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When Mama gets sick
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I rarely get sick - knock on wood.


Who has time to be sick anyway? Not this gal.

And when I do get sick or under the weather, it is always at the most inconvenient time imaginable.

Even though it has been a while since I was really sick, there have been days I have cluster headaches or a knot in my neck or back pain that could take down a grizzly.

All I want is to take a few Aleve and rest.

But how?

"Shhhhh..." Lamar will try to quiet Cole. "Mama's resting."

Now, why Lamar was trying to quiet Cole, I have no idea. Whatever he was doing was a million times louder than what Cole was doing.

Did you know when your head is pounding the tiniest sound is amplified?

It is.

And the sound of my husband putting a spoon in the sink reverberated in my head.

I groaned and pulled a pillow around my ears.

My family trying to not make noise is usually noisier than if they were setting off fireworks in the middle of the house.

Usually, I have to just push through it and deal with it.

Besides, I am never able to really rest.

"Do you know where?...."

"No rush, but when you feel better, can you?...."

"Did you?...."

"Have you?..."

It's futile.

"Feeling better?"

I sigh and don't even answer.

It doesn't matter if it is a headache or recovering from major surgery, the downtime is the same for any mother - pretty much nonexistent.

Granny used to proclaim she could be on her death bed and someone would probably ask her to make them something to eat or to find their keys.

I used to think she was overexaggerating for dramatic effect but now I think she was right.

This was the woman who would often have her doctor check her into the hospital for a week every summer.

"If I didn't, I'd never get any rest," she said conspiratorially once.

Her weeklong stays at the Chateau de Hospitale ended when the rooms got cable and my grandfather and uncle fought over who got to go visit and watch HBO.

"That was my one reprieve," she said. "Ain't no reason to go back if they gonna come up there and turn the dadblamed TV up so loud I can't take my nap."

I tried to tell her it may have been because they knew she wasn't really sick - ‘resting nerves' was not a real reason for someone to be admitted.

But Granny swore it was.

She rattled off all the times she had had the flu, broken bones, been in traction and all the other various surgeries and ailments she had endured, all while not missing a beat.

"When I say I am sick or don't feel good, no one cares unless it's gonna interfere with putting y'all's supper on the table. So if I want to go to stay in the hospital for a week to get some rest, I think that is perfectly fine," she said. "I gotta rest my nerves somehow. It's good for my overall health and well-being."

She gave me a scornful sideways glare. "Besides, y'all can't get through one day without me."

I rolled my eyes. She was definitely being dramatic.

We could make it through a day.

We had.

Hadn't we?

And then, lo and behold, the old gal got sick.

Long before laparoscopic surgery was commonly used, and after weeks of telling us she was sicker than a mule, the doctor told her she needed her gallbladder removed.

"I told y'all I was sick," she announced the day before her surgery. "I told y'all, and none of ya listened. No one cared."

"It's not that, Granny," I began. "You gotta admit, you complain so much, we thought it was just part of your routine."

She was scheduled for a week at the hospital but this time, it wasn't to rest her nerves.
The recovery was painful, as evidenced by Granny's constant pain updates.

"I think I hurt a little bit less than I did last hour, but it's still hurting," she would announce from her hospital bed. "Now it's probably about a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10."

"Ask the nurse to bring you some pain pills and try to get some rest," Mama had told her, trying to be sympathetic.

"Y'all just want me to get some rest so I can come home and take care of y'all. I told the doctor not to make me stay in here longer than a week; there's no telling what kind of shape my house is in with me not there."

When the old gal came home, the house was in a bit of disarray but she went straight to bed, swearing she was not going to worry about anything until she was well.

We were just going to have to figure out how to fend for ourselves, she told us.

An hour later, Pop went in to check on her.

"Woman?" he began, gently poking her. "Are you going to fix us anything for supper?"

With a heavy sigh, she pushed the covers back and got up.

I told Mama the other day I had a headache that was blinding me.

"Get some rest," she urged. "Just lie down and try to rest so it will pass."

I sighed. I couldn't.

My people don't know how to fend for themselves either.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."