Influenza Type A.
She called sounding puny, congested, despairing.
She, overall, has enjoyed a very healthy life. Very few illnesses; never has had mumps, measles, chicken pox ... the once typical illnesses of childhood. She didn't have her tonsils out or tubes in her ears or appendicitis. She doesn't have allergies or asthma or , skin issues or pms. She did
break her arm at 11 and she did contract mono her freshman year of college, that so far, has been her worst illness to date.
So being sick, other than a cold or sinusitis, is sort of a new experience for her.
She feels terrible: achey body, sensitive skin, some fever, chills, can't get comfortable, can't focus , painful headache, lots of congestion, food tastes awful.
She is ill.
"I'm sick Mamafish, I am home quarantined, I have flu. And not to be a wimp about it, I don't have anyone to take me to the doctor or pick up the prescriptions or make me soup or jello or put a cooling cloth on my head or hold me and tell me I will be just fine!"
I heard a bit of wail and a sniff in there. I made all the soothing Mamafish statements, asked if the doctors had given her info on symptoms to watch for in case of worsening. Worse was definitely not on her list of things to think about. More snuffling sounds...she sounded like Jack Lemmon in Wine and Roses. There was a bit of silence then;
"Mamafish the doctor fussed at me. She asked why I had failed to get a flu shot.
I never get sick! I told her and she looked at me as if I had detached from reality. I mean, have I ever had flu before? No, I have not. And why was she mean, I thought doctors were suppose to make you feel better "!
She rattled on some more, sputtering and coughing and gasping and sniffing and
running all her sentences together without pausing for answers or.... sufficient air intake.
Somewhere in that rant I heard anger. So I asked, in my usual direct way,
"Mermaid, are you angry"?
A pause, a big sigh, "No, not really. Maybe some. I guess what I am is shocked. I mean, I just don't get ill and here I am a health department epidemic statistic, quarantined, with no family, no help AND it is expensive to get sick and you don't earn any money laying in the bed feeling like ____"!
Yep, there was definitely outrage in there. The outrage you feel about what is crossways to your sense of justice. I said more soothing words, dispensed a bit of practical advice, reviewed symptoms to be aware of and encouraged her to nap and call me later.
I told Blowfish about the flu.
In the telling I mentioned her sense of injustice about being sick all alone, about having to drive your own sick self to the doctor, and pay your own co-pay. About then having to drive yourself to the pharmacy and wait with the other sickies to get your medicines. And pay for that too.
Blowfish was not pleased with this news.
He looked like a hunting dog on point.
"Do you need help packing'? he asked.
"Aren't you going up there"?
"I don't think so"
"Why the hell not?" he asked in full puffery.
"I beg your pardon"?
"Well FishEEEEEEE , Mermaid is sick, you are her mother,
why are you not on your way to help her"?
I turned from prepping the dinner and looked at Blowfish,
he was THE prototype of pacing anxiety.
" Hey Blowfish, I agree it is a bit nerve racking for her to be ill. We have been so blessed we just are not use to this particular anxiety, that being said I really do think she will be fine."
" I understood you to say our Mermaid is QUARANTINED with type A influenza ,
is that your idea of just fine?"
I sucked in a deep breath while I prayed for patience.
" She IS quarantined Blowfish, but she is on home quarantine not in a hospital. She has seen her doctor, acquired her prescriptions, purchased fluids, soup, jello and crackers. I have reviewed symptoms to be on the alert for in case of complications and I am monitoring her by phone multiple times per day. If I think it is needed for me to travel there, I will do so. She is young, fit, smart and has a cadre of local friends to help immediately if need be, so I think you can relax a bit."
Blowfish exited the room without speaking.
Dinner was quiet, certainly not conversational.
A bit after dinner the home phone rang, Blowfish answered.
It was Mermaid calling all consumed with irrational fury. When Blowfish answered she blew him off and asked for me.
I got on another cordless cause Blowfish had a death grip on his indicating relinquishing this contact would not be happening.
I hardly got beyond, "Hi Sweetheart, how are.."
before an incensed Mermaid squeaked out
"How in Hell does anyone eat this - - - -?
" Not sure I exactly know what you are refering to but if you ARE eating what you just said stop immediately".
" Canned soup is not food, the ---- is inedible "
" Wow Mermaid, you must be feeling better if you can actually taste food and care about it."
A heard a wheeze, a struggle to intake a big breath, a coughing spasm, some other sound effects and word fragments and then ...... mostly nothing.
Blowfish yelled her name so loud I nearly dropped my cordless. I didn't look his way for fear I would drop in my tracks from the daggered glare I was certain he had aimed at me.
"Sorry", Mermaid muttered, " I just feel really terrible and Mama's soup always makes me feel better on a cold Winter day , so I told myself if I got up and fixed soup I would feel better and I am just so acutely disappointed because there is no comfort here".
And then she hung up.
Blowfish stood still as a statue.
Eventually he turned toward me looking like he smelled something foul.
He was on the verge of starting a Pond holocaust when I said,
" I am sure your family, like mine, grew up eating Campbells soup out of a can, mixed with milk when it was there, and water when it was not. I am equally sure Mermaid will get beyond this. And Blowfish, I know you do not want to think about this but do at least TRY to remember
that Mermaid is the one who chose, of her own free will, to live hundreds of miles away from the Pond. If, at this point, her biggest issue to confront is the absence of scratch made soup while down with the flu she is very blessed indeed."
Lets just say Blowfish disagreed with my logic.
I went out to gather items for an overnight package to Mermaid.
A couple of funny, breezy novels to skim through in case she had medicine head and couldn't really concentrate. Some dvd's of favorite old Disney classics she watched on VHS way back when. A 12 pack of skittles to get the ick taste out of her mouth. A giant coloring book and a new box of crayola 64. An encouraging card and money so she would not fret about loss of earnings while ill.
She got the package and I am now declared ,
"The best Mamafish ever"!
Did you hear that Blowfish?