" or slight head ache. Bring on the world's smallest violin.
It was only very recently that I read about a survey that had been conducted in Europe that was suggesting that men ACTUALLY have a lower pain threshold than women. Which brings some substance into the old "why do I always seem to contract a more dangerous strain of the flu than you Jessie?" argument. Poor CP can't help it! He is biologically destined to always suffer more than me when it comes to the common cold. I'm not really sure how it works in other households, but when my own hubby is sick, the rest of us are expected to stop what we are doing and devote our time to sympathetic gestures and kind words until papa bear is fully recovered. Mostly Man-Flu in our house is greeted with eye rolls, groans of self-pity and avoidance.
Approximately two years ago (just after I had given birth to baby number 3) hubby fell ill with a suspected case of Man-Flu. Five days into it all, I was becoming frustrated and edgy. I am (what with three small children to care for) unable to avoid the round-the-clock care his mother has obviously prescribed since he was a boy, and have little time to make the life-saving chicken soup, that she also administered at his every beck and call. And bless her for doing it. Women in my generation rarely have the time or inclination to do so! ANYWAY, five days into it all, I was actually a little over it all. I dragged hubby in to the Accident and Emergency, carefully detailing the 'Man-Flu' symptoms, and engaging in a little friendly banter about how 'surely this attack of man-flu has nothing on my 60 weeks of morning sickness!' I may have also mentioned that 'the lack of sympathy I received from him during that black period was directly related to the amount of sympathy I was giving out at this point in time.
Two days later, the results were in. Food Poisoning. As it turned out, hubby was lucky to have presented at the hospital at that time, as failure to have done so would have only caused more damage to his body.
So now when hubby is 'sick' I am reminded of 'that time that he nearly died' (cough cough), and how I need to treat him more nicely etc etc. And yet, here I am, about to cough up a lung, begging hubby (who is about to drive into town) to pick up a pizza for dinner before he comes home because I am too sick to cook for the kiddies, and instead of hearing him say "yes dear, that sounds peachy" or something to that effect, all I was able to get out of him was a "I'm not sure I can do it on top of all my other jobs... my throat is starting to hurt."
Where is that tiny violin again???