The Day I Cried Over Chicken Soup
My husband has been taking great care of me. But he has a job, and additionally, jury duty this week. He can't call in wifesick.
But at least I have the luxury of being alone in my misery. It's miles better than getting sick when they were little and wholly dependant.
That...oh...that was hellish.
We've never had any kind of support system you see. No family, no churchmembers, no bowling buddies.
When I was about 7 months pregnant with Diminutive One, Husband, Pubescent One and I all got deathly ill with a stomach flu. We were so ill that we spent all of our time draped over one of the three toilets in the house for the better part of three days. At one point, both Husband and I were sitting on a toilet with a garbage can on our laps, trying to contain the effluvia that issued forth from both ends.
Pubescent One was just barely out of diapers so we put him back in pullups to try to contain the mess somewhat. He was too terribly sick to even be indignant about it.
Husband ventured out once for fluids and Pepto Bismol, clutching a plastic bag so he would have something to vomit into while he was driving. The other end was just left to chance and the strength of his erm...resolve.
After the third day, I began to have terrible back pains, low and deep. I suspected some kind of kidney thing. I knew I was dehydrated, though I had been trying to drink as much as possible.
Neither Husband or Pubescent One was in any condition to leave the house, and there was nobody else. So I drove myself to urgent care. I too had a plastic grocery bag in my lap and threw up at regular intervals, trying desperately to time the bouts of spewage to the red lights along the way.
The first place turned me away. For liability reasons, they wouldn't treat a pregnant woman. I was sobbing when I left; feeling sick and scared and very alone. In the parking lot I called home to husband, crying noisily, knowing he could do nothing.
He didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to do.
Our in network hospital was a 40 minute drive on the interstate. But I was in no shape for that.
I finally got ahold of an old friend. We hadn't spoken in a while, but she came to my aid without hesitation and drove me where I needed to go.
It turned out I was in pre-term labor due to dehydration. I was admitted, given two bags of fluid and an anti-emetic, and felt as good as new within about 24 hours.
But I was mad. Nobody should have to live like that, with nobody to depend on, nobody to care. I've been fighthing to get home ever since.
And yet here I am.
So when I am ill or stressed or overwhelmed, there really is nobody to whom I can turn. There are a lot of friends and acquaintances, but none that I would feel comfortable burdening to such a degree; none that I would feel comfortable being vulnerable and needy with. That's my own issue I suppose, but it is what it is.
So, as I said, I've been sick.
Today was my turn to drive carpool, and I had fully planned to do it, sick or not. All I have to do is sit in the car, afterall. I don't have to get out, and I don't have to talk to anybody, really. I don't have to look good.
But Husband convinced me it would be irresponsible to expose the carpool kids to my
She graciously agreed and asked if I needed anything. I thanked her for taking my turn and told her that I was fine.
Achey and feverish, I could scarcely stay upright while Diminutive One showered and ate his breakfast. He kept urging me to go back to bed, assuring me he could get ready by himself.
Sweet, but completely and totally untrue.
I stood at the door waiting with him as usual, but when the van pulled into the driveway, I did not go out to help him in and hug him one last time as I often do. I hid behind the door, hoping nobody would catch a glimpse of my red nosed, hair on end wretchedness.
When my friend dropped Diminutive One off in the afternoon, I had just finished showering, hoping that cleanliness might make me feel a smidge more human.
I croaked a reply, but he couldn't hear me. He came thundering up the steps.
"MOM!!! Miss Patty sent you a present!!!!"
By that time he was at the threshold of my bedroom. He held a tupperware container wrapped in a colorful dish towel and secured with a curly ribbon. Underneath the ribbon was a note and some coupons.
The container was warm, and even through the plastic I could smell the aroma of chicken soup. It was obviously homemade, with rich yellow fat dotting the top and thick noodles floating in the fragrant broth.
To my surprise, I felt tears stinging my eyes.
Well how ridiculous.. I thought. It's just soup for heaven's sake.
But it's not just soup, is it? It's the knowledge that somebody cares how you are and wants to make it better.
Nothing will ever be like it was when we were 8, and our Moms brought us warm drinks and orange tasting baby aspirin at timely intervals. When we didn't have to get up from the couch except to shuffle to the bathroom. When we watched soap operas and game shows until we were bored to tears, and sighed with relief when the Brady Bunch finally came on. When supper was brought to us on a Holly Hobby tray and we got extra noodles in our Campbell's soup and sometimes two snack pack puddings instead of one.
Nothing can be that way for a grownup anymore. The world doesn't stop for us to be sick because now...we're the ones making it go around.
But some homemade chicken soup in a plastic dish almost makes it feel like being 8 again.
Isn't that silly?