Thursday, December 27, 2007

Still not completely back...

And do you know why? Cause right in the grand midst of holiday hectic frenziness, the entire family got sick. Like dominoes, one after the other. First the 8 year old, then the 6 year old followed closely by the 3 year old who just turned 4 and then the big baby got sick and that just about killed me. Why is it that when men get sick they revert to the infant stage? My husband pretty much curled up into a fetal position and remained in bed for four days. I AM NOT KIDDING. I get sick and it doesn't matter how sick I get, I could never lie in bed for four days. There is just too much to do and too many things to take care of. Plus my parents were in town and honestly, I don't have the type of parents that come in and help out. Oh no. I have the type of parents that come in and need to be catered to. And because I hate shopping so much, I still had Christmas shopping to do up until Christmas eve, as well as cooking and cleaning and laundry and wrapping and entertaining. All with at least a minimum of 2 or 3 rotating sick people in the house.

So I ask you, why is it that men are such wimps when they get sick? This is an age old question for women. To the ABC News article titled "Are Men Wimps About Getting Colds?" I would answer with a resounding DUH! According to a study by Benenden Healthcare, "Male workers are more likely to call in sick with "the flu," while women tend to go to work and carry about their business when they feel an illness coming on." Is this really news for anyone out there? In fact, there is even a phenomenon called "Man Flu." It even has it's own Wikipedia page . So what is Man Flu? Apparently it is a phenomenon by which men and women suffer the same illness but by which men piss and moan and take 3 times longer to recover than the average woman. I'm sure all my women readers are nodding their heads in sage understanding. Apparently a man will take 3 days to recover where a woman would take a day or a day and a half at most. So why is this? Do women get sick less? Actually, no, in fact, women are more likely to get sick more often because they have more contact with children. Are they stronger? Hard to answer because we would have to consider physical, emotional, pschyological, etc., and how do you analyze all that? Perhaps it is a matter of pain tolerance. After all, the old joke is that if human existence depended on men being pregnant and delivering our babies, then mankind would go extinct faster than you could say "Ice Age."

When I was pregnant for the second and third time, I had very bad pre-term labor. In order to keep from going into early labor, the doctor put me on a terbutaline pump that injected terbutaline into my system every four hours. The problem was I had to insert the needle which would provide the medicine into my system, into my leg and then change sites every few days. Well it was pretty hard to stab a large needle into my own leg. It was NOT like a thin insulin needle, this was bigger, it had the plastic tubing around the needle, and you had to stab it hard past the outer muscle in order to insert it properly. I asked my husband to do it. The first time he nearly passed out and left the needle partly in, partly out, with me screaming at him and him screaming at me that he couldn't do it. I finally slammed the needle in with my palm. But changing it was so bad that I would wait too long to change it and get an infection in my leg before being forced to change the injection site. I finally got my husband to get consistently good at it, but his hands would curl up into claws and he would wince and moan as if he were the one getting the needle. On top of all of this, I also had gestational diabetes and had to inject myself with insulin three times a day. This I did by myself with no hesitation. But if the roles were reversed, I doubt my husband would have been able to go through all that I went through.

In a recent article in Men's Health magazine on Why Men Are Babies the author discusses two types of men, the whimpering crybabies and the stoic silent types that never say a word until they are dead. There are good reasons for both. Men still feel that they are the stronger sex and that they shouldn't get sick and if they do get sick, well then, it must be a horrible illness that is thoroughly incapacitating and everyone around them should coddle and nurse them until they are better. But when weird things happen to their bodies, they are less likely than a woman to go to a doctor and check it out. They will more likely ignore it. This is why men don't catch testicular cancer or prostate cancer soon enough. Because even their doctors will admit that men are babies. (Now I say this because I do think more men need to be more concious about taking better care of themselves.)

OK - I just want to amend my post to also say that my hubby is only sick once a year and is only incapacitated with the flu. So he is that crazy mix of stoic suffering through all other ills and then turning into a baby when incapacitated by the flu. So I shouldn't really complain, it is just hard because usually he is not sick alone - I have a full house of sick people. He is a wonderful hubby and I am just so happy he is better.

So with that rant over, I shall leave you with one last funny ad which cracked me up in my sick bed. Thos Brits have a sick sense of humor.

27 comments:

Lisa said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear your whole family was sick through the holidays! I've given a lot of thought to the man vs. women and pain/sickness dichotomy and I've noticed a couple of things that have changed for me over the years. When I was younger and had my stepson at home and I worked at an office (I telecommute now), I was never sick. When I was, it seemed to only ever hit me on the weekends, as if my body knew better than to interfere with work. I think that women who are raising children, working and maintaining a household know that there are things that won't get done unless they do them and so we tend to ignore symptoms and slog through. Now that I no longer have a kid at home and I work from home, I'm much more likely to take it easy when I'm not feeling well. Of course, I think that my immune system is much more vulnerable too since I'm not exposed to other people or kids nearly as much. Coincidentally, my stepson and his two kids were here on Sunday, all with runny noses -- my delightful 4 year old grandson coughing in my face the whole time -- and Scott and I are both washed out and have sore throats, runny noses and coughs now too. Bah! And yes, I would definitely pit my tolerance for pain against any man, any time :)

aahcoffee said...

