City Social Magazine

MAY-JUN 2016

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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39 A bug caught me. It wasn't obvious at first. I whined that I didn't feel up to par. Honestly, I whine every day that I don't feel up to par. It's my excuse for whatever I do poorly that day. But this whining was a little more specific. The stomach area. And then I didn't eat. Okay, I actually ate some. But I didn't eat my usual portion, which in food guidelines would be appropriate servings for consumption by a family of four with two dogs, a goat and a llama. Instead, I just ate the goat and llama helping sizes. And then I found myself staring at the computer screen for 15 minutes straight without typing a word. In fact, I realized I was staring at my screen saver, which is just a bunch of bubbles bouncing around the screen. That bouncing intensified the stomach area issue. And before I knew it, I was ill. I will not elaborate because I like you. From there I spent hours working through my stages of illness communication. The first stage is where I'm so ill I can only answer in moans. No matter what the question, I moan. They are short moans at this stage because I'm afraid I'll awaken the bug again. The next stage is grunts. For example, my husband asks: "Christee, do you need more medicine?" Answer: "Grunt." (Translated as: Of course, I need more medicine. Do you think I sleep in a fetal position for fun?) The next stage is more expressive grunts. Sometimes these have multiple syllables. Example: "Christee, do you need anything?" "Grunt-grunt." (Translation: I need someone who stops asking me these questions that require more than a grunt to answer. Bring me more medicine.) I'm not really a nice patient. The next stage occurs as I begin to get slightly better. These answers become words. But they are not words said in the typical manner. They are single words moaned out on a halting pitiful breath. Or sometimes coughed out, as if they should be accompanied by the words, "Go on without me. I'll be okay." As I begin to improve further, the answers become phrases. "Christee, what do you need?" "A gun." "Christee, you're just feeling bad. You don't need to shoot yourself." "Not to shoot me." "Oh." Did I mention that I'm a bad patient? And then, as my husband has retreated into another room due to my latest responses, the communication moves to text messages that I send from my cell phone. "Turn tv down." The television is turned off immediately. He's not taking any chances. "Ice chips?" Magically a glass of crushed ice, a spoon and more medicine appears. I didn't even have to grunt to get that dose. "Still no gun?" He wisely chooses not to answer this last text, but instead sneaks in and takes my phone away. And finally, I am restored to full-fledged communications. I'm quite sure that, at this point, my husband is missing the grunts. "I'm cold. Where are my Eyeore socks?" "I'm hot. Why am I wearing these stupid socks?" "I'm sore. My head hurts." "Would you get me a bottle of water?" Water appears. The response? "Not that brand." "The kitchen needs mopping." Yes, at this point, I'm just seeing what else I can milk out of this illness. This is the stage where I'm technically well, but I refuse to admit it because I'm now well enough for my eyes to focus and have decided to binge on old episodes of MASH for a while. And then, I'm finally able to drag myself from the bed. My first weak little trip? I don't go to the couch. I'm not drawn to the kitchen (that still needs mopping). I don't even go to take a breath of fresh air. No, my first moments out of bed after illness, I automatically drag myself to the bathroom scale. Before I will eat anything, I insist on seeing how much weight I've lost. So the last of my illness communications is a weak "Woo hoo!" This is quickly followed by a slightly stronger, "I deserve some ice cream." Now I'm well. My husband, on the other hand, is staring at computer bubbles. Christee Gabour Atwood is a speaker, trainer, and author. Her latest book, In Celebration of Elastic Waistbands, is available at bookstores, online, and wherever books of questionable literary value are sold. For daily silliness and insights, follow Christee at Facebook.com/unCommonSense 101. Life's Lumps By Christee Gabour Atwood translating the Grunts

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