A SINGULAR LIFE
By ASHA GILL
There is something to be said about getting cabin fever. Whether you go insane or manage to grace the jail time and come out unscathed and not twitchy is testament to your disposition and circumstance perhaps.
It certainly is the time you figure out how industrious and inventive you are and how you handle the long gloopy hours that drag from wake-up to bedtime.
In the case of a singular person, getting hit by a virus and having to lie low, odds are you emerge from the diseased cocoon impatient and ready to start life again.
To walk once again amongst the living, feeling strangely renewed. Illness can sometimes have that effect on you. You hit rock bottom, you feel at death’s door, you paddle along the Styx, the mists swirl and choke but you soldier through and finally you see a glimpse of the sun, you row madly towards the bright horizon and clamber up the grassy banks. Exhausted but hopeful.
When boredom sets in, you know you are on your way back to the castle keep and through its breezy halls, right back to the throne room of your kingdom. You return triumphant and full of zest.
This is not the scenario when you are on this journey with a sickly little one.
There is nothing more gut-wrenching than seeing a listless bug-ridden tiny human. Suddenly, the robustness that resounds from their very presence deflates to the most fragile of things.
As the parent you fret. You watch over them like a hawk. You see the fever rise and the battle within raging. You know a fever is a good thing, you know it is the body doing i ts job. Still, you sit and wait.
Personally, I think that if there is any part of an illness that can be called the WORST, it’s that space when they are over the hump but not over the hill. The frustration of feeling poorly, the weakness of body, the non-focus of the brain that gets exacerbated by the boredom of it all. The “can’t do anything, don’t want to do anything, need to do something” mood.
After a week of losing weight, losing sleep, fighting off two viruses back to back, the last couple of days have been excruciating. We have just come out the other side of “almost better” to “better.”
At the end of this seven-day hellish quarantine, we will both be more than ready to separate back to school and work having had an interesting time with just the two of us.
These viruses gifted a mother and her son with lots of cuddling, so many funny moments like pink vomit and projectile snottage from both nostrils. There is an immense collection of artwork worthy of a gallery and new favourite words like “bummer” peppering conversations. Good memories.
I have been thinking about the fact that this virus has shut down many a school in my area and the likelihood of it still surfacing very probable. What irks me is that this is the third time this year that his school has been hit with this bug.
So many people are quick to blame the institutions for having bad hygiene and lax health regulations.
I, for one, would like to stand up for the schools and say “bullet” to that.
FACT – too many parents drop sick kids off at schools. They come with viruses and fevers, spots, rashes, hacking coughs. All of this goes into the swill of kiddie bedlam and is passed around like a steamboat buffet.
FACT – I have seen kids at school with chicken pox or breaking out in hand, foot and mouth blisters. Kids who should not have even left home in the first place.
How is this possible and what does this mean? Is it really ignorance, complacency or something far more complex and saddening? Perhaps they have no choice. Maybe they just don’t have the support system for the children to be at home, where they should be, quietly convalescing.
It is hard to fathom why our offspring become a burden when they are unwell. Why the world is such a place where parents have to take unpaid leave, suffer the wrath of unsympathetic bosses, pay consequences in order to do something so completely natural.
Back again my mind whirs to the parents of kids who are ill long-term, who have special needs, and how we fail these people every day by being unwilling to be a progressive and flexible society.
Unwilling to be a system for humans with human needs. For parents to be able to work at home and be paid what they are worth, to have flexi-hours and part-time options to support our most precious commodity. People.
Germs are not the enemy here. They make our body stronger and more resilient. Germs are natural. The rules we have to live by are not natural. My bosses are freaks. They do not disassociate themselves from being parents when they clock in. They are weirdos because they do not discriminate and are not punitive when we have a family emergency. How shameful is it that they are a rare breed?
Asha Gill put her globetrotting life on hold to focus on the little man in her life and gain a singular perspective on the world. You can tune in to Asha on Capital FM 88.9, Mondays to Fridays, 10am-1pm. She’s always looking for stories to tell and ideas to share, so send her an email at email@example.com.