I’m not a very good sick person. You see I’m not really used to being sick. I usually get a cold each year, but it’s never anything too serious, and in my working life I have rarely taken more than a day or two of sick leave per year.
I’ve been in Colombia for six and a half months now and I’m sick for the third time. And not just with a runny nose or a headache. I’m talking fever, nausea, sweats, body aches, incredible weakness and a hacking cough like I might just be about to spit up a lung or a windpipe. I’ve been told that it’s a virus going around, but I’m not sure why it needs to pick on me for the third time since arriving here.
I have spent the last two days in bed in our sauna of a room being a demanding patient. I whimper at night because I’m over-tired but can’t sleep and feel distressed. I send mi novio out to buy me sueros, which are electrolyte drinks to combat dehydration, lemonade and make endless trips to the fridge at all hours of the day and night to bring me water which I gulp down greedily. I look and feel miserable and demand massages for my aching body and hugs for comfort. As a normal person looking at my behaviour I’m horrified, but I wonder if my amazing novio was less attentive and patient, would I still be acting like a big baby?
Thinking back to my childhood experiences of being sick, mostly with asthma that kept me on the couch instead of at school, and at one time had me in hospital at age seven, I was probably the same. Whenever I was sick and had difficulty breathing I would start to get distressed and sooky and cry to Mum to give me hugs. She would tell me not to get so worked up and would rub my back soothingly. In short, she would give me attention.
Now I’m here on the other side of the world, I can’t get one of Mum’s all-curing hugs and back rubs, but I have a doting novio who is prepared to do whatever he can to help me feel better. He even tells me that I look beautiful while feverish and sweaty with hair sticking to my face. Is that what they call pure love?
I’m on the mend now, thank goodness, which is why I can sit up to type this instead of slumping in the bed like an invertebrate with my eyes closing from weariness every five minutes. I just want to know why Colombia is making me so sick, and if I’ll always be an attention seeking sook when I get sick.
What’s the most demanding thing you’ve asked for when you’ve been sick?