The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Season’s wheezings

Jean Gillette is healthy and still enjoying the holidays. Here is a column from 2006.

This column is for everyone who is laying there feeling like death on a cracker, or is tending to someone who does, as the holiday marches past you.

I speak for all of us who, instead of bounding from Christmas party to fudge-making, from stocking stuffing to egg-nog toasting, are instead crawling from bed to medicine cabinet and back again. There are legions of us out there who have spent the last week or more tending sick children instead of Christmas shopping, getting the tree up and doing those 1,001 last minute things that must always be done this time of year. Now, prior to hosting the in-laws for Christmas dinner, you are hosting the next generation of virus that made your child miss his class holiday party and songfest.

You aren’t dying. You just rather wish you would, so you could finally quit gagging, hacking, wheezing, sniffling, snorting, blowing and trying to find any position to sleep in where you only cough once every 60 seconds. In fact, most of us aren’t even trying to find a comfortable way to sleep. Sleep is our fondest wish, but there is no sleep in our near future, flu or no flu.

If you don’t drag your aching bones down to the closet where all the gifts are hidden, pull them out, sort them and wrap them, there will be no you-know-who on you-know-when. There will be no holiday to speak of at all, which right now would suit you just fine. You realize, however, that the grief you would get from dropping the ball (or is that dropping the ornament) would last until this time next year.

So with bleary eyes and dripping nose, swigging cough syrup straight from the bottle, you stuff the turkey and shove it in the oven, plug in the lights, bake those cookies, hang that mistletoe and fill those stockings. You stagger around trying to feel festive, but can’t smell a hint of the pin or peppermint. You haven’t drawn a breath through your nose in four days. The once-delicious odors might just add to your nausea anyway.

You’d love to enjoy the holiday carols, but can’t really hear much with Eustachian tubes jammed shut since last Sunday. Singing is out, of course, as you lost your voice on Tuesday. The trick is getting your children to look at you when you are yelling with your hands.

Take heart. Be brave. You only need to push on until about noon on Dec. 25. You can then collapse with a clear conscience for a while, at least. But the final anti-viral shot will be the knowledge that the kids will be home for another 11 days and have already begun dismantling the new CD player.

Health by necessity is on the way.

Gillette is a freelance writer and germ-dodging mom. You can contact her at [email protected]