You have died of dysentery.

I was sick two weeks ago, lying in bed with a cold, whining about how tired I was, and generally sleeping my life away. Fortunately, my new boss believes in human rights: he told me to take care of myself, stay home, and get better. After working in a restaurant kitchen where a customer’s dinner had a higher value than my life, I wanted to kiss the man. Fortunately for everyone involved – especially my husband – I didn’t.

Yesterday at church, I started feeling a little faint. I was fasting, so this wasn’t super weird; I broke my fast a little early and ate some Halloween candy. That bought me a few hours. But at about 8 o’clock last night, I was suddenly a train wreck. My back ached, my head ached, my legs ached, I was freezing, I was sleepy, I was dizzy… I was sick. After a bath, a lot of blankets, and a massage (thanks, Ethan), I managed to fall asleep.

This morning, I was a little better, but when I asked to go home early, my boss said he could tell I’d been struggling. I’m still sore and cold. I’m still tired. And most of all, I’m still whiny.

Which brings me to my current dilemma. Mormons are crazy obsessed with genealogy. Our heritage is where we get our strength to carry on. And the problem is that my ancestors were not whiny people. My grandpa Allen woke up at 5am every day, took the toaster out on the balcony so he wouldn’t set off the fire alarm, and toasted himself some blackened charcoal for breakfast. Apparently, it “settled his stomach.” My grandpa Frank worked two or three jobs most of his life. When he was sick, he figured, “I can be sick at home or sick at work. Might as well go to work.” When he had a heart attack in his late eighties, he took a few weeks off after his open-heart surgery, then came back to work part-time. I have ancestors who sailed to America, who helped found Jamestown, who crossed the plains in the Oregon Trail and the Mormon trek. Toughness runs in my family.

So I have this haunting vision of hitting the other side, swapping manly stories with my bad-awesome ancestors, and proving what a wuss I really was in life. I imagine it something like this: “I crossed the American Plains in a handcart, got dysentery, and gave birth in the snow after my husband froze to death.”

“Well… I had a massive headache one time while I filed my taxes. It was like, two in the morning. And the forms were really confusing. And one time, I had the flu. Yeah, I totally threw up, like, five times.”

Oregon Trail

Yeah, we’ve got better medicine, and we don’t have to go through the same stuff. But a part of me can’t help feeling spoiled when I’m lying here just because I’m tired. Seems I need to find some compromise between taking care of myself and taking care of my ego. Or maybe I just have too much ego. Hmm… ♦

 

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