No, this post is for those caring for spouses and children who are suffering from those pesky illnesses that befall us all at one time or another, the flu or measles or short-term injury, that kind of thing.
What brought this topic to mind was the fact that I had the flu a few weeks ago and it laid me low for practically the whole month. And might I add, I HAD A FLU SHOT!!! So you can imagine my anger and dismay that despite getting the shot, I still got the flu. And now I have something wrong with my knee, so I hobbling around, icing it, elevating it and generally feeling bad about it.
Because I am rarely sick, I am not a very good patient. But then I don't really have a very good "nurse," either. Hubby works at home so you would think he would check in on me from time to time, but that wasn't the case when I had the flu.
So I thought I would share some tips for making your mother, father or spouse a better caregiver when you or a loved one has the flu or shingles or food poisoning or a bum knee.
My Mom was a stay-at-home Mom and when I was sick as a little girl, my Mom would provide me with a bell to ring if I needed anything. She collected bells so it made me feel better to choose a pretty bell to have by my bed to ring if I needed her.
So naturally when I had my own children, I wanted to do the same thing. However, some things don't translate well. I tried it the first time when my son was about five or six. He was in bed sick and I stayed home from work to care for him. I gave him the bell. He rang the bell. I went to see what he wanted. Glass of water? Sure. Ten minutes later. Ring, ring. Some toast? Sure. Ten minutes later. Ring, ring. Another blanket? Ten minutes later, ring, ring. He couldn't remember why he rang the bell. Not 60 minutes into giving him that damn bell, I was grabbing it out of his hand saying, "Gimme that!" So much for my good intentions. My mother was either a paragon of patience or I was a very responsible little girl about the bell or the image of my mother grabbing the bell out of my hand saying, "Gimme that!" has faded from memory. But of course, I realized later it wasn't the bell so much as his being lonely in his room all by himself.
So Tip #1.
Try the bell, but be prepared for your own unexpected response to repeated bell ringing. However, you might be a better mother (or spouse) than I.
As I said, I am just recuperating from the flu and I felt like crap for almost two weeks. As I lay in bed in agony, I would call down to Hubby in a pitiful little squeak of a voice, "Hubby, would you please take my temperature?"
Now I know I am perfectly capable of taking my own temperature, but if you can't get a little special attention when you are sick, when can you get it (remember the bell)? So Hubby dutifully took my temperature. As I said, I felt terrible, beads of perspiration were forming on my brow, I was kicking off the sheets I was so hot and Hubby said..."Your temperature is slightly elevated...101.8! You'll be fine." WHAAAT!?? 101.8?!! SLIGHTLY ELEVATED!??? Speaking of kicking the sheets, I was about ready to kick Hubby! So that leads me to Tip #2.
Do not make light of the suffering of your loved ones, even if you think they are milking it for all it's worth.
The right response to Temperature-Gate was for Hubby to say, "OMG your temperature is 101.8! You are burning up. No wonder you feel so bad. Let me fluff your pillows. Let me get you a wet cloth for your fevered brow. Would you like me to rub your feet? Can I get you anything?" That is the correct response.
NOTE: That is NOT the correct response if the sufferer is under the age of 18. A response like that to children would probably scare them, so as usual, in the interest of avoiding tears and hysterics, best to lie to the children and say something like, "Your temperature is slightly elevated...but you will be fine."
As I said, I am rarely sick and when I am, I am probably not as stoic as I should be for a woman of a certain age. The main reason is that I went to the Christian Science Sunday School from the age of 5 until I was 18 and complaining about how bad you feel and expecting sympathy is not part of the plan.
I came from a mixed marriage. My Dad was a Christian Scientist and my Mother was a Lutheran. I think I was originally going to the Lutheran church, but when my Dad became a Reader at the Christian Science Church, my mother thought it looked bad if the kids were going to the Lutheran church so we all switched over. I learned about the vaccination issue early because I had Christian Scientist friends who got the waver to not be vaccinated at school (remember those mass vaccinations at school?) I thought, here's one good reason to go to church. No shots! No such luck. My Dad respected the fact that my mother was not a Christian Scientist, so we were all duly vaccinated.
But that's not to say the Christian Science did not rub off on my mother.
We had absolutely no medicine of any kind in the house except aspirin (my mother would get headaches). We didn't even have band aids most of the time, but when we did, it was always those plain cloth kind. I used to beg my mother to get the cool band aids with the Flintstones on them, but I guess that was seen as somehow glorifying my injuries.
If I would complain about aches or pains to my Mother, she would say, "Oh, you're fine." So when I did actually get something like the measles, it was almost a treat, because then I would get the royal treatment: that lovely little bell to summon my mother, toast cut into "fairy strips," a glass of ginger ale for my tummy and watching TV all day. When I had the measles, my Mother made me wear sunglasses when I was watching TV because there was some indication you could go blind from the measles if you watched TV. That didn't stop me!
But the best thing about being sick was my Dad would come up to see me when he got off work and he would sit on the edge of my bed and say, "What's this I hear about you not feeling good?" Then he would give me a "treatment." That's Christian Science talk for getting rid of "error," or sickness and disease by giving it over to God, which was just basically reminding me about the power of positive thinking and that I wasn't really sick. I wasn't so sure about all of that, but the main thing I liked about it was having my Dad all to myself, talking to me about grownup things and being very loving. And you know what? I would feel better.
It also didn't hurt that he would also ask me what would make me feel better, and in my most pathetic little voice I would murmur, "A malted milk shake." And off he would go to the local ice cream shop to buy me a malted milk shake (also known in the Midwest as a chocolate malt). Then I felt a LOT better!
So Tip #3: It's all about love and attention. In our hectic world, we sometimes forget to do that. Here's your chance to show your loved ones that you really care. Sure, it's a pain in the neck to run up and down stairs with food and drink. Sure, it's a pain to disrupt your routine to take care of someone else. And that godawful bell, but isn't that what love is all about?
And one more thing about Christian Science. I can't tell you how many times people would say to me after finding out that I went to the Christian Science church, "Oh, you are the people who don't believe in doctors." And that would be grownups saying this to me when I was 8 or 9. What do you say to something like that? Just imagine someone saying something like that today to an Orthodox Jewish person such as "Oh you are the people who don't believe in eating pork." Anyway, the whole doctor thing is a bit of misinformation anyway. I would just say, "Oh we believe in doctors. We know they exist. We just don't need them."
The older I get the more I realize what a good mother I had.
We didn't like each other so much when I became a teenager, but as a little girl, she was very attentive. When I would throw up all over my bed in the middle of the night, she would come in, change the bed and only say "Ish" once.
So Tip #4. Don't make your loved ones feel bad if they throw up all over their beds. They can't help it (and don't say "Ish" more than once).
Well, we are probably mostly out of flu season now but with all of those people not vaccinating their kids, who knows what illnesses you will have to deal with (and it's not the fault of the Christian Scientists - they didn't start that whole furor over vaccines causing autism).
So when you hear a little sniffle or a bit of a cough or some whining from your loved ones, plan to give them a little extra TLC. That, more than anything, goes a long way in helping them get well.
Do you have tips for caring for a sick loved one?
Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday
when I will be reviewing
as well as some
DVD's to see or avoid
and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
I Die Project."
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer