My vision blurred as I stepped from the run-down station platform onto the downtown A train. Luckily I’m close to the beginning of the line so there were still plenty of places for me to sit and continue asking myself the questions, “Is my head actually going to split open? If it doesn’t what will relieve the pressure?” I concentrated on breathing, through my mouth since my nose didn’t have any clear passage left. I tried to let the rocking of the train in motion lull me into a half-sleep as I waited for my stop. The train was express, so I only had seven more to go, 30 minutes if all went well. I opened one eye to look at my watch and I had 12 minutes until my appointment time. The only miracle I could hope for was that they wouldn’t all be gone to lunch by the time I did get there, I was already late.

I spent the ten-minute walk from the train to the Dr.’s office struggling to stay composed on the phone as the receptionist told me the appointment time had passed and he didn’t think Dr. L would be able to fit me in today. I started croaking out some form of, “Can I wait until . . .” to be shushed with an impatient, “Hold on a minute!” I didn’t know what he had to be so annoyed about; I was the one who bundled up my kids, took the bus, dropped them at my friend’s house, walked back a half mile to the train and rode the blaring, noisy, stinky train 45 minutes while my body oscillated between burning up to freezing, all the time with the threatening to split open headache only to have to turn around with no miracle drug and come back the next day. I stopped on the corner of 7th Ave. and waited for his verdict because if I could walk a block less back to the train to go home and crawl into my bed, then I’d do it. The cold wind whipped down 57th Street like it does out of the canyon at my mom’s house. Man-made vs. nature-made wind tunnels, both have the same effect=bitter cold. My fingers ached as I held the phone and the tears that I could no longer hold back stung my cheeks. He told me to come in and wait in the office.

In the waiting room my head could only search for a place to rest. I couldn’t even muster up a crusty look for the cranky receptionist. I found a corner, balled up my coat and leaned over to close my eyes, hoping for relief and if a long wait stretched before me, some time to sleep.

Sometimes the irony in my life is crazy. The things I need to do most I want to do least.

Dr. L saw me, gave me antibiotics, sent me home to bed with an additional prescription for a Prince Charming to wait on me. (Luckily I already have one of those! I don’t think our insurance would cover it.) I’m on the road to full recovery. Now my three kids have fevers and some form of coughs, runny noses, aches and pains.

I didn’t write all this to get your sympathy. In fact I know we’ve all got our struggles and a sinus infection and kids with colds and flu’s is not unmanageable. I even hesitated writing it because there are other things to think about and worry about that are more pressing, less fleeting. But since this illness has taken up most of my week I couldn’t help but muse and record a bit. It’s amazing how much I take my health for granted and how when I’m sick I cannot even remember what it feels like to be well. I’m trying to learn from this. How is it possible to be continually grateful? I feel like such a heel when I’m sick and then suddenly telling my Father in Heaven how much I really did love being well, and trying to repent for not being grateful enough. I’m kind of a slow learner . . .

December 6, 2008


  1. mormonhermitmom

    December 5, 2008

    Amen. I don’t know how anyone couldn’t sympathize, because we all get it eventually.

  2. Justine

    December 5, 2008

    Oh, Heather, we all know how that feels! When you’d just as soon sleep on the waiting room floor than leave to come back another day. I’m a slow learner, too. I keep needing the stressful things to keep me close to the Lord, I guess. If only I were smarter and would learn without all the pain…

  3. dalene

    December 5, 2008

    Hope you and yours are all well and healthy again soon.

    I have to say I have the hardest time not breaking out in hysterical laughter every time a doctor tells me to go home and take it easy or go home and rest (and it’s even a bit easier to do now the kids are older, but it’s still pretty much a ludicrous idea that moms have the luxury of going home and going to bed).

  4. Heather H.

    December 5, 2008

    So true Dalene. I just had a conversation on the phone with my friend about that. Our husbands don’t get to take sick days off work when we are laid up and there just aren’t substitutes for our job.

    I am really grateful that I have friends who took the kids to the playground and someone who kept my kids that day so I could sleep for a couple of hours.

    Justine, if there is a way to do it (learn without the pain) and I figure it out, I will totally let you in on the secret, no strings attached, just because I love you. I just request the same favor in return. 🙂

  5. E

    December 6, 2008

    To me, having a minor illness like a cold or sinusitis isn’t really that bad, but having the same illness while trying to take care of young children is awful.

  6. Erin

    December 7, 2008

    Thanks for sharing, dear Heather. I’m so glad you’re on the road to recovery. Love you mucho.

  7. Diane

    December 9, 2008

    I will be grateful the next time I have to get in my car and drive no more than 3 minutes away to see my doctor! Your train ride on top of it all sounds horrific.

    I have 2 memories of the flu that always remind me of better times! Hope you’re feeling better…

  8. Daina

    December 11, 2008

    That was me on Monday– trying from 8 am until 8 pm to get antibiotics for a sinus infection. The day was full of phone calls, appointments, lots of trips to the pharmacy, and more phone calls. I thought I was going to die that day I felt so awful.I was not proud to be an American with its health care system that day.
    But now I am so grateful for antibiotics, and I do thank Heavenly Father for them in my prayers!

  9. Daina

    December 11, 2008

    Oh one more thing: Tues. morning when I felt so awful, I just wanted to curl up and go back to bed, but couldn’t because I had to be Mom. I silently wished that someone would call and offer to take my boy for a few hours. Soon afterward I did get a call from a new friend who offered to come and take my boy for the morning. I am sure that my friend was prompted to do so. I was able to get the rest and long hot steamy shower I needed to make me feel better because of it. Boy did I offer up a prayer of thanks that day!

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