Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Looking forward to a sick day

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published February 1, 2006

I got one of those calls the other day.

You know, the “school-nurse-with-the-chipper-voice” call.

“I’m calling about Julia,” she said. “She has a fever and needs to go home.”

So Julia came home. It was just a low-grade fever, so it wasn’t anything life-threatening. I gave her some Tylenol and orange juice (the proper Mom thing to do) and she settled in at the computer to play games.

It got me thinking about the glory of staying home sick from school when I was a kid.

As long as I wasn’t too sick, I rather enjoyed a day off once in a while.

But sick days were not easy to come by. My mother was a teacher and didn’t put up with much whining about wanting to stay home.

But my brother and I had two potential trump cards. If we could throw up, or somehow convince my mom that we had pink eye, we had a free ticket to a day of lying around and watching TV.

There were some self-imposed ground rules. We had to remember to not have too much fun. And we had to produce a cough within Mom’s earshot every once in a while.

If I actually did throw up, my mom made me drink 7-Up. I’m not sure why. All I know is that to this day, I can’t stand 7-Up. It makes me feel like I’ve just thrown up.

7-Up notwithstanding, I kinda miss those days. For moms, convalescing in peace is a thing of the past. Fever? Aches? Major organs rupturing? It doesn’t matter. Moms can’t take days off.

Except for when we give birth. When I was in the hospital after having each of my children, I was in no hurry to leave. Why? Because I had a room all to myself. That had a bed in it. With really cool controls. And a TV and a remote. Not to mention the nurses who brought me food when I was hungry and took my baby away when I wanted to sleep. Those same nurses had access to morphine, Vicodin, and other yummy hallucinogens.

My only job was pretty much to stay in bed. Believe me, I’ve had worse days. Julia knows how to enjoy a day off, too. She spent her sick day eating Hello Kitty Pop-Tarts and playing “Zoo Tycoon 2,” a game where you get to build and manage your own zoo. (She’s particularly fond of letting the tigers out of their cage so they can chase down terrified zoo visitors. Then this alert flashes across the screen: “ZOO GUEST 32 HAS JUST BEEN EATEN.”)

That night, we gave Julia more Tylenol, tucked her into bed and let her fall asleep to an Enya CD. I have a feeling she’s had worse days, too.

I have big plans for when both our children have grown up. I’m going to drop the youngest one off at a college campus somewhere, come home, get in bed with a bowl of chicken soup and watch trashy talk shows for days. Whether I’m sick or not.

I will have earned it by then.


  • At Wed Feb 01, 06:48:00 AM, Blogger elizabeth said…

    My mother was a school nurse, so we didn't have the luxury of faking anything!

    This is probably why my brother didn't miss a single day of school until he went to look at a college his senior year of high school!

  • At Wed Feb 01, 06:49:00 AM, Blogger stuckinthe80s said…

    You let your child listen to Enya?!?!? And I'm with you on the 7-up deal -- I can't drink it without having flashbacks to late night worship services at the Porcelain Altar of 'Earl!'

  • At Wed Feb 01, 06:51:00 AM, Blogger mike the eyeguy said…


    You probably figured this out, but if you rub your eye hard enough, you can produce a pretty convincing case of the dreaded, "pink eye." If you're lucky, you might get a little subconjunctival hemorrhage to boot, which looks really nasty.

    By the way, I'm a guy and I enjoy your blog, but please don't tell anyone. My wife is a "Target-a-holic" in denial, so those really hit home. Keep up the good work and remember the hot tip about pink eye if you get in a jam and really need a day off.

  • At Wed Feb 01, 07:17:00 AM, Blogger janjanmom said…

    I too have big plans for when my children are grown, but mine involves a big cruise ship. I will fake cry my way through the college drop-off day and my husband and I will go directly from there to the airport. I am saving for both already!! I don't really even care where we go.

  • At Wed Feb 01, 07:38:00 AM, Blogger Alissa said…

    (You don't know me, but I found you through Jacinda.)

