And Off They Flu

In case you ever wanted to know, the words I Hate The Flu come up 16.4 million times on a Google search.

By now, Heather’s ready to add another 500,000 personally.

That’s right. My wife is down, despite hope and caution and a flu shot of her own. So is Missy, though our favorite developmentally disabled ward may have actually run head-first into a killer cold instead. But either way, it leaves me in the position of Jerry Lee Lewis, the “Last Man Standing.”

Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire!

It happened on a Wednesday, of course. Strange things often seem to in the Rochat household, be it back injuries or vomiting dogs. If Johnny Cash had lived here when he wrote “Stripes,” the song would have begun:
“On a Wednesday, I was arrested,
“On a Wednesday, they locked me in a cell …”

Ahem. Where was I? Oh, yes, shifting from Carl Bernstein to Florence Nightingale.

From the outside, taking a day off work to care for a sick family might not sound too bad. No one likes having people under the weather, of course, but a change of routine is good, right? A little peace and quiet on “hump day” might be just the thing in a busy week, yes?

I agree. It sounds great.

It bears no resemblance to any kind of reality this week, but it sounds great.

As every parent of small children knows, this is the beginning of a domestic decathlon. Everything’s on you now, from brewing tea to canceling rides, from stories to toast to trips to the bathroom. An Olympic-level competitor in this event will climb and descend stairs like a fly trapped in an M.C. Escher painting, each time bringing up or carrying away something new.

By the time you’re done, the return to work is a well-earned vacation by comparison. But don’t tell my bosses I said that.

(What’s that? Oops. Well, maybe they’ll skip to the comics this week.)

Complain? Not a bit. This is what you do. If I learned nothing else from my own parents, it’s that the biggest part of being a spouse or a parent is being there, even when it’s difficult or inconvenient. No, especially then.

I’m not saying hover constantly. I think we’ve all had more than enough of “helicopter parenting,” even before the Cincinnati college student last December who got a restraining order against her folks. But when a crisis hits, you do the job you’re needed to do.

Pity Congress can’t seem to figure out the same thing, right?

Hmm. Maybe we can use this. This could be the next big march on Washington – a million parents, all with flu-stricken children, advancing on the Capitol. The battle cry would be terrifying in its simplicity: “You don’t mind keeping an eye on them while I run a quick errand, do you? Thanks!”

With the right coordination, we could bring gridlock to its knees. Or at least to its tissue boxes.

So what do you say? Families of the world, unite! We have nothing to lose but our mucus, and millions of Google hits to win!

I think Wednesday’s good for me.