Oh man do I understand!!!! My husband was "sick" over Christmas too.....and I did EVERYTHING by myself. Argh.

The Quoibler said...

Ello:

You know, I've heard of men acting like babies, but my husband never does. He gets sick very rarely, and when he is sick, he still tries to help out.

Guess I'm lucky! He makes his own appts and goes to the doctor's on his own, too. In fact, I'm the one who would rather be on death's door than visit our family physician! ha!

Great post -- please tell me you're better!

Angelique

jason evans said...

Not me. I'm too much of a trooper. I would do better to rest when I'm sick.

March to the Sea said...

as a man..lemme pipe in. I think part of the reason we curl up is that when given the chance we will. At least in my house I try to "work thru" any sickness. ie getting up feeding kids, working etc. I might want to sit on the couch but I still try to be active even if it wipes me out. I think if you give us wiggle room to "relax" we are gonna take it..and bleed you for it. Anyone that is sick for more than 2 days is really in for it. head colds, sniffles aches that doesn't really count. After 1 day of feeling like ass the MD needs to get called..then if need be a run of antibiotics in most cases should have people feeling "better" in 24 hrs. Dunno..i don't get sick very often (knocks on wood). Tell em to suck it up and help..when he passes out you really know they are not faking.

Melissa Marsh said...

Good grief, being sick through the holidays is never fun. And oh yes, I was one of the women sagely nodding my head while I read this! My husband is a TERROR when he's sick. He's grouchy and irritable and I have no desire to be around him. But I take care of him anyway. :-)

On the flip side, he takes care of me when I'm sick. The week after we met (eight years ago!), I got a very bad cold. He fixed me homemade chicken soup and took care of me. I knew I had a keeper even at that early stage!

Ello said...

Well to be fair - I have to say my hubby is only really sick once a year so I can't really complain and he is a great husband. I do think he is the typica stoic sufferer until he gets a cold or the flu and then he is down for the count!

Anyway, I shall amend my post to indicate that he is really not as bad as I painted him! He really is a keeper too!

Patti said...

being raised around boys, living with boys, having raised boys, i will agree that they are supreme weenies when it comes to getting sick. but it's part of their charm. who else can throw us over their shoulders and save us from a burning building and also be incapable of sneezing without proclaiming death is sure to take them home soon?!

may our new year be bright, and may our men stay illness-free!

Patti said...

and omg! that is a fart for the ages!

Danette Haworth said...

Ello,
What a hard pregnancy. I hate needles, can't even look when the nurse is drawing blood. Shows you how strong the maternal instinct is to be able to do that.

Anonymous said...

Ello,

After you've finished folding and putting away the laundry and giving the kids their baths, could you please get me another bowl of chicken noodle soup and then prop my pillows so I can eat in bed . . . oh and can you channel surf for me until I see something good to watch as I'll need what energy I have to feed myself as you apparently no longer have the time to FEED ME . . . oh before you go, can you also pull my blanket up?

Thanks, honey.

Da' Man

Anonymous said...

. . . wait . . . Ello . . . I think I have to go to the little boys room again . . .

Da' Man

Merry Monteleone said...

I'm so sorry you had a sick house for the holidays, Ello... we did, too... oh, how I wish antibiotics would do it, but the doctor said it had to run its course... through all three of my children, myself, and my husband... ugh...

My husband, like yours, only gets really sick about once a year. And then he takes to bed and won't do a damn thing - though to be fair, my husband could sleep for a full 24 hours when he's healthy if you actually let him, he loves sleep... he doesn't do this often - I think he's only called in sick to work once in the last ten years, so even if he is deathly ill, he'll go in. (He usually gets the bad one on a day off, because God occasionally likes to make fun of me with much pointing and laughing)

I have the opposite thing going on, when he gets sick, he sleeps for a day or maybe two and gets over it... then it's done, no lingering or anything. When I get sick it hangs around for weeks, I think because I never get a full day to recuperate, let alone two. The really bad day with this last thing, I stayed in bed for most of the day... but I still had to get up in the morning and get the kids breakfast, pack lunches, get their faces washed and get them off to school... I came home and vegged until my youngest needed lunch and then got him off to school and then I really got to go to bed for a while (hubby picked the kids up from school that day...) He woke me up to ask about dinner - which I told him to order because if I actually tried to talk him through making dinner it would be a catastrophe. I think I got woken up twice more for homework questions and whatnot and to tuck the kids in to bed...

