As I am writing this I am home with a fever and strep throat. The only way I can think to explain strep throat is that it feels like two giant hot coals are sitting at the back of my throat and every time saliva starts to build up I have to make the decision of to spit or swallow. Spitting is just gross but swallowing is painful. My fever got up to 102 at one point and I have changed my pajamas about 12 times in the last 12 hours.

Right when I was about to feel very sorry for myself, I picked up a magazine in the doctor’s office in which I read an article about a woman who had cancer and her body was being held together with metal rods, which included a metal halo around her head. The article went into detail about how painful it was for her to vomit (a standard reaction to chemotherapy) but how she wanted to keep fighting because she had two young children.

Several minutes after reading the devastating article the doctor called my name after taking my weight and blood pressure and temperature she asked what my pain level was. I would have said 9 or 10 but because I had read the article about this heroic woman, I said 7 and then even felt like that was too high of a number.

I think unless we are chronically ill or have a major handicap, most of us take our health for granted. I know I do. I don’t remember the last time I had a fever and I don’t know if I have ever gotten strep throat. But here it is and I am realizing how fortunate I have been to have been in good health as well as have people who are willing to take care of me when my health goes south. The BIL (Boy I like) is a good caretaker, he drove me to the doctor, he has picked up medicine for me and snuggled me even know he knows I am very contagious. I asked him to put this numbing spray in my throat but before he did he sprayed it in his own throat to see what it was like.

His action reminded me of a memory I have of when I was about four years old and I got up in the middle of the night because my eyes were hurting. I woke my dad up and he grabbed some drops from the bathroom and took me back into my bedroom and told me to tilt my head back so he could put the drops in. in which I responded by crying and giving him a long “noooooo.”

He put on his best convincing and soothing voice “But princess, this is going to make your eyes feel all better.”

I refused and cried louder. Until he finally instructed me to watch him do it first, to show how easy and painless it was.

I sat cross-legged on the bed with my footed pajamas staring at him as he tilted his head back and squeezed the drops into his eye. In an instant he was yelling profanities I had never heard before. I of course started crying and my mom woke up wanting to know what the “heck was going on?” Taking the bottle of drops from my dad’s hands, she read the label closely and informed us that he had just put nose drops in his eyes. His eye was red and sore for two days. My eye was fine the next morning.

When your children or your spouse is sick or anyone you truly love is sick, you tend to feel hopeless. You want the medicine to work faster and the pain to go away so you can go back to good night sleeps and enjoying life. But I guess everything has to run its course and for some people they never get better. When I think of those people who are fighting cancer, or chronic pain or anything else that doesn’t allow them to enjoy life, I just hope that they have someone, at least one person, who will make them soup or hold their hand or make them laugh. For those of us who are healthy, maybe we can think of someone who is sick and we have been meaning to visit but we don’t like hospitals or we have been meaning to make a casserole to bring to them but we don’t have time.

Maybe we should make just a little extra time and space for people who are under the weather and may not have a lot of people who visit.

However, when you do make a visit, make sure you read the labels before administering any medicine, you don’t want to end up with a mouth full of profanities.