January 13, 2010

Family’s the best medicine

Posted in Between Us column, Diversity, Health, Relationships at 9:22 pm by dinaheng

There are no guarantees in life. No matter how well you plan, things don’t always go the way you want. So when life gives you the flu, think healthy thoughts…

Right. As if your brain can focus at 2 a.m. when you’ve been coughing for the last four hours and have been unable to fall asleep. I keep thinking that the Great Biologist must have had a reason for designing the human body the way it is.

Our physiology is so amazing. We never realize how easy it is to breathe… until we can’t. Or how wonderful it is to taste different foods… until your taste buds take a vacation and the only thing you can taste is cherry cough syrup.

The worst thing about being sick, to me, is the disruption to planned activities, and being socially isolated. Since you don’t want to spread your germs and make others sick, you have to stay away from other people.

So I canceled a flight back to Los Angeles, and stayed a few extra days at my parents’ house. It makes a world of difference being able to recover at home with family.

For the most part, I confined myself to the guest bedroom and bathroom, but now and then, when I couldn’t stay in bed another minute, I got up and sat in the living room or kitchen.

My eyes were too tired to read, so I’d join my mother in front of the TV for some company and zone out to the voices on “The Price Is Right” or “General Hospital,” her daytime programming of choice.

I’m sorry, but Drew Carey is no Bob Barker. I’m starting to get into the whole crazy Franco’s trying to bait Jason by kidnapping Lulu and Samantha while Sonny goes through angst about being a criminal and a good father thing, but what does this all have to do with a hospital show?

My father, bless his heart, never knows what to say when people are sick. So today, after asking if I’ve taken my medicine, he adds, “Do you need any clothes? There are sales going on in the stores.”

No, Dad, I don’t need any new clothes. Well, I probably do, but I until I can fit into more of the old ones, I refuse to buy new ones that will just take up more closet space.  Must be a guy thing — when you’re trying to show concern about a woman’s welfare, ask if you can buy her some new clothes.

The best thing about being sick is you’re forced to do absolutely nothing. You don’t have to answer every e-mail immediately. You don’t have to talk to anybody. You don’t even have to answer the phone.

The other day, my nephew Mark, who’s learning to talk, decided to answer the phone when I didn’t move to pick it up. I let him babble on and on, thinking my mom had picked up on another line. When Mark finally was done talking, he hung up.  I asked him who he had been talking to.

“Bak-bak,” he said, Chinese for “a man.”

When I asked my mother who called, she said she picked up the phone and heard Mark babbling to a telemarketer from AT&T, so she just hung up.

“I figured Mark could handle it,” she said.

Family is always the best medicine.

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