Morning Sickness Comes to Us All

What do you do when you wake up in the morning and your neck is stiff, your eyes bloodshot, your throat is sore, and you are staring at the sink and bathroom mirror only to realize that its 330 in the morning?  You could start cursing the day that you were born, but it’s not going to help on this day.  You could come up with a million evil things to do to your co-workers, as you are sure that one of them was responsible for you feeling like this.  Or you could remember your daughter came up with a cold this last weekend.  You probably got the cold from her.  (And if you really think it’s going to be good to blame your child for you being sick . . .  Don’t!  Stop now!  Turn around and go back to bed!)

I woke up at 3:30 A.M. this last Thursday after spending the previous weekend with my daughter with these same symptoms.  What’s worse is that I knew my daughter had been to the doctor’s office twice in the last week to deal with these symptoms.  Did that mean that I was going to be sick for the entire weekend?  And I had to work all weekend.  To top it off, other people in my office were sick so I felt like I couldn’t even take the time off to deal with how I was feeling.  Foggy head.  Stuffy Nose.  Runny . . . something or other.

A Little NyQuil Magic

So what was I going to take at 3:30 in the morning to make sure that I got back to sleep?  I was going to take NyQuil of course.  Now I wasn’t introduced to the wonders of NyQuil until I was much older.  My mother thought that popping tons of vitamins was the answer to all of life’s little ills.  Didn’t matter that the pills would mostly pass right through my system, that eating foods high in those vitamins would have been so much better, or that it gave me that gross vitamin taste in my mouth for the next three days.  (And if you think that’s bad, try doing my grandmother’s natural antibiotic: garlic.  Swallow a couple of cloves of that to help you get better and you won’t be laughing either.)

There were plenty of times that I would “let nature take its course.”  But when I was out on my own for the first time up at Berkeley, I quickly decided: “the heck with that.”  I was going to do whatever I could to get better.  So tons of orange juice followed by a nice healthy dose of NyQuil and I was a new man by the next day.  It worked like magic.

Little did I know, that the magic of NyQuil was not always sufficient.  Sometimes NyQuil only helps you get back to sleep, and then you wake up the next morning with exceedingly dry mouth.  Given that it frequently contains alcohol, it’s somewhat akin to being drunk and drugged all at the same time, if you aren’t able to get a sufficient amount of sleep.  Given that I was not going to be getting back to sleep until around 4 in the morning, I thought 4 hours under drug induced NyQuil should be fine.  Then again I was not thinking rationally and I just wanted sleep so I probably would have used anything, short of an anvil to my head, to get back to sleep.

Feeling Sick at the Gym: What Could Go Wrong?

So I got back to sleep for two hours and I forced myself to go to . . . wait for it . . . the gym.  I only allowed myself to get a couple of hours of sleep after NyQuil but I was going to go to the gym because I should.  Or because I was feeling guilty for not going to the gym earlier in the week when I was up in the morning and feeling fine.  So here I was sweating on the elliptical, feeling like I was going to fall off, and then following up that with some weight training, because, you know, fitness or something.  And then I was going to take myself to work.  Upon arriving at work, I realized that there was no way I was going to be going home early due to staffing shortages. So I resolved to make it through the day.  Barely!

Then comes Friday and between my long bouts of sleeping and waking up, I don’t remember much of the day.  Maybe it was all for the better with the lovely Southern California weather we were having.  I’m not sure who told Florida that we could borrow their weather, but they are welcome to having it back, anytime.  (Ok.  Maybe we could use some of the rain.  But did you need to flood an entire freeway and make it into a river?)  I just remember waking up and hearing the rain pouring, trying to do some writing with my foggy brain, and then passing out once again.

I might have even sent out an Instagram picture, once.  Maybe.  Aside from that, I was comatose.  I wasn’t quite zombie like.  I definitely did not wake up with a desire to eat human flesh.  So at least I can say I didn’t come down with a world altering virus.  I might have said, “How cool would that be?”  But in the midst of my NyQuil induced euphoria, I watched a couple of episodes of The Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix.  I never want to see vomit again.  Ever.  I just had a cold.

I Hate Colds!

And I hate colds.  Colds are the worst.  I’m not saying that I want to have the flu, or some bacterial infection that can do some major damage.  But with those, there is usually some form of antibiotic that you can take; and then you are feeling a little better in the next day or two.  Maybe you are a little light headed, and shouldn’t be driving.  But you know you are on the mend.  Colds hang on.

Colds are like the telephone call that you get from one of your friends.  Two hours later they can’t seem to take the hint you have other stuff to do.  They are the unwelcome guest at your party who came with a friend but wouldn’t leave even after your friend had gone.  You cannot seem to escape them.  And even when you are “better,” you have this cough that sticks around for the next two weeks.  Then people constantly ask you if you are ok.  They barely even noticed when you felt miserable.  But now that you are feeling slightly better, their concern comes out.

So on Thursday and Friday I was dealing with the brunt of being miserable with a cold.  The weekend should be great, right?  Well, as long as you can eat soup and stay in bed for the next couple of days, it’s great.  But when you have to work for the rest of your weekend?  Well.  There are other things you might rather be doing.  Needles underneath your finger nails comes to mind.

I’ve Got One Week to Fix This

So here I am, writing this on the back end of my weekend.  But I get to have tomorrow off at the very least because it is a holiday.  (By the time you read this it will be tomorrow; and I will be lounging in my bed counting sheep, glasses of orange juice, or possibly tablespoons of NyQuil I have taken.) That might excite me but for the fact that I was going to get tomorrow off anyway after working the whole weekend.  (Excitement coming from a day off, not the NyQuil tablespoons.)  So I get time off, in the nebulous future, which if some doomsayers that I have been seeing on my social media feeds are correct, may only be for the next two minutes.  Maybe three.  But who’s counting?

I know I have to get better in the next week before I have my daughter again.  I can only imagine what kind of brain addled adventures I would take under the influence of a cold.  It’s possible I might think that bungee jumping or sky diving was a good idea.  Or maybe I would try going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.  Nah!  (No offense to the sky divers and bungee jumpers amongst us.  Go you!  Get that heart pumping to near heart attack speed!)

So what am I going to do to get myself feeling better?  That’s right!  More orange juice.  More chicken soup.  And more NyQuil.  Because when you have something that has worked for you in the past, you stick with it . . . for a little while longer anyway.  I think the NyQuil bottle says something about four days and I think I’ve reached that limit.  Stupid Cold!

If you have any other great cold remedies, that don’t involve tons of vitamin pills, a large tablespoon of garlic, standing on your head, or going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, please comment and let me know.  Sometimes it’s so much easier to take care of our children than it is ourselves, even when they have projectile vomit.  We just keep going because we have no other choice. Oh yeah!  And that love thing too.

This is me again, signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life