Friday, September 21, 2007

in sickness and in health

It's been brought to my attention in recent years that I'm a very healthy person.

I don't think I fully realized that before. I mean, I've never broken a bone, and I don't have any chronic illnesses, and I very rarely go (0r need to go -- an important distinction there) to the doctor, but I never realized that some people are different.

When I am at the doctor -- generally for some sort of annual womanly examination (yuk) -- the doc asks what medications I'm on. And doesn't seem to believe me when I say, none. An aspirin maybe a few times a year. Tums once in a rare while? And a cup of coffee a day. :) I wonder how many people are on some sort of medication all the time. I'm not trying to make that into a bad thing. People should take what they need to take. But this recent story about all the stuff (including caffeine, in fairness) scientists found when they tested certain cities' sewer water made me think.

When I worked in the sports department(s), I kind of wasn't allowed to be sick. Too much to do. I did stay home with the flu one day when I worked in Germany, and felt horribly guilty for doing so. And when I was on the overnight shift, there was no one else to do the work, unless my boss (who worked the 3 to midnight shift) stayed and pulled a double. Ugh. It all paid off, I suppose, when I had enough sick leave saved up to take three months of paid maternity leave with Lizzy. And things aren't nearly so dire now that I work in the features department, which is great. I call in sick now and then, but it's always because I have to stay home with a sick little girl.

For another example, take Matt and me today. Last night, on our drive home, I said, "I think I'm getting a cold. I feel that yukky tickle in the back of my throat." Matt gave me a shocked look, and said, "Me, too! I am, too!" We both proceeded to feel worse as the evening progressed. I think we both went to bed fairly early, and got pretty near eight hours' sleep. Unusual.

This morning, my throat still feels kinda cruddy, but minorly so. It's not on fire, or painful to swallow, or anything. Matt, on the other hand, was going to call in sick until Lizzy and I were about to head out the door, at which time he sprang from the bed, showered and got ready in about 10 minutes. (why can't he be that fast every morning?) He snoozed in the car and sounded pretty sick when he called me on the phone a few minutes ago.

It must be the same cold germ, as we caught it at the same time. I'm mystified by our different reactions to it. And grateful for my own good health. I don't take much credit for it, though. I don't think I'm any stellar example of good living these days. Neither bad nor good, really.

Sometimes, we're just blessed, I guess. And sometimes we're not. I'll spare you the little, everyday ways in which my body could be more efficient. (an increasing number of foods that leave me with a horrible stomach ache, for instance.) Perhaps we all have our ups and downs. Still, I feel better off than most, and I am properly grateful.


  1. Ha! The same thing happens with me and Sam . . . is it a gender difference? When we both get sick, I feel like I'm coming down with something one day, go to bed early, and wake up feeling like it's mostly behind me. He will be sick for several days, then recovering for a week.

    One thing I suspect IS a gender difference: On the rare occasions when I'm sick (e.g., recent morning sickness), I just want to be left alone in my misery, like a cat, in contrast to the alternate (male?) "I'm so sick . . . can you hand me my juice . . . it's way over there . . . can you rub my back?"

  2. HA! HA! That's funny, Tara. You're so right! I resist gender stereotyping, but darned if a lot of generalities don't seem to fall along those lines.
    I hope the morning sickness phase passes soon, by the way. Yuk.

  3. kate - what's your secret to health?? a cup o' joe each day :)

    what about a glass of red wine?? ;)

    (ok yeah truthfully - we guys can be big baby's.)

  4. random question. did you eat a lot of vegetables as a child?

    I have good immunity also, and I have this totally unscientific theory that it has to do with having had good nutrition in childhood.

    I also think it has to do with not suppressing emotional stuff, which would explain the gender difference, but I'm a psych major, so you'll have to excuse me.

  5. Rain: Why, yes, yes, I was subjected to vegetables on a regular basis (every night at dinner) as a child! My parents weren't strict meat and potatoes folks, per se, but they definitely served up a well-rounded meal with vegetables almost every time. And a diverse crop of them.
    I share your unscientific theory. I'm not quite sure why that hasn't translated into ensuring that my own daughter gets veggies at every dinnertime. Laziness? I hate to admit it, but it's probably true.
    Thanks for commenting!
    The emotional theory also makes a lot of sense. I've been generally pretty blessed to not have much to suppress, as well.
    And, I forgot to mention -- I eat one nice golden delicious Washington state-grown apple a day. :)