June 10, 2011

Taking a sick day…

Posted in Between Us column, Health, Women at 2:43 am by dinaheng

It’s no fun being sick, but if you have to suffer through an illness, sometimes it’s nice to have company.

I’m dealing with post-concussion symptoms from a head injury. My nephew Mark, who’s out of school because of a cough, came over to Grandma’s house to play with me.

After waking me up, the ever-energetic six-year-old followed me to the bathroom, where I brushed my teeth and washed my face. When I jumped in the shower, he tapped on the shower curtain, to remind me that he was still there, so I had to play the knock-knock game.

As I showered, he’d tap on the curtain, and I’d ask, “Who’s there? Is it Superman?… Is it Batman?… Is it Green Lantern?” He, of course, would giggle and say no. I went through every superhero my brain could remember, then moved on to the characters in The Wiggles, his favorite rock band. By the time I finished showering, he was ready to play with his Matchbox cars.

It never ceases to amaze me how children — unless they’re seriously ill — can be sick and continue playing until day’s end. Having fun is the focus of their lives, and nothing interferes with that, except uncooperative adults.

Sitting on the floor with Mark, I started pushing race cars toward him. He’d catch them, send them back to me, and giggle each time one car would crash into another. Our game was interrupted when a neighbor came over with a cake and asked to take Grandma and Mark down the street to visit another friend for a while.

Mark agreed to go — field trip! — as long as I promised to stay at Grandma’s house and not go anywhere without him. As they left, I headed for the computer to check e-mail and take a swig of Pepto Bismol.

Before long, Mark was back. He had ditched Grandma and her friends in favor of playing with Auntie Dinah. Now I know what the popular girls felt like in high school. Wherever I went in the house, Mark would dutifully follow.

After watching me type on the computer for a few minutes, he lay down on the bed, patiently waiting for me to finish so that we could play again. E-mails done, I led him back to the family room and set up a game of toss the soft balls into an empty box. I’m proud to say I tied him for tournament honors.

After giving him some cough medicine, I felt the need to lie down on the couch. Mark snuggled up against me, staying quiet for five minutes. When I declined to get up immediately, he moved over to the next couch and watched TV with Grandma while I dozed.

So the day went… a little bit of play, a little bit of rest. As sick days go, it wasn’t bad. Work may be the focus of our days as adults, but getting sick is a good reminder to schedule more of what’s important in life.

More play dates!



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