Laughing all the way

January 31, 2013

By Pat Detmer

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Les Miserables

It entered the house on Christmas Eve. There were 19 possible carriers. I’m betting on the baby. We ate, we drank, we hugged, we kissed, we exchanged gifts and germs, and then went out and infected everyone else we knew as well.

We were sick for a week and a half and then went back to work, congratulating ourselves on our general hardiness. Then, we relapsed. This time, it took us down like a pride of starving lions takes down a feeble wildebeest. Gone was a long-planned trip to Palm Springs, our appetites, our ability to breathe, our dignity and any misguided notion that we had control of anything in life. This is what I learned:

  • You can lose weight on an I-Can’t-Taste-Anything, Food-Has-Lost-Its-Meaning Diet, but I wouldn’t advise it.

  •  Visiting the Y is not necessary, because coughing up a lung = 1,000 sit-ups. I now have abs of steel but am too exhausted to care.
  •  You can miss a lot when you’re deaf, not a bad thing when your sizeable husband has a cough with decibel readings that rival rock bands at The Gorge.
  •  At the medical center, I felt like I was on the set of the movie “Contagion.” It made me wonder if there was a well person on this side of the Cascades. When the cheerful nurse noted that I hadn’t been weighed since October, I said, “I don’t give a s*** what I weigh. Fix me.”
  • Anything that they give you to fix you will make you sick as well. Stomach ache? Check. Diarrhea? Check. Yeast infection? But of course! Check.
  •  If you’re too ill for reading, or doing Sudoku or crosswords, there’s only one option: television. In my journey through that vast wasteland, I discovered that Seattle-based “Here Come the Brides” can be seen at 3 a.m. on some channel that I’ll probably never be able to find again, there are more versions of “Pride and Prejudice” than there are wads of tissue in our wastebaskets, and the British version of “Antiques Roadshow” has some seriously old stuff on it and no one gets excited when they hear the value. Stiff upper lip and all that.
  •  If you’re far enough under the weather, things that normally have meaning lose their place in line. Chin hairs, frozen hummingbird feeders, whether the word “its” is used correctly in a text, the fact that we failed to take apart our bubbling water features before the freeze … all of these become distant whispers not worth noting.
  • If you are sufficiently afflicted, it doesn’t matter if the Seahawks win or not. But you have to be really, really sick for that.

You can reach Pat Detmer — who has plans to never, ever get sick again — through


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