To all the hardy women

mothers day flowers via kimberlyanncoyle.com

Over the past few days, I have re-evaluated my claim that I have a high tolerance for pain. I re-evaluated my inability to empathize with sick kin-folk (namely, my hubs) unless I experience the same illness, re-evaluated what it would be like to live with a chronic illness, and my views on how I approach life in general.

In a fit of craziness after my trip to the Urgent Care for a raging case of strep throat, I stopped by the store and bought a host of bizarre food items, including white bread and bacon. My sister-in-law emailed me to say it’s a good thing our health-nut Mother-in-law didn’t know about it, because strep or no strep, she would attempt an intervention. True, but I know when I can finally swallow that bacon, it will totally be worth it.

I also created an elaborate overnight pill taking scheme which left me with several pills still sitting on the bedside table by morning. I feel fairly certain I was supposed to take them. I’m so confused, and I’m not sure if I’m over or under medicating. More troubling than potential liver damage, is the fact that my house is a wreck, and I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing for four days.

I finally passed the point where I repeatedly wished for death, when I got up for the fourth time to take medication last night. I sat in the bathroom at one a.m., and I thought of all the mothers across the ages who suffered without access to pain medicine or antibiotics. We come from a hardy stock of women, don’t we? Somewhere along the way, the hardiness wore off, at least with me.

While I lay down and out on the sofa, I couldn’t shake this nagging sense of guilt. As if I really should be up and bustling about the house, or at the very least yelling at someone to do it for me. Without much of a voice and no strength to follow through, I watched the mess pile up in every room. Socks, books, slim yogurt tube wrappers, and drinking glasses that mysteriously multiplied in the dark.

It’s amazing what a few days on a sofa will teach you. One, the dog smells weird up close. Two, the kids truly would turn into hoarders and crazy pack-ratty people without my influence. Three, my husband is a champ at playing both mom and dad. And four, the next time he thinks he’s dying from strep-throat, don’t hide in the bathroom and count to five before coming to check on him.

Most importantly, I remembered how many women suffer from chronic or life-threatening illnesses, or care for someone who does. They are heroes, giants among us mere mortals. If you find yourself on the end of a big question mark with regard to your health, if you sit up and face the day and do what you can in spite of how you feel without an ounce of guilt, if you take your medication and walk around in a haze and still manage to live with empathy and a quiet will to pursue life, can I applaud you, today? I tip my hat to you, friend.

Here’s to the hardy women, the women who allow us to stand on their shoulders as they bear the weight of the sighing world.

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  • Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk

    My husband had strep the other week, it hit him so hard! Here’s hoping you feel better soon! and find a big pile of grace in the middle of all that mess.