There's this great Minion meme that says, "Being sick is your body's way of saying you're way too awesome, and you need to slow down, so everyone else can catch up."
Not so with me. Being sick is my body's way to tell me to freakin' stop already. Period.
I got sick this week. The kind of sick where my body felt like it had been in some sort of accident. Like I'd been shoved to the ground and kicked a few times. My muscles ached. Little portals in my body had masses of... just... hurt. Even my armpit felt like it had a bruise. My armpit.
I stayed home from work Wednesday, alternately watching Netflix and trying to keep up on the endless emails that come into my work account. I wasn't much better the next day, but I mustered my toughness and bungled my way through another day of work. It was fine. Not good, by any means; I felt like crap and looked even worse, and I blew my nose so many times it grew red and raw. But I just kept telling myself I felt okay. It was okay. I was okay.
That night, I made dinner and we all sat down and ate, all civilized and stuff. Afterwards, as the kids played on the trampoline, I cleaned up the mess, like I always do—it's a comforting habit, really, making my way through the lists of tasks: I clean the dishes, store the leftovers, wipe the table and countertops, and then sweep the floors. Except this time, as I worked, I started feeling worse and worse and worse. About halfway through, I just started to cry. I admonished myself several times: Oh, stop it. You're fine. Why are you crying? Stop it! STOP IT.
But the tears kept coming, even as I picked up the broom and finished up the cleaning, even as I kept reminding myself I wasn't actually crying about anything. And by the time I was completely done, I was so achy and cry-y I couldn't do anything except... ache and cry.
I went to our back patio, where my husband was watching our kids jump and play.
He looked at me. A look of alarm crossed his face. "What is it?" he asked.
I shook my head. "I just can't," I said.
He jumped up. "You're still sick," he said. He took my shoulders in his hands, turning me back into the house and murmuring something about getting me to sleep right now. "I'm sorry," I said, feebly apologizing for leaving him alone with the bed-and-bath routine with the kids. "Don't be ridiculous," he snorted. He lifted back the covers and nudged me in, pulling the blankets up around my head and tucking them around my shoulders. I closed my eyes and just let go. I heard other noises—there was the shake of an Advil bottle and a water bottle filled up, placed on the bedside table "just in case." I think the kids came and kissed me goodnight. I can't say for sure. I was done.
And I slept.
A couple hazy days have passed. I'm not yet feeling well, but I'm past the break-down-into-nothing stage. I'm ready to tackle the last month of school, with all the ridiculousness and fun that comes with it. I can do this. I've had my shut-down; time, now, to power back up.