Last woman standing in sick season

If I hear one more person cough, I’m going to slap on a SARS mask and be done with it.
Many will wince as I write this, thinking I have undoubtedly jinxed myself, but as friends, children and co-workers have fallen around me, my lungs remain adequately functional and I can still breathe through my nose. Each year about this time, I begin to suffer from paranoia, seeing vicious viruses lurking on every surface. The sound of a cough practically makes me hit the floor.
During the past two months, I have had five semi-adults under my roof and at some point every one of them was barking like a lonely seal. One sported a croupy cough and ear infection, one had a sinus infection, two managed garden-variety colds and my daughter won the prize with a whopping case of viral bronchitis.
I felt like I had been hurled back in time to when my kids averaged 10 colds a year, and a snotty nose and the sound of a hoarse cough were as common as peanut butter. Even though moms become very adept at managing that, we do not miss those days for a second. I don’t care if your child is 30. If they are under your roof and coughing all night, they might as well be 6. You will not sleep.
It was rather odd, too, when I had to accompany my grown, but wheezing, hacking daughter to the doctor. It took all my restraint not to march into the examining room with her and demand things she didn’t really need.
At this time, all are on the mend. At the risk of challenging the gods with hubris, I remain healthy. I hope I am accruing more and better antibodies by hanging around all these sickees, but you never know when some sly mutation is going to give me a smack-down.
I have wiped down counters and washed mounds of towels, sheets and pillowcases that have been coughed upon. I have my zinc tablets at the ready and am buying my orange juice by the industrial-sized drum.
I have washed my hands until they reached the perfect imitation of an alligator’s back and I may get a holster for my bottle of disinfecting wipes.
I may no longer have a memory, the strength to rearrange my own furniture or the knees for more than an hour of gardening. But maybe, just maybe, I have the antibodies of a goddess and each year I like to think I get a little closer to viral invulnerability.
Meanwhile, where’s that mask?


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