Well, kids, I’m sick. I have been sick since Saturday, and there haven’t been many waking hours during that time. When I’m awake, I’m kind of vaguely nauseous, or vaguely hungry, but deathly afraid of putting anything in my mouth for fear of retribution. Inevitably, when I’m sick like this, I think back to being pregnant with Mini, when I was sick like this–worse than this–for the first 19 weeks, day in, day out. 24-hour sickness. The only time I didn’t feel sick was when I was asleep, but then I would wake up and have the opposite feeling of “Oh it was just a dream!”–whatever you would call a sensation like that. Like I would wake up and say, “Oh, the sickness wasn’t just a dream. Blast.”
I remember wanting to die, that’s how sick I was. Sure, it seems melodramatic now, but the thing with the flu is that you know it’s going to last a week or whatever and then you’ll get better. You have to realize what a key factor that is in allowing you to get better: hope. With morning sickness, I had no hope. I also was not sure what I was getting into. I had heard all the hype, but nobody could guarantee to me that I would become a mother and then look back on the horror of early pregnancy and be able to say that it was worth it. I was dubious. And sick.
Here is how I would spend my days: taking long showers, well, sitting on the floor of the shower and moping, mostly; eating (occasionally) Chicken McNuggets or the one alotted tuna sandwich per week I was allowed, if I could keep anything down; trying to think of entrepreneurial ideas for making morning sickness more bearable–create a business that sells a deck of cards with activities designed to help victims of hyperemesis gravidarum have a “plan” each day to distract them from the nausea, even if that plan was just to go to the video store or walk down the street. I would read the few books out there that deal with hyperemesis, hoping for some kind of clue, suck on those sick lollipop thingys (don’t really work, no), take anti-nausea pills that cost like $10 each and do a number on your digestive system, and work on my stupid dissertation (yes, this was back when I was still PBTing through the ABD period).
When you’re not sick, your health is so far from your mind that you really don’t want to hear about it. I learned this during my morning sickness period. People are like, “Oh, you’re sick, that’s too bad,” but that’s not really enough to get you through the rest of the day. Not that you know what you want other people to do anyway. But time slows down and you agonize through every little thing, living becomes a burden and an annoyance, and you get mad at yourself for your attitude even while you are thinking about these things. It makes you admire, once again, the people who go through terrible illnesses determined to stay positive and engaged with life, up until the very end. I learned during my hyperemesis that I am not one of these people, and that there is a limit to my fortitude, which makes me all the more inspired by the people I have known who were sick and still made everyone’s day a little bit brighter right up until the very end.
So I guess what I’m saying is I can handle being sick for a few days, since it’s nothing compared to what I had to go through before. And particularly when I see the little man unwittingly responsible for all that suffering, eating Chicken McNuggets (coincidence that he loves these things, I don’t think so) at the Laker game with his daddy and smiling for the camera to send a picture home for Mommy.
It was a bitch. But yeah, it was worth it, a million times over.