The Art of the Sick Day
As a general rule, I try not to pine for the good ol’ days. No bemoaning the kids, the house, the marriage. I made these choices. No regrets. The past, however lovely, stays where it is. Let’s ditch the rose-coloured time-travelling goggles and keep moving forward.
Except when I’m sick.
Then I desperately wish I was single again, living in a tiny east-end apartment with zero people, responsibilities and expectations.
Now my sick days are overwhelmingly exhausting. Usually, like today, I have to wipe two noses at once — mine and someone else’s. I don’t get to nap because no one else is napping according to schedule, or able to stay asleep because babies can’t take decongestants so they just snot-snort themselves awake like cute-ish oozing warthogs. I bark at the healthy-ish child to be quiet while the sickly one snores on my shoulder. I pop a Tylenol with my coffee and pray it’s more magical this time. Nope. Still sick.
I watch too much Justin Time and “Disney music” on YouTube because the kids aren’t into The Real Housewives of Botoxville.
My mind wanders. To the mid-2000s. To the era of…THE PERFECT SICK DAY.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you do it:
The Art of the Sick Day
Aside: this guide is best applied if you’re not nauseous or totally bedridden. This is for the optimal kind of sick: out of it enough to feel incapable of functioning in society, but with it enough to enjoy a trashy-TV marathon while sipping on hot beverages. And, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you are), you must be kid-free.
The Day Before:
If possible, anticipate the sick day. If you’re feeling sick at work, try to finish the project you’re working on so you won’t be creating too much of a burden in your likely absence tomorrow.
On the way home from work, stop by the grocery store and library for supplies: tea, favourite cereal, snacks, honey and lemon, applicable OTC meds, fashion magazines and New York Times bestsellers. (Nothing too deep or depressing.)
Set your alarm for your regular wake-up time.
The Day Of:
Assess your health. Not feelin’ it? Call work and leave a message. Then go back to bed.
Reasons for the early call:
The minute the secretary gets in, he/she can start making any scheduling adjustments regarding your absence. Wait too long and you’re creating a greater inconvenience as you may be screwing with certain projects.
No one will answer, therefore no one will guilt-trip you. This can be a very real thing. You’re an adult. You have paid sick days. If you’re sick, just be sick. Stay home.
Your voice first thing in the morning is amazing…ly bad and will prove your case.
You can go back to bed.
Seriously. Go back to bed.
Wake up eventually, hop in the shower — you’ll feel better and clear out your sinuses — and put on clean sweatpants.
Eat whatever you want. Do it in front of a second-hand tube TV while wrapped in a blanket.
Plan your TV-watching for the day.
The era I’m talking about was pre-Netflix (I’m old) — and pre-smartphone (told you). So I watched cable. I’d grab a scrap piece of paper, visit Zap2It.com, and check out the daily TV listings. I’d scroll through the entire day, making note of anything I wanted to watch.
I told Matthew this yesterday and he looked at me like…a loving husband is supposed to. *ahem* But really, there’s nothing worse on a sick day than to discover that you missed the first half of the Sandra Bullock movie on W, right? RIGHT?
Then plan any nap time accordingly. Again, as not to miss Sandy falling in love with Harry Connick Jr. (Hope Floats is underrated.)
Watch, snooze, read and snack. That’s it.
Sometimes I’d walk to a local variety store for more supplies. Or pop in my headphones — I miss the iPod — and get some fresh air. But usually it was just me curled up on the world’s most uncomfortable bright green love seat with my clunky remote and musty library book.
Oh, and in the absence of cable or quality MTV-reality marathons, Newsies on DVD is always a good idea.
Those were the days.
Like I said, I actually don’t miss 2006. Except when I need to blow my nose in peace.
Sick mamas, how do you do it?