virus alert

I am really not very good at being sick.

I don’t have much practice, I guess. I never noticed, but according to my mother, I was one of her least infirm children. I had a few days off for the chicken pox. A stomach flu or two in grade school. Strep throat once. A mild case of mono in eleventh grade. A few sinus infections in college.

That’s about it.

So when I get a cold – and living with a second-year elementary school teacher, there are a lot of colds to be had – I tend to muscle through. I’m not even much for over-the-counter remedies: is there really anything of a more disgusting consistency than cough syrup? And what good is Nyquil if you’re trying to “muscle through” and not fall asleep at your desk?

So yeah, I often underestimate my… um… stamina. Like a few Thanksgivings ago, when I was getting ready to head to Lapeer to spend the holiday with Lance’s family. I felt like crap, sure, but I was pretty surprised when the nurse at my allergist office asked to take my temperature before giving me an allergy shot, and – lo and behold – I was fairly feverish. And no, that didn’t stop me from driving three hours to Lance’s house, or letting him drag me to the bar where his ska band was playing. At that point, I decided I was just going to lay in the backseat of my car and wait the night out… but THAT didn’t really stop me from doing the whole Zero Sleep, up at 4:30 to go Black Friday shopping an hour away, or whatever…

Gah, I am an idiot.

Which is why I went grocery shopping yesterday morning, even though I seemed sick enough for Lance – Lance who hates grocery shopping with a fiery passion – to offer to go without me. I could barely stand upright while I waited for my Starbucks and was pretty worse for the wear by the time I made it home. To make matters worse,  my sickness has taken a pattern of slow, spiraling descent. I spent one day thinking I was getting sick and feeling grumpy about it, then two or three days thinking I wasn’t getting sick, or at least it wouldn’t be that bad, then a few days feeling kind of lousy with a persistent cough and intermittent fits of sneezing, and then yesterday, when I ran a slight fever and just plain felt like shit. This kind of sickness enables my Magical Thinking

Okay, so you get it now? Here’s a game.

After coming home from shopping, Jessica does not curl up in front of the TV or take a nap like a normal sick person.

What does Jessica do?

a) Walk a mile downtown and a mile back, in the cold, tromping through snow in rubber rainboots

b) Visit two restaurants, two thrift stores, a liquor store, Trader Joe’s, Crate and Barrel, Barnes and Noble, and the Apple Store?

c) Climb all three flights of spiral stairs at the Apple Store?

d) Agree to entertaining friends in my apartment?

e) Drink 80% of a bottle of wine by myself?

f) Walk to three bars in the cold dead of the night, including one that is a snowy mile’s walk from her apartment?

g) Go to bed at closer-to-five-than-four-o’clock?

h) Carry a roll of toilet paper in her purse all day for nose blowing?

i) Go to work even though I sit at a Reference Desk and am obviously just infecting the masses and my coworkers?

j) All of the above?

The moral of the story:

It’s a good thing I don’t get sick very often. I suck at it.


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