Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Passion to the Third Degree.
Sheesh. This would be a useful week to have mush for brains and just watch TV. Unfortunately—and fortunately—I don’t have mush for brains. I’m mentally invigorated and have a million things I want to do. I just feel like crap, that’s all.
And even worse, I’m feeling guilty for feeling sick. My colleagues don’t really make that any easier, either. There’s the subtle undertones of “letting down” my coworkers by not being there, yet unless it’s truly an emergency, my work will be sitting on my desk where I left it on Friday night when I left work late, and no one particularly cared that I left work late.
Historically, doctors and nurses have called me a model patient. I don’t throw bedpans at them, I take my meds, and I make effort to get well again. The only concern I’ve ever caused was when Aislinn was born and I, at wit’s end, checked out of the hospital without her while she stayed in the nursery for extra tests.
They had a little talk with me to make sure I wasn’t abandoning my child. I was incredulous. Because of my crazy roommate in the maternity ward and the fact that the nurses couldn’t handle her and I’d had no sleep since a few hours pre-delivery that day before, I went home to sleep and then came back that night for my baby when they released her. That woman was so out of control that the nurses avoided her but I was in the bed five feet away and had no choice but to listen to her antics all night.
Somewhere I hope that little Tommy, now 14, is giving his mom the hell she was giving everyone else on the night he was born…throughout the night he was born. Good grief—if you can’t make enough milk to feed your baby, then give the kid a bottle rather starving him for the next 18 hours and for heaven’s sakes, stop wailing all night about how you’re not really a woman if you didn’t give birth “naturally.” If I’d killed the bitch in her sleep, I could have blamed it on hormones and every nurse on the floor would have clapped.
That was the second overnight stay in a hospital for me, the first being when Shannon was born and then I’d somehow managed a private room. In both cases, though, I felt helpless and dependent on someone else for the most basic of needs, and I didn’t care for it very much. With the exception of my allergies and a tendency to earn myself some repetitive stress injuries, I’m healthy.
And I know what to do to avoid both, or at least the path each will take. If I push my knees too hard or wear high heels for too long, then they’re going to hurt. When my allergies hit, it’s a series of symptoms, usually different ones everyday until I’m done with the gamut, and it usually plays out the same way every time. I know the routine and so does my current doc.
I guess what I’d really like—and haven’t had since I was a teenager except where my kids have tried and I’ve been grateful for that—is to curl up with a favorite blanket and have someone smooth my hair and just hang out close to me for a little bit while I sleep.
It’s something most grown women don’t get, even though they may give it quite often. It’s called “being babied.”