Friday, September 19, 2008


I think I am catching a cold. Rats!

I haven't been sick in a very long time. I am glad for that. Something about pregnancy and motherhood has brought on extra immunity for me, I believe. It's as if the creation of new life has strengthened my defenses -- my body's way of knowing that moms just don't get the down time to be sick. I have never once caught a tummy bug from my kids and have only caught a few colds. But Milo was feeling puny last Saturday and Violet ran a fever for four days last week and they passed on illness to Scott, who has shared with me. Family style dining... with germs. It's OK, it's not going to be fatal or anything, but I was sort of enjoying a long run of being healthy.

I was one of those kids who caught everything. I had frequent colds, yearly bronchitis, and pneumonia every other year. Allergies year-round, ear infections that would rupture my eardrums... you get the picture. I can remember pretending I wasn't that sick so that I could get to school because I had play rehearsal and AP classes and all that stuff. Mostly because I didn't want to miss rehearsal lest the drama director decide I was unreliable. So I toughed it out. I guess that was good mom training -- you just can't shirk mom stuff because you're coughing.

I will be fine as long as I'm not running a fever. If I run a fever, then all bets are off because I crash and burn with a temperature of 100. Gert delirious and loopy if it ever gets over 101. I wilt and get confused and find that everything hurts my whole body. I have no control over my emotions and it's best just to send me upstairs to bed until the fever breaks. So, I hope I never run a fever. My poor kids would have to fend for themselves... Maybe the dogs can change diapers and fill endless sippy cups with milk? Nope -- they are thumb-less wonders. Good thing I've got a husband who agrees that the only thing that Mommy can do that Daddy can't do is nurse Violet. She wouldn't like his chest hair, anyway...

I dream vividly when running a fever. Crazy, incomprehensible fears tumble through my unconsciousness colliding and bouncing, building and cresting until I wake thoroughly frightened and occasionally inconsolable. The fever burns a tiny pinprick of a hole in the membrane that keeps the fears at bay, holding them sterilized away from my day-to-day thinking. The fears slip and slide through the portal, insidiously filling in between my normal thoughts like mortar between stones, pervading the structure of my life and turning the rational irrational. I have delusions of panthers stalking me in my bed, their hot breath whistling under my sheets, curling around my pillow, nestling into my hair. Social order is upended; I recall charging downstairs, sobbing uncontrollably to my parents that I had dreamt I wouldn't ever marry because my allowance was higher than my fiancee's... I was twelve and not engaged at the time. But the doubt had shown itself and I could not quell the impulse to share it. I imagine that this is what mental illness feels like to it's sufferers and am thankful that the inability to reason, to put a coherent thought together, to function is temporary and not a constant. I am thankful, so thankful. I am so very, very thankful that any illness which I have had has been curable -- just a transient wayward moment in an otherwise calm existence.

I am thankful.

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