A few Sundays ago, I awoke to the feeling that I swallowed a very fat and angry cat. Not just any housecat, but a mutant cat with cactus-like, fiery protuberances surrounding its fat and angry body. I wasn’t sure if I were dying or just sick. After gargling with wine (don’t judge; I thought the alcohol would numb the angry, fat, mutant cat pain until I could deduce my diagnosis), I attempted to examine myself. It was touch-and-go for a bit. I juggled my phone for a flashlight and my flosser for a tongue depressor. I was amazed at my unbelievably coordinated attempts at self-examination. What I glimpsed frightened me a bit. There was no cat (I was shocked), but there were a couple of nasty little puss pockets where my tonsils should be. I wondered if the cat hallucination were linked to the fever brewing. Confident I was not dying and hadn’t swallowed a cat, I crawled back into bed and waited until a more civil hour to call my doctor.
I was lucky, and the doctor called in an antibiotic. All I had to do was wait for the pharmacy to open so that the antibiotics could kill the fat, angry, fire cat living in my throat. I was left to wonder how in the world a 40-year-old germaphobe could contract/spawn strep. I have no tonsils, and I wash my hands compulsively. Did I mention gargling with wine? My son did have strep a week or so before, so I blame that sweet, little, walking petri dish. My husband got up, kissed my forehead and went to the kitchen to get me ibuprofen and water. When the petri dish woke up, he was ushered to the living room so I could rest. This sick day was looking up. I dozed off and on, and when I finally got out of bed, my door was decorated with get-well sticky notes. The grocery shopping was done, and my prescription of bacteria killers was on the table.
I napped a second time secure in the knowledge that one dose would end the nightmare. I woke up to discover I was wrong. The fat, angry, mutant cat was still there, and it was having a party. At this point, I gave up. All was lost, and I was going to need a sick day and a sub for Monday. And possibly a veterinarian. Maybe even an infection specialist from the CDC. And a mortician. Oh, and wine. All wallowing and hyperbolic overreacting aside, I was enjoying myself. Normally, a sick day is a migraine day. A migraine that all lights, sounds, smells, and tastes sends me to the innermost ring of Hell. This sick day, should the CDC ultimately cure me, was a welcome change in my experience with illness. I could lie in bed and read, or watch TV, or sleep, or think. Maybe the fat, angry, mutant cat deserves a little thanks as it disrupts my life. I was treated to father/son conversations that partially carried down the hall to my room. My door was full of notes, and I had sick days in my account at work.
Monday dawned. I slept in two hours past my normal time. The boys got themselves ready for work and school. I spent the rest of my time cleaning up the house and getting caught up on “The Real Housewives” as I waited for that magical 24th hour of antibiotic protection. The fabulous sick day ended when I picked up my son at school. I was greeted with a jubilant, “Mommy!” I was back on the job. I don’t plan on another run-in with strep, but if it happens again, I hope it’s as fun as this one.