The next day I was back on like normal, still sick... really, the only things I skipped on the sick day were play time with the kids (which I like), housework / cooking / bill paying (which I could do without... but then we'd have to live in a box by the river), and writing...

Though, I have to say, pre-kids I was much more likely to take time to get well than I am now... you can't call in sick on being a mom, it just doesn't work... and I'd bet the dads who are full time stay at home dads have the same issues.

Erica Orloff said...

ello:
OMG, but this sounds like my life. We had major sickness all through the holiday season. And I have to say, this disparity between what a man does when sick and what a woman does is one reason I sometimes loathe my significant other. I truly resent it . . . Because I work from home, it's always a "gimme" that I can just pick up ALL the household slack when kids are sick--and with four kids, you can bet someone often is. But publishers really don't give a sh*t what's going on in my personal life--deadlines don't have a lot of wiggle room. That's why they're DEADlines. So it's this definite battle in my house. I never get a sick day. Ever.
E

Charles Gramlich said...

Sorry to hear about all the sickness. I hope it all passes soon. It's especially hard when kids get sick.

As for the men being wimps when they're sick, I've always heard this but my personal experience has been completely different. The women I've been around mostly have seemed to be sick all the time. With my ex, I spent months at a time getting 4 hours of sleep a night between taking care of her, taking care of Josh, working, getting food for everyone. I once had really bad back spasms. My ex spent 2 days taking care of me and then ended up in the hospital. I had to just doubled up on the pain meds so I could walk and take care of Josh and work between running to the hospital to see her.

McKoala said...

My husband gets Man Flu. A lot. I, on the other hand, refuse to believe I am ill until I fall over. Which has literally happened. And which is clearly stupid of me.

Woman...Must...Carry...On...Never...Admit...Pain...

We could both do with adopting a happy medium.

Chris Eldin said...

Sorry your family was sick over the holidays. Hopefully though, that means everyone has their immunities and won't get sick anymore this year.
Nice to see you back in the blogosphere though!!! I missed your funny postings!!
:-)

sherry smyth said...

How did I know Patti would notice the fart video?!?! LOL!!!

Ello, sorry that all have been sick and sick males can be the worst...I'm pretty "lucky" that my 3 just take to their beds...they are "worse" when they are on the mend!! Hopefully everyone is back to "normal" soon!!

Williebee said...

Men are such wimps when we are sick because we can get away with it?

I don't know. I'm willing to admit I'm guilty as charged. But, I also don't drop until I've reached the end of my energy.

Full blast until I fall. (Used to drive my Mom nuts when I was a kid.)

But.. when I fall? Whine city.

Hope everyone gets well and roaring for the new year!

Bernita said...

Your House of plague sounds familiar.
I remember one Christmas everyone throwing up when I left to go do the Christmas shopping, and everyone throwing up when I got back a few hours later.
Of course, that was the Christmas I'd knocked myself out cooking all sorts of lovely Christmas goodies which proceeded to mould because everyone was too sick to eat them.
And yes, I was sick too but someone had to look after everyione else.

Stuart Neville said...

This video should illustrate the dangers of Man Flu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EElqrgk4N0

Sorry to hear you had a rough holiday. :(

Angela Williams Duea said...

I guess we've succumbed to the same sickness! I hope you're on the mend, too.

My big guy isn't much of a baby when sick but he rarely ever gets sick. However, I am not above babying myself and I could totally stay in bed for four days. With a laptop and some good books.

moonrat said...

Man Flu. oh my GOODNESS yes. mine has this issue with assuming he is dying of cancer whenever his finger hurts/nose twiches/elbow seems slightly out of allignment, and then alarmistically scheduling doctor appointments and panicking blindly until the doctor prescribes him some asprin. it's like clockwork.

The Anti-Wife said...

Now that is a fart!

Hope you're feeling better. I'm still not 100%. Happy New Year!

Ello said...

THanks to Conduit for a great video link! Too bad I didn't have it earlier for this post!!!

Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts. I'm feeling much better, although nursing a bit of an aching ear! And making Da Man run around and do all the household and kid stuff lately is making me feel loads better!

Akasha Savage said...

Me and you both ello. My whole family have been hit by the flu bug this christmas...we all retired to our beds for about three days; sweating, coughing and shivering. Roll on 2008 I say.

Robin S. said...

Hey ello-

Had to stop in and say- this one was a hoot - there is no larger "windbag of grandiose hypered-out babified, oh- Christ-if-you-don't-stop-whining, you're really gonna have a reason to moan" being on earth than a human, male, partner/spouse.

Good Lord. I'm with you, my dear.

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