Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sick and Tired

My daughter has now been sick for over two weeks. Week one was pretty typical kid-stuff: head cold, coughs, runny nose. Then, just as I thought she was over it, week two brought high fevers and more phlegm than any one person--especially one who has only achieved the tender age of four--could possibly produce. For the first time, I was forced to keep her home from her school for an entire week. This meant, of course, that she spent a lot of time on campus with me, in my office, or bumming around spreading germs on my colleague's desks. Even after her fevers receded, the congestion lingered on, and the last two days have been devoted almost entirely to puking up (her) and cleaning up (me) great greasy strings of a slimy substance that must have originated in her sinus cavities, but has since migrated to her stomach, where it appears to have been plotting its foray into films with names like "Slimed! It Ate Manhattan!" or "Slimed II! It Ate Russia!" or "Slimed VI! Beyond the Galaxy!"

Last night's expectorations required two complete changes of bedding, all the more irritating for my having gotten the bright idea, earlier in the day, to wash all the germy bedding and towels that were lying around. Thank the good lord and the sweet baby jesus that I happen to have inherited my mother's obsession with multiple sheets sets.

Today's coughing fits disgorged something new--pale orange slime, equally dense and malodorous, but attractively tinted by the Chee-Tos I purchased in a moment of catastrophic misjudgment and a last-ditch effort to get my child to EAT something. Anything. Please.

I am going to take her back to her school tomorrow if I have to sacrifice one of my own pets to persuade the gods not to strike me dead as the evil, selfish mother that I am.

The "tired" heading has less to do with the exhaustion brought on by 11 loads of laundry in two days than with a general discontentment and malaise that I am sure mark stage 119c of the "grief process." In my case, I am tired of my life. The job that I worked so hard to get (and which is, to be sure, an outstanding position at a very fine university with amazingly terrific colleagues) feels like an onerous burden. I am disillusioned with my students, but even more discouraged by my inability to muster much enthusiasm for my classes or my work. It feels as though this job--and my whole professorial career--was an ideal fit with the (married) life I had planned to live. I still like what I do, but the job simply cannot make up for everything else that has been lost.

These are aimless musings; I have no intention of giving up my job, or of following up on that query I sent to the Peace Corps about positions in Ghana.
At least, not yet.

But I do need to find something to get interested in, for the rest of my life.

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At 6:39 AM , Blogger Snickollet said...

Ugh. Sorry the kid is sick. Your tale of multiple bedding changes reminds me that I need to invest in more sheets for the twins' cribs as we head into illness season. I only have one backup set per kid.

As usual, you articulate so much of what I'm feeling as the grief goes on. I, too, feel discontented with life and have entertained thoughts of just moving to the other side of the world for a change of scene and a fresh start. Things were all set for me and John, too: jobs we liked near each other and near home, a home we loved, the twins. Now it all just reminds me of what I don't have rather than what I do.

Hope the girl feels better soon and that you escape the plague.

At 9:54 AM , Blogger Julia said...

I don't have much except "I am sorry." Sorry the girl is sick, sorry the laundry is neverending, sorry the job is a blah. But most of all, for the upteenth time, sorry your husband is gone, sorry the grief process has 119+ stages. I am discovering many of them too...

At 2:45 PM , Blogger Yankee T said...

What Julia said. Plus hugs.

At 7:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only speak to the illness of the child, it'll mend and the slime-time will be a memory until the next time...on the grief same as what YT said, hope the "ether-hugs" help.


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