“Mama!” The sound of the word hits my frontal lobe like a sledgehammer drumming into fine china. I slowly turn my head towards the small child who is standing over me with snot hanging precariously from her left nostril.
I can see that the substance is about to leave the smooth surface of the girls upper lip and drip directly onto my forehead…Yet I make no move to save myself.
Instead, I will just let it happen.
Sophie has been deemed sick with an upper respiratory infection called Croup.
I was informed it would most likely heal itself, so here we are at home waiting for this thing to hit the road.
But while we have been patiently waiting, I have managed to come down with a cold.
Stuffy head, snotty nose, sore throat; the whole shebang. Maybe it is an offset of this Croup thing, I can’t be sure though since I cannot summon myself off the couch to Google whether or not adults can catch it.
I’m pretty sure it is a common cold, which brings me to my next query…
How is it that I — a 28-year-old woman who has endured pneumonia, invasive procedures not to mention many a flu bug — is handling this cold so much worse than my fragile little human being who has only been on this earth for three short years and come down with this fairly serious respiratory infection?
There she is playing with Barbie on the futon mattress that I have heaved up from the basement.
The pure energy that exudes from her astounds me. She laughs wildly as ken doll falls head over teakettle off the makeshift cliff that has been constructed out of deconstructed cardboard boxes.
The only hint of her sickness is the glazed over look in her eye, and the occasional barking cough.
She is not bed-ridden. She is not fevered.
And she is not shivering from cold sweats.
All things that are boundlessly peppering me as of this very moment.
Twenty minutes ago I felt as though I was going to keel over and die. Ten minutes ago I found myself lying on the couch wondering what it in fact felt like to die…Maybe I thought, I am going through the motions right here and now. I am dying.
This is something I was actually considering as I ignored the thin liquid that dribbled out of my nose and into the corner of my mouth.
Now, I swap between a heavy blanket and nothing at all covering me…The deciding factor you ask? Well that would be whether or not I am sweating due to the extreme heat wave that has struck down upon this house or the sudden shakes from the fever chills I am experiencing intermittently.
And currently as the girl’s slimy trail of mucus lands on my brow, I look into those eyes that hover over me. “Mama!”
She says the words again — and again I wonder why she is able to function so easily when I am just surviving in this plague-ridden influenza hell right now. My head begins to pound which tells me I am due for another round of Advil Cold & Flu.
I don’t want to answer her, but I know that eventually I must; or else deal with the horrific yelps of an unattended three year old.
“Yes Sophie?” I manage to whisper at the child while wiping away all of the phlegm that has accumulated on and around my face from various origins.
The little girl begins to place her hand on my forehead, reminiscent of the way I usually check her temperature.
She then starts stroking my hair in soothing circular movements.
For a moment I forget it is my kid lulling me into this calm and close my eyes to give in to the niceness of it all. It is then when she says to me, “Mama, you look SICK!”
“Yeah I don’t feel good babe. How are you feeling?” I ask still attempting to be a good and attentive mother.
“Mama you no worry ‘bout me. You way worse.” She says in her endearing three-year-old inflection.
And maybe it was an overdose of Advil, or the butt-kicking cold, plausibly it was all of the snot — but I immediately start to bawl.
“No Sophie, you are the one who is sick! I’m not sick- you are!”
I know it is time to give in and just let the illness take over when the girl says to me, “Mama, you look like ‘sit’ go to sleep.”
“Yeah babe,” I reply between snivels, “I feel like ‘sit’ I think I will take your advice on this one.”
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist