Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Christmas Bucket

I got a day away from it all this past week. No work, no TV, no internet, no phone calls, emails or text messages. Just me and my bucket and my bed.

I guess it’s just part of the holiday season and my wife’s willful participation is said holiday season. You see, she likes to shop and hang out with her friends and co-workers, meet and greet and press the flesh. In the meantime, I stay in my little bubble. The office, our house, the property, the dogs. Limited exposure, frequent hand-washing, avoiding the sneezing, coughing unwashed masses… and, as I result, I stay pretty healthy. Most of the time.

She started throwing up and out (both ends) and running a fever on Sunday. Frankly, I thought I did yeoman’s duty in the emptying of buckets, fetching clean towels, fluids and more toilet paper; administering over-the-counter medicines (which had, at best, placebic effect on the moderating of her various aches, pains and un-ending bodily excretions); and, in general, being a sympathetic and comforting caregiver, present at all times, assuring her that she was not going to die.

By late Monday my wife was still miserable, but agreed that she was not going to die. The worst was over. There was no more worse to come out and she just lay there on the couch watching Hallmark Christmas movies, the dogs around her enjoying the warm stillness of a sick person’s body.

And then I started to not feel so good. A bit of a headache and nausea. OCD that I tend to be at times, I decided to work out. We have an exercise room with a treadmill, elliptical, and some free weights. After working up a sweat on the treadmill I started to hit the weights and then had to think better of it. Went to the bathroom, the first of many trips to come over the next 24 hours. Resumed the workout, only to take another break shortly thereafter for the same purpose. Deciding that perhaps rest might be advisable, I cut the workout short, cleaned up and decided to go sit with the wife and watch Hallmark Christmas movies.

After about 15 minutes of a Hallmark Christmas movie I felt really sick. And I knew it was more than just the Hallmark Christmas movie that was making me sick. I told my wife that I needed to go lie down. And, thankfully out of the fog of her sickness she suggested that I take “the bucket”. I said, “Not necessary, just a headache and some nausea. I’ll be ok.” She rallied herself and threatened me with “Take the bucket, I am in no shape to clean up your mess…”. So I took the bucket.

Good thing I had the bucket. I got really sick. Good thing it’s a big bucket. Seriously, I got really sick. And for the next 24 hours: no work, no TV, no internet, no phone calls, emails or text messages. If I had not been so sick, it would have been a great vacation. Just me and my bucket and my bed. And my dogs. They abandoned my wife and crawled up around me; now a sicker, warmer body I suppose.

Apparently this bug is making the rounds. With the holiday season upon us this is going to get worse before it gets better. Schools around here are closing. Too many sick kids. Emergency rooms are filling up with people who think they are dying (they are not…well…maybe some will). Someone suggested that perhaps this is just God’s way of slowing us down during the holidays and forcing us to take time for reflection and meditation. I don’t think so. If anything, I think it’s the Devil delivering his version of Christmas cheer to one and all. Forget the Christmas wish list. Just keep a bucket close by.

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