Have you ever heard of Morgellons Disease? Sufferers swear that they can feel, and see, little fiber-y things crawling under their skin. The medical community is split on whether they’re delusional, or whether what they have is unexplained. One recent medical journal suggested that it was an “internet meme,” and that once google hits on it went down, so would reported cases. I have no authority to say whether it’s a real condition or it’s not, but it sounds awful to those who are sure they are suffering from it; so whatever you do, please don’t mention it to my husband, because he will be immediately and totally sure he has it.
My husband is a hypochondriac (my mother-in-law says he got it from her side of the family; I’m going to tactfully decline to disagree). I can usually convince him that he doesn’t have lung tumors, or whatever we just saw on House, but when there is an actual sickness in the household, my husband’s anxiety that he is already exhibiting similar symptoms makes him almost as bad a patient as the sick person him or herself, who most times, is under the age of seven.
Over the past week and a half, I have been up all night while each of my children, and then myself, retched at half-hour intervals. (By the way, why do the vomity bugs always come on in the middle of the night?) My husband is the only one who has survived, probably because each time, I have told him to decamp to the Murphy bed in the office so one of us can get some sleep (unlike him, I can usually manage to grab a nap with the sickie the next day). But I do consider this rather selfless on my part. Last night it was my seven year old’s turn and– I am not exaggerating– he had 16 bouts of vomiting/dry heaving in a six-hour period. When my two year old Rooster awoke at her usual 6 a.m., I got her out of bed and woke my husband to hand her over. “Oh no, I can’t take her,” he said, rolling over. “I was up all night.”
“Excuse me?” I said.
“I was so sure I was getting sick that I couldn’t sleep,” he explained.
I stood there for a minute. waiting. He looked at me, and in the dim light, must have been able to make out just how MY night had been, because (to his credit) he rather quickly said, “Oh,” and took our daughter, and let me go back to the sick bay and sleep until the glorious hour of 7:15.
The thing is, I know he really DID have a lousy night’s sleep because he’s so sure he’s getting sick, and by tonight, will be so beside himself I’ll be slipping syrup of ipecac in his protein shake just so we can get it over with already. “I am not a good patient,” he reminded me this morning. Oh yes. Of that I am well aware.