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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

A Patient with Few Virtues

I’ve found over the years that I make a pretty good patient. When I’m sick, I don’t demand pillow fluffings or constant attention. I’m content to lie in bed and moan softly, ruing the day I was ever born.

Okay, so I’m not a great patient. Great patients probably do a lot less whimpering. But I’m not what you’d call ‘high-maintenance’, either.

What does happen when I’m sick, though, is that my respect for — or even recognition of — conversational boundaries takes a distant back seat to being miserable. Today has been a prime example.

Late last night, I began feeling not so well. Stomach pains, aches, chills — a veritable cornucopia of malady symptoms. Overnight, I made a few round-trips from the bed to the bathroom and back, and woke up exhausted. So I stayed in bed for most of the day — other than the occasional round-trip, as noted above.

Late in the morning, my wife came to check on me. I told her I was under the weather, and was staying under the covers — perhaps for good this time — and she patted me on the forehead and let me sleep.

(And didn’t ask too many questions about my condition. Probably because she knows she’ll get a straight — and unfiltered — answer.)

“We were pushing dinnertime, and I was still sucking pillow in my pajamas. I think that worried her a little bit.”

She spent the afternoon running errands, and came back just a little while ago to find me still in bed. Still moaning. And still ruing. She’s perhaps accustomed to seeing me in the bed late on a weekend morning, but this was unusual. We were pushing dinnertime, and I was still sucking pillow in my pajamas. I think that worried her a little bit.

Maybe more than a little bit, because she sat gently on the bed, stroked my hair and asked sweetly, ‘How’s it going, honey?

I wanted to be sweet, too. Or at least be a trooper for her — not to mention garner a few more sympathy points, since I really was feeling pretty lousy. Looking back, the best response would probably have been a faint but brave, ‘I’ll be okay… I think.

Something along those lines. The plucky patient, rallying as best he can in the face of unmitigated horror. Or mild food poisoning. Whichever. It’s the ‘plucky’ part we need to focus on here. That’s what gets you the sympathy points when you’re a sick little trooper.

Something that doesn’t get you sympathy points? This:

Babe, nothing solid has gone into me — or come out of me — all day.

Damn my lack of filters.

So instead of rubbing my hand or singing me a lullaby or maybe bringing me a sippy cup of 7-Up, she said, ‘Ew, gross.‘ And left me to my sleeping. And whimpering. And the ruing — always with the ruing.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be better — both health-wise and foot-in-mouth-wise. Right now, I’ve been out of bed for about an hour, and it’s calling me back again. That pillow’s not going to drool on itself.

And if it knows what’s good for it, it won’t ask me any questions, either.

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “A Patient with Few Virtues”

  1. Phillipia says:

    Awww…I hope you are feeling better today…or at least getting lots of sympathy…

  2. Charlie says:

    Thanks, Phillipia — that’s much appreciated.

    And fortunately, I did manage to feel a bit better, and get a little sympathy. The trick seems to be learning to keep both my ends shut.

    I may have overshared again. Sorry.

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