Cape Gazette
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A Big Pill

By Elise Seyfried | Nov 05, 2013
Photo by: Tom Cunningham Baby sister Carolyn

I did something to my arm about four weeks ago, and it’s killing me. It feels like pinched nerves; I can barely lift it without intense pain. It has interrupted my sleep, and makes it hard to type at work. If this keeps up, I tell you, I’ll have to go to the doctor within the year! Meanwhile I struggle wincingly through my routine, willing this whatever-it-is to go away on its own.

I don’t do the whole injury and illness thing well. It’s a good thing I rarely get sick. In the past 29 years I’ve had pneumonia once, had maybe two stomach bugs and one bout of the flu. I think, given my house full of children, that’s a remarkable track record. 99% of the time, I’ve been able to soothe fevered brows and clean up from upset tummies without catching anything myself. Even when the entire household comes down with the same disease, I remain the last mom standing, as it were.

As a little girl, I was usually fit as a fiddle. My sisters, on the other hand, got everything that came down the pike. C had the mumps as a baby, all on one side of her neck. She was just learning to stand up, and I recall seeing her hoist herself up in her playpen—and promptly fall over on her swollen side. And poor Mo! Perpetually plagued with one thing or another, all her life. Maureen was such a sweet, motherly child that, in school, she was always the one who helped the kid who’d just vomited. Of course, she would promptly catch whatever that kid had, and be twice as sick.

Through childhood I breezed, with nary a broken bone or serious fall. My secret? The bare minimum of exercise. One would be hard pressed to sprain anything while sprawled on the sofa watching Petticoat Junction.

Nowadays, on the rare occasions when I do get hurt or become ill, I am the most impatient of patients, a giant pain when in pain. I insist on maintaining my daily schedule at all costs, stubbornly shooing away all offers of help. No, I don’t want any damn ginger ale! Give me the car keys! I’m going to work! And do NOT suggest I take medicine! Apart from the two pills I must take daily for my mental well-being, I refuse any and all cold remedies, temperature reducers and stomach settlers. I wish I could say it’s because I prefer a holistic regime of vitamins and health foods, but in fact my diet is only so-so, I am a big meal skipper and a caffeine fiend.

At some point, I know, my body will betray me, and I will succumb to the various viruses and ouchies that others have as a matter of course. For now, though, I will keep on cancelling doctor appointments and refusing to believe I am not immortal.

Note to my kids: do as I say, and NOT as I do!

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