    Since I made pretty good grades in school, my mom would let me "skip" and play sick sometimes. Since I was in love with school while I was young and wouldn't miss a day on purpose until I got into high school, I really didn't have her home taking care of me. That would have been great!

    I don't have a problem with 7-up, but I can't stand Dimetap or any thing with a "fake" grape taste, suckers, grape soda, hard candy, pixie sticks, for the reason that it tastes like medicine and makes me think of having a sore throat and cough.

    My 5 year old loves Zoo Tycoon (we have the complete collection (with the marine mania and dinosaur digs) and his favorite thing to do is get some big carnivorous dinosaur, get them really mad, and then set them loose! He loves to hear the people scream! LOL

  • At Wed Feb 01, 07:54:00 AM, Blogger Brian said…

    Yeah, I never understood the 7 up thing either.

    Even after I moved out of the house, I would drink 7 Up whenever I got sick.

    When I gave up sugar, I continued to drink diet 7 Up during those times.

    A co-worker told me she drinks 7 Up when she's sick, and she swears on it....

  • At Wed Feb 01, 07:57:00 AM, Blogger songbirdintl said…

    My mom was a teacher and she didn't let us get away with anything! I remember throwing up one morning and she STILL made me go! I didn't miss any school until high school either. I guess it has given me a good work ethic, though.

    Your blogs are hilarious! Thanks for lightening my day!

  • At Wed Feb 01, 09:31:00 AM, Blogger Chad said…

    Ferris Bueller's Day Off resonates with this post. How many times have any of us faked being sick with hopes of a glorious day?

  • At Wed Feb 01, 09:49:00 AM, Blogger Heather said…

    Okay, I'm going to have to go hunt down this zoo tycoon thing! I girls would go nuts for it.

    As far as the day off. . . well, I occasionally "force" Andy to take a day (or two) off and be a SAHD while I go visit a friend and pretend I'm free. Does wonders for the psyche.

  • At Wed Feb 01, 10:15:00 AM, Blogger That Girl said…

    One of my friends told me that if you held your breath with the thermometer in your mouth, you could make your temperature go up... never worked with me but I tried it MANY times.

  • At Wed Feb 01, 10:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Another teacher's kid here. My dad preached until I was 9 and he would stay home with us - he was a pushover. Alas, those days were over too soon. If mom had to take off, you had to "prove" how sick you were. I have my kids drink Sprite when they are sick. I have no idea why, but I do.


  • At Wed Feb 01, 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Hoots Musings said…

    My mom was a nurse and we could not stay home period!

    With that being said, when I had my kids my rule was, if you have any fluid oozing out of your orfices then you can stay home.

    I know that's gross, but it worked!

  • At Wed Feb 01, 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Hoots Musings said…

    My mom was a nurse and we could not stay home period!

    With that being said, when I had my kids my rule was, if you have any fluid oozing out of your orfices then you can stay home.

    I know that's gross, but it worked!

  • At Wed Feb 01, 11:44:00 AM, Blogger acu_20 said…

    The worst was when I was sick in college and all I had was CHERRY 7-up. Ended up throwing up, and pink all over is not a good sight.

  • At Wed Feb 01, 01:30:00 PM, Blogger "Snapshot" said…

    My youngest longs to stay home from school. One day he said he was too sick to go to school, so I let him stay home with a few rules. No TV, no games and he had to stay on his bed. He would read all he wanted (he hates to read). About 9:15 he decided he didn't feel to bad after all.
    If they are really sick, it is a different story.
    ENYA! Amarantine is playing right now!

  • At Wed Feb 01, 03:38:00 PM, Blogger sarahdawn said…

    I've had a migraine since about 6pm last night. I'd say a real sick day sounds amazing right now. If it weren't for the pain I know I'll be in immediately prior to it, I would be looking forward to the upcoming post-partum stay at the hospital too!

  • At Thu Feb 02, 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Jana said…

    I am SOOOOOOOO with you on the giving birth thing. Our insurance company would have allowed me another night in the hospital but for some INSANE reason I decided to come home early. Having the nurses wait on you hand-and-foot is THE LIFE.


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