Yeah, we’ve all heard the jokes about the so-called “man cold.” And, you know what, maybe there is some truth there. I can’t speak for all men, but when I get sick I get sick HARD. I was under the weather just last week and it went down pretty much like it always does. I felt it coming on, but tried to convince myself I was just tired or suffering from whatever-the-hell-season-it-is allergies; I’m definitely not getting sick, I told myself. I am definitely not getting sick. Then BAM! it hit me and there was no denying it…
This is no ordinary (lady) cold. I am going to die.
Honey, I love you and the kids so much. I just want you to be happy. When I’m gone, please promise me you’ll find someone else who makes you as happy as I did. Well, of course, I’m not making you very happy right now. I’m dying. You’re grieving, probably. But look at you. So strong. So beautiful. I want to remember you just like this, with that fire in your belly and a vaguely annoyed look in your eye. So much spirit!
Thank you for taking care of me and making me comfortable in my waning hours. Even though we both know my cause is a hopeless one, you still make me smile. And you make me chicken soup. Yum. Just, could you put it next to the bed for now? I want to finish watching Captain America: Civil War before I move on from this mortal coil. I know it’s probably not worth the 3 hours, but it’s part of the Marvel Universe. You’re so right, I wouldn’t want to perish with an incomplete universe. God forbid, indeed.
Ehm. Ehm. Cough Cough.
I really hate to be a bother, but can I trouble you for a glass of water? What? Oh, yeah, I love you, too. I thought you said something else. It sounded more like “go f*ck yourself,” but it could have been “I love you.” Of course it was. I’m hearing things and seeing ghosts. Grams? Is that you? Stop yelling at that other ghost Grams! I don’t think he speaks English. No, yelling louder won’t help. He…oh, you’re gone.
And then I passed out during the opening credits of Civil War. I guess I will die with an incomplete universe. I woke up, tossing and turning, alternately sweating and shivering, convinced that I wouldn’t see the morning light. My wife stayed home to nurture me back to health. Not being able to bear seeing me in such agony, she wouldn’t let me leave my room. “Go back to sleep, idiot,” she would helpfully suggest. And so I did.
And then I woke up.
Like, I really woke up. I was better. Not 100% better, mind you. I’d probably pass out if I tried to stand too long, doing the dishes, for example. But pretty much better. Okay, I could do the dishes. I was actually in great spirits. And my wife’s exhaustion seemed to buoy my spirits further. It’s like I fed off of her lack of energy. She was happy to see me recover so quickly, once again able to help with the kids and the house. I may be reading too much into things here, but she also seemed kind of annoyed that I recovered so quickly.
“Seriously, dude!? I thought you were dying!”
False alarm, I guess.
But that’s how it is with the man cold. Illness hits us guys like a ton of bricks, then gets carried away like a feather in the breeze. And that sneezed and coughed-on germ-infested feather lands right on our wives, who suffer for a month with low-grade flu-like symptoms that are almost bad enough to keep them home from work…but not quite.
So. Maybe the man cold isn’t so bad, after all. We will accept your collective apologies now.
(This post originally ran on Amateur Idiot / Professional Dad)
About the author: Dave Lesser is a former attorney who much prefers his job as a stay-at-home dad to two hilarious and adorable children. His amazing wife fully supports his love of obstacle course, road and trail races. He ran his first marathon over two years ago and still won’t shut up about it. Dave has contributed to Time Ideas, the Huffington Post, NJ Family, SheKnows, the Good Men Project and others that he can’t quite remember right now. He saves his really good stuff for his own blog, Amateur Idiot / Professional Dad. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or, at a safe distance, in real life.