Keeping A Safe Distance When Mom Is Sick

Ok. Just a head’s up that this post is filled with blanket statements, sweeping assumptions and gender bias. There. That’s out of the way. And maybe my assumptions really don’t apply to anyone beyond my front door, but I really doubt it.

I remember one time when we visited Yellowstone and witnessed a grizzly chasing and killing a young elk calf. It was an amazing thing to watch, but what happened afterwards was just as compelling. Most of the herd went back to grazing, and, I guess, why not? They weren’t going to be supper in the near future. But several of the herd moved closer to where the bear was feeding on his dinner and simply watched.

That’s what I felt like today. I woke up feeling fine, but within an hour it was pretty clear I had a nasty bug – one that pretty much meant I slept fitfully all afternoon on the couch and only moved when absolutely necessary. And as I lay on the couch, it felt like the rest of the household kept watch at a safe distance to see if I’d make it or not.

What is it with men and sickness?

As the mother and wife, when someone in the family is sick, I’m the one to nurture them back to health. Soup, smoothies, water in their special cup – even if it needs washing first – whatever it is that sounds best in their delicate condition is what I do. Plumping pillows, bringing another blanket, or shushing noisy family members are all part of what I do when I’m keeping watch over a sick one.

But when I get sick? I’m pretty much on my own. Men just flee from the presence of sickness. At least mine do.

This afternoon, I finally roused enough to make myself a smoothie. And at the sound of activity in the kitchen, the mood of the house immediately improved. Everyone ventured out of their rooms to see if things were back to normal. But it only took one look at me, and it was pretty clear to the men in the house that things were not back to normal. After a couple of nervous looks, they all scattered back to a safe distance.

It seems to be a fairly short-lasting bug I’ve had, and already this evening I’ve stared to feel a bit better. In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting up a while and working on my computer. And sure enough, the sound of clicking keys on the keyboard has already enticed one of them back into the same room with me. This one’s even feeling brave enough to try to start a conversation with me.

“You feeling better,” he asks.

“I think I have a fever,” I say.

A look of panic covers his face as he edges towards the door. “Nope, you look fine,” he says. I smile as the door closes. Might as well keep ’em circling a wee bit longer before I get back to taking care of the rest of the family. Now that I’m feeling better, it’s kind of nice to have a wee bit of peace and quiet – even if it is while they all stand back and watch to see if I’m going to pull through.

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2 thoughts on “Keeping A Safe Distance When Mom Is Sick

  1. My kids are too young to scatter. When I’m sick I’m both alone and crowded, but I understand what you are saying. My husband is pretty good if I specifically ask him to do something or get something for me otherwise he steers clear of me. I don’t even thing he realizes he does it.

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