Recently, a friend of mine mentioned that her husband was home sick with the flu. He had felt it coming on the night before, and since he is a doctor, he was debating canceling his cases for the next day. In the end, he did cancel and stayed home to recover.
This made my friend and I wonder - if we are sick, can we cancel our "cases" for the next day? We both have four little "patients" that we care for 24/7. Would our calling in sick look something like this:
Thursday evening, as you begin to feel achy and start coughing: "Children, Mommy has to call in sick tomorrow. I can't make your meals, help you go potty, change your diapers, or break up your fights. I will just lie in bed all day, resting, sleeping and maybe watching a little TV now and then. Thanks for your understanding."
The children look at Mommy as if she just said she was a Martian with three heads. Then they laugh, assuming this is all a silly joke. Mommy is sometimes really goofy.
Friday morning, when the flu has taken over your body and you think you might die soon: Mommy lies in bed "resting", trying to ignore the cries for juice, the TV remote, bandaids, and bottom-wiping-help. Eventually she feels horrible guilt and gets up and does the bare minimum, all the while feeling like her head is stuffed with cotton candy.
Friday afternoon, desperately hoping for a nap while the little ones sleep: Mommy lies in bed again, attempting sleep for this short period that will be allotted her. The older ones wander in out with various requests for really important things, like logging onto the computer and having fingernails clipped. Soon, after a few minutes of shut-eye, the baby starts to cry.
Friday night, waiting for Daddy to walk in the door with more anticipation than a child on Christmas Eve: Mommy lies on the couch, having given up the notion of being in bed completely. The TV is on the Disney channel, as it has been all day. Some of the children are running around the house wildly, scattering toys under the furniture and fighting with homemade weapons, while others are sitting in front of the TV, eyes glazed over and in a trance. Daddy walks in and gets an exuberant welcome from the children. He quickly hugs them and comes over to check on Mommy. "How do you feel? Did you get some rest today?"
Saturday morning, feeling more like a human again: Mommy wakes up to start breakfast, laundry and do damage control from yesterday. Daddy rolls over in bed and says, "I don't feel too well, hon. I think I've got the flu. If you don't mind, I'm just going to stay in bed today."