When you’re sick, you’re sick

Archived | January 31, 2013 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. It was sometime that evening that my son felt the first stirrings of something not-so-good. His throat was dry. His eyes looked a bit funny and he wasn’t all that hungry. He just didn’t feel so well. Sunday was fine, some of the same, but Monday morning it reared on up. A plate of pancakes, buttermilk, which he ate some of, slowly, then disappeared into the bathroom. Wasn’t more than a few minutes before I made the call to the school. He wouldn’t be in attendance. It’s the rule. Lose your pancakes and you’re out for 24 hours, minimum.
Tuesday morning, the doctor confirmed it. Influenza. I confess I’m not one for panic or getting all hopped up about illness. When you’re sick, you’re sick. You lay yourself down and move through it and it won’t be long before you’re back at it. But when it’s my kid, and the flu — given all I’ve read lately — I did get a bit, well, worried. And that’s why I hauled him in, and that’s why I’ve been content to hover around home for a number of days this week. Canceled a few things, rescheduled a few others. My son has the flu, and I’m not going anywhere ’til he’s feeling better.
Mostly because, when it comes to being sick when you’re a kid, is being sick alone. There’s something comforting, healing even, about someone hovering around. About cool hands on your forehead, those same cool hands offering you a glass of water, then tucking the quilt in about you. Something about hearing that person humming a song, doing housework quietly, moving past now and then while you’re not asleep but not quite awake. You hear another log gently placed on the fire, you hear something boiling on the stove and open your eyes to find a small bowl of cool rice pudding sitting there with a bit of cinnamon sprinkled over it. You can’t eat much of it, but the fact someone made it for you and it’s there, just in case? Well, there’s a kind of hope in that which is nourishment in itself.
I’ve never been a mother to coddle her children. Sure, I indulge them on occasion, but life is less daunting if you can fend for yourself. Times like this, though, are the exception. This is my child, and he’s sick, and I’m not going anywhere. He doesn’t need to know that, but I’m guessing he does. And I imagine it makes him feel something more than not alone during a miserable stretch of days.
There are nights toward the end of January when we’re all comfort-fooded-out, and no one wants a sit-down meal. We have “Hors d’oeuvre Night” now and then, or sometimes just beer cheese soup and popcorn. Here’s a recipe that works on such evenings, when a little something is just enough.
Baked Sweet Potato Fries
4 medium sized sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Wash potatoes and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut each lengthwise into four, and each fourth into two or three, depending on how thick you want your fries. Toss with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and a half teaspoon or so of salt. Spread over foil-lined or spray-coated baking sheet and bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Turn fries over with fork and bake another 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven. Serve with assorted dips, condiments, or on their own.