Sick Day Memories

Roy’s back-to-back bouts of illness got me thinking about when I was a sick kid. The drug store was in our small-town mall, just downstairs from the doctor’s office. While we waited for my prescription to be filled, I’d hang out in my beloved magazine aisle. This was one of those rare times that Mom would buy me an issue or two, so I’d make my selections carefully. Tiger Beat usually made the cut, especially if it featured Rob Lowe. Oh, sweet Rob. Is he literally the only teen heartthrob who’s successfully transitioned to adult heartthrob?

Back at home, I’d change into my most comfortable pjs and head straight for the flowered couch with the velvety gold piping. I’d burrow under the orange, white and brown zig-zag knit blanket, head resting on my bed pillow—a simple little piece of nighttime comfort that somehow held extra magic in this totally new environment. It was covered in the coolest Red Riding Hood pillowcase, fresh and ready for the occasion, featuring the wolf on one side and Red herself on the other. I’d occasionally rotate the pillow so each could have some time face-up.

The TV was on, though these were the days before cable and remote controls. Mom or Dad would turn on the most promising channel, and that’s where it would stay. I’d spend the early afternoon hours leafing through Tiger Beat and dozing to soap operas filled with argumentative and impeccably dressed women with really big hair. I loved how they’d slip off one giant clip-on earring before answering the phone.

While I remember being miserable, I also remember feeling cared for and safe. Things were going to be better. Until then, my parents would check on me, give me spoonfuls of pink medicine and glasses of normally forbidden soda on ice, and smooth the blanket, finding all the right places to tuck it in. As Roy grows older and we deal with the inevitable bouts of illness to come, I hope I can work the same type of parental magic and find just the right touches to take the edge off, transforming bad experiences into comforting memories.

Do you remember what made your sick days better? Any reliable tricks you pull out for your kids?

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  1. by Betsy

    On June 24, 2011 at 6:57 am

    I’m remembering our joint bout with chicken pox. Now that’s the way to be sick! Not too ill to play, and a close-by friend to share it with.

    Lovin’ your blog, Berit!

  2. by Berit Thorkelson

    On June 24, 2011 at 8:00 am

    My mom and I were just recalling that. Then we exposed poor BJ on purpose, and he got it worse than either of us! Thanks, Betsy :)

  3. by Mom

    On June 24, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I really remember being home sick in exactly the same way – I got to lay on the sofa, watch tv, read magazines and get waited on. Maybe that’s why I did the same with you and BJ. When I read this I had a huge lump in my throat. I can just see little Berit curled up on the sofa wearing her orange gingham nightgown with matching robe & her little red pigtails. Your description of the sofa, afghan, and your pillow brought vivid memories back. You will see how it’s so tough to see your babies grow up, and how every stage has challenges and rewards. One day you get to the point where you are making a comment on your grown child’s blog! :)

    Also, good to hear from Betsy! I clearly recall the chicken pox kids. You were all so cute!

  4. by katie

    On June 24, 2011 at 10:28 am

    We had a knitted afghan that was the sick blanket, too! And bed pillows on the couch. I remember watching People’s Court and Love Connection with my dad, and him convincing me to eat a spoonful of grape jelly, which poorly hid the terrible taste of grape chewable Tylenol. And then my mom coming home from work, and her hands always felt sooooo cool on my hot forehead.

  5. by Berit Thorkelson

    On June 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    aaaand my mom’s first appearance! On any blog, I imagine. Yay! And well put.

    And Katie: awesome details. Thank you for reminding me Love Connection existed.

  6. by Julia

    On June 24, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    I remember my mom spoiling the heck out of me whenever I was sick… and I do the same for my daughter, because no matter how sick I was, being spoiled always made me feel better!

    In fact I seem to recall *pretending* to be sick every now and then, just to get all those “meals” of ice cream in bed… and to get out of going to school, of course.

  7. by Kim

    On June 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    My mother never believed me when I said I was sick, even though I *never* faked (I was that weird girl who wanted to go to school), so my sick routine usually consisted of telling my mom I didn’t feel well, getting shipped off to school, having my mom called to tell her I was sick, going to the doctor, waiting on medicine on a bench in front of the checkout counter, then going home, taking my medicine and sleeping. When I woke up, I’d always feel better, but not until I slept some. My mom would bring me a hot mug of tea, would slather me up in VapoRub, and maybe let me take a very long bubble bath during which I’d read a Little House on the Prairie book or something equally long, stopping sometimes to let out some cooling water and refilling it with hot. I never got ice cream. I’m jealous!

  8. by samantha

    On June 27, 2011 at 12:36 am

    ahh kim poor you!! oh well you can make it up by giving your kids nothing but icecream lol….my memories also included the pillow and sofa, but my mum also brought my bedblanket down too! my little holly hobbie one! i also turned the pillow so that she didnt suffocate. my mum always brought me ice cream, or jelly and loads of ice tea…which even now if i have a sore throat has majical healing powers. now if my dd is sick she only wants to eat water icepops, yoghurt and ice tea!

  9. by Shannon Spurgeon

    On June 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Well my childhood is split between after my parents divorce (living with my dad and step mother)and then living with my mother after I finally escaped my step mom. So we will just talk about with my birth mom! My memory involves 7-up and chicken noodle soup, lots of head rubs and tv. It seems simple but it was effective enough for me to keep it up (except 7-up has turned into gatorade)