- The bronchitis that cropped up every winter around my birthday with the cough that wouldn't go away (it made for some lovely home videos of me trying to blow out birthday candles without infecting the whole cake).
- The middle-of-the-night stomach flu that called for an old Cool Whip bowl and towel next to my bed in case I couldn't make it to the bathroom in time.
- The projectile vomiting episode that resulted in red Kool-Aid all over the cream-colored carpet.
- The tummy-aches that meant staying home from school and eating toast and drinking 7-Up, and at the end of the day, one of my sisters would come home and deliver the packet of assignments I had missed and homework I was assigned.
- The chicken pox that made me whine "the lotion is too cold, the medicine is too hot" while my sister was a total trooper.
- The strep throat that required a painful shot in my bottom (my parents told me it can make for a quicker recovery but really, who wants that kind of pain and humiliation when they are sick?).
- The other case of strep throat during college finals that I didn't realize was strep throat for about three weeks (no, alcohol does not kill germs) until it turned into mono-like symptoms, causing me to sleep 12 hours a night plus take naps all day and wake up feverish and sweaty in the middle of the night (this time, I declared I was 18 and could make my own medical decisions, so I refused the shot).
- The strange rash all over my body after finding out I was allergic to a certain type of medicine (my parents arrived home from a rare vacation to find that everything was great, except that we had broken a lamp while they were gone and I was covered with a million little dots).
- The awful cough and cold that caused me to spend most of Scott's sister's medical school "match day" in the bathroom and the next three days sleeping off a mysterious fatigue (while giving Scott a heart attack that I wouldn't recover within the week as he was planning to propose the next weekend).
I am sure we can all recall situations similar to these...
I am so thankful for all the care my parents have given me over the years - whether it was in person while I still lived at home or over the phone when I would call at all hours describing symptoms and asking what I should do (and looking for a dose of sympathy). There is nothing like a cool hand on your forehead, moving your hair from your face to gauge if you're a little warm and might have a fever... or a kind touch as you feel a blanket draped over you while napping on the couch.
I woke up early on Sunday and shuffled into my parents' room. My mom was in bed and there was something so comforting in hearing her ask all the usual questions - what's wrong? are you warm? where does your head hurt? do you have sinus pressure? do you want to eat a little something and take some Advil? do you think you can you fall back to sleep for a bit?
I also realize, I'm an adult now (right?). When it comes down to it, I have to be responsible, take some medicine and keep moving. I need to listen to my body and take care of myself. But it doesn't hurt to consult your parents for a little sympathy and comfort... and to know when to slow down, accept that you need sleep and soup and daytime TV, and let your body recover.