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Saturday, May 26, 2007

And other dis orders

Back in the good old days of yore, children played doctors and nurses. More often than not, the boys would be the doctors and the girls would be nurses. [translation = unless you were a big sister] The doctors would examine the victim, determine symptoms and then chop things off. Nurses were left to stitch up holes, apply bandages with non safety safety pins and then clean up the mess.

It is my contention that there are really only two types of people in the world, namely nurses and non nurses. Nurses are caring, sharing, kindly types where nothing is too much trouble. Non-nursing types get annoyed about the bodies messing up the family room. I mean, if you’re ill, you go to bed to get better. [translation = so much tidier] If you’re ill, you do not drip around the house getting in everyone’s way. Illness should always be invisible or failing that, upstairs in bed, where one can be visited and tended too are regular intervals.

Although I am a picture of health myself, if I were ever unfortunate enough to be otherwise, I would do the decent thing and excuse myself. I fail to understand why this should be such a difficult concept to grasp. Ill = bed. I am aware that in these modern times, patients are encouraged to leave their beds and walk about a bit, keep everything moving as it were. [translation = empty the bed at the hospital, fast turn over and minimum insurance costs] But in the home environment for minor ailments, it is quite a different story. You need the patient static and out of the way, together with all their paraphanalia. [translation = used tissues, reading materials and bottles of over the counter medicaments]

I’d like to lay claim to other factors such as the visual cue of being both physically present and noticeably ill. The body, static, is the cue for my boys. Their father is draped on the sofa which means that every time he comes onto their radar, it prompts a whole slew of questions, the same questions, that he is too ill to answer.

“He is ill he is dead?”
“Not dead dear, just ill, a little under the weather.”
“He is hospital he is cemetery?”
“Ill dear, remember, he’ll be as right as rain before you know it.” He stands to get a clearer view of the horizontal adult and prods him in the center of the chest with one perfectly placed index finger. There is no movement, just a gentle snore.
“He is dead when are not breathing?”
“That’s right, no breathing means dead.”
“Ah! He no breathing!”
“He IS breathing, listen he’s snoring his head off.”
“Snoring is breathing?”

“Oh. No cemetery?”
“What kind of ill is he being?”
“Just a few sniffles.” My son sniffs, practicing.
“Sniff is ill? Sniff is dead? I am being dead too?” This conversation, the same conversation, more or less, is beginning to spiral. We have had this conversation several times within the last hour. The intervals between this cyclical conversation are shorter. I step closer towards my son, “he’s just a little off colour, nothing to worry about dear.” He looks at me with obvious distrust. I know that I’m missing something, but I’m not sure exactly what? For the moment, I don’t know the cause but it will hopefully become clearer given time.

Since the children are on the floor, their Dad’s bulk is in their sight line. If he were silent, he might be invisible, but the snoring keeps hyper-vigilant, sound sensitive people on their guard. For this moment, I decide that my inert husband is both a visual and aural mental health hazard and scoot him up to bed. This is the band-aid approach to the issue, until a more permanent solution can be determined. [translation = tidy but not "OCD"]


Michelle O'Neil said...

Yes, up to bed with him. He definately had it coming.

Anonymous said...

Mine complains about being left alone... if you are sick and wish to be left alone with 2 little boys in the house... we go UPSTAIRS!!!

Besides... the Man... complains more than those little boys when he's ill :)


kristina said...

All the better for him to get well!

Anonymous said...

I think you're right. That last description, "the snoring keeps hyper-vigilant, sound-sensitive people on their guard" reminds me of something Temple Grandin said on "Fresh Air" a while back about how people with autism or sensory integration challenges have a "re-orientation" reaction that is similar to what animals experience, and how intermittent sounds can therefore be so frightening and disorienting to them. Whatever the reason, I hope your husband feels better soon (and that you all don't succumb).

elasticwaistbandlady said...

My children love it when I'm sick because then they all congregate on my bed to watch movies and eat snacky food which is usually forboten activities. But then we're a little slice of granola homeschooling weirdness!

My husband is rarely ill and so the germs/virus make double time and really knock him down for the count when he does contract something. Hope that your man is feeling better soon.

sweetpeas said...

Do you think that siblings of children who "see the doctor alot" have a distorted reality of "illness"?

As I read your post - I can not help but think of how my 3 year old reacts to "illness", simple "boo boos" and scars. I've always thought some of the comments he makes are "quirky" - but not till I read this post did it come to me that maybe his "sensativity" to "illness" is because of his little brother.

So, Thanks for the "light bulb" above my head!!!

Bea said...

I'm definitely a non-nurse. The worst is when hubby is sick, because it throws a wrench into everything and I'm not even allowed to complain because, oh, he's sick. And that's WITHOUT having to field questions about his exact degree of alive-ness every couple of minutes.

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